A few moths ago (when I first wrote this blog, hello procrastination!) I started Me & Orla's #talktothecamerachallenge on Instagram. This was a way to get the camera shy front and centre in Stories. I'm not camera shy at all. In fact if you follow me on Instagram you'll know I post the most random shit on my Stories. I will um and yeah my way through those 15 seconds if I feel I have something I want to share. But I like the idea of prompts so I decided to take part in the challenge.
The first prompt was about guilty pleasures. I went on a 7 or 8 Story rant (story storm? story flurry? what is this called on Instagram?) about the books I love. I said that I feel like I should feel guilty for loving the kinds of books I do: romance, science fiction & fantasy and poetry by Rupi Kaur. As a writer and poet I often feel like I should be reading literary fiction all the time. That anything less is seen as shameful, as something to blush about when you reveal it to your friends. There is a certain type of elitism that takes place in every field but in writing it's more pronounced because we read people's opinions on the internet all day long. I'm not sure when it became socially acceptable to make fun of people for loving what they do but I'm over it.
I love romance novels. I have been reading Nora Roberts books since I was probably 12 years old and even now when I see one at the library I check the back to see if I've read it or if it's a new one I can take out. I also love books with vampires, werewolves, elves and other assorted fairy creatures. I love world building and time travel and other not-so-impossible scenarios. But to be taken seriously as a writer you can't say that. You have to say you love I Love Dick (I didn't; in fact I couldn't get past the first 20 pages) or something by Fitzgerald (again: nope).
Don't even get me started on poetry! When I discovered Rupi Kaur in a bookshop in Vancouver on a trip home I instantly fell in love. Perhaps it's because her poetry is so similar to the kind of poetry I write with its focus on feminism, trauma, relationships and personhood. But it seems to be Twitter's favourite pasttime to make fun of Rupi, her readers and even to meme her work.
I unashamedly own my favourites. I am probably a bit too willing to tell someone why I love the things I do and why I don't feel guilty. Simply put: they bring me joy. Joy is a subjective emotion so who are we to tell another person that they're getting it from the wrong source or that in fact that thing that brings them joy isn't full of joy at all and they're mistaken.
I own my pleasures and I hope you'll own yours too, just don't call them guilty.