Saturday, September 13, 2014


A lot of people know me as a bizarro writer. I've written bizarro a few times, but I don't consider myself a bizarro writer. (Maybe this caused me to lose votes for the Wonderland final ballot in regards to TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE. That would suck, but I'm not going to lose too much sleep over it. The fact that anyone read that book is balm in Gilead to me.)

A ton of people know me as a horror writer. I've written horror more times than anything else I've ever written, but I don't consider myself a horror writer.

A smattering of people know me as a crime writer. I've written crime a few times, but I don't consider myself a crime writer.

I consider myself a writer. Period. Anything that pops up in my head? I'll write it. Even if it's a gothic romance. (And believe you me, I have a gothic romance idea in my head. I've had it for at least twenty years. I just don't know how to write it yet.)

I've said it many times: Joe R. Lansdale is my favorite living writer. Notice I didn't clarify the term "writer." The guy has written in so many different genres, I couldn't modify the term if I had ten million years. I wouldn't want to, either. Since I was a kid, I wrote mysteries. Secondary to that were horror stories. After that, I wrote just about everything, including straight-up literary stories that might have caught the attention of the Paris Review, if I'd been more mature at the time.

This isn't to say I'm a snob. I'm far from it. I just don't get the need to classify everything. I get the desire to fit a story into a particular box, at least when it comes to marketing (for one), and finding an audience (for another). But to label the person who created that story? That's insane.

And honestly? Labeling a reader is kind of crazy, too.

I love horror stories. I also love bizarro. I love SF tales and on occasion, I get a kick out of those supposedly straight-up literary works, at least the ones that don't involve a parent dying of cancer just so the protagonist can learn something about him/herself. I would never call myself a horror reader. Or a bizarro reader. Etc. I'm a reader. Period.

It seems kind of silly, but a lot of writers and readers seem bent on making their various genres EXCLUSIVE instead of INCLUSIVE. This baffles me so much, I can't get my head around it. As a writer, I try to see things from EVERYONE's POV, but this one? It's too crazy for me to figure it out, aside from the fact that those who seek exclusivity are those who want to feel like they're in a club that no one else is allowed into. I get people wanting to feel special, but I don't get people wanting to push like-minded people away.

A bizarro writer recently said something reprehensible. I get why this person said it, because I understand a desire to not be pigeonholed. Yet at the same time, he said it in such a way that is inexcusable. It was poorly thought out. He caught a lot of heat, and he should have.

I generally like the guy. I've enjoyed his books. I can't speak for personal involvement, because I personally don't know him. I've never had a single exchange with him. But he went off on a particular genre, saying things that aren't true to make himself seem more important. Again, I get the desire to transcend, but to shit on something for self-important reasons is crazy.

I'm not a horror writer. I'm not a bizarro writer. I'm not a crime writer. But I love horror. I love bizarro. I love crime. And I love everyone who writes and reads in these genres because I want to spread word about the things I enjoy.

When I was in college, I started writing reviews for the local newspaper. Here's the thing, though: I only wrote reviews of things I enjoyed. Why? Because I wanted to spread word about a work of art that turned me on. I didn't want to be the lone voice shouting in the wilderness. I wanted someone to discuss these things with. It took a great deal of stupidity and/or evil to get me to write a bad review. In my two years of writing for a biweekly paper, I wrote only ONE bad review. (I don't have the numbers for after that, but I know that bad reviews from me were very rare in that time.)

I love a lot of things, and I want more people to love those things, so I have something to talk about with them. If a stranger comes up to me and professes a love for those things, I accept them immediately without question. It doesn't matter if they're a different color or GOD FORBID a different sex. I love talking about this shit with EVERYONE.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't get the hate getting thrown about in particular genres. I get the egotistical need to be better than others, but I don't understand why anyone would apply it to readers and writers and other people who experience pop culture. To those who bitch about women "pretending" to be into comics? Fuck you. To those who hate a black Spider-Man? Fuck you. To those who dismiss an entire genre because you think its practitioners are focused on bullshit? Fuck you.

Try to think things through. Try to think about what "the more, the merrier" means. Try to decide if it's better to have a conversation with no one (hint: that sucks) or someone (hint: that's cool).

Let love in, fuckers. Stop being obstinate. You hated on popular authors for stepping up and helping unpopular genres, and for what? Are you so bent on your too-cool-for-the-room persona that you're OK with sacrificing genuine readers for people who will merely reaffirm your so-called independence?

If you really love the genre of your choice, be it horror, bizarro, SF or whatever, you would want to share it with others. When you get down to it, I think our various interests intersect quite nicely. Those of us who genuinely love these things are willing to share. Those of us who aren't? Those of us who think you have to earn love of certain things? Those of us who think you have to exhibit appreciation of certain things from an early age?

I think you're missing the point.

No comments:

Post a Comment