I am back.
I haven't written a story for the blog since June 2020, but those of you who follow me know that I haven't been idle with my commitment.
Today I wanted to take stock. And what a point!
In January 2020, I set out to find a publishing house because I wanted to show the texts and illustrations of the POSITIVE JOURNAL in a different way and more widely. There have been different steps since this initiative:
-Targeting relevant publishing houses;
-Contacting them (which is not always easy) and selling the project;
-Waiting for a response;
-Getting one VS not getting one.
At one point, a publisher was interested in doing a comic book adaptation, but the project was aborted before it even got off the ground. It was a big disappointment for me. I had high hopes for it and then I took a long break because I needed to regain my strength and energy to go on the quest again.
A few months passed and in November 2020 I started to model myself what the JOURNAL POSITIF could look like if it became a physical reality. I loved doing this work. It allowed me to take a lot of distance from my texts and to focus on my main intentions: to touch, to raise awareness and to educate. For me, I also had to propose a vision of the object, to help the editors to project themselves. This was the lesson I learned from my first failures.
In January I started to send out e-mails again, contacting only publishers I liked.
I got a few negative replies, but they described my project as very important, well written and encouraged me to keep at it. So I persisted, but I was angry: I couldn't understand why people would say to me: "The texts are strong, the illustrations too, the subject matter is important, but no thank you.".
I needed an explanation, which I got a little later.
One Sunday evening at the end of January, Mix Editions replied to me and for the first time I was touched by a publisher's feedback. It wasn't just a matter of saying 'yes' or 'no'. It was a constructed response, with an emotional look at the project and then more objective technical comments. Fearing that it was too small to be able to make the project sufficiently visible, my interviewer encouraged me to aim for more "well-known" editors. So I took this advice, thinking that perhaps this book did indeed deserve to be supported more widely.
The publishers, when they got back to me, said that it was great but that it didn't fit into their editorial line. I'm capable of hearing that kind of comment, but I'm afraid that's not the only reason for all these rejections.
I got a more honest feedback in March. A feedback that made me realise a lot of things I hadn't understood before: "Your project is not trendy unfortunately. Today you have to be an influencer to release a book.".
With this answer I understood that publishing houses had the power to show or not to show, that they could change the world or not, that they could be daring ... or not. The JOURNAL POSITIF is therefore a victim today of capitalism and the financial opportunity it represents for whoever decides to publish it. If you combine this with the invisibility that our society imposes on us, as people living with HIV, you will understand why I am exasperated and still angry.
I want to put this anger to good use and not feed it unnecessarily with my frustrations and other disappointments.
How can we change the world if the people who have power don't talk about us, don't show us? What's the point of being visible if it's just to keep the light on and not offer it to important causes?
Maybe I've got it backwards after all? Maybe I should have started out as a beauty youtuber, built up a million followers and then thrown out my HIV story? Maybe I should have been more strategic and managed my ambitions differently? Maybe...
Fuck this system. I don't know how to do it and I don't want to do it either.
What I do know how to do, however, is write from my gut and speak from my heart, and I intend to change the world by continuing to do it that way: MY WAY.
So I thought about it and contacted Mix Editions again, following my heart. How else could I do it?
I want to entrust our project to a structure that supports us sincerely, with audacity and kindness. It is therefore with great joy that I announce that the project will be born with them.
A new stage is starting. I'm not going to change the way I produce. I will continue to put my guts into it and I will share with you the future stages of this crazy adventure.
What I have learned from this year of battle is that you must never give up if you are convinced that you are doing the right thing. I also questioned myself, I took breaks, I lived, I listened, I readjusted my desires, my ways of acting, without ever moving away from myself. That's the most important thing: to talk, to act coherently. I know that if things took a while to fall into place, it's because I probably wasn't ready yet.
And now: GO TO WORK.