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photo by Sheri Dixon

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wasting My Time

A while back I opined that the only way I would ever sell any quantity of books would be to write a survivalist, vampire, Christian romance, murder mystery, on accounta that's the stuff what's selling better than hotcakes on a cold morning.

So I've started.

And it's hard, because I'm wired for the Short Story. It's a good exercise for me and it's actually getting easier as I go.

The problem is that in the back of my head is that tiny, annoying little voice whispering, "You know- no one will buy this one...either".

Not because it's not a good story- I'm actually pretty psyched about it.

Not because it's difficult to read due to grammatical and spelling errors, because I'm pretty anal about all that mess.

But because when I stop to think about it, generally nudged to do so by other people who say, "Yanno..." there just doesn't seem to be a market for stories like mine.

I can't write gun porn. I just can't.

I can't write doomsday rape-the-dogs-eat-the-babies stories. I just can't.

I write from my heart, and my heart tells me that even though I've personally seen and experienced some pretty bad things in my life so I know damn well that bad things happen generally for no good reason, that the world and people in the great majority are good.

And I understand when I hear people say when things get really tough for whatever reason in the face and middle of a societal breakdown that good people have the capability of doing bad things in the name of "survival".

I also (sort of) see that there is a (tiny) segment of society that will behave in willfully awful ways if there is a lack of things like law enforcement and jails- things that keep them honest just by the threat of punishment. Although I think if things get THAT bad they'll be just as homeless and hungry as everyone else and will probably be busy finding, ummm...food.

But truly?

People are just as likely to behave in a spectacularly courageous manner when plopped into the center of chaos and disaster.

It happens all the time.

So what the hell?

Why the absolute craze for books that glorify the awful side of humanity, that idolize the very violence that tears apart families, communities and societies every single day?

Why the assumption, nay the hope- that "the end of the world as we know it" will be one big fat hairy shoot 'em up?

When something bad happens on a big scale, like a hurricane or tornado or whatnot, there is sometimes a small amount of lawlessness. IN GENERAL, people work together, help each other, do what they can for each other.

When I try to point this out, all I get is "NUH UH! BECAUSE KATRINA!"

Meaning of course, the disastrous episode wherein a horrific amount of people were all squished into the astrodome and all hell broke loose. Something about overcrowding, not enough food, or water, or toilets, or toilet paper. Also the mayhem outside the astrodome which was bad guys and/or the law enforcement- it's sometimes difficult to tell in NOLA.

"People are animals!"

Well, duh.

Of course we are.

Therefore we act/react the same as any other animal.

We have chickens.

Stay put- there's a direction I'm taking with this.

Most people keep their chickens literally cooped up- for their own safety and for ease of finding eggs.

They hate it.

No matter how large the enclosure, the chickens get nervous and aggressive and act in very anti-social ways. The roosters tear all the feathers out of the hens, the hens eat each others' eggs, the roosters fight and kill each other.

Compare that to our chickens, who have never seen a coop in their lives.

Do some get eaten by coyotes? Yep.

Do we have a helluva time finding eggs sometimes? Yep.

But.

Right now we have a ridiculous amount of roosters- 5 roosters and 8 hens. If they were cooped, they'd all be dead. Guaranteed.

Loose and left to make their own natural chicken decisions, they work out territories, and separate flocks, and respect boundaries, and all go into the barn and roost at night without issue.

The reason people in big snowstorms (every year) in the northlands and recently in Superstorm Sandy- people who were NOT herded into tiny enclosures and who could move as freely as possible, were out there helping each other and not going batshit crazy.

My point.

Is that when animals- poultry or people- are placed in stressful situations and allowed to work things out themselves, they pull together. When forced into even MORE stressful environs, they turn into sociopaths.

My point.

Is that while some sort of ginormous disaster could usher in a time of violence and destruction in only a way that clever humans can execute, it's just as likely to be

-initial confusion
-frustrated denial of not being able to go back to 'normal'
-re-organization and re-thinking shit
-carrying on

Seriously.

Now that's not a spoiler for my book. Because that's not all there is to it.

I'm just saying.

Is an actual happy ending so shoot-yourself-in-the-head boring that such a thing can never sell?

Is there really no interest at all in a future that doesn't include rivers of blood and the smell of napalm in the morning?

I mean, where ARE all the "liberal survivalist" novels?

Everything out there is written for the way far clinging to the very edge of the Right audience. And they're eating it up. Voraciously.

Which bothers me because they seem to WANT that to happen, they're PLANNING on it and they'll be HEARTBROKEN if they can't use up their 100,000 rounds of AK47 ammo on liberals and gays and "gang bangers" and illegals.

We're animals.

We gravitate towards a leader who nudges in a certain direction.

It bothers me that so many people are being nudged into the direction of violence. Are accepting it, embracing it and celebrating it. So if something DOES happen, how the hell do they THINK it's gonna go? And I'm sorry to tell 'em, but exactly .0000000001% of them would survive more than 24 hours in one of their fantasies.

I'd love for there to be SOMETHING out there that nudges in the other direction- something that says, "Yep. Some shit happened and we can't go back. Lets go forward...all of us and together".

Anyway.

I don't know when it'll be done, but I hope at least a few people buy it.

Or if you're looking for something to read right now, I've got a few other books already done. They can be found right here

<----------------------

Not because I write to make money, but because like it or not, the value of something is at least partially tied to dollars and cents coming in. And all I've ever wanted to be is an author.

Or a train engineer.

Whatever.



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