Because I teach writing at a university, I'm on the front lines of some kind of war. Or battle. Or pissing contest. I'm talking about the divide between literary and commercial fiction. I'm talking about snobbery and entitlement. I'm talking about blood and guts vs. psychological realism.
Many of my colleagues disdain commercial fiction. They openly, actively, look down their noses at it, assuming it's less than literary fiction, assuming that the writers of genre fiction are "settling for" or "easily satisfied" with their trite prose. And if a literary writer does venture into the land of the supernatural, it's not called science fiction! Oh no. That's magical realism.
I understand the position. I went to graduate school. I have my MFA. In that milieu, genre is a dirty word. But my first novel (BRAINS!) is a zombie novel. That's genre. And you know what? I loved writing it. It was fun and it was liberating.
And it wasn't easy. It was as difficult as writing a sensitive novel about the psychological aftermath of a divorce and suicide.
And you know what else? I like both commercial and literary fiction. I don't understand why there has to be a divide. Let's love them both, like you love hamburgers and hot dogs. Apples and oranges. Kickball and baseball.
Romance writers: Embrace your inner Pynchon. Literary writers: Embrace your inner Harris. We can learn from one another.
You know what I feel like right now? Munching on a big juicy brain!