All roads end, especially when they lead to nowhere. That realization has woken me up to a great many things lately, and sadly it includes writing. Not that many people care, but I've reached a point where it no longer feels worth it or even fulfilling. This isn't me being dramatic; take a look at the last time I had something published and it should be obvious I've been wrestling with this decision for a while.
As I've been told on several occasions, I attained my dream many times over. I'm not sure what that means but it's what I was told. Writers dream of writing and having people read what they write and of dying at their keyboards or notepads, still writing. At least, that's the stereotypical image of the writer. It probably applied to me at one time, too, but here's what my real dream was:
I was hoping to find those fans of the various genres I enjoy and give them what they were really hoping to see. Anyone who bothered to read my dark literary magazine The Darkness Internal and, more specifically, this editorial should know what that was. And while the magazine did all right for the few issues it ran, I doubt I reached anyone with what I was trying to do on any significant level. That's fine. Literary history is replete with glorious failures and near-misses. Sometimes all one can hope for is to leave a footprint on the surface for those who come next and accomplish a whole lot more.
Unfortunately, the Information Age has turned out to be a big fat turd. Where once I was optimistic that interests and ideas long suppressed and ignored would finally have a platform, now I am convinced that the human race is naught but a herd of grazing livestock desperately searching for someone to herd them off the nearest cliff. Okay, maybe I always suspected as much, but I allowed myself to hope and that was my mistake and no one else's. Perhaps my greatest mistake lies in expecting fandom to be anything except the dying beehive it's been revealed as thanks to social networking and content "writers."
In short, fandom is a cesspool of epic proportions, a pathetic pile of feces populated with self-righteous, provincial imbeciles who have no interest in seeing or reading anything that disrupts their comfort zones. Not everybody is like that, of course, but so many are that it no longer makes a difference. The latest "Star Wars" movie was a revelation because, by daring to invert expectations and drain sacred cows of their life-giving fluid, it exposed so many idiots at once it made the truth undeniable. What is that truth?
Simple: I am wasting my fucking time.
I thought fans of science fiction and fantasy and horror would want to be challenged intellectually, to embrace the various sources of their favorite mythologies rather than simply wallowing in the familiar retold ad infinitum. This is a time when genre is bigger and more popular than ever and, in many ways, it's worse than ever as well. In the mad rush to create the next pop culture water cooler phenomenon, absolute garbage and mediocre silliness is being passed off as quality. Meanwhile, those of us toiling to come up with something unique and genuinely different are deemed un-marketable.
I get it. Nobody wants to read my stuff anymore. I had my brief moment a few years ago but TV and movies, those monolithic crap-creators, have spoken and I am no longer welcome even in the margins. And if that's the case, I'm no longer interested in trying to find a way in. I thought I'd already done that.
So, am I "retiring" completely from writing? It remains to be seen. There are a few unfinished works I should complete before I walk completely away. However, for all intents and purposes, I no longer consider myself a writer. It's been a ride but all rides end, especially when they stop being fun.
Thanks to those of you who read what I put out over the years and to those who published it.