Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right...

...and here I am, stuck in the middle*.  Or at least that's how I feel. 

Lemme back up a bit and esplain** some things.

First off, I'm generally a nice person who would like everyone to just get along (and if they can't, expects them to at least fake it).  Second, I get really uncomfortable when people fight - physically, verbally or internetally (not a word, but you get my drift).  Third, this general discomfort brings on a huge case of my favorite defense mechanism: Escape / Avoidance.

Backing up:
Recently there have been several dust-ups and hullaballoos circulating the internet in reference to science fiction writers (who's too traditional in the gender stereotypes, who's hosting whatever conference, blahdy-blahdy-blah).  I don't really give two hoots.  I don't care about the sides.  I don't care about the issues.  I just like to read books.  I just like to write books.  I don't really want to know who pissed in whose Wheaties or who made who cry or who's an ass and who's a whiner.  I just want to open the pages of a story and get lost inside.

As a writer, I really don't want to know or get involved.  Just typing this could get my agent-hunting ass in trouble.

But I'm actually writing this as a reader. 

As a reader, I want all the people involved on both sides of these things that you're making me really really not want to buy your books.  And since two of my favorite authors are on opposite sides of most of these things, you're really bumming me out. 

When I open your books, I want to get lost in the wonderful stories you invent.  Now, instead of getting lost, I have a running refrain in the back of my head that so and so is acting like a jerk and the other so and so is acting like a baby.  And the memories of all the wonderful things they've said about each other come bubbling up, RUINING my reading experience.

Which, if I remember correctly - you know, as the writer part of me - is exactly the opposite of what you're supposed to be going for. 

Maybe most readers aren't privy to this crap because they aren't also writers.  Maybe it's only a small percent of the populous who feel the same way.  Hell, maybe it's just me.  But for my sake, and the sake of others like me, knock it off.  Play nice.  Cuz right now, I feel like I'm in the middle of a custody battle and instead of choosing one side or the other, I'm saying "I don't want to be with either of you".

Which kinda sucks since you both having books coming out that I really would've like to read. 

And no, I'm not calling either of these people Jokers or Clowns... but if the song fits, play it.

*For those of you who don't get the reference, the post's title is from a 1972 song called "Stuck in the Middle".

** Channeling Inigo Montoya for a moment there.


  1. No wonder you and I are friends - that whole paragraph 'Esplaining' (referencing The Princess Bride - my favorite movie of all time) is me. Exactly. Be nice, don't fight, hate confrontation - hide/escape/avoid until things return to status quo.

    That being said - I have no idea what you're talking about. Mostly because I am not on social media, so I miss a lot of stuff like this. But also because I don't read SF. I do agree, however, that authors should play nice - if you're going to be out there, open and available to your readers, then act professionally. If I follow an author, I want him/her to entertain me (even outside of the books - Susan Elizabeth Phillips comes to mind) - not get into a verbal disagreement with fellow authors.

    Great post, B.E.

    1. LOL, I'm glad you got that, Janet. And yeah, the whole idea of confrontation makes me shudder.

      So glad you have no idea what I'm talking about. I tried to say what I wanted to say and be vague enough to avoid confrontation about it.


  2. See...I got Esplaining from I Love Lucy (because that's how Ricky always said it!). Anywhoo...

    I don't read SF. However, I do know how some of those authors act (not that I know who you're talking about, because I don't), I've seen them at conventions. They're a very strange bunch, I'll say that much. I just ignore them, though, because...ahem...I don't read SF. I'll watch the heck out of it, though!

    But, I know how you feel. Hard to take sides when both sides are being stupid.

    1. There's that, too, Stacy. But yeah, in Princess Bride there's a scene where Inigo Montoya says 'Let me esplain.. no, there is no time. Let me sum up."

      I was using SF to include paranormal, too. (I should've said SF/F.) I don't know that they act a certain way, but it seems like there's a big division in there somewhere.


  3. I used to edit a big SFF newsletter and regularly talked to and interviewed some big name authors.

    One of the reasons I don't read a lot of "popular" SF authors any more is because I found myself greatly disillusioned by them. A few were insanely myopic and tactless when it came to other writers. Others continue to be wonderful people as well as wonderful authors. But the bad apples can really taint a barrel.

    1. Wow, Maria, that must've been cool. And disheartening. I hate when I find out a popular person I like is really a dork in real life. Totally ruins the reading / viewing / listening experience for me.

  4. As an author, I don't talk about politics (usually), religion, reviews, or in anyway badmouth readers, agents, publishers, etc.

    As a reader--which I was way before I became an author, I've stopped reading authors because I don't appreciate their baboon behavior. Why do otherwise seemingly intelligent people devolved into $h!+-throwing monkeys? It's not attractive. It doesn't win friends and can certainly make more than a few enemies.

    And thanks for the earworm. I'll be freaking singing it all day now. Or I'll find a better worm. ;)

    1. Exactly, Silver. I try really hard to keep certain opinions to myself. There's just too much chance of something coming back to bite me in the butt.

      And that's it exactly, too. Monkey antics are never attractive. They're just sad.

      Sorry about the earworm. Mine has shifted from this song over to Royals by Lorde, if that helps.