Shannon Stacey

Pondering RWA

I’m crawling my way out of the writing and editing pit to see what’s going on in the rest of the world. Mad cow disease scare in Texas, apparently. (I can hear the eleven o’clock news from here.)

So this whole RWA thing—I’m back at the hmmmmmm stage again. I know. I’ve got more than my big toe in the Boring Pool with this subject. But I don’t know anything about mad cow disease and that’s our other option here.

On one hand, I agree with Holly when she says, among other things:

Quit the RWA, dammit, whether you love erotica, hate erotica, find it repulsive, or consider it an abomination. Quit because you are a writer, not a fascist, and whether individually the board of directors are lovely ladies or not — and I’m sure they are — collectively, they are perpetrating fascism. And on your way out the door, be sure to tell them why you’re quitting.

On the other hand, I agree with Cece when she says:

But rather than everyone getting pissy and quitting RWA how about we run for the board and give the membership a drug-free leadership.

I’m thinking that once my edits are in and my desk somewhat cleared, I’ll probably write them a letter and quit. They’re not only not working for me, but they’re actively working against me. (Well, not against me specifically, in a Conspiracy Theory kinda way—although the visual of me duct-taped to a wheelchair with my eyelids taped open is kinda freaking me out)

But the organization has become so concerned with demanding respect from people who are never going to give it, that they’re trodding upon their own members in their efforts. How does making some of us look like shit in public help us collectively look more respect-worthy?

Give me an affordable health insurance plan. Give me the data I need to make an informed business decision. Give me current industry information. A legal assistance program. A tax education program. Let me worry about who respects me and who doesn’t.

RWA doesn’t.

15 comments to “Pondering RWA”

  1. Anna Lucia
      · June 30th, 2005 at 7:47 am · Link

    You know I fence sit with gay abandon on RWA issues, Shan, but those last two paras of yours are simply the best words I’ve seen ANYONE write on this issue.

    My only other thought is, in ten years’ time, when you’re a bestselling author, you’ve broken into the mainstream and you’re writing romance, would it feel good to rejoin RWA, or would it feel awkward? Hopefully (please God!) it would feel like a very different organisation then, but… I think I’m promoting a Whole Career viewpoint here, more than anything.

    As ever, my thoughts are not wholly formed, and less than clearly expressed. *sigh* Sorry!

  2. robin bayne
      · June 30th, 2005 at 10:22 am · Link

    ” They’re not only not working for me, but they’re actively working against me. (Well, not against me specifically”

    Excellent post! And exactly why I left this past January. I’m not even sure how I got myself sucked into some of the blog debates this week–I think because I feel I should defend inspirational authors–we didn’t start the controversy on standards or morality. The board did. When I left RWA I had just completed a year as the Secretary for the inspirational chapter–and our concerns were *not* what other authors wrote–or what their covers looked like. Our concerns were improving our craft and increasing readership. Assisting new writers. That sort of thing.

  3. Charlene
      · June 30th, 2005 at 12:10 pm · Link

    Sounds solid and well thought out to me, Shan. I made my decision not to renew for the same reasons. I’ve seen RWA controversies come and go and I’ve gritted my teeth and ignored them, until this. There are alternatives.

  4. cece
      · June 30th, 2005 at 1:32 pm · Link

    I’m waffling and looking at alternatives. I think it was jordan who posted somewhere and said she loved her local chapter but that wasn’t reason enough to stay. I love mine too, but I have to agree w/her. That’s not worth my 75/year plus local chapter dues.

    However, I WILL send back that stupid questionaire adn I hope everyone else does too–with a write in of your choice or your reason for not picking either. I think it’s worth 5 minutes and a 37 cent stamp to let them know why their membership rolls are going to drop like a broken elevator in an Alias episode. :write:

  5. Elizabeth
      · June 30th, 2005 at 2:08 pm · Link

    I agree with you on the health insurance, tax preparation etc. issues. These are things that Novelist Inc. offers there members, why can’t our own organization instead of spending time wondering what defines a romance? :thumb:

  6. Shannon
      · June 30th, 2005 at 10:48 pm · Link

    I’ll definitely send back the survey. I won’t even write really bad words on it. :noevil:

    And it is a shame, Robin, that almost every issue that comes up gives the appearance of Inspirational writers vs erotic romance writers, especially when those who think it’s the case now are less likely to see that what they’re doing affects every writer, not just the naughty ones. :wink:

    I think, unfortunately, that some of the comments made during the RITA judging discussions have left a bitter aftertaste which is flavoring the current…meal? Wine? WHY do I try to come up with witty analogies? I should stop.

    And some of the writers I’ve seen supporting this stuff are known for steamy scenes themselves. :shrug:

    Dear RWA…:write:

  7. Diana
      · July 1st, 2005 at 8:36 am · Link

    I’m kind of disappointed to see everyone jumping ship. THe more people who disagree with what has been shown to be a very small and vocal group (i.e. the few hundred letters the RWA board received in answer to their informal poll about what the org should focus on) who LEAVE, the larger percentage that group becomes in the overall population.

    I’m in RWA, and I have no immediate plans to leave. I am enormously disappointed with how all this controversy after controversy has affected our image in the industry. I think we look like fools. In fact, there are a lot of parallels with my opinion of the organization and my opinion with current national policy. But I”m not moving to Canada any time soon. I’d rather stand and stay and fight for what I want out of my writing organization than leave it to the dogs who are trying to tear it apart and making us a laughingstock.

  8. robin bayne
      · July 1st, 2005 at 9:15 am · Link

    Diana, I wish I could say that staying and voting could make a difference. I agree, that they say you should try to change things from within. I did try that, along with other authors, but got nowhere. Sometimes you need to know when to stop playing with politics and get back to writing. I do wish you all the best with the org!

  9. Alison
      · July 1st, 2005 at 10:16 am · Link

    I agree with Robin. Out of the 9000 members, how many are even aware of this or any of the recent controversies. They don’t vote, they don’t send back surveys or ballots. The quiet majority is going along like so many sheep making it difficult for those who want change to affect it. Shannon spelled it out perfectly. Forget image and respect and do something that will actually benefit authors – insurance, etc.

  10. Shannon
      · July 1st, 2005 at 11:05 am · Link

    Maybe I should write a letter detailing my concerns and see if I get a response. The husband still thinks I should wait until after the AGM and see if anything comes out of that.

    But they’ve invested so much time and money into The Image that I can’t see them rearranging their priorities anytime soon.

    I am anxious to see who fills the Region 5 slot, though. :nod:

  11. kate
      · July 1st, 2005 at 5:37 pm · Link

    I was waiting for my July RWR not just for the Infamous Survey but for all the letters to the editor about the graphics rannygazoo. Silence. Impossible to believe that they didn’t get some well-worded rants, (certainly at least as well-worded as the GGentry letter) If all these articulate ranters are going to :rant::rant: they should get some airtime.

  12. kate
      · July 1st, 2005 at 5:40 pm · Link

    what does that have to do with your post? well… if we’re staying on to make a difference and our words fall upon deaf ears then why bother with the potential :cursin: blood pressure problem. I’d rather save it for :type:

  13. Shannon
      · July 1st, 2005 at 5:58 pm · Link

    Could the magazine’s lead time have factored into it? I don’t have time right now to scrounge up my copy (going for dinner) but maybe they missed the deadline?


    Of course, I haven’t seen any of the letters protesting their anti-erotic romance/EC Letters to the Editor bias, either.

  14. kate
      · July 2nd, 2005 at 1:57 pm · Link

    GG’s letter showed up the month after the EC cover, eh? Well? Splain that one!

    conspiracy theories [backwards R] us. :eyebrow:

  15. robin bayne
      · July 2nd, 2005 at 2:15 pm · Link

    When I was a member, anything you responded to showed up 2 months later. If I sent a letter in June I wouldn’t expect to see it pubbed until the August issue.

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