This has been a hard year for many, especially those of us who care so deeply about the gay romance subgenre.
The last half of 2019 has been a particularly brutal punch in the face.
There have been plagiarists, authors behaving badly, a morally and ethically bankrupt publisher seemingly hell-bent on destroying everything and everyone it touches.
To be honest, this week I reached my breaking point. I was so full of rage, sorrow and disappointment that I literally threw my hands in the air and asked myself, “What’s the fucking point?”
It seemed everywhere I turned, our little corner of Romancelandia had become a foul, festering garbage dump – a landscape so toxic that any joy I once had for gay romance has been bled dry.
I was done.
Like seriously. Done, DONE.
I was ready to move on to something else, literally anything else that wouldn’t be so heartbreaking.
Chances are that you too have felt this despondency over recent events.
But I’ve had some time to consider the situation and I think I’ve figured out, “What the fucking point” is.
If you’ll humor me, I’d like to use an example.
Say you’re playing in a sandbox, having fun with your toys and your friends, and someone comes along and kicks down the sandcastle you worked so hard to build. You’re first inclination might be to ask “Why? Why would you do that?”
If 2019 has taught me anything, it’s that bad people don’t need a reason. Bad people tear down what other people build up.
“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” ~ Maya Angelou.
It’s a fool’s game trying to understand these kinds of people. If you’re like me, you’ve felt frustration, sadness, and maybe even a sense of hopelessness at what has gone on in our beloved genre this past year. I’m not going to tell you to move past it, or just get over it, because it’s okay to feel those things.
But here’s what I’ve come to realize this past week.
I do not believe, in my heart of hearts, that a few bad apples spoil the whole barrel.
I believe that our job in the coming year is NOT to ask those apples, “Why are you rotten?” but to toss them away and rejoin the other fresh apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, pears and all the other wonderful fruits and get back to what our genre is all about: creating happiness, spreading joy, and giving hope in these difficult times.
It all comes down to this:
Our genre is a big, beautiful, rainbow-colored fruit salad.
If you’re rotten to the core, get the fuck out of our way.
The rest of us have important work to do.