As previously mentioned, I am dedicating a large portion of this year to writing a novel. I was having trouble with just how dark my story had become and was trying to figure out what to do about it. But somehow I had gotten lost in self-importance. I was thinking about how this book might influence people; make them aware of the insanity pummeling our civilization. I was thinking that perhaps my novel might help change the course of the insanity.
Then I looked in a dark place – doubt. I asked myself if that was realistic. Why did I think this book would make any difference? There are plenty of important books that people have read and yet they still go on behaving badly. It was similar to the realization I had when I resigned my council seat and dropped out of politics (long ago).
For a few seconds I stood at the edge of the abyss, thinking about how depressing this thought was and where it might take me. Why write at all? I asked.
Then, SMACK, it occurred to me that I had forgotten my purpose, the reason why I write. It was comically stupid for me to get so lost when my purpose was clearly stated at the top of my own website: “Writer of humorous science fiction – Because laughter is pain relief for the soul.”
I write to help people laugh. To help them live through the madness. Not to delude myself into thinking that I can stop the madness.
And then what I needed to do for the novel became clear.
Excuse my momentary euphoria.
Convention Updates: Since I neglect posting updates, both as a habit and now with the excuse of playing hermit novelist this year, here are some updates.
I will be attending the Jack Williamson Lectureship in Portales, NM, April 4-5. This will be my first trip to the Lectureship. I am told it has an intimate atmosphere. If I don’t procrastinate too long, I might report back on my experience.
Speaking of procrastinated reports. Cosine 2019 (SF convention held each January in Colorado Springs) was wonderful, as always. Unfortunately, this was the last Cosine. Some of the volunteers are no longer able to continue. My thanks to them for all their hard work over the years. Cosine has always been special, but this time there was something palpable in the air. Something extra. Like the parting of old friends, or the last night of a long-running play in which we were all actors. My hope is that new volunteers are able to step in and bring Cosine back at some point.
A snowstorm north of the city led many panelists and attendees on arduous, white-knuckled drives over Monument Pass. For a personal account of that journey, you can read “Over the River and Through the Snowstorm: Going to a January Science Fiction Convention” a Facebook post by Connie Willis.
My first panel on Friday was scheduled to have six panelists, but the snow delayed four, leaving Connie and I to discuss the topic of time travel. Fortunately, there were no moments of awkward silence since both of us have the gift of the gab, or more accurately, Connie has the gift, and I am more of a motormouth. The second picture shows Connie wondering when I will shut up. (photos courtesy of Morland Gonsoulin)
On Saturday, the roads were clear and I was on four lively panels. During the first, “Writing for the Video Game Generation,” I had the role of the older person who doesn’t play many video games and has a hard time relating. The second panel discussed “Classic SF as Proto-Steampunk Literature.” We SF fans and writers really know how to stretch genre definitions. During the third panel, we pondered the question “Is Elon Musk “The Man Who Sold the Moon”?” Many of us are hoping so. The last panel, “Revisiting the Drake Equation,” proved enlightening and featured our science guest, the astronomer/writer Mike Brotherton. Cosine’s Guest of Honor was the talented, Hugo-nominated, author Carrie Vaughn. Small world. Carrie and I used to work together at a bookstore back in the 1990s.
So, good-bye to Cosine, my favorite convention for spending time with old and new friends.