College Dictionaries and Slow Death Comix

Jaxon’s great cover over great underground comix including Richard Corben. Had to have it. Image attribution.

When I sit down to write I really only consider one audience: me.

I know that’s probably audacious considering I’m in a field where everyone is concerned with What Sells and What Doesn’t Sell. I don’t really care.

See, the thing is if I worry about or research What Sells I’m going to be behind the curve. I can’t afford to be behind the curve because I’m not anywhere near the road that curves one way or the other. I pay more attention to What Doesn’t Sell than anything else but only to know if I’m going to have trouble selling a story if I get brave enough again to send it out.

Like Modern Day SF. I like to write stories that aren’t necessarily set in today’s world, but maybe they’re only a few years ahead of us. I grew up a couple of favorite stories that were obviously set on Earth, just a few years ahead of the time I was reading them. They still hold up as being a few years ahead of Now though they were written in the 50s and 60s. So that’s the model I sometimes go for. Trouble is, I’ve run into a couple of publishers who don’t even want to look at that stuff and those had been places I’d wanted to send stuff. I suppose I should have sent it anyway, but I’m digressing from my topic.

Or maybe not. Because I write for myself first I don’t really worry all that much about what anyone else will think of what I’m writing. I mean, I hope people will like it but that’s not really important to me. Yes, I want to be published and I want to write for a market and get it out there for other people to like or dislike as they see fit but it’s not what drives me. For instance I know my Mom reads most everything I post online (and Dad does, too, when Mom gives it to him to read).

I don’t really worry what Mom thinks of my writing other than if it was a good story or blog post. I can’t. If I start writing to someone other than me, I won’t be true to what’s in my head getting onto the page, digital or otherwise. My parents raised me to understand words and their meanings and to use them appropriately. I was given a college dictionary when I was still in 7th grade and of course the first words I looked up were The Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television. Yeah, they were there.

Mom and I had a long talk. When I got my copy of Slow Death Comix #2 I saw a word that I hadn’t encountered before. She told me it was okay to know it but to use if sparingly if at all. It’s a word I find particularly distasteful and have never used – so far – in any writing. I can honestly say that if it were appropriate, I would. There’d be no worry about offending my parents.

Or anyone else who understands words.

But it all starts with me sitting down to write. For me.

Jason Arnett is a storyteller living in Kansas and writing in the plains of the fantastic. Some of his work can be found at www.jasonarnett.com

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