Saturday, September 11, 2010

Coming of Age and Moving On

Way back, when I was a young writer, I crafted stories in which I wrote about only people I liked who faced down one-dimensional villains, and only included events I wanted to happen, whether or not they fit the story or made for interesting reads. I could write for hours, only "the good parts" kind of stuff, and scorned the notion of writer's block. After all, imagination was not a quantity that could be measured, contained, or lost. It just was. All I needed was pencil and paper.

Ah, the heady days of youth.

And then the critiques came, and the advice, and I retreated. I went from being a wunderkind to being (shock, gasp) just like everybody else.

Instead of being a published novelist by age 16 -- as predicted by at least one English teacher and a crowd of fellow students -- I wandered in the wilderness for almost two decades, writing a smattering of this and a soupcon of that, until I figured that writing fiction was really just a juvenile pursuit that must be put away in favor of more grownup activities, like a career and a succession of (failed) relationships.

Only when my then-boss, and later friend, figuratively shoved me out the door one workday and told me to attend a free one-day writing seminar at the local college did I start to realize that a writer is who I am. Fiction wasn't just a phase, but a way for me to connect with the truth.

When I went through a rough time so dark that suicide seemed like light, writing saved my life.

It helped me sort my thoughts when my parents divorced after thirty years of marriage.

It has been with me through health difficulties that changed how I approach life.

Writing challenged my faith then strengthened it.

So, when I read the Overlords' essays in the last DEP-sponsored issue of Ray Gun Revival, I read the hearts of people I have never met and yet I know, because we walk the same road. (When you read their essays, you'll know what I mean.)

This is an excellent magazine well-done by editors who love the genre, and it shows.

Just because this is the final issue in the current format doesn't mean the quality is at all diminished. There's awesome artwork, as always -- this issue's featured artist is Carl Andrée Wallin, who just happens to be from Sweden, the country of origin for my mother's side of the family.

And then there is a handful of short stories and a couple serials. Sadly, M. Keaton's entertaining Calamity's Child ends with this issue; Thieves' Honor, my series, will continue on with Episode 13 in the new incarnation of RGR.

Aforementioned episode is still being written. I promise to include heroes who actually have to overcome obstacles, and villains with several dimensions, but I'll still strive to write only the good parts.


Phy said...

Thanks, Keanan. There's a small group of people who really get who we are and what we're doing. You're in the vanguard of that group.

Keanan Brand said...

And happy to be a part of it!