Skin In The Game

I have been scavenging for submission opportunities like a manuscript manifesting, marsupial 2.42am on Twitter, my search platform poison of choice, for workshops, short courses - anything that might get my work out there.

There’s always more one can learn, but after having already made the leap into self publishing and subsequently indie publishing, what else is there to aim for on the emerging writer route? Oh yes, the small matter of that mainstream deal. I know it isn't the be all, that authors pontificate about - until you actually get one. This single ambition is the life's blood of a writer, the desire to be published. 

I am a writer who happens to be a citizen of colour in the 20th & 21st Centuries, the revelation in 2020 being I officially had skin in the game. The BLM movement has roared and is being heard, all a little late for me, if nothing else I am relieved for the next generation. 

In the diversity led meantime, it doesn’t make me any less keen to ingratiate myself under the BAME label talent search pool. Never, has there been a better time to scale that diversity drainpipe to the roof terrace to the inclusivity incubator if you will. The view is lovely there, they tell me. 

Excuse me if I sound defeatist, but I am #hellatriggered by my perceived identity from others and by other. I consider myself the embodiment of hybrid cultures, values and language. I refuse to be pigeon-hole held against my will. My free thinking will. My imagination. Jazz fusion would never have happened, nor punk and even street food, the traditional with a twist, were it not for the freedom to jam, rebel, experiment. 

I wonder how much the pull of profits stifled innovation across creative platforms inward looking gate keepers enabled. Market the same thing. Repeat. We need more wild punts on mavericks. Thankful benevolent offerings to the Gods of Creativity and the Fires of Credibility. 

If I must be defined, then it would please me to be considered the wild card option. Am I a fraud to say I am a BAME writer when I don't reference my own cultural identity in my work? Auto fiction allowing, perhaps my fiction is ethnically challenged. Is there a genre to which I must confine to in order to be considered an 'authentic other'. 

I appreciate that there are known parameters in the publishing world that define subjects, from historical fiction to romantic fiction, thrillers to murder mysteries or even the chick lit, where certain events must happen by a certain page or the protagonist must be from a particular background. But this rigidity has implosive consequences. Mainstream often caught out by the zeitgeist.

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The current drive towards inclusivity is in danger of facilitating division in its wake. Emerging genres may never see the light of day.

Who is gatekeeping the definition of 'BAME'. Can I be black and write a rom-com set anywhere, but the continent of Africa? Can I be black and write about brown lives in South Asia? Would it be possible to create Greek characters living in the Carribean? The algorithms are as infinite as the freedom to dream allows. Right now, I still do not see 'ME' reflected in the publishing world, on the page or off, even as a swathe of BAME writers are winning accolades. 

My first novella series is about a lifestyle I know first hand, no research required. my publisher had music and clubbing related titles, that is why I pitched my ideas there. I have more tales outside that arena of course. 

My imaginings, I anticipate might not be in urban settings or exotic, faraway lands. I hope that my work in the name of equality is wanted when I submit. I am creating new genres because I am more than an underrepresented citizen of colour. I intend to explore the full colour palette beyond me. I am more than grayscale. 

I am writing romantic fiction set anywhere I like. I am writing chick lits with a twist. I am writing erotica - a mood. I am writing fantasy without streetwise dragons. I am writing memoir, it's music, it's education, it's urban, it's suburban, just a life. I am writing poetry and spokenword. I am black in the 21st Century, so what? Regardless who is seeing, listening, reading, I write like no one is watching. 

Thus unto the BAME breach go I. For I have skin in the game. To this end, I am writing a memoir trilogy and an anthology about identity (access code alert) my next release out on by end of year. After which I will continue to write, like no one is labelling. 










No skin off my prose

experiments in type 

in fonts sans pencil 

  I pick a subject ripe

in the feeling

tender on the senses

I stop and start

follow my heart

my gut 

as much as I can bear it

what is unsaid

only I can see

the code known only to me

I will not shy away

from what you read of my yesterday 


Believe or be deceived

Throw my words away

  Its no skin off my prose 

No prose off my skin  








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