Saturday, July 30, 2005

Riding My Dead Horse into the Sunset

On this issue, anyway. I've only contributed to the discussion on Lee Goldberg's blog one time, with one comment, tossed some links to one of the participants who seemed genuinely curious about why women write slash, but otherwise, pretty much all I've done is increase Lee Goldberg's page views.

Wow. I spent a lot of words yesterday trying to articulate some pretty basic disagreements.

I think it's immoral to invoke a need/desire/curiosity that can't be fulfilled and then to institute restraints on individuals who seek other ways to satisfy that desire.

That's almost too meta for me.

On the other hand, I was reminded last night of another fact: Life is short. Whether you believe in the after life or not, you have only finite time to accomplish whatever it is that you want to accomplish. Most writers I know, amateur and professional, will never have enough time in their lives to say everything they want to say. Write everything they want to write.

At the end of my life, and given my situation and medical history, the end of my life is probably closer, at this point, than further away, I'm sure I'll have a lot to answer for. Somehow in the grand scheme of the universe, I don't think the fact that I spent dome degree of time playing with someone else's characters is actually going to be a sticking point.

But just in case anyone's worried, if you are a novelist and still publishing and you don't want me writing stories in your universe, no worries. And for most of the writers haunting Goldberg's blog, it's really never been an issue at all.

As for why this has fascinated me so, the connection was a little unclear at first. I'm not sure I'd meet the Goldberg Criteria of what makes a Real Writer on all counts but a large part of my day job is writing. I write scripts, I develop personas for voice talents to use in recording, all in the service of automated voice systems. I suppose I'm more copy writer than writer, but the work is not entirely non-creative. I am, in a very real sense, a writer for hire.

Maybe there's a market for a collection of "Personas I have loved."

However, as interesting as it can be, as much of a niche as it fills in a variety of industries, and as well-paid as I am for it, it still doesn't scratch the itch than non-fiction writing does. It's what I do for a living and have done for the past decade or more. And sometimes it sucks, but it's steady paycheck, and I like my company, my coworkers...but it may explain why, when Goldberg and his ilk express disbelief at why anyone would not want to strive toward being a Real Published Writer, I have to look at them and say,"because it's not for everyone," and the fact that they don't get that just reminds me that in many cases, the more you move toward celebrity, in however small a circle, the further you move away from the reality that most people in the world face. I mean the novels that Pro Writers produce are very much what the rest of us use to escape from the rest of our lives of work and family and responsibility. Books, movies, television -- it's all leisure, entertainment. They are, in a very real sense , the drug of choice for most people.

I'm utterly thrilled that Mr. Goldberg and his writing buddies are making a living doing what they love. I really am. That I benefit from their love of telling a good story is also cool. Published authors have my admiration and thanks for what they contribute to society and to my own personal enjoyment...

That I write original fiction seems to be beside the point. According to them I should write that and only that. And then I should try and get it published, assuming I'm any good at it. And then I should write more, and get that published, and then I should...

I seem to be missing the point. I have a drive to write in a variety of genres including fan fiction. I write short stories, I write erotic horror, I write high fantasy, urban fantasy, I write non-fiction...I write action/adventure...

I do not have the same drive to be published. To have my stories read, yes, but I don't need an agent and a contract with a publishing house to do that. Some day I might, likely in addition to whatever job I'm doing.

In the meantime, I'm going to do what makes me happy, in what few years I have left.

In six months or a year of ten or twenty, this little difference of opinion won't be anymore than a cultural artifact.

Actually, I think Anne McCaffrey wrote a short story about that.

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