I just reviewed the final three stories of the Shootout. It was not as painful as I thought it would be. In fact, the story I picked to win I really, really loved. So that was pretty pleasant. Assuming my guess was correct, this was the first time I read this author, since they were on my team during the three-round preliminaries.
I've also made the decision to step away from WRiTE CLUB. It may have something to do with the fact that my entry came up today, and it was inexplicably another of the random stories that the good folks participating actually decided they didn't like. So my Shootout experience was not much of a fluke. My style is not for everyone.
I've known this for a long time. It's no surprise. It's disappointing and a great relief to finally get it out as concerns WRiTE CLUB, however. It means I don't have to continue reading other people's stuff. You know that I've struggled with this exercise, too.
It is selfish, in one sense. I'm making others "pay" by withholding future comments and votes. But aside from David List, I don't think anyone else even noticed that I was approaching WRiTE CLUB differently from everyone else. David and a few others seemed to get more chatty about their opinions once he contacted me (at Scouring Monk) a few weeks ago. That's as well. For a few rounds, I stopped voicing a strong opinion, but started up again, and part of that was because of the Shootout blowup that involved one of the finalists.
I already know I was a contrary voice in WRiTE CLUB, and to some extent, it'd be nice to continue being one, but that's not a place that likes contrary voices. (Actually, no place likes contrary voices.) All communities crave a certain amount of uniformity. When they don't get it from someone, that someone eventually figures it out. They become isolated. Most communities are too cowardly to outright ban their outsiders. They have an inkling that there's something of worth being said, even if they choose to ignore it.
The loneliest place really is in the center of a crowd.
There's still several months of WRiTE CLUB left. You can still join in. I'm not giving you another link. Technically, I can put in another effort myself, but I don't see the point. I know that when I write what I want to write, there's a lot of readers who just won't care.
One of my illusions has always been that writers are by nature lovers of traditional literature (even if that literature is experimental). I'm beginning to suspect that most writers are more lovers of popular fiction. That's all they read, that's all they write. Literary fiction is by definition limiting. Few people like to think. They like visceral experiences. There's nothing wrong with visceral experiences. But there's a problem when you limit yourself only to that kind of experience.
Older generations are always saying how modern society is fast becoming a vast video game, turning everything into a digital playground. While that may sound cool to people who are still obsessed with The Matrix, I think what it really means is that in the effort to embrace instant gratification, we're forgetting that some rewards take time and effort. No, not the time and effort it takes to make something, but the time it takes to figure it out.
Picture your horror when you realized that Christopher Columbus was a horribly racist ravager of the New World. Now, just imagine what it would have been like if he was exactly the man history tried its hardest to make him. Memory is a funny thing. It makes everything better, and it makes everything worse. Memories create the Christopher Columbus who taught us that the world wasn't flat.
If you were to write a story about Columbus today, would you include that thought?