FULL BLEED: YOU'VE GOT THE STARS IN YOUR EYES
If you can recall the song without looking it up, I'll be impressed. Likely it's not one you've heard. Unless you were paying attention to the debris of the Paisley Underground exploding in Los Angeles circa the early ending of the eighties. That's okay. Maybe you had to be there.
EVENT RELATED ECHO, which I think I announced last week or was it the week before (time has become shallow and flexible as opposed to geologic and deep) continues apace. Introduction is in and I just need to make sure that I can post one of the stories that's slated for inclusion in it. I'm half-tempted to go ahead and do it anyways. It's not like I'm preventing it from appearing in other places, and the licensing period should be well over. We'll see. Should know by next week. For those of you who missed the announcement, it's a collection of various short works of mine, ranging from novella-length to as short as 1500 words, which puts it way past flash. Which is a mode I don't really work in. I have to fight to get enough space to tell stories the length I want to in outlets as it is. Going small? Can't bend my brain like that.
All signs point towards EVENT RELATED ECHO being available before my next birthday, which is coming up, even if everything feels stuck in the sludge of a fugue time. It's been at least hazy if not downright smoky for the last month (and probably for a month more), been largely stuck at home as has everyone I know, and then there's the psychic maelstrom of election season in a time of great stupidity. Feels like we've been here forever. Feels like we'll be here forever. But tough times don't last right? Tough people do. That's the feel-good phrase.
I don't feel tough right now. Haven't felt tough for a long time. And of course, that's the one thing that every piece of writing advice, sorry, success advice, will tell you. That you have to hang in there, that you have to shrug off rejection and just go do it again. I got my own rock to roll uphill, folks. Sure, it'd be nice to be adopted by the industry, I guess. Just that my mistrust of organizations, particularly ad-hoc ones, is legendary.
Wait, wait. Genre acceptance is an organization?
Oh yeah. You bet it is. Look, that's fine. Everyone needs a hobby. Everyone needs a scene to be part of. Everyone needs a club. Just that I'm old and feral and I've seen those things become self-celebrating too many times. Like, every time. It's a human activity, tied up and tied into all manner of human sub-activities like team-selection, identity-generation and all kinds of well-meaning stuff that isn't the work. And not so long ago, I figured out that the only thing I liked about writing was writing (sometimes making covers for things I've written.) Well, and talking with other writers, though with caveats. A large enough group and I'm likely to disappear completely.
Everything else about it is pretty much not my thing. But that's okay.
Ultimately, I'm too dumb to play the game right. Which is how it's always been. Just that now I've accepted that fact. For a long time I thought it was enough to write something good (we can argue about what "good" is until the forests have stopped burning so let's not). Yeah, I know. That's dumb. You have to write something good and agreeable and will slip into categories nicely. If you're real hot shit, maybe you can make your own category and then others will follow into your temporal-grouping-label (because that's all that subgenres end up being, ultimately) or aesthetic-grouping-label (which may or may not have any relation to the reality, the actual work of the work, but does successfully ape the aesthetics and that's all anyone cares about so whatever). Maybe. That's an outside thing. Though there are plenty of folks insisting that X is really the first XXXX-punk work or whatever else the hell thing is being argued about online.
None of that has anything to do with the work. I suppose it matters for sales. I guess. But then I'm a dude for whom sales are a thing that I've basically given up on. It'd be great. Don't get me wrong. But I doubt I can get there by just sanding off serial numbers from someone else's work and pass it off and hit big. And don't tell me that this doesn't work because of god damned course it does. We talked about this last week. Quality isn't the real issue and never was. It's whether folks enjoy what's written. Doesn't matter if it's inconsistent in future/past/present tense or has too many commas or uses adverbs or internal monologue. It. Does. Not. Matter. All that matters is the experience the reader had with your book and if that catches on.
That's why I stopped arguing about genre or subgenre or microgenre borders a long time ago. That's why I stopped arguing about writing a long time ago. Sure, I'll talk about them, but I'm not worried about debate on the subject. Debate is largely bullshit anyways, a series of constructions to declare victory or loss in the field of discourse. Ugh. Just stop. Enough.
It's about the work. And I'm dumb enough to care about it and more or less stop there. But then I've been, for better and for worse, a loner for a very, very long time. Sure, I've had friends and often hung out with them, but ain't a one of us who were part of a larger cohort than that. Besides that, I spent as much time alone or on fringes, so the whole process of cohort-generation through consumption and "examination" of every aspect of media/subgenre/subculture just got to be exhausting. It's still exhausting. Yet it's also one of the primary modes operating in these spheres. To this day.
Okay, deep breath. I'll stop before this gets even more rantlike.
Instead, I'll just relay a brief story as to a reaction that one of my longtime friends had to "Ballgame," which is a story that'll be in EVENT RELATED ECHO. She said that it reminded her of the humanist SF that she read when she was younger. Which is about right, in terms of what I was trying to hit. I was never impressed with SF as the technological flex and awe-inspiring-machine future that we had to look forward to where everything was going to be clean and perfect. I know that humans don't really do clean and perfect. Look around if you think I'm wrong. We're profit-driven, short-sighted, careless, imperfect. It doesn't have to be like that (minus the imperfect part: we'll always be that). We make things the way they are because we think we have to. And sure, there's going to be broken people who will insist that it's because we *want* things to be terrible for most everyone (but for a handful of the elect). So if I get stuck with the label of "humanist SF writer," I'd honestly be okay with that. Pretty good company there.
Anyways, this is as close as I've gotten to work today (thanks, real world). Hopefully tomorrow will be better in that regard. Because it's the work that matters.