Thank you for all your comments on yesterday’s post, and hello to anyone who has found this site through the quote that’s been tumbling around on tumblr. I hope, more than anything, that the post yesterday served to clarify some of the issue surrounding the current drama, and “boost the signal” as one of my critics put it yesterday. The important thing is to get the correct information out there, so people’s rightful anger and frustration is not misdirected.
One of the unfortunate things about situations like this is that they often overshadow the work. For instance, now people who might have been proud to have been winners of the More than Magic contest (people like Sloan Parker, author of More), may no longer like to talk about having won the contest on their websites or bios. And because I mentioned the controversy surrounding the creation of my most recent anthology, it’s kind of taken on a life of its own, and I almost don’t feel like I have the right to talk about it the way I usually would, which is more along the lines of:
Yay! I have a new anthology out. It’s a really cool anthology, and it has some of my favorite writers in it: people like Carrie Ryan and Carrie Vaughn and William Sleator. (William Sleator, guys! Where is my time machine so I can go back in time and tell my teenage aspiring writer self that one day I’ll be in an anthology with the author of THE HOUSE OF STAIRS!)
My story in the anthology is called “Foundlings,” and it’s set in a near-future world where women have lost all their reproductive rights, and follows a teenage girl who is on the run with her pregnant twin sister.
This is the first thing I wrote when I came back from my maternity leave last year, and on one level, I was inspired to write this story as an exorcism of all the outside pressure I’d felt while pregnant to do XYZ exactly right. It was about the dirty looks I got if someone caught me drinking a soda or eating seafood, or the way total strangers felt they had the right to grill me about my birth plan or breastfeeding intentions.
It’s also a world that I’d had in my head since around 2002, though back then it had been an adult thriller inspired by a rash of recent murders of pregnant women (including the disappearance of Laci Peterson, as early on in the case there’d been a theory that she’d been kidnapped by someone who wanted the baby), and an article I’d read about some of the truly wild security measures that were being implemented in hospital obstetrical wards. When I had my baby, the hospital put a multitude of computerized bands on our bodies that would play lullabies if and only we were reunited. And while that was very cool, I could see a way that increased security around pregnancy might be used as weapons against women, very quickly.
And then I started reading about bills being introduced in US state legislatures that would require the investigation of every miscarriage, or outlaw birth control pills. I read about a law passed in Brazil that requires the registry of pregnant women. I researched the fate of the pregnant Desaparecidos (disappeared) in 1970s and 1980s Argentina, and the forced pregnancy testing that happened in Romania under Ceausescu.
In the non-governmental, societal side, I read about what actually comprised the “abstinence only” education that’s so prevalent in schools now, and the way these classes so often vilify sexually active youth and characterize teen motherhood as a penance a girl should pay for daring to have sex. I saw that teaching in action when I watched teenagers taking to task the people on the MTV show “16 and Pregnant” that chose to give their baby up for adoption, because, as these viewers put it, if they got pregnant, then they “deserved” to be forced to raise the child, no matter what would be best for them, their child, and the infertile couple who wanted to adopt said baby. I saw how even the pregnant couple in question’s own parents were telling them that they had no other choice.
Some of this happened long ago and far away, and some of it is happening here and now. And all of it is extremely scary.
All of it went into the big cauldron in my head, and what came out was “Foundlings.” It’s a story about sisters and unconditional love. It’s a story about babies and criminals. It’s a dystopian, but it’s not set in some distant, domed city where everyone eats food pills and has cybernetic eyeballs. In fact, the world it presents might be a little too close for comfort.
I hope you enjoy it. If you want the chance to win one of two copies of the anthology it’s in, go comment on yesterday’s blog post. If you want to talk about “Foundlings” (maybe you’ve read it?) or any of the things that inspired me to write it, feel free to comment here.