With my first novel – A Story About Self-Confidence: What’s In A Name?, a month~long story at Eville Medical in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story” – I have already offended one person… and within the first page! This should be good. I look at offenses from two perspectives: The only offenses that are not good are the ones that strike others down. Since this offense is because of offensive ideas, I look at it as positive.
Being offended means being challenged.
If I approach life with the central tenant “I am you, you are me,” when I offend you, or I am offended, then there is a deep-seated convention that is being challenged. The offensive statement was, actually, featuring Alex with their singular pronoun.
Such sweet sensations of offending traditional conventions…
I’m sure I will be challenged on this throughout my entire career as a writer. I write material that is controversial because I would rather write characters that have “they” pronouns than living within rigid rule structures.
I already go to work. Why would I want that in my writing?
So that I’ve offended brings us to my thoughts on offenses, and we’ll use Alex as the example here. Was the person offended because I misappropriated Alex’s pronoun for some kind of nefarious purpose? Was I being culturally insensitive?
Was I acting in bad faith against people with genders outside of she or he?
No, rather, the offended party did not like the concept of a singular “they” pronoun in general, preferring to ignore the non-binary aspects of culture and society, and instead insisting that “they should only be used for groups of people.”
If this is offensive, then, I have done my job as a writer.
I should do all that I can to offend biased and terrible notions from the past that need to be put to rest. Notions of prejudice without empathy should be only found in historical texts as examples of people’s perspectives that were ignorant.
While I respect that people can have these opinions, I won’t respect those opinions.
I would prefer to offend the prejudiced thinkings that make life harder for others, even if that means challenging the majority, and not having an easy life. I’ve never had an easy life, socially, even when I live within that judgemental majority.
I’m happy to have characters like Alex in my writing.
We need more characters in media, especially created/channeled by people that could fit into majorities, which are not like ourselves. I won’t understand everything about the experience of others, but that’s why we should try anyways.
Shouldn’t we constantly challenge ourselves and our biases?
Allow me a blockquote of my favorite lines of movie dialogue:
Major: You talk about redefining my identity. I want a guarantee that I can still be myself.
Puppet Master: There isn’t one. Why would you wish to? All things change in a dynamic environment. Your effort to remain what you are is what limits you.
I constantly think of tearing down my own beliefs and rebuilding them.
I never want to be stuck within the dogma of any identity, never want to be rigidly defined by one character trait, even the notion of “being better,” because even something like that means I cannot – for instance – become worse to possibly become even better.
I want the opportunity to continue challenging opinions and norms. I want to write offensive literature and I’m happy that I can. This does mean, however, I must live with the consequences of living outside the norms of polite society.
Burn my novels. Hate me. Think of me as a garbage person.
I’ve felt all of this before I left high school, so why would I be concerned over the opinions of others? If I write and act in ways where I want to celebrate characters like Alex. I didn’t explore Alex’s flaws and my writing glorified their accomplishments.
If anything, that should be the offensive part.
We should get to a point in literature, in life, where we have characters that have interchangeable features of gender pronoun preference, sexual biology, skin tone, physicality, or anything else and have it be a non-issue.
Until then, I will own that I will offend contemporaries.
I write for the future I want, wherein these interchangeabilities are so intertwined within life that Alex is one of many thousands of characters that use their they/them pronouns are not weird or abnormal or offensive.
I would like to explore Alex’s bad sides.
However, until that future where we have multitudinous characters, I think toxic representation is worse than no representation, and exploring in depth some of the terrible aspects of Alex’s personality would be toxic.
Toxic is a more narrow word than offensive here.
Offensive could be offending the traditional norms, which I consider a good thing, or it could mean offensive to people because of rude sentiments, which I do not consider a good thing. Provocative and challenging are good traits.
I provoke because I want to better our society.
I am not qualified enough as a writer, as a cultural advocate as I do not use the “they” pronoun, and as a person – because I have bad traits myself though I do my best to overcome them and better myself, to write Alex provocatively.
I can, however, write characters like Alex into my novels.
Twelve years ago, I was in two college-level Sex and Gender classes from an accredited university in an ultra-liberal part of the United States where both were taught by well-educated professors, and not once did we talk about pronouns.
We are only just learning about this.
2019 was the year where I saw shifts in perception about gender, pronouns, and acceptance. In previous years, talks of pronouns were never almost serious, so we still have many years of work to go.
I want to show my support as best I can.
If that means I offend people along the way, then good!
|Quotes:  The criticism against the novel.|
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium, my personal experiences, and my educational experiences. Also: “Expanding Your Identity” and “He Is I, I Am Him.”|
|Inspirations: I listen to my critics. I only take their opinions seriously when their opinions are constructive. This critique did provide some insight into how challenging selling my literature will be, however, I will not write what I don’t believe in to get more money. Why would I want that? To live in a better, more secure, empty mansion of fraudulent excess at the sacrifice of what I believe in? Talk about an objectively moral suicide.|
|Related: Other 2019 Novel writings. The Sober Living part kicks in when you consider that my writing about sobriety tackles those same aspects of challenging perception through subjective observation of reality.|
|Picture: This picture is offensive because it’s so poorly drawn.|
|Written On: December 26, 2019 [37 minutes, from 1:22am to 1:59am except for one edit where I edited “talks of pronouns were never almost serious” from comical – since I had meant that talks of pronouns were joked about in conversations I overheard but I hadn’t written it like that, written while listening to the Fargo soundtrack, written in WordPress.]|
|Last Edited: December 26, 2019 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|