It's my birthday week--I have resolved to start on the day before (especially here in North America, because I was born in Malaysia, so my birthday is always 12 hours behind here!) and celebrate it all the way to the end of the week. This started sometime in my late 20s, because the surprise that I am still alive past the age of 21 somehow doesn't lift. I'm always a little outside my body at this time of year: how did I make it this far? In my teens I was convinced I would be dead by now, because at that age I simply couldn't see past 21.
Yet here I am. Part of a small family of writers and readers, with friends who are delightful and creative and kind and sweet. Among this family's ranks is S. Qiouyi Lu, who I met on the Tumblr, and who has since blossomed into a wonderful poet! Their poem "Meat Bone Tea," based on the legendary bak kut teh soup I've made for the both of us on the occasion of their being back in California, was recently published by Uncanny Magazine. It is a wonderful meditation on the landscapes of food, its visual delight and the emotional weight that feeding another person carries. Cooking for someone else, a sit-down meal, a beloved recipe, a kind of comfort food borne of generations of experimenting with handy herbs, is one of the best acts in the world.
I'm so happy for Qiouyi on their latest publication! Perfect addition to my birthday week celebrations! They are so talented and I look forward to more of their work, and you should, too.
"I was chosen for the Constitutional Convention!" is generally how I feel about being able to say that I will be editing The WisCon Chronicles, Vol. 11!! The theme will be "Trials by Whiteness."
WisCon40 followed a seismic shift in the demographics of the convention. Following the success of the POC Safer Space, there is now a Genderqueer / Trans Lounge, and a Disability Lounge. Programming actively seeks a diversity of panelists. How have these changes come about, and what have their ramifications been?
The theme, "Trials by Whiteness" examines how what bell hooks calls the white-supremacist capitalist (cishetero)patriarchy has affected the feminism of WisCon and created difficult confrontations and conversations on the clashing perceptions of attendees. "Whiteness" refers to the position from which white supremacy operates. It has constantly moving goalposts by which everyone is measured. Whiteness does not refer only to white people; non-white peoples can also identify with this position and perspective. "Trials by whiteness" therefore, refers to all the problems people have to go through as a result of white supremacy, on various scales from microaggressions to abuse, whether institutionally or through individual behaviours.
I welcome essays and contemplations on the following:
the changing faces of WisCon;
the challenges in transmitting and sharing knowledge across generations;
clashes of ideology, theories, and/or practices as feminism grows;
nice listicles, for example suggestions for how to ally with (and not over!) the various folks that come to WisCon!
I encourage personal essays, poems, or roundtable discussions that deal with any of the following, especially in the context of WisCon and within the SFF industry:
dialogs and difficult conversations about the rising discomfort of white SFF fans;
intra-community conflicts within marginalized groups, which we fear to discuss because we fear whiteness turning these conflicts against us;
spillover of hegemonic whiteness onto other forms of oppression, such as disability, class, and gender expression;
productive outcomes of difficult conversations, e.g. Nalo Hopkinson's Lemonade Award;
what DID happen over the summer before WC39? for good or for ill, how did that affect WisCon40?
Further afield, I am a big fan of Academic Lite articles and welcome experimental and non-academic forms discussing the following topics:
how POC and conditionally white people are treated by people comfortably entrenched in whiteness;
the internalization of white/Eurocentric standards and difficulties of unlearning them in order to recognize oneself, whether as part of the system, or apart from it;
the challenges of being a white person confronting whiteness and demonstrating solidarity and good allyship, earning trust;
uncovering whiteness, the ramifications of naming it and dealing with the cognitive dissonance that it demands.
While this anthology does center the POC gaze, I am also interested in white essayists interrogating these difficult subjects from the intersections of their identities as well.
Don’t reject yourself—that’s my job!
I am particularly interested in articles that are conversations, especially between newer and older attendees, between attendees who identify differently, or in response to WisCon events. For example, attendees of color and white attendees who attended the Hamilton Sing-Along. Pitch me!
Send pitches and submissions to jhameia.goh(AT)gmail.com with "WCC11: [title]" in the subject line. DOC / DOCX / RTF. Submissions open Aug 15, and close Oct 31. Pitch me anytime; all pitched articles should be in by November 15.
I'm pleased to announce that I'm in the September 2016 issue of Lightspeed Magazine! I sold the story last year but generally refrain from announcing anything official until I see a table of contents. And wow! I'm sharing a TOC with An Owomoyela and Nisi Shawl! Also Maria Dhavana Headley, who I had the chance to participate in a class Skype session with while I was at Clarion!
My story, "Crocodile Tears," will be familiar to attendees of the reading I did with Nisi Shawl and Sam J. Miller this past ICFA. It's a combination of two of my favourite Malay folktales, the story of Si Tenggang, and the story of the old woman and the crocodiles. This will be the second story this year with crocodiles who are not mean and nasty (the first being "Anak Sungai" at Truancy).