Change is . . . inevitably fearful

Reading this comment today, about her Hugo award for blogging, Kameron Hurley mentioned how surprised she was to be awarded due to the passion and intensity of her posts given that Sci-Fi/Fantasy critics, publishers, etc are very resistant to change. Having not read her blog before today, I can presume that this is because of a counter-cultural perspective of airing the frustrations with her peers when they conform to formula stories; afraid to break out of the mould.

I read this with some astonishment, honestly, because here we are, delving into stories, ideas, other worlds and so on – looking for an escape, looking for ourselves, finding something different but also familiar; running far away, yet finding ourselves back home as well. But we can’t have too much of that because, well, dear readers, it better be marketable and sellable, lucrative, growth-earning-ratio-to-some-economist-term-I-never-really-studied-this-field-much. GAH! Are you kidding me? This is the world(s) I’m living (traveling across space/time continuum) in?! It sounds like the start of a joke, “So there’s this Science Fiction author whose afraid of change and new things and risk and the unknown . . .” 

Yea, we have a name for those folks – they’re called “Serious Writers” and they don’t do genre fiction, they work in the normal routine of life, forging it into the next Great American Novel. I know, I know, there are many daring Serious authors. Working their non-genre spellcraft of prose bending into the staid, suburban life that still transports you across moonbeams and sunsets without being magical or otherworldly but still feeling as though they are.

Gosh folks, if there were ever more patent evidence that humans have a problem with change across all cultures, borders, organizations, clubs, institutions, departments, villages and mud huts, you couldn’t find it in more pristine representation than the SF/F group that can’t quite seem to find new ideas to make money from. The department I work in, the church I go to, the town I live in, the state legislature I vote for – all of these places are juggling unwieldy lumps of uncertainty as they move into the future from a known past and it creates fear. Each of these looks outwardly brave and inwardly frightened with varying degrees of capability to face the same old, same ‘ol.

Yet, perhaps for Ms. Hurley’s industry, that’s the newest change of all. Perhaps by her award, as she acknowledges, SF/F has begun to look at itself and found something unexpected. Writers who are bold enough to look hard at themselves, each other, their writing, the state of their market and platform, call it like it is, do something about it and move on.

The fear of losing what we’ve known, whether it be profits, accolades, readers, or the plain comfort of none of these – just your own voice on its own page – melts away when we finally embrace the change that cannot be stopped anyway. There you find the bracing cold freshness of new horizons; unknown places devoured by ready audiences sated from a hunger they didn’t know was there. 

I long to be found in awkwardly new places brimming with risks both grand and bawdy. If I had the capacity to write them myself, I would. Perhaps someday, I will.

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Who enter . . . all ye abandoned . . . have hope . . . welcome! We have come to share our banana guacamole and give you a new porpoise!

So, I’m pretty fuzzy on exactly what it’s supposed to say over Dante’s entrance to Hell – I don’t plan on ever going there myself, you see – but I wanted to let you know that here at My Marvelous Maelstrom of Moving Memes, Musings, Malformed Manuscript Machinations and Millieu, that there should be some measure of giggles, hopeful pondering  and thoughtful insights from squeezing into the spaces between all of us; feeling individually abandoned, collectively herded. But it might also resemble literary Hell. Just a heads up. Could go either way, really.

I have no right to write any more than the rest of you, right? I think that would be something – all of us writing a blog, scrambling for time to make sure everyone gets read. Gosh, there’d be no time for endless Survivor marathons or Happy Days reruns. Therefore, my ridiculous idea isn’t shot down so much as Dead On Arrival.

You really should consider writing something yourself, though. It feels good when the words are flowing and the key strikes keep coming and coming. There’s a purpose, a creativity vein is crumbled loose from the deep shaft of living and breathing that kept going further and further without really knowing where or perhaps why. All of a sudden, you find it. This rich, deeply ancient ore long forgotten that whole new industries and processes are developed in your life to find ways of leveraging this discovered material with so many uses.

Or, you could just keep coming to sites like mine, with zero visitors and followers, hoping to find some break in the monotony – a quantum of solace! (James Bond reference #1). Yes, it looks very bleak at the outset, of course, all journeys do – the more risky and unlikely, the worse it looks. But the better the payoff if they do! NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS! (Star Wars reference #1, gosh, I really thought SW was gonna get in first but James was a spy so I guess it makes sense he’d find a way around the rules).

Well, whatever you decide to do, write, don’t write, rerun, don’t rerun, find life-giving literary ore or just pretend Minecraft ore (virtual ore! how sad IS that? Yes, yes, Tommy is so creative and being productive with his fake creations, at least he’s not blowing up something – what’s that you say? oh, look he’s making bombs in the game . . .) it’s yours to do or do not. There really is no try. (Ha! #2, okay – I’ll stop) There are merely professionals or dilettantes en route to becoming professionals or becoming nothing. That’s just how it is. Sorry, but not everyone in real life gets an award AND A PRIZE! For showing up, for participating; for having a pulse. ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that’, someone once said. They’re too busy – not-reading all those blogs – hoping they’re life might become so wonderfully benign it becomes it’s own story worth telling in a sitcom, later rerunned, later blogged about.