Welcome you bloody beautiful horror fans! Recently some ignorant remarks had me seeing red so rather than pick up a butcher knife I set to my keyboard to purge the insanity from my system. I know I'm not alone so I'm posting my rant here as I know some of you will be able to relate. Let the therapy begin!
I don’t offend easily but recently I was and this rant is about why. Call my work utter shit, tell me I’m a worthless hack who will never know success, tell me no one would ever want to read such drivel and I don’t really care. I have confidence in my writing and I know it won’t be for everybody, it isn’t Harry Potter. I write horror so by default I won’t be read by every reader on the planet regardless of how good or bad what I write is but guess what? There is no genre that is loved by every single person on the planet! Personally, I hate romance novels and movies of which there are an almost infinite number in the world. Does that mean that these things shouldn’t exist just because I don’t like them? Of course not and I would never suggest such a thing. So when someone tells me I should write something “more popular” the only thing that pops into my head is “Fuck You!” Don’t like what I write? Don’t fucking read it, I don’t really care. If I have no clue how to do what you do for a living you would probably think it rude and presumptuous of me to show up at your place of employment and start telling you how you’re doing your job all wrong. If I did that the best case scenario is that you’d be annoyed but more likely it would royally piss you off. So if you have never done a creative thing in your entire life, nor tried to, what gives you the idea that you can tell me how or what I should create?
I won’t completely shame the person who got my dander up as they were a friend at one point back in my old life before I started writing. I haven’t seen this person or been around them in person for several years so some things I can forgive. Now let me set the scene that has led me to being pretty damn pissed off, several weeks ago now, I received a rejection on a piece of writing I had submitted. It happens, I wasn’t really very upset about it. However, like most of us these days I had the outlet of social media to vent the slight frustration I felt. It doesn’t really matter the reason, it never feels good to receive a rejection. So I took to my trusty Facebook account simply writing, “Think I'm really hating overly polite rejections. Please stop telling me "we enjoyed it but..." That's like losing a game by one point. I'd rather you say, "we found your writing terrible, total drivel!" You're rejecting my work so just blast it, I'd feel your rejection is actually justified in that instance.” I didn’t rant and rave about the editor and publisher who rejected my work I merely vented a little frustration because I needed to release it. Now you should know I’m no FB drama queen nor do I go “fishing” - posting vague statements so people will ask me what’s wrong or some such which is something that annoys the fuck out of me about Facebook but that’s an entirely different rant. I have a lot of writer friends on Facebook who I thought may be able to relate so I left it at that. As you can see it was a fairly nice rejection I received so while I was a little disappointed, as I am with any rejection, I was content to just leave it there. As I expected some conversations about rejections ensued then in chimed my old non-writer, non-creative and apparently “born again Christian” friend (he seriously goes overboard on the Jesus shit for a guy who used to brag that cocaine was a “pussy magnet”).
So having no details whatsoever this old friend assumed that the work that was rejected was of my normal horror variety. Now that would be a safe assumption 99% of the time so I can forgive that part but his comment has been harder to let go of and it seems he is now really latched on to the idea persisting to push his point at every opportunity whether one is given or not. So his first comment which kind of pissed me off, but I was willing to let slide, was essentially that I should try writing something more popular “instead of Just Darkness.” He was even so kind as to provide some examples of the cliffhanger type serials I should be writing “like The Walking Dead, The A Team, Dukes of Hazard, & Sopranos!” Telling me powerfully, “Don't Alienate 1/2 your Audience!” Rather than shouting obscenities at an old friend I took a deep breath explaining the work I was referencing was an essay intended to be inspirational not the horror I usually write. In an attempt to end any further debate on the matter I added that “I will never… never sacrifice my artistic integrity to write some uber popular drivel just to sell copy.” That is exactly how I feel on the matter and that should have been the end of it or at least a reasonable person would think so but, of course, he had to add some more ignorance I won’t bore you with. Since I’ve known him a long time I decided to just let it slide and didn’t respond further.
As I said at the beginning I don’t offend easily and I’m pretty easy going. This person has been injecting their unwanted opinion on things with increasing frequency which occasionally gets annoying but when it’s mostly harmless I try to let it go. The presumptuousness of what he said bothered the shit out of me but as long as it didn’t persist I was fine with it. I know I’m not Stephen King nor do I want to be but telling me that if I want to be successful I should write something of a more popular nature is mind bogglingly ignorant to me. I guess I’m supposed to write about pre-teen witches and wizards who must compete in a tournament to the death while attempting to overthrow an evil overlord who turns out to be a sadist training his new slave who is secretly in love with a sparkly vampire. Let’s see did I hit all the popular tropes? I mean I wouldn’t want to leave anything out or I might miss a demographic. I can understand where this person is coming from because he is in the mindset that the only measure of success is the amount of money in your bank account. He doesn’t know or realize that I don’t measure success in that fashion nor would he understand why. I did something last year that I never even dreamed would be a possibility just a few short years ago, I became a published author. I’ve since done it again and soon I will again and from there even more barring an accident amputating both of my arms. You see, my old friend doesn’t realize I am already more of a success than he will ever be. He may have a bigger house. He may drive a more expensive car. He most assuredly has a bigger bank account at the moment. Some will look at things like that and say he is a success to which I can say, “But is he immortal?” No matter how “popular” what I’ve written is now or in the future, the fact is that unless the world comes to an end my words are in print. They will outlive me, they will outlive my son, they will outlive my grandchildren and my grandchildren’s grandchildren provided mankind survives how badly we’ve f’d up this planet. Money comes and money goes in our lives but books can last forever. Success like beauty is in eye of the beholder but if money is your only measure of success your eyes are blind to any true beauty.
A few days passed since that initial injection of ignorance into my life and as I do, I had let it go. Then it reared its ugly head again and I really felt like exploding. Somebody had posted one of those FB tropes showing a cabin in the woods with the caption of could you live here for a month without internet, phone or TV for $100,000, you’ve probably seen something similar if you’ve ever been on FB as I’ve seen several different ones float around from time to time. Personally I would do that shit for fucking free and to express my willingness to do so I shared this particular meme with my additional comment of “Do you realize how much I could write in this scenario? I accept faster than you can say a.” Seriously I could write at least 3 or 4 novels given a month with not a single distraction, probably more. Again I assumed some of my fellow writers might comment in agreement but beating them all to it was that same old friend again with some new suggestions about where I should get ideas from. Now just to be clear if you are not me, and I’ll presume you are not, you have absolutely no fucking idea how my mind works and where I get my ideas from or my process for developing those ideas making your suggestions a waste of your time and mine. The only suggestions I actually take into account come from people I love and respect and even then only if they are generalities. I’ll give you an example of a proper suggestion to me, a short time ago I was talking with my girlfriend and she said something along the lines of, “You should try writing a mystery. I think you could do a really good one.” See what she did there? She just gave me a little food for thought, some food that ironically I had been chewing on for some time prior to her suggestion. I have a few stories in mind that will involve some mystery and, in large part, due to this suggestion I made my first novel a horror mystery. That’s the kind of suggestion that works for me and again it came via a person I love and respect. Now for the opposite example or “how to do it wrong” courtesy of my old friend who commented this utter nonsense, “Final Piece Of Advice & Then You Can Use Your "Free Will"! Google Origin Of FREE WILL & Origin Of Your Zodiac Sign & Hit Images On Bottom Bar! You Will NEVER Run Out Of EPIC, Survived The Test Of Time Stories, Passed Down By Your Bloodline! YOU WILL BE FAMOUS & PROSPEROUS!! I AM AQUARICES!!!” He followed this all up with 16 fucking pictures in a row leaving no time to respond at all just blindly posting dumbass shit I couldn’t give two fucks about! His whole point was to let me know that there is a vast mythology out there to pull from to inspire future (and apparently more popular than “Just Darkness”) tales. Really?!? OMG thank you so much Captain Fucking Obvious I had no idea there was a vast pool of history and mythology from which to draw inspiration! So hoping to shut him the fuck up I tried to insert a comment amidst the barrage of idiocy letting him know that I actually have something in mind that works in the Greek myth of Sisyphus but he wasn’t actually interested in a conversation where normal people can have an exchange of ideas and something fruitful may have even come from that. No, what he was not so subtlely trying to tell me is that I should look to the bible and the zodiac for some really great ideas. If he only knew the blasphemy I intend to unleash someday his head might actually explode and at this point I wouldn’t give a shit if it did.
I apologize for the rant but I had to get it out. If this was the only incident of ignorance I had to deal with (along with every other budding horror writer I would assume) I probably would’ve just ignored it as much as possible but it’s not. It wasn’t too long ago someone who has no respect for what I do went all passive aggressive on me talking about someone they know who is working on some fantasy book or series which is “actually popular.” Yes, that last bit is a direct quote. The not so subtle suggestion was that horror isn’t popular which appears to be the feeling of my old friend as well and all I can say to them is, “What fucking world are you living in?” Seriously, look around! Have you ever heard of a Romantic Comedy Film Festival or some shit like that? Look it up, I’ll wait. Oh, didn’t find anything? Now search Horror Film Festival, I won’t wait this time because you’re gonna be awhile. There are Horror Fests all over the place even little Tucson where I now reside has a Horror Film Festival. Horror is everywhere because horror fans are everywhere and just like heavy metal fans they are the most loyal fans on the face of the damn planet. How do I know that? BECAUSE I’M FUCKING ONE OF THEM!! Why are horror fans so loyal? We are loyal because you can’t be a casual horror fan. It’s the same with heavy metal. This is the kind of stuff that is just a part of your soul or it isn’t. So write something more popular? If you can name me another genre that has festivals dedicated to it in every major city and innumerable smaller cities and towns across the United States, Europe and beyond then I’ll bow to your suggestion. But if you can’t (and trust me, you can’t - Sci-Fi is closest but not close) then please do me and every other horror writer, horror film maker and horror fan a favor and please, for the love of Satan, SHUT YOUR FUCKING PIE HOLE, YOU IGNORANT, CLOSE MINDED, PRESUMPTUOUS FUCKTARD! Now, if you’ll excuse me I have some more “unpopular” horror to write.
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