There are times when I feel very unsure about writing. Yes, yes, it’s what I’m driven to do, blah-blah. But all that, ‘I have to do it’ and ‘It’s more comfortable to write than not to write’ rubbish aside, I have this complex knot within me made up of multiple threads concerning subject, skill, genre and about me writing in particular, that is only just now being teased at. One particularly knotty thread involves the fantasy genre and my wannabe aspirations and tendencies within it.
These stories I write, I can’t help but wonder, who would want to read them? Seriously. I have no illusions about myself: skill, spin and polish. The modern miracles of Riordan, Meyers and Poulini (let’s not talk quality just yet, and besides, regardless of what I might think, they are at the top of our particular literary food chain), let alone the demigod-like heights of Tolkien or Howard, are not within my power to create or reach. And while I do believe that in certain areas of the genre and in my own modest way, wild and untrained as I am, I have quite a lot to offer that these well-known folk don’t or didn’t—again a conversation to hold with myself later (look at all those commas!)—the obvious remains: who would want to read them? My family, close friends? Alas, I don’t think so. Again a conversation for another time; for now let’s just say that I am quite envious of Poulini’s familial cheering section and that the enthusiasm expressed by my own flesh and blood for my work might generate enough energy to charge a nightlight. Case in point, it is quite doubtful that this blog entry will ever be read by anyone from my clan even though some actually watched me write it (It has its perks, I know. I can say what I want without fear of censure, but it’s the thought that I miss).
(indent)“Oh, you have a blog?” I can only guess it’s the whole reading thing that presents such a challenge.
So lately, I’ve been cruising the internet checking out the big-name authors to find out what they have that attracts the prey so well, those who write (cue the special music) ‘fiction,’ the ones mentioned in Writer’s Digest, The Writer and Poets and Writers, who have a fellowship to this or a grant to that, or are a writer in residence here or a teacher of creative writing there.
I found besides writing about the “important” prize winning stuff…like…like meditations on New York laundry lists, why a marriage ceremony with a balloon release afterward is not such a good idea and how the sound of the rat trap going off in the attic at midnight led them to buy a pair of used shoes at a yard sale the next day, that there was nothing that stood out, save maybe an ego or two, concerning the perfect way to tie a fly. Just more of the funny accolades and more important subject matters. Oh, yes; very important and timely and…and uhm…deep. Yes, deep…indeed.
Hmmm…on further reflection, fantasy as a genre is just fine all by its oddness and even though I don’t do it particularly well at this point, it fits me. I wonder though, the awards and scholarship alphabet soup sounded rater impressive. Do fantasy and science fiction authors ever get the cool accolades too: Wakawaka Fellowships and Fizbang Scholarships and invites to fiction writing challenges and readings in the park about random items found in trash heaps and such? How ‘bout bling? Do they ever get bling?
Ray Bradbury. National Book Foundation’s 2000 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and the National Medal of Arts in 2004. May you and your name live forever!
But really, I mean, I don’t see how meditations (imaginary, by the way) on a broken coffee bean grinder by a reflective fictioneer who is careful not to slum beyond the sacred borders of the Barnes and Noble fiction aisle neighborhood or the colony pages of Sun or MacSweeney without their pseudonym on is accessing and utilizing anything different than the writer who describes the horrors produced in a grief stricken mind trapped in a suit of powered armor.
Honestly though, who says they are? I suspect they eat and defecate like the rest of us and lie awake at night alternating between doubt and determination.
Originally posted in The Salamander’s Quill 1.0 now deleted.