Growing up in Oklahoma, I was one of the palest faces in any crowd. In high school my skin tone became an appropriate topic of conversation for strangers. From kids at the lake saying “Damn girl get a tan” to teachers commenting about not seating me too close to windows lest I singe (or disintegrate b/c anyone as fair-skinned as I am must be a vampire). Even as an adult, a client once complained to one of my superiors by calling me “an evil china-doll.” The only thing to do those cases is laugh.
Because, wow, people can be insensitive.
Skin is one the largest signifiers that we are Different. That maybe we don’t “belong” wherever we are. So I am really intrigued by the cover story from the current issue of Gazillion Voices. They are celebrating their first anniversary of their publication by asking exploring the question “Do adoptees feel comfortable in their skin?” There is also an accompanying exhibit in Minnesota that I would for sure be checking out if I was there.
I am not a transracial adoptee. I don’t know entirely what it is like to be raised in a country or a family where few if any people share your physical traits. But I do have some sense of what it is like to feel that something as visible and unchangeable as your own skin can become something that sets you apart.
A little over a month ago I had my first piece of short fiction published by a literary magazine! I could not be more excited or humbled for my weird little story to be included in the inaugural issue of Quaint Magazine.
Read the piece here:
A little bit about Quaint, from their website:
“Quaint Magazine began as an exercise in rebellion. After reading this LitBridge article by Monica Lita Storss, about the gender divide in publishing/hiring (specifically in poetry), we were appalled. How could someone – another woman – dare to suggest that women are underrepresented in publishing because aren’t “paddling out into the lineup and claiming [our places]“?
It is a well-documented fact that women (and even more so women of color, and trans or genderqueer women) are severely underrepresented in the world of literature. One need only look to the VIDA statistics from 2012 to see that. And yet, apparently, the onus is on us to “tribe” together and do something about it.
I guess the article made us angry enough that that’s exactly what we did.
Quaint Magazine accepts submissions from female-identified people only. That means we’ll take work from girls, ladies, fillies, gals, lasses, womyn, women, dames, damsels, broads, and any other personal identifier you wish to throw at us. If you’re trans, great! If you’re cis, that’s just fine, too! This is our way of balancing the scales. Sometimes you have to be exclusionary to foster a more inclusive literary environment, overall.”