Two new stories today, from the talented Marissa Lingen, got me to thinking about being supernumeary again.
Yes, I know each voice and every person is different and that is value in and of itself.
And yet! I am a white single heterosexual male in my 40’s. Not exactly an underrepresented class in any of the artistic endeavors that I participate in. And I am not even stellar in doing so. (A Hugo nomination for podcasting notwithstanding). The stellar voices–those are okay no matter what they look like, believe or who they are. Average voices like mine from the mayonnaise majority–who needs them?
So, why should I bother? There are women’s voices, POC voices, voices from LBGTQ people. Those voices have been historically undervalued, underrepresented, under seen. White men like myself have gotten more play and still get more play. There are venues which do a good job in balancing things out, but its still a tilted playing field.
Are any of my efforts crowding out *their* efforts? Marissa is getting published, but am I making it slightly harder for equally worthy people to have their work seen, read, enjoyed? People whose work who hasn’t been seen, and should? Diverse voices unjustly not heard?
This all goes to my fear and secret wish–that my withdrawal would make the world a better place (yes, this also goes to suicidal tendencies). The thought that the world would be improved by my absence. That my efforts hinder others.
That it would be better if I not only did not exert my efforts…but that I *never* did. That the Marissa Lingens of the world would have a better time of it without me crowding the field or trying to. Or the Elizabeth May and Dallas Nagata Whites of photography, to give a different example.
As I have said before, if Metatron came to me and said: “I erase you from existence, backwards and forwards, and the world is improved”– I take that deal, no hesitation.