Not About Hugos
Not really, at least. Not mostly? Anyway, watching what seems like half the world lose their ever-loving minds over what is essentially an episode of epic-level trolling (albeit with a point) has been a delight. I’m certain we’ll be entertained (subjected to?) more of the same between now and LonCon in August. If you’re just joining the party – and there’s cold beer in the fridge and several lifetimes’ supply of popcorn – the fracturing within the Social Justice Warrior faction of the scifi community has been equally entertaining, with some of the usual suspect turning downright reasonable. Brandon Sanderson has again demonstrated what a stand-up guy he is, and Larry and Vox have come in for more than their fair share of vituperation. So much so, in fact, that the delightful Mrs. Correia has expressed her displeasure at having to reassure acquaintances that, no, her husband isn’t a dangerous, evil-minded hatey mchaterson who poses a clear and present danger to her and her children. (He’s a big softy, really.) Silly them. As Sarah can attest to, Larry is not the Correia whose anger you most want to avoid.
This isn’t about the Hugos, though. Really! That one’ll be at According To Hoyt, first Monday in May.
This post is about writing! This is a writing blog, and so we talk about writing here. Oh, very quickly, before I get to that, Mrs. Dave and I will be joining Sarah and Kate at RavenCon this weekend, where Sarah and I will endeavor to prevent Kate from wreaking grievous slaughter upon the SJW contingent in attendance. Ok, I’ll be working to prevent the two of them from tag-teaming the rest of the con. Ok, I’ll be holding their coats and mixing drinks for afters.
So, back to the writing. Especially in genre fiction, we work at portraying things which are alien. They may be immortal creatures of questionable moral views perpetrating great wickedness upon innocent – and not-so-innocent – humanity. They may be intelligences of other-than-organic nature, newly awakened to a stinky, smelly world full of illogical (and stinky) organic creatures. They may actually be aliens. Or, they could simply be the slightly odd kid next door who has nary a hair out of place and never leaves the house.
So, I have a confession to make. I’m not really a mad genius. Right now, I’m at best a disgruntled genius, and there’s a goodly bit of concern about the latter part of that epithet. A big part of that can – and should – be chalked up to the last few months being more or less hellish on the stressor front. Lots of travel, no routine, funerals, family dynamics, more travel, impending fatherhood (Mrs. Dave and Working Title are doing just fine; it’s Daddy that’s losing his mind) more travel, WE THREW A PARTY (so. many. people.) and now we’re off to RavenCon, and in a month Mrs. Dave will go into labor and sometime thereafter I’ll never sleep soundly again. I think my characters are lined up waiting to see if I crack, and that’s why they haven’t been pestering me lately.
So, yeah: stress.
We deal with stress all the time. For most of us, it’s one of the few things to pull us out of our skulls and force us to deal with the rest of the world. The stress of paying bills (note: need to get tax stuff set up for this year), the stress of opening the fridge and seeing two rubbery carrots and a container of questionable mustard, the stress of watching parts of humanity go nughouse bucking futs and attempt to drag civilization into a parallel 1950s (but this time, THEY’RE in charge! (this is not about the Hugos)). There are also “good” stressors. Going to a con, drinking too much scotch (that’s a thing?) meeting interesting people, hanging out with old friends, etc. Sometime soon, I need to get my motorcycle squared away, and that’s got its own set of associated stressors.
Stress is just a thing, neither good nor bad. In some ways, it resembles a tool that way. Like a circular saw, or a firearm. Theoretically, we can use it to our advantage. (If you know how, please fill me in on the process.) And when the stress load gets too high, things start to fall apart. “Fun” and “relaxation” become work, and things that we used to enjoy simply kill the time.
For me, my writing has suffered. A lot. You can probably tell from reading this that I’m not exactly the most focused. Fiction just falls apart. It used to be a matter of getting into a groove and just running with it. Lately, every word is dragged out of a noxious morass. And stuff.
Is there hope?
Of course, there is. Things always change, and rarely move in one direction for long. Personally, I plan to forge a new routine. I’m not really sure what that’s going to look like. It’ll have a lot of physical activity. I’ll dust off the bicycle, perhaps. Maybe I’ll just hit the gym several more times a week than has been the case in recent months. Exertion is one of those things that keeps me sane-ish and on a more or less even keel. When stress looms, find those things and cling to them. I have a friend who paints miniatures. It relaxes him. This is a good thing. Another thing I’ll be doing is building an airsoft trap and working on my marksmanship. Lots of fundamentals. Trigger control, breath control, stance, drills.
What do you do when life starts to wobble? (see? this wasn’t about the Hugos AT ALL)