On High Brow Authors… and the Rest of Us
Hmm. I think I said I’d be blogging more often, didn’t I? A move to another state sort of got in the way of that, and I’ve been sidetracked, but now I’m back to my old writing/editing/sometimes blogging schedule.
A topic I’ve been thinking about is how some fellow authors scorn those of us who write romance. I will hazard a guess that to some “serious” authors, the romance genre in all its glorious forms is not idealistic enough or academic or hoity toity or whatever. I have noticed deafening silence from fellow poetry or high lit. writers when it comes to promoting their friends’ romance novels, novellas and so on. I have also heard stories of snotty letters from academic types to romance writers. Why the animosity?
I find romance novelists a fun and open lot who like good writing in any form and share it. It’s good to be part of a group of nice folks like that. Though I only write poetry for fun, I enjoy it nearly as much as fiction, and I pass on any good work I come across with no regard to whether it is avant-garde enough or not. Great short story writer? Wonderful! Poetry? Bring it on! Amazing novel or novella? Cool! Let’s celebrate writing.
After all, a cursory glance at a high school or college reading list will prove why the whole debate about what is high brow or worthy literature is silly. I first read Rebecca in high school and Wuthering Heights after it was put on a summer reading list. Jane Eyre? Same deal along with other romance novels of varying shades. I was hooked on gothic romance early on. It was only a few steps away from Nancy Drew after all.
I think sometimes contemporary writers and others forget that Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle among other esteemed writers wrote for the common person, and many wrote in the popular serial format. Writing has always been about passion, ideals, and dare I say it?– making a little money off of a talent or skill. Taking it all so seriously robs it of fun.
So to those who think only high literature is worth reading or mentioning, to each her own. For me, I’ll put my John Keats, Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Bronte, Daphne DuMaurier, Frances Burney, T. S. Eliot, and countless other favorite authors comfortably on the same bookshelf with Stephen King, Tana French, Barbara Michaels, and other “popular fiction” authors.
I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments here or on Facebook. 🙂