One of my earliest memories is of my dad reading The Hobbit to my sister and I, before we were old enough to read it for ourselves. Back then, I didn’t understand all the details of the story, but I remember the experience of being totally immersed in another world – one far away from my own.
Once I could read novels on my own, I tore through everything I could get my hands on, and I started writing short stories as soon as I could hold a pen.
Then, came Star Wars.
Star Wars has defined a lot of lives and childhoods, and mine was no exception. I was ten when the 20th anniversary of A New Hope came around, and George Lucas released the original trilogy on VHS. I was immediately hooked.
I declared myself Princess Leia, and Star Wars became my new favorite playground game. Even as a kid, the “galaxy far far away” captured my heart and imagination, and it fueled my passion for storytelling.
Fast forward to three years ago – 2015. Disney bought the rights to Star Wars and rebooted it with The Force Awakens, introducing a whole new generation of heroes. J.J. Abrams and his team brought us Finn, Rey, and Poe, three of the most compelling, diverse, and unique heroes I’ve ever seen.
I could write entire essays about Finn’s uniqueness as a character (and I have.) I could spend years flailing about how wonderful and joyful Finn and Rey’s relationship is, and celebrating them in as many formats as possible (I’ve done that and more.)
The Force Awakens renewed my love for Star Wars, and my love for storytelling. I started writing again after years of creative drought, just because I was so excited about Finn and Rey. I met amazing people in the Finnrey fandom – some of whom are now lifelong friends – and I developed the discipline to write a novel length fanfic inspired by the film.
In short, my experience with The Force Awakens was nothing short of magical, and once again, Star Wars was a huge force for positive change in my life.
Then came The Last Jedi.
I don’t have the emotional energy to get into everything wrong with that film, so suffice it to say that after watching The Last Jedi, I no longer feel hope when I think about Star Wars. I no longer feel joy or inspiration – I just feel numb.
Star Wars used to be about finding hope in the midst of seemingly impossible situations. It was about a farm boy who took down a planet-killing weapon with a single shot. It was about a princess who, even after losing everything, continued to fight for a cause she believed in. It was about a smuggler who changed his life, and saved the day in the nick of time.
[epq-quote align=”align-left”]Star Wars has always been about heroes, and hope, and the idea that even a handful of rebels can take down a galaxy-wide Empire.[/epq-quote]
Star Wars has always been about heroes, and hope, and the idea that even a handful of rebels can take down a galaxy-wide Empire. It’s a message that’s relevant to every generation, and it’s one we need now more than ever.
Rian Johnson and Disney took that message away. Instead of carrying on the adventures of our diverse heroes – a Force-sensitive Black man, a female Jedi, and a Latino pilot – The Last Jedi focused on their failures and mistakes. Johnson’s movie cast aside our most beloved heroes, and left the Resistance – and the audience – with next to nothing. Nothing to theorize about, nothing to celebrate, and certainly nothing to be inspired by.
After I saw The Force Awakens, I was energized and inspired, and I spent a solid two years buzzing about the film. I talked about it, wrote metas and fic, and connected with others who were just as jazzed as I was.
After The Last Jedi, I walked away. And I decided to write my own stories instead.
The world is a scary, draining place these days, and I don’t have time for hopeless stories. So I decided it’s time to share some stories of my own. It’s time to write and publish original fiction featuring diverse characters, and it’s time to support others who do the same.
I know I’m just a single voice, and a single perspective, but it’s a unique voice, and a unique perspective. I’m queer and chronically ill, and I’ve been through a hell of a lot. These experiences give me a story to tell, and I’m here to tell it.
I’m also here to discover and support other indie authors, artists, and creators. I’m here for people of color, LGBTQ people, disabled people, and more. I want to discover a million different voices and listen to them all.
I’m here for hope and healing.
To that end, if you’re a minority author or artist, leave a comment below so we can connect! Tell me about what you’re making, and what inspired you to make it. Heck, shamelessly self promote your latest project, and leave a link to your website. I don’t know nearly enough indie authors and artists, and I want to. So say hello in the comments!
Let’s tell stories of hope and joy, and let’s do it together.
Winter Morrison is a queer disabled indie author. They’re writing a YA fantasy series about about lesbian faeries and first loves. Subscribe in the sidebar for updates!