Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fear facing

There is an idea that has been following me around for the past two years, and I am terribly frightened of it. Name an excuse for why a writer can't/shouldn't/doesn't write something, and I've probably used it.

I'm not ready. It's not ready. It's stupid. It won't sell. I need to do more research. I don't know what happens.


All of them pretty masks for the truth of it: I am scared of this idea. Scared of what it could be. Scared of how others go ohhhh when they hear about it. Scared that I am ready, and it will sell, and I do know what happens.

About two years ago, I went to Anticipation where Neil Gaiman was the guest of honor. Something happened at that con, some gnawing lurking thing. I realized that I did not want any of this "author" business if it meant I had to cease being treated like a person.

Let me clarify: I don't mean that I refuse to brand myself. I'm comfortable doing that, and I've had a little practice doing that.

I mean the point when the deification happens. I'm not actually sure if our society, the way it currently runs, knows how to love an author without making them into a celebrity. We have such a cult of fame—which is not unique to this time. There may be some kind of genetic memory linked to monarchies and tribes. Or maybe it's just survival of the fittest says look at what the "fittest" is doing and learn to mimic or go extinct.

Or maybe it's that there are so many voices and faces, that the internet gives us unlimited access to people and their information, and we're struggling in this flood to find dry land—to find a face and a voice enough of us recognize to offer some kind of focus. We readers follow authors, we cling to them, because we don't trust the traditional sources of guidance and knowledge anymore.

We're going back further, to the fool, the bard, the keeper of the clan's stories.But the problem is before you can tell a story to a million people, you've got to tell it to yourself.

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