A worried artist…
There’s been a lot on the web lately about political correctness and the havoc it’s wreaking on society: Can’t we all just get along, for crying out loud?
Kristen Lamb wrote a post called The Disease of Self-Importance—Can We Find a Cure? that I would NEVER have been brave enough to write. Jami Gold wrote a follow-up piece full of fabulous badassery about how Political Correctness could endanger diversity in books.
I agree with these ladies…if we allow this excessive political correctness to reign, I worry it will discourage authors from writing in diverse genres and innovative mediums. I fear creatives will stop exploring the boundaries of “normal” and fiction will become stagnant.
Then, last week, my kickass critique partner, Laura Drake, sent me the following post. I immediately asked her if I could have this magnificence for More Cowbell.
Read on, and see if you agree with me: it’s perfect for Thoughty Thursday!
Publishing and Dinosaurs
By Laura Drake
I’m a dinosaur. Hipness has passed me by. I was cool, back in the seventies (do the math). Then one fated night, I was hanging out at a bar, and I realized I was the oldest one there. The world shifted.
Did this mean when my parents said that at one time they were cool, I should have believed them? Was I fated to turn into my parents? Yeah, pretty much. But that angst is for a different meeting.
Today’s culture is different. It’s gotten so cool to be negative. I’m talking lowest-common-denominator MEAN.
Americans used to celebrate their uniqueness. People were encouraged to be who they wanted to be, and to make decisions against the majority, as long as it didn’t hurt anyone else. Today, you’re still theoretically allowed to, but it’s going to cost you dearly in the court of public opinion.
Case in point: the current state of publishing.
I have opinions about what is going on in the current publishing world. Especially since one of my publishers is the one currently in negotiations with Amazon, and the other was just bought out. But I’m not going to voice my opinions, here or anywhere else. Because I don’t trust that there won’t be a backlash against me.
There’s traditional vs. indie…
Indie vs. indie…
Amazon vs…. Never mind.
Increasingly, I have the same question as Jenny: Can’t we all just get along?
I recently read an industry insider blog I’ve always respected. The opinions used to be thoughtful, insightful, and balanced. Lately, they’re more and more slanted to one side. Besides blogging the hard news (yes, I know that’s slanted too), they’re beginning to post the comments they receive as news.
I find that worrisome. If I wanted people’s “opinions,” I know where to get them.
Maybe NY publishing is going down. Maybe self-publishing is going to be hurt by the sheer glut of new content. Maybe global warming is going to get us all…but WHY does either side have to be so positively gleeful about the other side “going down in flames?”
I get taking sides; there’s nothing wrong with that. Being objective is difficult.
But this isn’t a zero sum game…
- By my losing, you don’t win.
- By my winning, you don’t lose.
- By trying to make me look like an idiot, does that make you somehow smarter? Or more right?
When did polite discourse end?
Did I sleep through this war? Because suddenly, it’s just there, raging all around me with vitriol flying across comment sections, conference rooms and social media. Instead of celebrating together the new freedoms all writers have to choose from, I see people tearing down whatever side they’re not on.
I just don’t understand WHY.
Although it has bothered me for a long time, what brought it to the fore this week was a comment on the above-referenced blog. It was well written, and I could even see the author’s point – right up until they began spewing poison about the other side.
I almost wrote a hopefully erudite argument, proposing polite discourse in the comments. I didn’t, for fear of retribution. Instead, I slunk away, sad and ashamed of my silence.
Even though I wish we all could just get along, that doesn’t mean I want us to be alike. I want us to celebrate our out-of-the-box thinking, our diverse interests and the amazing writing community we’re lucky to be part of.
This is about the best time in history to be a writer, and I’m worried that we’re wasting it.
David Dory said, “every culture is defined by its artists.” If the artists have all become conformists, what happens then?
Huge thanks to Laura for being courageous enough to share her thoughts with us. We love discussions like this here at More Cowbell!
Do you think Laura’s cry for a more rational community applies only to writers, or is this a universal issue? Have you noticed this same shift? Please be honest — I won’t allow any trolls into the comments section…you’re safe. :-)
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Laura’s double RITA® Finalist, The Sweet Spot, has been included in a contemporary western anthology that will be released June 3.
Read it, and 5 other great cowboy romances for just $3.99. Click here to order!
Laura Drake is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She writes both Women’s Fiction and Romance.
She sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series, romances set in the world of professional bull riding, to Grand Central. The Sweet Spot (May 2013), Nothing Sweeter (Jan 2014) and Sweet on You (August 2014.) The Sweet Spot has recently been named a Romance Writers of America® RITA® Finalist in both the Contemporary and Best First Book categories. Her ‘biker-chick’ novel, Her Road Home, sold to Harlequin’s Superromance line (August, 2013) and has expanded to three more stories set in the same small town. Reasons to Stay will release August, 2014.
This year Laura realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.
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Worried man photo credit: Steve Snodgrass via photopin cc