Sitting at the Adult Table

For the last few years, I have slowly been entering the so-called writing life. I’ve done pretty well for the amount of time I’m able to devote to it. I’ve attended some great workshops, some really good cons, made loads of new friends, joined a writing group or two and even had my first short story published in a professional magazine. Thanks, Lightspeed. I feel like I’m the kid sitting at the adult table now.

But like the kid at the adult table, I want to be there at the same time that I question whether I belong there or not. I suppose that tells you what kind of kid I was, your childhood mileage may have varied.

I still have other goals that I feel will put me at the adult table for real and hopefully, for keeps. I want to earn another two pro short story credits and become a SFWA member. I want to finish the first draft of my novel, get an agent, sell a novel. I want to see my book in the store, with my name on the cover and everything.

But first, I want to feel confident enough in what I have to say that I don’t erase every blog post or comment with an internal “God, I’ve already read a dozen people who have already said that exact thing.” I struggle with feeling like everything I think or feel or want to write is derivative or just another “Yea, me too!” which drives me crazy.

I talked about it with my wife, and of course, as always, she gets to the heart of the matter. “Do you think that every time you read a blog post about something you’ve read about before? Do you stop reading, thinking that person is just jumping on the bandwagon?”

Well, no. Not usually. But sometimes. I have to take some time to unpack my thoughts about this, but I’m going to try to be better about not censoring myself. Letting my thoughts get out there. If nothing else, it will be writing practice, I suppose.

Currently Reading: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, edited by Ellen Datlow.

Obsessing Over: How to be a Heartbreaker, by Marina and the Diamonds. Although, I kind of like the Glee version better.

Looking Forward to: Paradise Lost 3, upcoming in San Antonio.

Do Women Still Have Rights in the Future? Or in Fairyland?

Image

Photo by Jurvetson used under a Creative Commons License.

So as a fantasy and science fiction writer who DIDN’T grow up reading the golden age of the genre, I’ve struggled from time to time with a lack of deep knowledge that embarrass me from time to time. “Oh, well Book X was clearly a response to so and so’s Book Y, which was itself very influenced by Book Z.”

So usually I’ve heard of the authors and the books (but not always), but I’ve almost never been able to really relate to those conversations. Regardless, I understand that most authors wrote, or still write, as a way to reflect, expound upon or comment on changes they see in the society around them. Boundless optimism of the space age? Check. Ruthless Cold War government control of movement and personal freedoms? Yep. Next gen manipulation of commercial/social choice through media control? You betcha.

So when I look at the latest political antics, like Wisconsin’s repealing the Equal Pay Act or the fact that it’s unpatriotic to talk about the war on women or my own state’s trans-vaginal ultrasound proposal, I have to wonder what the hell kind of fiction will we be writing in the next decade?

Will female fairies even have rights in the future? Will women be allowed on spaceships? (Don’t even get me started on how they’re barely allowed on right now. Apparently, breasts touching rocket ships might end space-time as we know it. And be, like, totally gross.)

And the debate on female blog commentary that’s raging right now, following Christopher Priest’s Hugo-slam-a-thon is just completely baffling me. Not that these reactions don’t occur; I know they do. But I just can’t understand why. I just don’t understand or know anyone who would behave that way, anonymity notwithstanding.

This is the part of fandom that I don’t really like, and I have to admit, I have trouble relating to. I rarely participate or even read these discussions for this sort of reason. I almost never feel like I have something useful to say or add, and commenting, “Yea! Me, too!” makes me feel like a tool. But my wife totally called me on it today.

5 Things I Learned from Trollhunter

We watched Trollhunter the other night, possibly the best movie of all time. As my daughter would say, it was full of “life lessons”. To whit,

1. When a crazy, gun-toting man who does not seem the easily spooked type comes screaming out of the woods at midnight yelling “TRRROOOOOOLLL!”, one should run, not argue.

2. Trollhunting does not come with a health insurance plan. I would file this under the category of “serious oversight”.

3. Duct tape seems to be an integral part of first aid kits in Norway. Strike two for socialized health insurance in Scandinavia. (Maybe the dental benefits compensate.)

4. Never lie about your state of Christian grace. The trolls can smell it. Somehow, the threat of being eaten by a troll seems more real than satan’s fiery darts. Sunday school should rethink their motivational devices.

5. An industrial-strength, ultraviolet gun wil f**k you up if you are a troll. Otherwise, you will just get a tan.

I read that Chris Columbus has optioned the movie for a US remake. Regardless of my feelings for him, somehow, I can’t imagine it being as good as the original. I think anyone remaking it for US audiences would be tempted to make it more graphic/explicit/bawdy, and the understated, dry humor of the original was a huge part of what made it so awesome.