“F/F”? All this idea pushes me off the track.”
“What are two women doing in the bedroom? Do they wear a strap?”
“They need a real man to show them what they are missing.”
“So who is the man in the relationship?”
“Nobody reads F/F.”
“F/F is not for sale.”
“Who would want to read stories only about women?”
As authors of F/F-fiction, we all at one time or another have heard at least one of these statements. Every day I am amazed at how many people feel comfortable telling me that they are squeamish about F/F or that they find it “bizarre”. By “squint” we usually mean that something (or someone) is sick, disgusting, bizarre, disgusting or nauseating. Watching someone slice for surgery would be “squelchy”, as would the smell of fresh vomit.
“Squelching,” wouldn’t it? How would this have happened if I had told my friends that I had found heterosexuality “squelching”? People would laugh at me because M/F is (supposedly) the norm, right? I’m here today as part of CT Grant’s thanksgiving campaign for lesbian fiction, because I believe, with every bone in my body, that M/F is fantastic – it’s anything but “squelchy”. We need and deserve stories about women, about different women and about women who live full and rich lives beyond yearning for the perfect man.
You say “picky”, I say “social justice”.
My path as an F/F writer began with an apology. I wrote platonic stories about friendship because I did not want to displace the readers. Quite a lot of readers told me that they were afraid to read my stories because they were (guess what?) embarrassed about F/F, but the sexless friendship of my characters calmed their homophobic fears.
No, they didn’t say it that way. But after writing “Road Home”, “Bright Road” and the editorial board, something strange happened. My F/F couples said “hell with them, friendship,” and let’s get started.
As someone who spent most of his life tiptoeing around homophobic feelings, I was terrified. Simple Gifts” was supposed to be a friendship story between a classical violinist and her best friend, the pianist, but in the middle of a spanking scene sparks and electricity tingled. Before I knew it, Leila started unbuttoning Kern’s shirt, and I hurriedly faded to black. I did not want to pressure someone with forbidden lesbian sex. Because we all know that heterosexual sex is delicious and delicious and sells books, but sex between two women must be disgusting, disgusting and weird.
As I became bolder, I faced questions that all F/F authors would have to face at some point. How do we react when people tell us that they were trapped in our stories? Do we involve them in a dialogue? Are we trying to proselytize and turn them into F/F? Will we tiptoe around M/F crowds and keep F/F sex away from our stories? Or will we isolate ourselves and stay in F/F circles only? (Let me tell you, if anyone can do drama, it’s F/F crowd). Are we trying to raise the ignorant/prejudiced, or are we concentrating our energy where we are more welcome? If we try to educate those who resist the F / F story, what do we lose in the process? What can we afford to give up in order to play well with others? How can F / F fiction move forward in the future?
For me, all social actions start with history. I write for my salary (aren’t we all?), but I also write to change my mind. When we have alternative stories to challenge mainstream myths that raise inappropriate questions and comments, we expand the discussion about what it means to meet and love another person. Why do we assume that M/F is normal and F/F is whimsical? What if we lived in a world where order was reversed.
When I became Klyssin, my first political book, I took this misconception that F/F is “wrong” and M/F is “right”. It asked me the question: “What if heterosexuality was a crime? In Bastia, the plot reverse of “Become Klissin”, F / F relationship is the norm, and M / F – a sin against religion and society. Klissin, the protagonist, is imprisoned for kissing a boy, and she is subjected to an extreme form of conversion therapy administered to new parents who treat her like a child to change her sexual identity. To get an idea of this story, please see the trailer here. Many M/F readers have told me that they have never understood what it’s like to live in a society that considers them abnormal. And what if F/F had been accepted as normal? What if we did not have to defend who we are and what we write?
The desire in any language, my first F / F romance, tells the story of coming and going a story that I would like us all to experience. Mira’s love for her tutor throws her into an emotional twist of the tail until she realizes her longing for love. When love comes in the form of a diplomat, Hana Takahashi, Mira’s heterosexual neighbor not only supports but also envies her luck. The World Wonder sequel will be released on January 10 and includes one of my very first F/F sex scenes. (You can read the extended preview here.) I wrote to my publisher, Blushing Books, and asked: “I know that sex is for sale, but what about F/F? Will the increased market appeal of the sex scene be undermined, frankly, by a homophobic dislike of F/F sex?”.
My publisher replied, “Write this. And that they believe in what I write and what I stand for.
That’s all we can do, right? Stand up for our beliefs and write what we know to be true. What contribution will you make to the future of F/ Fiction?
About the author:
Please visit Anastasia Vitsky at governanceana.wordpress.com, follow her on Twitter at @AnastasiaVitsky and read free passages from her stories about Cat and Natalie at katsitting.wordpress.com.
I’ll be drawing one random commentator to win a book of my choice from my backlist, including “Revenge of Mrs. Klaus”, “Daughter of Discipline”, “Editorial Board”, “Desire in any language”, “Simple Gifts”, “Road Home”, “Bright Way”, “Becoming a Klingon” and “Love Repetition”.
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