I am fascinated with how media – particularly speculative fiction – informs and is itself informed by culture and society. Science Fiction and Fantasy create spaces where high ideals can thrive in opposition to the injustice in our everyday lives. And really, what is speculative fiction if not a critique of society – of our very reality – and a projection of our hopes for what the world could be, our fears of how it might end up?
Speculative fiction has an inherently radical character. I want to join the groundswell of writers bringing more “unconventional” characters and issues into spaces from which they’ve mostly been excluded. In awe of a medium for which the vast majority of the world’s population is considered unconventional.
I’ve been involved in education for over a decade, as a mentor, coach, tutor, and a classroom teacher. Ever since I was a kid myself, I’ve had this orientation towards justice, what’s “right” or “fair”. I never accepted the old adage “life is unfair”. Not uncritically. Because why can’t it be fair? As I got older, this orientation pushed me towards social justice, and thinking about equity as it applies to the different power relationships in our society.
Equity. Not equality. I don’t think everyone should be apportioned equally, because privilege and power and the weight of history haven’t been distributed equally. I strive to practice culturally-sustaining pedagogy, cultivating a deep understanding of students—their culture, their interests, their struggles—and tailoring curriculum and instruction to their needs, toward their growth, agency, and empowerment.
As a writer, I try to represent, advocate for, and empower those who feel—and are—marginalized. As an educator, I try to teach and encourage young people to advocate for themselves by being critical of systems that privilege some at the expense of others. When certain bodies are devalued and dehumanized, marked for consumption and/or destruction, this is not merely a philosophical position, but a matter of survival.