After The Darkness

I wrote a blog post yesterday, but realized as soon as I started that I was too angry to publish it.

Yesterday was the American Inauguration, and the end of the Trump Presidency. The third Wednesday in January of 2021, when the first one was an attempted coup and the second one was the impeachment for the first one.

I am not looking forward to next week.

But I also went ahead and posted it. Sort of. People wanted to read my vaguebooking, so I put it up on a download site with an expiration at the end of this month. Wasn’t expecting the number of folks to read and comment. Nor the support.

Couldn’t post it on FB. They would have read the inflammatory language and given me at least a 30-day vacation. Maybe longer. Didn’t want to post it to my wall back home, because that feeds out to Amazon, Goodreads, and other places eventually. Too public.

As a writer, I have to self-censor to some extent. Doubly so when I write in a category of genre (mostly space opera science fiction) where a good chunk of my readers are frequently to the right of me. Sometimes a ways to the right, but that’s me shifting leftward a little over the last thirty years as the Overton Window moved into deep right field.

I am a whore. We all are, at the end of the day, because we have to cash a paycheck dependent on someone else. Most of you work for some company that might fire you for your politics, if they could. I don’t have that sort of a boss. (I married mine and kind of slept my way to the top, but that’s an entirely different joke.)

Instead, I have fans. My job is to entertain them, first and foremost. To provide them stories that encourage them to keep coming back with money for me to sustain my lifestyle. Past that, I try to make them think. My stories are not generally running on rails, at least compared to most.

Or if they do, I try to have interesting and different characters trying to solve their problems. (And no Chosen One stories. I hate those, because the gods are always assholes.)

But you know you are in a Blaze Ward novel when somewhere, somebody is sticking it to the Man. That’s my politics. The Underdog fighting the bully.

Others bring different things to the table. That’s why fiction is so much fun and you can always find something to read, because we are all different.

But I was angry yesterday. And I bled it all out on paper. More than one person noted the visceral feelings I inspired, but I warned everyone ahead of time and made them jump through a few hoops to read it, so only my friends (and deeply committed deep-cover enemies, of which I probably still have a few) would read it.

Because I don’t want to alienate everyone. Sure, I have air-locked a couple of former fans over the years, but the guy who defends his right to wear his Klan hood to the grocery store as a political statement on wearing masks against COVID was just an asshole.

Better, he told me that he couldn’t be racist because he was born “white trash.” His words. Can’t argue with someone like that. (You can imagine how he voted in 2020, can’t you?) Hell, I’m pretty sure he bought one entire series of my novels after that (at full price) just so he could leave 2-star reviews on them. Somebody did.

You have to be deeply committed to your particular insanity to “show someone” like that when they throw you out of the party.

And I don’t do it often, but Confederate Apologists are bullies. And if you have read ANY of my stories, you know how I feel about bullies. The only fights I got into in grade school involved me stopping bullies from picking on other people. Including the time I beat up my best friend. (At the time, anyway. That went south quickly.)

So I write. And not all of it can be published. Shit happens. I’ll even share some of it, but right now my contribution to a more polite society doesn’t involve punching people in the face. Or rather, not punching some people in the face is my contribution to a more polite society, because they frequently deserve it.

We have reached an age where bullies are emboldened to abuse people. This is a problem because structural racism still lingers in this country. The BLM protests last summer and how they were handled, compared to the Capital Insurrection two weeks ago, tells you all you need to know about the police power structure in this country.

That’s part of why I write Science Fiction, because otherwise, I would have very strong opinions about the modern age and what’s wrong with it. We are corrupt, as a nation and as a society. We can fix it, but a lot of people profit from it and don’t want to give up their perks. Others would rather die or go to jail than allow the rest of humanity equality under the law.

And mind you, this is me much calmer today, so you can imagine what yesterday sounded like.

What contortions have you been forced into, in order to not be fully ostracized? I can list mine, but we’d be here all day.

I will suggest that if your friends make you do those things, you have the wrong friends. If your job drives you that crazy, it might be time to find a better place to work.

Change is coming, so things might get better. I don’t want to go back to what we had two years ago, because that was flawed and broken. I want something better. I want a world where nobody is hungry, or cold, or alone.

In science fiction, sometime I can even show you what that looks like.