I could not agree more, Sean Stephane Martin.

As a fiction writer, I certainly create characters who are not like me — all the time. If not, my stories would lack true depth and richness.

I write from experience, usually, but I also research.

As a white, middle-aged, gay American, my stories would surely be boring if all my characters were limited to my own characteristics.

I’ve written a novel set in Berlin, Greece, and Tunisia. The horror!

I’ve written short stories in which immigrants living in Montreal speak Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole.

I wrote a story recently in which I featured a mentally disabled man.

Somebody complained that I was somehow “taking up space” that disabled people might otherwise use to tell their own stories — as if writing were a zero-sum game.

If artists were limited to creating based on their own personal characteristics, the world of art would be impoverished, indeed.

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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