I have to start by telling you that so far this year is – for the most part – going very well on the writing front. I’ve already sent out my first submission for the year and have a full line up for editing and writing new stories and novels. So keep that in mind as I tell you some of the not so good things that are happening and their effects on my ability to produce.
There has been an undercurrent of classism in the news lately. Here in America with the Fiscal Cliff looming over us, we are arguing about who should pay for the budget deficit. There is a great divide between the “Haves” and the “Have Nots”. Current slang has them as the 1% and the 99% – At least according to the people who call themselves “the 99%”. The thing is that this sort of divide has been around since before we kept records of such things. It is a part of every culture in all the nations that we know about (I would guess that it’s even in the cultures we don’t know about yet, but who can tell with aliens). Despite the fact that it is an omni-present facet of our existence, politicians and social reformers all over the globe have tried to eliminate it.
For every person out there with a goal, there are about ten different measures of success. I’ve discovered this recently as I participated in two blog hops. The first one, Alpha Males, brought over 120 unique page views and 49 comments. The second was Autumn Harvest and just ended on Monday evening which got just over 100 unique page views and 39 comments. So which one was more successful? That depends on how you measure success. That Alpha Male comments were mostly generic, people were commenting only to be entered for the giveaways (which is totally understandable). For Autumn Harvest a much greater percentage of my comments responded to something I had said in my post. In my mind, I reached more people through Autumn Harvest than Alpha Males. My Sweetie (and web designer) was more disappointed by Autumn Harvest though. He sees things in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which doesn’t care if people actually read the stuff, only if they leave links on the site. More comments = more links. More links = higher placement in search results. Or so he tells me.
There is something about Autumn that brings on thoughts of cuddling. I imagine back in the old days that the onset of colored leaves wasn’t just a pretty sight, but a warning to figure out who was going to be warming your bed with you throughout the cold months of winter. This could be a real issue, especially in the northern climates. Without out a reliable bed warmer the chill of winter could be unbearable.
We all know the phrase “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.” We have all known the sting of an insult born only in the tone of voice. Yet so few people understand what it is about the way that they say things that gets them in trouble. The same can be said about writing. Sometimes it’s not what you are writing about but how you are writing it that makes the difference between the reader getting it or not.
This past weekend I went to Gaylaxicon 2012, in St. Louis Park. It’s a wonderful little convention focused on Queer issues in Sci-fi and fantasy. By little I mean that there were just over 400 registration (though not everyone showed up). In such a small group, you get incredible amounts time with the people you want to talk to.
I’ve been watching the news lately with a strangely distanced eye. Mostly because I’m so tired of the current debates that I just don’t want to see them anymore and yet there they are so prominent and so full of misinformation on all sides that it’s rather disheartening. But from my writer’s observatory I look out over the issues causing all kinds of consternation today and see parallels with the issues of the past and with issues facing other cultures around our world. I see them reflected in the stories we tell ourselves of other worlds and gods. The patterns are there, even if the issues are different.
Let me introduce you to Sarah Bella [shelikesitverbal.com]. Sarah and I write together most Tuesdays – that is we sit at the same table in our favorite sandwich shop and make words happen. Recently we decided to ask each other “Where do those character come from?” Here is her answer.
So, umm, where do your characters come from?
Isn’t that the question that every author gets asked?
And the answer is simple. I dunno.
I know, we’re eloquent.
The truth is that my characters just ‘come to me’.
Everyone believes in something. Even Atheists. The problem arises when that something, isn’t the same thing as someone else’s something. Worse yet, when those two someones who believe in different things use the same words for them. Differences over the meaning of “god” have caused wars. There have been great upheavals when two powerful people have looked at the same ancient text and decided that it tells them radically different things about how to live.
And these are just examples from real life.
In fiction, you would think that we could come up with some truly spectacular stories about the differences between various sects. We probably could… but for the most part, we don’t.
Recently I was taking a walk with my dear friend E.P. Beaumont. We were walking along the river talking about our recent projects and Day Job frustrations when she paused to notice how green the trees were. It took me by surprise, not because I hadn’t noticed that the trees were green, but that it was worth mentioning. I had a similar response to my Great Aunt’s visit and her constant chatter about trees in the city.