This is an absolutely wonderful piece on creative writing and cultural freedom by Laurie Penny.
It touches on several themes I strongly believe in, the importance of exercising one’s own imagination, and conjuring up your own worlds. That the aim of an author should not be to pontificate, but to inspire, and create a magic garden for their readers’ minds to play in.
Like many Tumblr writers, Laurie also started by writing fan-fiction. Unfairly maligned by those who seek to privatise culture, fanfic is the on-ramp for the novelists and screenwriters of tomorrow. A medium that provides opportunities to weave new stories in with familiar characters and ready-made settings.
I loved her observation that the “history of communications technology [has] always been a history of
bloody squabbles over who was allowed to write and read the official
story of human destiny and human desire.”
Do not cede your right to tell your own stories. Resist those who say culture should be a set menu from which you have to choose, however bland and unappetising the choices may be.
I strongly believe that creativity should be inclusive. Art needs its fans, its audience, its remixers and believers. And now, as we move from the era of two hour movies to episodic story-telling, there will be ever greater potential to create new worlds, and opportunities to populate with them with myriad new tales. Tales that can appeal to every minority…
… tales you don’t have to ask for permission to tell.