Fact or fiction – colourful answers

So you don’t like fiction. Yet your lives are criss-crossed with stories of your own invention. Fiction has its advantages. It offers an intimate glimpse into unfamiliar perspectives like that of the Colourful People struggling with their gender identity.

Fact or fiction?

The following questions and responses were inspired by reactions to my newsletter entitled, A touch of colour – a new novel in the making. Particular thanks go to those who wrote to me.

I am not a fiction reader, let alone fantasy.

Many people shy away from fiction. That’s understandable. Fiction is not everybody’s cup of tea. They prefer biographies or journals or historical depictions, which, if truth were known, are themselves laced with fabrication and demi-falsehoods. Fiction is seen and condemned as an escape from reality, especially fantasy fiction.

What surprises me is that, despite a professed attachment to reality and a refusal of ‘fiction’ or ‘fantasy’, humans naturally invent their own stories daylong and live by them or submit to those of others… Yet those stories are rarely rooted in reality, but instead weave threads of fancy and fable into the weft of daily life.

One of the gifts of fiction, and fantasy in particular, is to enable the reader to adopt other perspectives, opening their eyes and minds to alternate perceptions which were hitherto inaccessible, uncovering winding paths to the richness of diversity.

The idea of bringing colour to your novel is very interesting. I like it.

The title, Colourful People, came at the very inception of the novel. Symbolically, the rainbow with all its colours is the standard of the gay and trans community and is widely recognised as such. On the one hand, I am attracted by the notion of inclusion that embracing all the colours of the rainbow signifies. As I’ve written elsewhere (Courting the unfamiliar, the only sane way to go), the future lies in diversity not uniformity.

On the other hand, noise and colour announce the advent of these new colourful characters in my novel. The challenge both for the girls who peopled the earlier novels in the Boy & Girl saga and for me as author, is how to react to such an often unrestrained and unfamiliar outpouring of life, whether if be joyous or otherwise. Feeling overwhelmed must surely be a natural initial reaction…

How do you welcome the vivacity the Colourful People bring and be able to offer a helping hand if not learn from them without betraying who and what you are? It would be a shame to loose your own hard-won identity in wanting to help others find theirs.

Your extract (from Colourful People) reminds me of discussions with a person who, coming from a strongly catholic family, voluntarily went through ‘conversion therapy’ hoping to ‘cure’ her homosexuality.

Glad you read the extract and took the time to write. I hope your colleague managed to survive the so-called therapy she submitted to. How can people be so sure their ideas and beliefs are right that they feel empowered to inflict them on others? Often those very ideas render the people incapable of perceiving the damage they are doing. Riding roughshod over young people at a fragile time in their quest for identity, these people blindly impose their ideas and beliefs.

Neither homosexuality nor being transgender are illnesses. You can’t beat them out of someone. It’s who they are. At the same time, I wonder if there could be a cure for people with over-fixed ideas? Or is that how they really are and always will be? Maybe a dose of unfamiliar fiction, rather than their daily fix, would help…

More about the Boy & Girl Saga

Boy & Girl – Twelve-year-old Peter secretly dresses as a girl. Imagine his delight when he finds himself in the head of a girl. Yet, despite his wild hopes, that girl is not him. She’s Kaitling, the daughter of a mage in a beleaguered world. Peter has his own problems when a vicious new girl at school threatens to reveal his girly ways. Becoming friends, Kaitlin and Peter join forces to do battle with those who oppose them.

In Search of Lost Girls – Dressed as a girl, Peter sets out in search of his soul-mate Kate who has been ripped from his arms and kidnapped. In his quest, he is hounded by fanatics bent on eliminating those who mess with gender. Meanwhile, Kate has been dumped in a nightmarish girls’ orphanage where she emerges as a decisive figure in the rescue of her fellow orphans. Will the two ever be together again?

We Girls – Retain his androgynous ambiguity or say goodbye to his girlish self, such is the existential choice that besets Peter. Circumstances, however, force both him and Kate to take up other challenges. By straddling the line between child and adult, between carefree creativity and weighty responsibility, between play and work, they find imaginative ways to confront far-reaching problems on which adults persistently turn a blind eye.

Colourful People – What happens when a boy who dresses as a girl, but has no wish to transition, is confronted with a boisterous crowd of transgender youth in a desperate search for a safe haven? The fierce will to be themselves despite the determined opposition of society is common to both the Lost Girls and the Colourful People. Not surprising then that they join forces and advance together. (Currently being written)

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