Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Feeling Like an Outsider

I had originally titled this "Feeling Like an Outcast", but after careful consideration I realized that outcast implies that I had somehow been cast out of something, which isn't accurate at all. Sometimes I feel like I'm drifting further and further away from the norm, which means my understanding of modern life is suffering. I think much of this is a part of getting older, but I also realize a lot of it is me. I'm tired of walking around looking at life like some kind of alien, but that's the way it is. Might as well embrace it.

One of my big struggles is technology. I'm in my early thirties. Most of my peers have taken up the techno stuff pretty heartily over the years, but I just don't get it. It's amazing I can even run this blog. Thing is, not understanding technology can really hold one back. Kind of bums me out, you know. If I want to come up with a bookmark design for one of my books, I have to ask someone to do it for me. I've found wonderful people who have done this for me, but when will I outwear my welcome. We're all busy. I have to do this shit for myself and sometimes I feel I will never learn. I just don't have the time or patience, but more importantly I have an outdated computer and no money to buy a new one. Even if I wanted to download some program to learn design, all I would do is slow this old beast down. I have to keep my damn itunes thinned out just to preserve some of my gigs.

Another aspect of life that brings me down is the simple entertainment of television. I just don't get any of it anymore. Sitcoms are so fucking boring these days. I don't get the jokes. I don't get shows with shaky camera and silence. Call me old fashioned, but I like a live audience or laugh track or whatever. Not that I need a cue on when to laugh (I've watched the shows with laughter in the background and I'm just sitting there wondering what the hell was so funny), but I just don't get that particular formula, a la The Office or Modern Family. Another popular type of show is the serial drama/horror show. These are intensely popular. People discuss them on facebook like mad and I just don't get it. I've tried watching Bates Motel and The Walking Dead and American Horror Story and I can't do it. This is two-fold. 1. I have found the plots to be far fetched and unbelievable or just plain out boring, and 2. I have this issue with watching a show on the same night every week. I'm not all that spontaneous, but I always manage to miss a program I want to watch. And no, I don't have any of those DVR/Tivo recording things. (Costs extra money that I'm not willing to pay. Money's tight, you know.) And I'm not even getting into so-called reality TV shows.

I'm not one of those people who wants to drop social media or anything, but I've been scarce as of late. Well, more so than usual. Part of this is due to being in the thick of a new novel. I'm at the point where the gears are in full swing and I'm easily knocking out a couple thousand words a day (which is always a feat because I work full time and have a family). That makes me happy. It's been a long time coming with this particular story. I started it at least five years ago and eventually had to rewrite the first thirty thousand words. When I get this involved in a project, social media is the first thing to go. But there's one more aspect to why I've been feeling like an outsider. Publishing. This is one hell of a tough business. I struggle. And struggle. And struggle. There are publishers who don't have the decency to respond to pitches or short story submissions, which infuriates me. This is nothing new, and it happens to all of us, but that doesn't make it any better. I have a boatload of patience. I've waited over two years for a rejection from a pro zine after being shortlisted. Thing is, they responded to the few queries I sent during that duration of time. Is it so fucking difficult to be a human being, to have decency. Did some publishers forget what it's like to be on the waiting end? And don't get me started on not responding to queries. I can understand that emails get lost or sucked into the SPAM filter, but that excuse only works so many times. Everyone has their goddamned cell phones on them at all times, so how hard is it to write a simple message? By the looks of some people's facebook and twitter output, not hard at all.

I keep writing. I love this new story, and I'm editing a novel I finished at the beginning of the year that I feel optimistic about. Not sure how I'm going to shop it around, but I think I'll try something different. Thing is, whenever I have doubts about publishing I realize that I cannot stop. I love it. I may only sell a few short stories and novels here and there (a mere fraction of my actual output), but so be it. I'm getting better. I'm learning from mistakes and critiques and those leading the path ahead of me. Writing is a balm for my troubled mind. It's a place I can go when everything seems to fall in on me. Life can be a bastard, but I always persevere. This isn't a pity party, just a place I can get some shit off my mind. Better here than on facebook, right?

Keep on doing what gives you pleasure just so long as you're not harming anyone.


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