I found that I was mistaken, about a great many things. Yes, this is a coming out post and about starkly honest matters in general. Deal.
I fully realize and take complete responsibility for the fact that afterterra.com has been dormant for the latter quarter of 2019. It has been dormant as a blog and as a hub for everything to do with my flagship science fiction series. I could point to a number of reasons that played into this, such as participating in NaNoWriMo, or my haphazard personal life, or in prioritizing my next novel over publishing anything on this here site. At the end of the day, these things are excuses. If I had the passion to update my site, I would have found the time and found a way.
Does that mean I don’t care about this site? Not at all. Do you stop loving a family member or stop caring about a friend if you lose touch for weeks or even months? No. Daily life has a way of pulling you away from remembering such priorities, especially if you have to work to survive. For some of us, the escape from reality’s crushing pressures becomes its own full time job, a way to recover and regenerate from the demands of an arbitrary “real” existence. The energy needed to maintain “real” life and the energy needed to recover from living it leaves precious little for the things we really want to do.
That leads one to make a choice. You can either piss and moan and blame reality, society, other people, whatever, for this dilemma, or you can face yourself and understand that perhaps a reshuffling of energies and priorities is in order. “You either believe in yourself or you don’t,” as James T. Kirk once said. This idea can extend further into whatever endeavor it is you are striving to achieve. True, the world is full of shit. Society has more ills than I can properly cover in a single blog, and there is some legitimate blame to go around as to why so many of us toil and slave away and never get to make a living doing what we want to do instead of what we have to do. But you can only ride the blame train for so long before you have to take responsibility for your own actions, or inactions. When I was at one of my lowest points in all of life and had become disillusioned with almost everything—to the point where I became supremely vulnerable to she who in retrospect was the biggest abuser I’ve ever encountered—I eagerly blamed my job, society, my country, even my family for my woes. I never asked to be born into this miserable world, I never asked to be a citizen of a country that is destroying itself piece by piece. But I can acknowledge that these things are beyond my control, and say, “look, this is the hand I’ve been dealt. Others have done more with less.” Because they believed in themselves, and in what they were doing, and they refused to allow life’s mundane bullshit to stop them from achieving their goals.
What do I believe in with After Terra? I believe that I can give you, a science fiction audience (or alternatively an audience that loves character-driven adventures), something you have been craving for a long time: a spiritual successor, the next torchbearer for Star Trek, Star Wars, Farscape, Firefly, et cetera. I’m writing for those of you, like me, who don’t believe for a second that science fiction is a dead genre, but merely one that has been lacking a touchstone for a generation or longer, one that is waiting for a watershed in the 21st century. I’m writing for those who are sick of rehashes, remakes, who are tired of the supposed leaders of modern creative media flushing good storytelling down the toilet in favor of lens flares, shoddy writing, mysteries that go nowhere, explosions, and weird camera work.
Some have advised me that when I have been low, I should focus on writing for myself. Well, I can write for myself until I am green in the face. It doesn’t matter when I have something that I am writing for an audience, and not an audience of one. So I have stumbled, I have made a lot of screw ups. Unlike some authors, I choose not to hide these things in an attempt to appear austere. Don’t let anyone delude you otherwise; there is no magical curtain between authors and non-authors. We aren’t any different from you, fundamentally, except perhaps for an excessive capacity for enduring criticism, rejection, judgment, ridicule, and disappointment. In other words, we’re masochists. So, I know I am going to make more mistakes down the line. Some of you out there, whether because you have a legitimate reason to not like what I do or because you’re a troll, aren’t going to contribute anything positive to the journey. Maybe you’ll be a nice person that I can agree to disagree with, or maybe you’ll be a fucking asshole. I can’t control that. But if I can create a living, breathing universe for you fellow sci-fi lovers to get lost in and enjoy, one that isn’t going to stab you in the face like some other promising franchises have, then it’s all worth it.
I realize that the site has been on ice for a while. I intend to remedy that.
The following writing I am about to share is a piece of catharsis that wants out; it is not intended to be strictly poetic nor is it necessarily a story. It is a raw piece of expression. It only in a fractional way has to do with After Terra; readers of the entire series up to this point may understand where it has synergy. Those of who also know me in my personal life and happen to know some of my situation, you would be mistaken to assume you know who I am talking about with my use of pronouns in this writing expression.
It’s not necessarily that I believe I owe anyone here on the internet anything per se. However, those of you who have taken the time and/or money to follow what I do and read my books, I do believe you ought to have my thanks, and more of an incentive to visit this (admittedly still obscure) website of mine.
I have long since given up on trying to keep up with the endless trough that is social media. My life is so much better and richer for having dropped all but the bare minimum presence on Facebook, for example. I have started posting more often on the Instagrams (https://www.instagram.com/neo_ragnarok/) because I like that the presences there are more focused on art and less on politics, blathering, or generally useless and inane opinions on any and everything. Even there, though, I don’t have much time invested. I don’t care about trying to optimize my presence to get more likes and followers. You either like what I do or you don’t. This generation and society in general have become sickeningly addicted to social media, to instant gratification. It seems that so many go batshit crazy if they aren’t being constantly bombarded with information and content. Art gets buried in the feed. Meaningful wisdom is overshadowed. Success is less about quality and more about how much you can spam feeds.
I stand in a weird place here, as someone whose voice is currently being heard in large part only due to the modern artist’s conveniences of the internet, a website, and the relative ease of self-publishing. Yet I despise the mechanisms that have spawned around and between these things, so here I am using a modern boon to say that I think we lost something crucial by abandoning the days where quality won out over quantity. Would things have been different if we were slower and more responsible in our adopting the internet and the digital age? Certainly, though the same could also be said for most innovations or breakthroughs, such as, say, atomic power…
So, I appreciate all of you who have read my work or taken the time to comment on one of my blogs, or who likes the artwork I’m posting. That’s really cool, and I want to going forward make any investment in me on your part worth your time. But it’s not going to be from quantity. I’m not gonna be blowing up your inboxes or your feeds. Like any treasure, you’re gonna have to do some digging here and meet me halfway. In so doing, you’re going to get something better than the torrent of spam that is flooding most of the internet. If you don’t like that, and want to follow someone who is going to constantly bombard you with updates and content, you might as well exit stage left, because that’s not me, and trying to be that way was detrimental to my existence and happiness.
Here’s to art, to quality, to creating and sharing something meaningful.
It isn’t what most people think.
Is this a fictional story? A real life anecdote? Literary philosophical waxing? I leave it to your interpretation. (more…)
Spoiler alert! It’s an article about spoilers and my stance on them.