by Michael Fotos
In kindergarten, I sat on a rug as every student discussed what their favorite color was. The room was silent save for one voice at a time--green, black, yellow, orange—normal. And then something happened when I spoke the word pink. My favorite color was pink and before the adjacent child revealed his favorite color to be the enchanting color of blue, everyone laughed. He likes pink, Ha! And I cried.
What is it about our world that says that blue is fit for a boy and pink belongs to girls and that if a boy likes pink it is worthy of ridicule? What of makeup, heels, skin tight dresses? What happens when a man plays the role of woman, when a man enters the genre called being a woman? I would argue that entertaining this genre and many others has benefits for all people, especially writers.
Entertaining an unfamiliar genre has the potential to enrich life experiences by providing perceptions of the world. By disrupting what we believe is normal, disruption becomes possible. We explore truths we are not used to, and explorers of truth must think outside the box, and consequently, prove to be excellent writers. Writers who challenge the normal create original works that transcend prose and poetry. Writers who only adhere to genres fall flat.