To My 15-year-old Self

Life and my own wonky brain chemicals caught up with me, and the meds that are supposed to help, well, don’t work as well as they used to. While I’ve felt like writing, I haven’t felt particularly clear or been able to settle even on a single thing to play with or work on. So, I decided to go back and read some of my very oldest work.

Now, I save everything. I still ache, knowing over a hundred pages ended up in a dumpster somewhere after my backpack was stolen – it was just an experiment, but it was part of me. I have roughly thirty 2-inch-ring binders that are filled to capacity with the longhand work from about 1988 onwards. It’s been a long time since I looked at the oldest. I actually spent a day last week laughing myself to tears because some of it is just so bad – and yet, from there I reached my current level, even though all I really had going for me at the time was lots of vague and unrefined ideas, decent technical language skills, a head full of things I’d read, and a huge amount of free time since we lived in the country and I had few chores to do.

And yet, as bad as it is… it also gives me a direct window into the way one teenager thought, and maybe more importantly, how she felt. It’s hard to remember how the world looked, over two decades ago, but reading the oldest, I can see it. Hundreds of pages of my own young self’s dreams, emotions, speculation, as she struggled to grasp things that were a stretch at the time: gender roles, priorities, personal responsibility, same-sex relationships, ethics and morality, the value of life and individuality, the difference between sex and love. I think it should probably be considered an invaluable and unreplaceable resource.

So, for anyone else in the kind of position I was in then, just getting going but questioning whether it’s worth it, I thought I’d figure out what I would say to myself of 25 years ago. (It’s long enough for 2 posts and then some, so maybe I’m making up for missing a couple lately!) Continue reading

Writing Diversity

I’m very big on diversity in writing, particularly when it comes to fantasy and science-fiction.

Our dominant, mass-media-driven culture is keen on portraying “normal” (=”good and right”) in very restrictive terms. (I’ve talked about this elsewhere.) With humanity still struggling with our tragic history of hatred and bigotry and many of us trying our best to get past that (unfortunately, far too many seem quite content to wallow in it), value judgements disguised as entertainment only undermine the slow climb towards equality.

That said… “political correctness” kills creativity.

Before you lynch me or stop reading, please understand. I’m not advocating that you portray prejudice and bigotry and hatred and all the countless “isms” as good things. In fact, our job as writers is to challenge the “isms” and show what the alternatives can be. Writing should show and celebrate the amazing and endless variety that occurs within humanity – and explore what can lie outside of that, when we’re playing with the supernatural or extra-terrestrial or otherwise non-human. Continue reading

Real life obstacles

Sorry to the handful of folks who are actually reading this – a lot is happening all at once, not so much catastrophic so far as a growing list of intense frustrations and distractions that for the most part I can’t do anything about, and I have nothing to offer just now that would be worth you taking the time to read it. I’ll be back to posting ASAP – back on schedule for next Monday with only the single missed post, I hope. If not, um… I’ll apologize more?

Meanwhile, the final edit on YinYang is briefly on hold as well. But there IS a new Moonblood episode available, and I’m messing about with my playground world Gaia since it’s relatively easy under most conditions.

The Voice of Your Inner Self

Stories come, at least for me, from somewhere deep inside with only limited influence by the more rational part of my mind (I did a whole post on it here). However, there’s more to the inner self, or right brain, or subconscious, or whatever term you prefer, than telling stories. Among other things, it observes, and catches things we don’t consciously notice, and it puts pieces together in ways that the ego, or left brain, or conscious mind, just isn’t capable of doing. The trick for the inner self is to get what it observes across to the conscious self, which always seems to be certain that it knows everything. Often, those observations sneak through as hunches or intuition or a gut feeling about something. Some people are better at tuning in than others, and may be called intuitive or psychic or spiritual. Can writing, the process of opening yourself up to a flow of ideas from your inner self, provide not only stories to write, but also a bridge for your inner self to communicate with your conscious mind? And what about the conscious mind, which I’m now going to refer to as the ego because it’s short and easy to type, hearing and acknowledging that communication? Continue reading

Generation Gap

One of my personal biggest obstacles when it comes to writing urban fantasy might be just a personal limitation, but I doubt I’m the only one.

Technology changes with mindboggling speed in the modern world. Thanks to that technology, trends change just as rapidly, propagating through the entire globe and being forgotten in spans of time that not so long ago would have been unthinkably brief. I am, personally, rather fond of various kinds of technology, although I confess to resenting being forced into constant upgrades that often complicate without necessarily improving things. Much of my time is spent online; I’ve found more friends I can relate to and trust that way than I ever have in person, including people I deeply care about from all over the world. The Internet offers a research resource that I could never have dreamed of years ago when forced to dig through often outdated books at the local library.

That said… I was born in the 70s, grew up in the 80s, graduated from high school in the 90s. I grew up in the country, not even in a village most of the time but usually outside of it on a farm; I saw peers at school but rarely had contact with them outside and then only the few friends that I felt I had anything in common with; much of my free time was spent alone with pets, although I had a limited choice of kids of similar age not too far away. My first computer had no hard drive, only two 5-1/4″ floppies, and MS-DOS, no Windows, and certainly no Internet; my brother used it for games now considered primitive, I used it for homework and writing. Continue reading