I was a bad girl. I was suppose to be writing last night, but I found myself caught up in some online . . . stuff, shall we say? Stuff that kept me away from what I should have been doing, which was adding hundreds of words to my novel. Bad, bad Cassie. This means I gotta stay out of the social media and do what I’m here to do, which is the writing things.
Though, some might say I did a lot of writing yesterday. Seven hundred or so words on this blog, another five hundred and fifty on another blog–hell, that’s more words than some people write in a week. So I won’t beat myself up too hard, but I will remember: no fooling around tonight. Get the words in the Scrivener file, and then chat away.
The last few days I’ve been in rant mode. Can’t say for certain why, but it happened; it all builds up after a while, and you gotta cut loose and say what’s on your mind. I’ve done this a few times in the past–after all, this post is number 669, and I haven’t spent the whole time talking about cats, so I must have ranted now and then–and for the most part people have either said, “Right on!” or not said a word.
A few times, however, I’ve generated a bit of negative feedback. Which I’m entirely cool with because–I’m a writer! By their nature, writers say thing, and sometimes what they say generates emotions in others that cause them to feel like you’re the greatest thing that’s ever lived, or that you are, as one person called me, “an asshole” who is consuming your unfair share of air.
There was on moment yesterday, however, where someone took umbrage with my post where I said people who say they argue with the characters they’ve created, and who say that it is they who write their stories, are delusional, and that this is something that other professional writers have said as well. They were . . . upset is the best word. They felt I had no reason to question their creative process, that I came across as one of those people who act as if they know it all, and on two occasions, demanded to know just who I was to say these things.
Well, then . . .
First off, who am I? That’s a good one. I could say I am Susan Ivanova, commander, daughter of Andre and Sophie Ivanov; that I am the right hand of vengeance and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart; that I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see; and that God sent me, but I’m hardly as good looking as Claudia Christian, and I’m not in command of a White Star fleet. So that’s out.
What I am is a writer. I write; I share my thoughts. I put down a semi-coherent thought or two in a medium that it understandable to other, and hope others who don’t do this gig read them. I’m creating, realizing as I do that some who read will enjoy, some will get pissed off, and others will simply never give a shit. And I do this every day. Every. Single. Day. So there exist the possibility that something I say will go sideways, and that’s fine, because that’s how life runs.
Who am I to question another’s creative process? I’ve had mine questioned before, so why not return the favor? Since I’m a bit nuts–anyone who has been a long-time reader of this blog knows I’ve discussed my off-and-on struggles with mental illness–I’m probably in as good a position to recognize crazy as anyone, particularly in other writers. And if I see something that I looks a little nuts, and have tried to speak with said person who is saying these things that maybe they’re mistaken, that they only think they’re fighting with their characters, in which case they may want to seek help ’cause something else is going on–but, no, said person comes back and tells me to fuck off because I don’t understand anything, well then . . . I’m gonna call crazy. And I’m going to call it on anyone else who says the same thing, ’cause I don’t believe it to be true.
Which brings up the question of, “Well, I believe in muses, so are you going to say I’m delusional?” That begs setting up a definition: what is a muse?
Is your muse like Erin, the muse in my story Suggested Amusements, a creature who isn’t human, who has lived for thousands of years and has interjected herself into the lives of tens of thousands of creative people? Or is your muse like my muse, who is a real person, who is there to encourage me, to give me advice and ideas, who virtually holds my hand when a rejection comes through, and who cheers when I publish? Or is your muse pretty much the sister of Tinkerbell, flapping about your head, whispering sweet nothings into your brain while you try to advance your plot?
Of the three examples above, one is fictional, one is reality, and one is delusional. Which is yours? Chose one, and chose wisely . . .
While I know a lot, I don’t know everything, which is something I’ve learned over the course of nearly fifty years of reading the works of people who have known, or do know, more than me. That’s never bothered me, because I accept that a whole lot of people know more than me . . . as there are those who don’t know as much I moi, and I can usually sniff them out pretty quickly. I had an argument with one of those later types a bit over a month ago, and it is true: it’s easier for them to be fooled that to convince them they’ve been fooled, and they like it that way, so why bother exposing them to reality?
Every once in a while, however, you’ll find yourself in the same position as Neil Gaiman, and you know it’s best to leave such ranting alone, because that sort of person won’t be receptive to anything. They got you pegged, and anything you say will only reinforce their opinion that you’re too cool for the room, and you need to be knocked down a notch because you’re really not as clever as you believe. No problem, Tyler. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, and you do yours.
I am who I am. Do you find me entertain? Fantastic. Am I an annoying pain in the ass? Probably. Am I talking out of my ass? At times it’s likely, but I try hard to keep those emissions to a minimum.
Will I please everyone? As Harlan once explained, it’s not the writer’s job to please everyone; it’s their job to entertain. Just as I don’t get how people can be entertained by things that I find fairly lowbrow and, nay, imbecilic, I understand that I’ll be viewed through the same filter.
Which is the way of the world.
But, hey: if this scree still has you mumbling to yourself about how I’m a big meanie and a hurtful bitch, Stephen Fly will turn his big puppy dog eyes in your direction and give you some advice about that lingering butthurt . . .