I’m at that point in my story where I question every decision I’ve made and feel like it will never be finished. It is usually at this point that I start to think I must be crazy to ever write a novel. Every reason to NOT write sucks the life out of my ambitions and pulls me into a vortex of apathy and despair. I imagine painful reviews stacking up on Amazon, book signings where I sit alone for hours while the store owner sympathetically brings me soda, and email treatises on everything wrong with my story filling my inbox. But mostly I take a sideways glance at tumblr and shudder.
Tumblr is a website devoted to SuperWhoLock, shipping, anime I’ve never heard of, and gifs of aggressive chicken dancers. And other stuff. I refuse to get a tumblr page even though John Green has one. As much as I amuse myself with “best of tumblr” collections on Pinterest, the Potterheads, “We have a gif for that” Supernatural fans, and night bloggers scare me. I think they should scare anyone hoping to publish a book (especially John Green).
The climate of tumblr tends to be one of intense scrutiny, immediate ridicule, and infamy peddled for notes. It’s also one of extreme political correctness, trigger warnings, and assumed microaggression. Tumblr is a series of “Am I the only one who thinks this?” propositions followed by beatific ardor or death threats, often over innocuous topics.
There are a lot of good questions being shouted down and a lot of bad questions being celebrated. And there is a lot of obsession. Popular television shows, movies, books, and web series are summarized in photo strips and gifs, distilled into fan art, and expanded into “head canon”.
(Head canon is just weird to me. But I also don’t like fan fiction. See this post for why.)
Then the discussion begins. Every sentence from an author’s work is dissected and debated in increasingly bizarre fashion as if a manic Salvador Dali were teaching Literature 101. The discussion takes on a life of its own until the fans begin to act as if they know the work better than the author (and if we’re being truthful, they just might).
This maelstrom of obsessive curiosity prowls on my shoulder like a hungry gargoyle as I write my novel. Do I really want to poke my head above the wall and say, “I HAVE AN OPINION!” It would always be an invitation to hit me with rotten fruit or toss roses at my feet, but multiply that audience by the billions and remove any real consequences for appalling verbal abuse by hiding them all behind computer screens. I imagine the manic Dali holding my novel over a rabid pit of bloggers with dripping red pens and scissors for teeth, eager for plot holes to probe. After they finish with my book, they start in on ME.
I don’t really know where this post was going. I guess I should go back to writing my novel. Consider this the closest thing to a “stream of consciousness” post this blog will ever see. It took me roughly two months.