Friday, March 8, 2013

That Horse Is A Bit Scary

As most of you may have noticed, I've been quiet for a while. There are many reasons I could give, but I s'pose the one that is most honest is that I've been suffering from a bit of melancholy with regards my published work, specifically the story that was accepted for AfroSF, 'Angel Song'.

The fact of it is that, retrospectively, while I really like 'Angel Song' and am proud of it, it just hasn't struck the chord I'd hoped it would, and as I've been delving deeper in AfroSF and reading all the stories, I can understand why.

'Angel Song' is a Military SF short story that looks at religion, specifically Christianity, from a SF angle. It is not, fortunately or unfortunately, a story that is set in Africa or South Africa. Its themes aren't centralized to any specific culture or country -even though I look at Christianity in the story- and so I guess that's why it's been largely overlooked or passed over by the readers who have read AfroSF. So far, at least. To put it succinctly  there is no 'African-ness' is 'Angel Song'.

Now, I'm still DAMNED proud that Ivor accepted 'Angel Song' for AfroSF, and I am DAMNED proud to share space in the anthology with so many excellent writers and stories. This isn't me moaning, trust me. ;-)

Rather, I guess I've realized that 'Angel Song' is a story that might have fit better in many other SF anthologies. The focus of any literature coming out of 'Africa' (and I use the word that way because many millions, if not billions, of people still think that Africa is a country) is, most of the time, African, and 'Angel Song' just didn't have that kind of focus. The anthology has enjoyed many reviews so far, and in most of the them, my story isn't mentioned at all - neither in positively nor negatively, so I had to accept the fact that, when put against the other excellent tales, it just didn't have the legs to stand amongst them.

And that's fine, I guess, but we writers want not only to tell stories - thereby exploring not only our own private, inner worlds, but the greater world that surrounds us, too - but recognition (in some form), or at least a nod of existence-acknowledgement. I guess it's akin to picking up your child after his or her first day of high school and, after you've asked how their day was, being told that no-one spoke to them, smiled at them, tried to engage with them - as if they were, for that entire day, invisible. This isn't an embarrassing cry for "Tell me what you thought about Angel Song! Please!" - far from it. It's just me realizing that writing a story and getting it published is just the beginning - as human -emotional- beings we need some kind of reaction, too. I don't write for the reaction - but the reaction does have an influence of how and what I write. I mean, if every published writer out there just churned out books, writing and writing and writing, and received no feedback, how would they be able to gauge whether their work *did* anything? It truly is as most writers everywhere have said, many times over: Writing the story is the easy part. :-)

So, that's why I've been so quiet - I've been grappling with whether or not Angel Song deserved to be accepted for publication, and how thinking about the story influenced everything else; I've got three stories I want to finish writing, and I need to get back to Betrayal's Shadow, too, and now, finally, I think I've reached the head-space to be able to do that. :-)

I also had a new idea today - I'll be taking an archetype of Robin Hood, throwing in some Dystopia and Horror, and see what gets born. Sometime down the line, of course, after I've finished the three stories I'm busy with:

the third story in my fractured fairy tales serial (which will be titled either Tangled or Tortured),
Superfreak (wherein I completely fuck up a strong, flying, red-caped alien),
and The Hyper-Adaptive Properties of Love.

So, until my next Peep-out-of-the-Cave,