It’s easy to find things to be angry about.
All you really have to do is look around with your eyes open.
I more or less wear my politics on my sleeve and they very simply boil down to people over profit. That’s not as hard to reconcile as you think with the industry I work in, although sometimes it’s more difficult than I’d like it to be. But, people over profit is the primary thing. It’s much more important to me that people are taking care of and that people, generally speaking, put other people ahead of things.
You might guess it’s very frustrating for me to live in North America right now, and while Ontario isn’t nearly as bad as I regard the federal government in the United States, not yet, it’s not even remotely as far behind as I would like. Ideology has its place, but, whether any one particular person wants to admit it or not, not all ideas are not created equal, and some ideas are just bad.
So it’s very, very easy for me to find things to be angry about these days.
I don’t want to spend my life being angry, however, so I want to find things to be happy about, and that’s a lot harder.
So I’m open about my politics, and my particular flavor of lack of religious beliefs isn’t far behind, really. That wasn’t always the case, but those are getting more open all the time and I’m less concerned with what other people think of what I think, only that I’m setting a good example for my family, friends, and the people around me.
But does my own ideology make it harder for me to find things to be happy about? Does it set me up for probable failure when I’m looking? Those are both questions I need to answer, but they don’t mean that I need to change my ideology of her true (ideological changes should come from ideological examination). It may mean I need to look harder, and it may mean I need to get off my ass, stop complaining so much, and actually tried to change the world.
All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent.
Silence helps the oppressor, not the oppressed.
Silence implies agreement.
I’m not naïve. I recognize that my politics and beliefs make their way to my writing. That’s normal, natural, and human. But even when I’m writing a character who has viewpoints that are complete opposite of mine, I do try to make that character sympathetic if they are the direct antagonist or even if they are partially opposing the primary story arc of the protagonist. Remembering that no one is the villain in their own story, I have put mental guidelines in place to make sure that I’m not demonizing someone in the story just because their character doesn’t look at the world the way I do in the real world.
My blog is a place for me to be more open and honest. So, to be frank, is social media. Politics and philosophy are both fairly open for me and while I certainly believe in healthy discussion and rational argument, I also believe that you can’t, and shouldn’t separate the art from the artist. I tend to think that the stories that I write and put it there can be enjoyed by anyone of any political, philosophical, or religious outlook. It’s almost all genre fiction, so you need the suspension of disbelief, recognizing that you’re not in the world as we know it. If you follow me personally on social media, or read this blog, you get closer to the real me. A lot closer, really, then anyone other than family and friends get. Until the time comes when I push enough of my energy into the idea of open activism for causes I believe to be important, it will be very easy for someone to read my stuff, enjoy it, and find more of it, without ever coming here or to Facebook or Twitter or wherever I might be hanging out electronically. But once you do, it will be a lot harder to escape or ignore what I actually think about things.
So, if you’re reading this, you have a couple choices. You can do something I can’t, separate the art from the artist, pretend you never found what you’re reading, and enjoy myself fiction wherever you find it.
Or you can decide we’re different enough that you can’t possibly support me in any way. I’ll be okay with that, really. Everyone needs to find their own path, see the world through their own eyes.
Or you can decide we’re not too far apart, maybe have little interesting discussion here and there, hang around for a while, read with me.
Or, I suppose, you can decide that I’m completely right about everything, but that seems unlikely.
I think it’s actually considerably more complex than any of those four choices, with as many variations as there are readers. My preference? Whether or not the water is fine, it’s here. Maybe it’s different. Maybe we could talk to each other about stuff, maybe we can teach each other something. Come on in, the water is the water.
Be well, everyone.by
by I have decided that I’m going to reboot the Submission Log, mostly because it’s been a long time since I’ve done any serious story submitting. I have a lot of short fiction I would like to get in front of readers and there’s no reason I shouldn’t get paid by someone for some of it, right? Even if it’s only a token payment here and there.
I’ve never written or submitted to “exposure” markets, because I disagree with the concept. If the publisher is expecting to make any money whatsoever, some of that money should go to the author. If you’re not interested in paying your authors, I’m not interested in doing business with you.
I have a couple of times written for royalties. One time, that was okay. The other, the editorial process was so long and involved that the royalties would have needed to total several hundred dollars to bring me up to minimum wage (at the time) for all of time and energy I put into the process. They were not.
Now some out there may be thinking that writers and artists shouldn’t expect to get paid a lot of money. To which, politely, I suggest that you’re misguided. No artist expects to get rich on their work, but if money is changing hands for a product then the people involved in producing that product should be making a living wage from it, and that includes the artist. I think that’s entirely reasonable, without going into Ellison style rant (but it’s well worth watching – here).
If, on the other hand, it’s your thought that artists should be happy getting their work out there and not be concerned about money at all, my slightly less polite response is, fuck you. You don’t expect your favourite movie and TV stars to work for free, your favourite sports players to work for free, or your favourite musicians to work for free, why would you expect artist to?
See how easy it is to go into a commentary on society?
But it is frequently worth commenting on society, and maybe that’s why I do it a lot. Sidesteps in blog posts here and there, entire blog posts sometimes, frequently in conversations by off and online, and, well, pretty much all the time time. Like or not I live in a society with a lot of problems that need talking about and dealing with. Expectation of writers and artists working for starvation or no wages is one of many.
Back to the point.
The submission log is still on file and looks back to even the first couple of stories I submitted way back when. Since I’m trying to make both submissions and short story publishing part of my overall plan, I really do need to track them. Independently published collections are part of the publishing plan in 2019, as is some novel-length work, fanfiction, and poetry. I’m doing a bunch of Star Trek fanfiction individual stories and a collection, although those will only be available for free. Fanfiction by definition has to be free unless sanctioned by the owners of the property. I’d love to, but never expect to, write Star Trek for money. But, if people like my Star Trek work, maybe it’ll lead some of them into my non-Trek work. If not, oh well.
Releasing something for exposure or giving it away for a little while is far different than someone only willing to pay exposure in order to make money themselves, btw. It’s a valid marketing tactic for indie traditional publisher, but the traditional publisher, no matter how small, needs to be aware that their authors deserve to be paid.
I’ve also got plans to do one themed collection a year for about the next five years, and that doesn’t stop me from just pulling together some of what I feel is my best work to do a non-themed collection. And I will be doing novels, and a poetry collection so self-publishing will be strong, but it’s not the only path. As I’ve mentioned, I will be looking for an agent or small press for some work.
I track word count and goals and I’m certainly going to track who I investigate for agents or publishers, so if I’m targeting five short story submissions per month for the rest of the year, including September (and 8-10 per month in 2019), I need that submission log. I need to know where I send things, who liked my work and should get more of it, who doesn’t bother to respond on rejections, who gives feedback.
Tracking is important. So, beginning any moment now with the first submission of 2018.
Be well, everyone.by