It is truly heartbreaking to realize that what I love so deeply–Popular Fiction–is both scorned and rejected by the Literati. I stopped by a nearby university to see if they had any interest in offering classes on Popular Fiction to the undergraduates. Sure, it’s doubtful that PopFic is in any way germane to their degrees. The idea behind PopFic is entertainment. Fun. And those who come to a book for the entertainment factor, and who leave feeling entertained, are the ones who love it. The millions of we “unwashed masses.”
So, she asks me something like, “Why not simply fiction? Why ‘popular fiction’?” My reply was, “Well, it’s true the entertainments of the hoi polloi are always denigrated…” She got huffy. “I’m not being elitist! But why a romance novel? Why not Jane Austin?” So, I mentioned that Jane Austin’s canon was Popular Fiction in its time, so why not a romance novel? That is a discussion about forging a relationship amid life’s complexities.” She stared at me, eyes glazed. Then, later on I mentioned something I saw taking a class on that very campus. The teacher–and I was reminded that said teacher was a “scholar” (tacit for “watch yourself, you pleb!”–had begun a class offering Fantasy books and she had a full class. Two weeks later, amid presentations of god-only-knows-what as Fantasy/Magical Realism, a student held up a Fantasy/Sword and Sorcery book as an example of the expected genre for the class. The teacher waved the book away and sniffed: “I won’t read that stuff. That’s too penis-centric.” (No, she really said that. It’s carved into my brain.) The professor I was talking to actually LAUGHED. Read that again. The genre the students filled the seats to adore and discuss was dismissed and scorned as lowbrow trash. And this lady LAUGHED.
It was genuinely destabilizing to be amid that sort of behavior. But, I rallied to continue my argument that PopFic has value for the undergraduates to mention that at the end of that week, the class of thirty students had turned into a class of maybe ten. I said, “Attrition like that indicates a disconnect.” So, again, I was hoping that the students’ desire for a class on that stuff would interest her enough to present one. It is my personal opinion that folks come to undergraduate Creative Writing classes not to learn how to write the next Gatsby. They come to learn how to maybe write the next Outlander, The Shining, maybe even the next 50 Shades.
“Thank you for your CV and I’ll consider it for future classes on fiction.”
So, my original comment was once again proven as true. The entertainments of the hoi polloi are always denigrated.” That sucked and I was completely heartbroken. How can people NOT love what I love so deeply? Am I really out of touch that badly?
If I am, then never let me come out of the warm arms of the Common People. Of my particular delight are Futuristic Romances, like what I present beneath this pen name. Those who, like me, love PopFic are my peeps. I will entertain the tiresome posturing of the literati as it unfolds around me…and find my soul’s delight in bring moments of entertainment and happiness to my fellows.