Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Everything Changes But Still Stays the Same: Station Re-Indetification


So, this is a surprise blog. I don't blog much anymore, unfortunately. The hard fact is this: balancing a teaching and writing career while struggling to put a growing family and my marriage first doesn't leave much time to blog. That, and recently I've struggled to think of anything which might be interesting to blog about. As every year passes, I realize more and more how little about this writing gig and life I actually know, and become more and more loathe to pontificate about my cluelessness publicly. 

Besides, it could be argued social media has replaced the need for daily blogging, especially for folks like myself who've only ever seen a moderate amount of blog traffic. A Facebook post is more likely to be read than a blog post. Honestly, that's blunted much of my blogging desire, too.

But this morning I perused some of the blogs I used to read and was a little depressed at what I found. One of my favorite crime/pulp/horror writers who used to dispense common sense veteran writing advice, as well as cool posts about the genre stuff he loves, hasn't posted in two years. Other writers I formerly turned to for advice and cool stuff mostly post about their podcasts now, (which I think has also largely replaced blogging, and unfortunately my schedule doesn't really allow for listening to them right now), book lists, or announcements of upcoming works or appearances (expected, because that's mostly what I post now, too).

Of course, there are still some blogs - like Chuck Wendig's, Brian Keene, Mike Duran's, or John Scalizi's - going strong. I could always go read their blog posts, and I'm sure I'd come away with something useful.  But the problem is deeper than just not having blogs to read. Lately I feel a shoulder-shrugging MEH (which you may or not be feeling right now as you read this), in response to reading blogs by writers about writing, about their life, about their writing, or what-have-you. I wouldn't call myself apathetic, and I certainly don't believe I've seen it all or know it all.

Thing is, I sorta miss the days when I was young and hungry and had published nothing and was reading blogs by veterans and comrades, nodding my head in agreement, feeling all inspired.  Some blogs I visited daily for my morning "kick in the writers' butt."  However, as teaching, parenting, marriage and (YAY!) editing and writing responsibilities have increased, my free time and appetite for blogs has lessened, as well as my appetite for blogging.  These days, if I have free time to myself, I can choose to write, read some great fiction, or blog. Basically, blogging has been tossed to the curb, and all I can muster is a shoulder-shrugging MEH about it.

 So why blog now?

I have no idea. I just know how depressed I was when I visited that one blog, of the writer who hasn't posted in two years. They're not on social media, so they've sorta disappeared (which is okay; I know they're busy with family life, I'm not upset, I just miss them), and it makes me think of all those who started this alongside me, and those who've also disappeared - some early on, some fading away slowly over time - and others who've powered on ahead of me, and of publishers and magazines that burst on the scene, then likewise faded away, and recently Cons which have died out too. I began feeling all melancholic and nostalgic, and so here's a blog about it, which rambles and doesn't really say anything important, at all.

This has been a long and odd year. Personally, it's been a struggle. My son's autism has provided new, more difficult challenges this year. I've had to work on myself quite a bit. There've been terrible lows and wonderful highs, and while professionally things are going better than ever, my current writing output has been halting, mostly because I'm in the midst of trying to figure out who I am, and who I want to be. I've been led by circumstances and my own spiritual apathy to reconsider my faith and my relationship with God, and how that needs to change, and how that will ultimately change my life, my family, my marriage (all for the better, I firmly believe)...

And my writing.

How will that change my writing?

I have no clue. I know I'm tired of failure. I'm tired of darkness and depression. And I'm sorta tired of writing about those things. Does that mean I'll never write about them again? Of course not. A writer writes about life (that much I know) and those things are a part of life, and to ignore them as a writer means I'm not doing my job. But I've come to realize I am broken inside, and I'm tired of writing from that broken place. It hurts too much. I want to heal, and I want to write from a place of healing, for a change.

How will that change my writing?

I have no clue. I know I will always love the weird and the strange, and speculative fiction will always be my love. That will never change. I'm not about to write Amish Romances any time soon, or "Christian" fiction hinging on Three Points and A Prayer, with handy devotional notes at the end.

But I will always be a writer. And I will continue to write. I may not travel to Cons much, or maybe  never again (Cons are something I've come to view with a MEH shoulder-shrug, as awesome as Cons are, and as much as I'll miss my Con friends). I may not land a big book deal, and I no longer - for the first time ever - care. I'm working with great publishers now, and I am content. For the first time maybe ever, I am becoming content.

But things still stay the same, even in the midst of all this change. I am a teacher. I am a husband and father. And I am a writer. For all the new folks out there, here's the stuff I've written.  Here's a cool podcast which tells more about me. I've got some cool stuff coming out soon, short stories and novellas. I write a column for Lamplight Magazine. Add me on Facebook. Stick around, and see what happens. I can't promise tons of insightful blogs, but who knows, right? The more things change...the more they stay the same....