There’s a damn good column over on Romancing the Blog this morning called Pride in Romance by Scott Pomfret and Scott Whittier of Romentics.com, a line of gay romances. Their words are almost controversial in worrying about how the romance genre appears to outsiders and struggles over standards and what “constitutes” a romance novel: they say we should be proud of what we do.
We’ve read a lot in this space and elsewhere about readers and writers who are embarrassed about their connections to romance novels. They seem to accept a second-place status, as if literature could or should be ranked and romance necessarily be judged less valuable.
I’ve done the apology thing. I’ve done the justification tap-dance. I’ve spent time hiding what I write for fear of what the people around me will say. I’ve taken the slings and arrows of ridiculous insults couched in terms of “discussion.” I’ve had people ask me when I was going to do some “real” writing.
Why do we do this to ourselves? We write of hope and optimism, tell stories of people who overcome obstacles both large and small to find happiness and personal fulfillment. What is there to apologize for? We should, as Scott & Scott say, be proud of what we write.
There was originally a long rant that when along with this about letting other people put us down, but the truth is, we most often do it to ourselves. We all have our fears, both small and large, and I know I’ve spent a fair amount of time and energy fighting against the little demons that whisper in my ear in that moment between sleeping and waking. You probably know them, too — the ones who tell you that your words don’t work, that all of it is crap and you’re never going to finish it anyway. And when those demons hear other, outside voices try to chip away at us? They just have a field day.
Pride is important — and if we don’t have pride in ourselves, why should we expect anyone else to?