Lots going on, so let’s jump right into this post, which is long over due.
First, I am leaving the bird app, which has now been bought by a grifting douche bag billionaire whose proffered vision for it isn’t so much free speech as it is “racists and sexists and fascists will totally behave if we just let them say what they want.” If you want to stay there, so be it. Install ad blockers on your browser and block trending. Don’t give him the money or the eyeballs, don’t let the rage factory engage you further. Limit yourself to your community of friends and family. Do what you need to do to keep yourself safe and happy.
The problem is not an over-moderation of speech. We have always moderated public speech. The problem is that the racists and sexists and fascists HATE that we now moderate THEIR speech, instead of the speech of leftists and progressives and minorities. They were so used to centuries of being “the voice” of our country that it’s been a struggle for them to handle the loss of power. They are pulling out every trick in the book to hold onto power, too, from making it “about protecting the children” to telling us it’s “a free speech issue.” Even as they allow children to die in hails of gun fire and ban books with subjects they find objectionable. The hypocrisy is delightful and obvious. And if we can ever get money out of our politics, we might have a chance to salvage what’s left of this nation from these lying bigots.
You can catch up with me on my website. I’ve also created a profile on Cohost.org (trollbreath42), which is somewhat similar to the twitt app, but (at the moment) promises actual moderation and support for diverse voices, not letting bigots and hate run roughshod over the site. We’ll see how that pans out. I also have an account on Mastodon (trollbreath42 on the Mastodon.social server), but I find that one less easy to use because of the way it’s structured with various servers. I may try others as they pop up. Eventually we’ll all find another place we all mutually agree is “right” for our public discourse and “internet public square.” Or we’ll develop different social media networks that are able to interact through mutual standards (probably the better way to go as we move forward, so no one company can control and dominate the system).
Oh, and the wife and I are moving. Next summer. Hopefully. Fingers crossed!
On to the meat and potatoes of this post…
I’ve been thinking a great deal about my writing career. Not so much a career at this point as a hobby. One I’ve applied a great deal of time, effort, and finances into (conferences and workshops aren’t cheap, let alone traveling to Ireland for Worldcon). It’s been about seven years since I started trying to submit stories for publication. I thought now might be a good time to reflect on what I’ve had published, what stories are pending, what I’ve retired (and why), and what it might all mean.
The Break Down:
To date, I’ve had 9 stories appear in publication. There are three additional stories that have sold that will appear in publication at a later date, for a total of 12 (but 13 sales total; one story ended up being returned and not used, though they still paid for it; it sold again to Lightspeed and is pending publication). In terms of genre, the break down is:
- Science Fiction: 5
- Fantasy: 7
Not too unbalanced. I still like the thought of writing what I want to write and not getting pegged as “fantasy author” or “science fiction author.” But I do tend to lean towards fantasy. I think over a longer career and more sales, that disparity will grow much bigger. It has a lot to do with my preferences. I’m not all that big on hard science fiction, though I have dabbled. Soft science fiction is more appealing, but then we’re moving towards science fantasy, and it’s fantasy all over again. Your mileage may vary of course.
My first sale was science fiction, though. Then again, was it? The Fairy Folk (originally published in Andromeda Spaceways issue #73) falls into that realm of science fantasy I think. Androids reflecting on stories, and developing their own first myths. It’s really more of a character study than anything else, and a story I still enjoy reading.
My latest published title was The Gourmets, which was all fantasy (except for the sciency bits), and all voice and tone. Just a fun tale to write where I once again tread the boundaries between science fiction (a future version of earth) with fantasy (magic exists thanks to MIT experiments gone wrong opening a rift in the fabric of space-time to alternate dimensions). It’s got a little Halloween vibe to boot, so now is the right time of year to go read it (hint, hint).
I’ve retired only a few stories. Mostly because they were terribly written. Bad writing is a squidgy thing to define, but you know it when you see it. Or feel it. And even in retirement, some of them have concepts and ideas I still very much like and will probably re-examine or explore again at another time, perhaps even taking bits from the works I’m not longer sending out. There’s even one I might totally re-write, because the overall idea remains solid.
Most of the stories I’ve put on the back burner feature protagonists who are just “getting by.” Often they lack agency. Because in truth, people lack agency. Reality is full of lack of agency, of just trying to get through each day, of suffering the slings and arrows of fortune, which is never “outrageous” but banal. Sometimes the story is about surviving day to day to day, and how we soldier on despite it all. How we find moments of grace and beauty in all the shit thrown at us. Those stories have value too, but apparently they’re a lot harder to sell.
Am I on the right path for me? I think so. I’d still like to go the traditional route with a novel instead of self-pubbing. Get an agent, get it sold to a publisher, see it in print, in stores, in libraries. I’ll keep plugging away at that, it’s the only place I feel like I’m stumbling a little. Writing a novel is very much a lot of groping in the dark and hoping you hit on the right combination of idea, characters, plot, world building, etc. I’ve got the first part I’m pretty sure, just need to execute the rest. Third/fourth times the charm?
Am I where I want to be? Not yet. Full time writer has always been the goal. That’s still not remotely possible at this point. Just another hobbyist who keeps plugging away at things and maybe one day something I write will resonate with the masses. They just won’t be able to find me on Facebook or Twitter. 🙂