I have had cause, recently, to question the focus of my writing.
Part of that, certainly, is that I have had no real success in the field, therefore anything I do is as a newcomer, really. A few small credits, in this world, don’t matter much at all. Large credits are a different matter, but I have none, so “starting over” isn’t going to be very difficult at this point. And, isn’t the absence of credits a sort of proof that my focus is off, somehow?
Another part is my growing cognitive dissonance with the science fiction and fantasy worldview. I love scifi and fantasy– I grew up watching superhero tv shows and watching my dad read science fiction books, for goodness’s sake. One of the first series of books that my dad gave me was Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I will always be a fan and a supporter of the field. My movie tickets, book purchases, and cable tv subscriptions all help to keep it going.
The general feeling one gets, however, is that it’s a field that carries a sort of anti-religious bias. One only has to look at Orson Scott Card (and his recent pariah-like status) to realize that faith, openly defended and forming the basis of one’s work, isn’t going to win you honor and glory. At best, it’s sort of tolerated. At worst, it’s openly scorned. Everyone seems much more comfortable defending a writer whose work borders on pedophilia and rape-apology than defending someone who supports traditional marriage. It’s a pretty screwy situation for an orthodox person to find themselves in.
And I am orthodox . . . I very boringly believe in and follow the traditional teachings of an ancient religion founded in the Bronze Age by barely-literate sheep-herders, modified somewhat by a man who was executed by the Romans for a crime which he didn’t commit, and further expanded upon by a bunch of celibate men who wear funny clothes. And I’m okay with that. I chose this life, chose this faith, and have walked away from both the faith of my forefathers and the agnostic and atheistic leanings of my childhood.
I chose it for love. Some may scorn it, but it’s mine. And something freely chosen, for love, is something that a person ought to integrate into their work . . . at least, as far as they are able.
So I find myself on the cusp of 40, wondering if I can somehow write BETTER if I write things that are more true. Things that are closer to my heart and closer to what we generally accept as reality. Maybe it will help, maybe it won’t . . . but I feel the need to explore the idea, anyhow. I’ll never be a theologian, but perhaps I can find another niche.
It’s just a notion, right now, but it’s something I’m going to look into over the coming weeks. Wish me luck.