“We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” – Thomas Jefferson (more…)
When art and potential are dragged down by greed and terrible leadership, this is the result. Spoilers ahead.
If you’ll indulge me, I’m going to tell you what scared me to the spine most about coming out as being a transgender individual, and it wasn’t the conservative, right wing of the Western world’s political spectrum.
Oh, to be fair, I certainly had fear in my heart about the Right. But you see, that to me was an obvious, blatant threat, akin to the Stormtroopers in Star Wars. Bear in mind I don’t see all right-wingers in that light, nor do I think of all GOP supporters as fascists like some of my contemporaries, however the simile of my detractors being as blatant and obvious as Imperial Stormtroopers holds true. I can see my conservative and religious opponents coming from a kilometer away, typically, and they are a clear cut obstacle.
But the far political Left, ah, that’s a whole other cookie to crumble, and that is what gave me the greatest pause in coming out, or exploring what I really am at all. Now, let me get one caveat out of the way: I do believe there are legitimate social justice issues in my country and the world at large, and I do believe there are legitimate, passionate crusaders in the world who want to affect positive changes and reforms regarding said issues. I do believe that protests are important and should be allowed. I believe that if someone wants to kneel during the Pledge of Allegiance, more power to them. But things quickly get muddy here. Social justice has been hijacked by and infected with radicalism. We have an entire generation now of internet warriors whose sole existence is to scour the ‘net for anything politically incorrect and offensive to their increasingly intolerant and narrow world view. The collective of individuals who are supposed to be the most progressive, tolerant, and open-minded, I have found instead to be the most rigid, destructive, intolerant, and hateful affiliation of people I have ever encountered.
Yes, social justice warriors, yes, cancel culture, I’m calling you out, and I call bullshit on you. Yes, I’m talking to the most extreme trans “activists” out there; you don’t speak for me, and both the LGBT community and civilization as a whole could do without your aggressive policing of thought and speech. In plainer language: you make us all look bad. The phobic and close-minded elements of the Right don’t even need to put any effort into finding ammo against gay, bi, queer, and trans folk, considering what the far Left hands them on a silver, polished platter.
To go back to the title of this post, and to make my point even simpler: I was terrified of being lumped in with you, SJWs, when coming out. I didn’t, and still don’t, want any part in the postmodern, deconstructionist agenda. At one time, when I was an angry person eager to rebel against any and everything (because I didn’t understand that the real war was inside me all along), I almost got lost in that movement of thought. I am glad I found a way to keep from falling all the way down that pit. There aren’t 69 or more genders, and the straight white man is not to blame for every problem you have. Sexism, racism, and homo/transphobia are real problems in the world, but you can’t blame every problem in our civilization on the obtuse patriarchy. The overwhelming majority of humanity is not obliged to bend over backwards for a tiny minority such as what I now belong to, and to expect culture, language, law, and economics to cater to your sensitivities is the pipe dream of someone living in a digital bubble, into which no disagreement or other way of thinking is allowed.
Gay people matter. Bisexual people matter. Trans lives matter. Black lives do matter, as point of fact. But radical, extreme activism and trying to tear down every pillar of human civilization is not going to accomplish any measure of social justice. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The last four years of the Twilight Zone that the United States just went through under the direction of a reality TV star is as much the fault of the Left as it is the Right. When you push the pendulum to an extreme in one direction, by nature it will swing to every bit the same extreme in the other. Those of us in the middle or out in the bleachers get run over in the process. If we don’t hold the current Left political swing in check, things will get worse.
Some of you will not want to hear any of this. Some of you won’t give my words any merit. Some of you who have been following me on various social media for whatever reason may hate me for saying all of this. My objective is not explicitly to anger or bring negativity into your life, but if you do respond with hostility, perhaps stop and think about why that is. And if I can prevent even one other person who is in the closet for whatever reason from experiencing the same fear and trepidation as me, then whatever scorn I just invited is worth it. Until next time.
In a follow up to a recent post, I am pleased to reveal more details about my next novel in progress.
Its codename is Blackout, and is the character driven, science fiction action thriller I alluded to before. A few more crumbs for you: it will be written in first person, and will feature a female protagonist. This will be my first novel to have both of those things. All of my prior works were written in third person, and previous novels have either had male protagonists or male/female lead splits.
I am also pleased to announce that I will be returning to Youtube with a new channel and will have a bevy of new content for my other social media presences to coincide with this, starting next month. I realize that in the past on this very blog I have made content promises that I underdelivered on. The truth is that the biggest problem about me sharing myself with the world was my identity crisis. I have always been embarrassed about my appearance and my voice, and this created an endless cycle of anxiety and apprehension about putting myself out there beyond saying “oh look here’s some books I wrote.” Now that I am my authentic self and am comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my adult life, and also now that I am on the cusp of having some good, legitimate recording equipment, I will be putting myself out there in equal measure to my creative work.
More to come soon!
Lots of movies and video games these days are being remastered and rereleased; the games industry is especially notorious for dusting off and rereleasing older titles because lack of creativity and originality and risk. I figure why not jump off that bridge too, eh?
I jest. Mostly.
The truth of the matter is that I released my first book too early. I pulled a CD Projekt Red move before that was even a thing, though to be fair at the time that was more like a Bethesda maneuver. I have talked about this in previous blog posts, but to reiterate, back in 2016 I was in a position where I didn’t expect to see many more days in my life, and I was obsessed with at least leaving something behind, a legacy. I was desperate to make my then-girlfriend and my family proud. I had something to prove to myself, which I then externalized to an unhealthy extent.
That’s a fanciful way of saying that I freaking rushed my first novel out the door too fast. Year 200’s basic foundation was solid and of course I fell in love with my characters, but I did not spend enough time on polishing the work, and especially I did not dedicate enough time to ensuring the work reflected my true creative voice. This is why I often mention that the sequel, In the Baron’s Shadow, is where I found my author voice. In that work, I had shaken off the overly enthusiastic and excessively quippy narrative tone I had previously adopted for blogging, and moved away from relying on the cliches and similes that are all too often used as crutches for beginning writers.
So then, I may be playfully calling this a remaster, but in reality this is an almost complete rewrite. The plot and character dialogue will not be altered, because I don’t believe in altering published canon (see the term, “Lucasing”), however the entire structure that the story, characters, and their interactions live upon is being rebuilt from the ground up. In addition, with this second crack at the story, I am going to be able to add back in elements that I cut from the original draft because at the time I felt I lacked the skill to implement them without killing the narrative flow.
For an idea of how this will look, here is the first paragraph of the book.
“Out in the fringe of the Solar System, two hundred years beyond Terra’s death, there was an aberration: a silent, star-lit field pierced in an ungraceful manner by a metallic human construction. The overworked, underpowered shuttle sputtered across the expanse, struggling to stay on course toward the blue orb in the distance. The passengers’ fragile hope of making it to their destination alive was wounded by a collision between the shuttle and a hunk of debris.”
And now, rewritten:
“It was quiet in this pocket of the Outer Solar System. That was, until an aberrant perturbation caused a relative ruckus. It was an overworked Type-E passenger shuttle, freshly caught by Neptune’s gravity. There was nothing in the vacuum to transmit the creaking inside its bulkheads, nor the crackling of sparks coming from its overloaded circuitry, but it made up for it with a wobbling, visual commotion and plenty of fresh interference to filter out in comms traffic.”
It is a short sample to pick up on this to be sure, but I’ve done away with the attempts to be overly cute in my narration, and have dialed back on the character descriptions and perspective-distancing titles that, to be frank, I ripped from games such as Borderlands. The final product will be a story that will at last be able to stand by its younger sisters, In the Baron’s Shadow and Lunacy.
More details to come on this and my other two aforementioned writing projects in 2021.
If you have followed me up until now, even in a haphazard fashion, you know that the After Terra series is my flagship as far as creative works, and that the fourth full length novel in said series, Return of the Gods, was due to release last year. It could have been made available last year. The book is done. I mean, of course there is still a lot of editing and finessing I am going to perform on the work, but it is already of a higher quality in its current state than anything I have published before, so I could have hit the button. But, I wanna do things right this time. Unlike Cyberpunk 2077, Return of the Gods will be released when it is truly ready, and when I have successfully rebuilt and reestablished myself as a creative entity, after having made the decision to commit to transitioning gender. Yeesh, what an ask of myself, eh? I tend to make that last bit sound like a smaller deal than it really is.
So while Return of the Gods is cooling its heels in my creative space, I do have two new writing projects lined up for 2021. One was technically started for last year’s NaNoWriMo, but I was unable to make as much progress as I normally do in Novembers. Said project is a memoir. That’s right, I’m writing about me. Maybe it will end up being more of an autobiography, not sure yet, but that’s a thing.
Along with this, I am working on new science fiction story. At this time all I am going to tease is that it will be written in first person, and one of the cinematic themes that will color the narrative and setting of the story is a future-transposed United States versus Soviet Union sort of vibe. Think of some Cold War, Space Race ideas played out over a cyberpunk space western and you might be on track to where I’m going with that. More to be revealed in the future.
This is less of a blog entry and more of a quickie update. This website is going to by and large retain its current appearance and function, however as of this writing my novels are temporarily unpublished. Used paperback copies may be in circulation, however I would take it as a kindness if you would not buy anything under my deadname. Of course I can’t physically stop you but you know, all I can do is ask. I will fix any potential broken links and make a new update when things are republished and tweaked to reflect my correct identity.
The gaming industry is much ado about… something. (more…)
I realize that this is a heck of a topic to jump into when I haven’t blogged in quite a while.
Part of what I’m about to say has been percolating for a while, I just hadn’t figured out the correct way to pull it from my brain and plaster it onto the page.
I think the 2020 United States Presidential Election has certainly cast a spotlight on the worst, most extreme elements on both sides of primary political division, and given my post’s title plenty of context. The far right in the U.S. makes us all look like heartless bastards who value money more than human life and decency, and that anyone who is not white, straight, and christian is invalid. While that is going on, the far left paints a picture of a world so enraptured with political correctness that no one dare breathe lest they offend someone.
Look. I came out this year as transgender. The left is clearly, generally speaking, more accommodating to me and others like me. Regardless of that, I recognize that the Dump/Sense administration is the most dangerous one that has ever been installed in the U.S., and if you can’t see jackboot authoritarianism for the threat to democracy that it is, I insist that you step outside your theocratic, nationalist, whitewashed bubble for a second and examine recent history from a more objective viewpoint.
But! Hold on second. I’m not gonna forget the far left. I was afraid to come out because of the hatred I was and am going to face from friends, family, and pretty much everybody I know who thumps a bible. However, I was just as afraid to come out because of how utterly ridiculous some of the most outspoken and extreme flagwavers of LGBT and minority movements make the rest of us look. We don’t need 69 or more gorram sets of genders or pronouns. If we keep making gender/sexuality flags we’re gonna run out of patterns for new countries to use in the future. Political correctness is bullshit. Respect people, use the name and basic pronouns that help them confirm their identity, treat others with decency, but for flarg’s sake don’t expect the whole world to conform to your safe space whims, and stop throwing a blanket over the mass of cisgendered folk, or as I prefer to say, those whose biological junk more or less matches what’s in their brainpan. The world needs masculine men and feminine women. Those who fall somewhere in between or fluctuate between the two are valid and we need those people too, but demonizing the many is not how to acknowledge and protect the few. Also, if you become as or almost as evil, vile, and destructive as what you oppose (referring to Antifa versus fascism), have you not defeated the purpose of your existence?
I think it’s safe to say that most of us Americans do fall in the middle of the two extremes we see in most media. Mainstream news flocks to whatever gets them the biggest story and the highest metrics. But regardless of if you’re right, left, or in my case, off in the woods, with your politics, I think it is for all of our good if we stop feeding attention and value to the extreme elements on all sides who have done nothing to deserve our time, money, or energy. We need fewer Trumps and fewer politically correct eggshells who think men are automatically evil and being a total snowflake is an actual point of pride and something to emulate.
So to the extremes, I say, shut the fuck up. You don’t speak for all of us.
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.