One of my biggest fears about Ashland is that, while I don’t mind if my characters are shitty about race, I don’t want to be. One of the themes of the book is the way that the set-up of the house can seduce a person into believing that the story of the people who own the house is the story of the house. I want white people’s inability to see black people as central individuals in the story to be a cause of the horror of the story.
But I don’t want to fuck up in the same way my characters are. And yet, as we’ve talked about, this society is set up to breed racists. I don’t think there’s any way that I can be a white person born in this country, who lived in all white towns growing up and not be racist. Not in the “Oh, hey, I should join Stormfront” way, but in the “I have assumptions and expectations about how the world works that fuck over people I care about and people I don’t even know who I don’t bear any ill-will toward.” I want my book to be scary and hard, but I don’t want it to be insulting.
And yet, how can I see my own blind spots? I’v esignd up for a workshoop with Alice Randall. The assigned reading is The Help. I hope my problems aren’t so blatant.
I’m nervous, but it must be done. I’ve come to the conclusion that this isn’t a bad little story and I might, indeed, find someone who wants it. If that’s the case, then I really want it to be right.