Trying to fill a blank page is tough. Really tough, as anyone who’s ever been forced to write the dreaded “Five Paragraph Essay” or “How I Spent my Summer Vacation” report can attest. What most people don’t realize is that it isn’t only writers who struggle with blank pages; readers do as well.
Sure, there are words and lines and sentences and stories on those pages, but the blankness comes from the lack of representation. Picking up a book from the Scholastic Book Fair or a Bookmobile was always fun, but for many children it’s difficult to find a book or a story where they can see themselves represented as the default. The blankness of the page is there, but it’s metaphorical and goes unseen and unacknowledged by those who see themselves in every piece of literature they consume.
That is why months such as Pride Month exist and are so important. When it comes to growing up with relatable stories, we must strive to mix those books by and about members of marginalized communities in with the “normal”, because we must fill the blank page for everyone.
There are so many titles that can help us to do this, but the fact is that there are still too few selections recommended and too few selections that are seen on shelves outside of times like now. This month, and in ongoing months, you’ll see more of those recommendations here with a spotlight on the fantastic diverse group of authors here at Mocha Memoirs Press.
Representation is important, in both writers and readers, and that’s why we must continue to strive in whatever way we can to get those recommendations to shelves and into the hands of those who need them most.
RGB once said, “When I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court] and I say, ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked. But there’d been nnie men, ad nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” I challenge you all to ensure this same equal representation of queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, demisexual, pansexual, ace, genderfluid, trans, and so many other works are equally available to all people, everywhere. No more should librarians and bookstores, even parents, struggle to come up with titles when someone requests book where the lead characters are black trans women or two gay men and their ace friends; those titles must be immediately available and mainstream, and we do this by reading as much as we can and encouraging our favorite queer writers so that they create more entertainment for us to devour, because it is then that we will begain to see that representation, that pride, filling the page everywhere.
As it should be.
Now you’re probably wondering what kind of recommendations I’ll be giving you after the above. Well, today it’s going to be “Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire” (2020). “Slay” is an anthology containing more than two dozen stories all based on the African Diaspora. These stories celebrate the strength and power of the Affrocentric vampires and hunters, and contain many different cultural and mythological backgrounds. Black protagonists take center stage, many of them also members of the LGBTQ+ community, and they aren’t simple stereotypical foils to the standard cishet character you’ll find in many mainstream works. Many of these stories will leave you desperate to learn more about the worlds they’re set in and the characters who are presented to you. With contributing authors such as Sheree Renée Thomas, Milton Davis, Alicia McCalla, Jessica Cage, Lm. Marie Wood, Epeki Oghenechovw Donald, and so many more I promise you’ll find something that appeals directly to your tastes. You can purchase it here directly from us, or find it on Amazon.