Alright. I’ve been sitting on this post for a bit now. Well, at least since last week. It’s going to be a tough one because there are so many things I want to say and express and I’m not totally sure I get all the feels I’m having right now about things.
I have wanted to be a writer since I was old enough to use a stapler to mash together some construction paper into a “book” about a Penguin who wanted to be a polar bear. It’s been that long. I have always been writing short stories, poetry (terrible, terrible poetry) small novellas and screenplays. Once, as a Freshman in high school, I got the chicken pox and was stuck inside, very sick, for nearly 3 weeks. During this time I decided that I was going to watch The Empire Strikes Back. 87 times. On VHS. This was no laughing matter. It dawned on me that this was as perfect a movie as would ever be made and I had to absorb all of it from the matte sets to the screenplay itself to the cast bios etc. I was young and obsessed (not that I’m NOT still obsessed, I’ve just decided to be obsessed with MORE things.) Anyway. During this spell, I also decided that I just had to know what happened next. But there was Jedi and then, well nothing. At the time, the Star Wars Universe as novels had not been introduced (or was so recently introduced that I had not stumbled upon it so I embarked upon a journey to write the next movie. I titled it (no joke, I had no idea the books existed at this point) “HEIR TO THE EMPIRE” and it was the story of a young Jedi Clone (seriously) who was the prodigy of the Emperor, held in stasis and released through a mishap after the final movie. I can’t remember most of the rest of the plot save that my heroes were ladies, (Leia and her grown daughter) and the Villain was a She, a young girl with the power to topple the hard won stability of the Alliance.
I was 14 and it was genius. Some time later I was in the local library and saw Timothy Zahn’s book. I was devastated but then not so much because hey, I wasn’t alone anymore in my need for fulfillment and double hey, someone did all the hard work for me getting that work out there. Anyway. I never let anyone read it. And when I read it now, I realize that it wasn’t so genius, but I’m still proud of myself for seeing where there was a need for the art and filling that need. Even if the only person that benefited was 14-year-old me.
Fast forward to now. Some (cough, cough) years later and I’m still writing. End of the World? Got that covered. Zombie Apocalypse In the bag. If I enjoy reading about it or watching about it, chances are I’m also writing about it. I’m still not quite to the “Share this with other people stage” but I’m getting closer. And there are reasons for that.
About a year ago? Maybe two? Sometime in the near past, I got myself on the Twitter. At first I was following three people. My husband, my husband’s cousin’s husband, and a man I knew from school. But then I got adventurous. What’s this? Wil Wheaton has a blog and a twitter account and what’s more he’s pretty articulate about things that I enjoy? Follow. Who is this crazy cat lady that writes this blog that makes me pee my pants and has videos of snail sex on occasion? She has a twitter? Follow. And so on. Every creative person I found on Twitter lead to ten more creative people and pretty soon it felt less like a social media account and more of a personalized news feed filled with the supportive, creative, positive sort of news we should all be sharing, reading and filling our day with. Pretty soon it encouraged me to drop Facebook (which was turning into a “LIKE OR SATAN WINS” sorta feed) and get my social networking/newsing from Twitter alone. It was a great decision.
I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s just that I have chosen to follow a particularly positive, like-minded, creative group of people on Twitter but I never regret checking in. I’ve read books I never would have heard of based on recommendations from authors (Chuck Wendig, Delilah Dawson, John Scalzi) I’d never heard of who I follow based on recommendations from people I’ll never meet in real life.
Jump ahead to right now. I recently watched Amanda Palmer’s TED talk about art and asking. If you haven’t watched it, pause and go do so now, then come back here. I’ll wait. Okay, I didn’t really wait, but it felt like I did yea? So Amanda says so many great things in this talk that every time I watch I cry. I feel that everyone can take something different away from this, but the most important thing? It got people talking. Talking about art, its value, how we value it as consumers, how we value it as the people making it and what it means to really, really participate in the art we love. Her talk inspired me to take the leap and back my first Kickstarter and she is absolutely right; when we “fund” the art, with dollars or sharing or volunteering to help it grow wings and fly, we become emotionally invested in that art. I chose “Fireside Magazine” as my first jump into being an invested participant in the creative process, and in return I received tweets of thanks from the writers, authors and artists I’d been stalking, ahem, following on twitter for over a year now. I’m getting signed art from people I adore. And what’s more, I’m putting myself out there for the first time. I will be submitting a piece to the magazine, whether it’s chosen or not means nothing to me. It’s the doing of this that is important. If I didn’t feel so emotionally invested in the project, it would not have crossed my mind. I’m taking the first step into a world that I’ve long admired and it’s that step that counts.
So the take away here is… I still don’t really know. I know that great, positive creative things are happening around me and I feel energized to be a part of them, even as a fringe onlooker and “NEWB” level participant. If you don’t believe me, hop on Twitter or check out a few of these folks who have blogged the same line of thought (I’m doing this post via laptop with a kidlet screaming in my ear or I’d list them all). There are people out there that will look after other people they’ve never met, there is a place for everyone in this big artistic world. No, we can’t all sell 100 million thousand billion copies of our books or albums or paintings, but we can find those people who are looking for the artistic hole only we can fill and to paraphrase Ms. Palmer again, we can let that be enough.