A single, demented penguin

2 03 2011

writer's convention

Try to communicate the complex depth of a world built on the intricate relationships over time of a multitude of characters, each with their own quirks and strengths, a world whose social structure changes as events force the cultures in conflict to adapt to the situation and each other.  Try, in a couple of snappy sentences, to capture the sense of haunted past, the struggle to find equilibrium only to lose it, lives that come full circle and then move on.  Include the acts of heroism, great and small, sometimes in places and from characters least likely to manifest them, the tragedy of passionate love that just can’t work out in spite of intense effort, and the gentle, abiding love that endures without drama, the horror of war and why it is, but must not be, inevitable.  Communicate the years of work that created this world and its people, the two races who uneasily share it, the way the reader is made to understand and become a part of it, sometimes on the grand scale of history being rendered and sometimes on the small scale of short lives intensely lived. [Curious?]

Now, imagine attempting this as one of a hundred thousand penguins, all squawking at the same time, trying to get the attention of a bored polar bear who has four more appointments before lunch and is only half-listening because he has just been handed the latest survey on market trends.

Being an unpublished writer of novels; after a while you don’t talk about it.  The other penguins think you’re just another penguin.  So do the polar bears.  Those who don’t live in that cold, noisy waste think your work must be lousy and that’s why you remain unpublished.

Which brings me to this website, and whatever brought you to this website.  You either sought me out (Did I meet you at a convention?  Facebook?  Did you see a short story of mine somewhere?  Do you know me by my other, non-fiction name?) or you just stumbled on me while searching for something else and I’ve caught your interest enough for you to read this far without clicking away.  Please, stay with me.  It matters a great deal, and this is why.

I’m not good at social networking.  I am uncomfortable making conversation when it isn’t scripted.  I’m one of those people who, when they see someone they know in the supermarket, quickly remember an urgently needed item in another aisle.  I adore community theater but avoid cast parties.  I’ll sign up for a dozen panels at a convention, but hide in my hotel room in between.  It’s a strange mix of extroverted introversion, probably lodged somewhere at the Asperger’s end of the autism spectrum.

So, I don’t make connections, don’t move up the penguin ladder from being a chinstrap to hobnobbing with the emperors, don’t score opportunities to do lunch with the polar bears.  Worse still, my tastes aren’t mainstream, so I don’t know what everybody is reading, and thus don’t write to the market.  I’m old enough to remember manual typewriters (and to have used one) so all the wonderful new technologies everybody is embracing and utilizing to get ahead are leaping away too fast for me to stay on top.

But, dammit, I’ve got this website.  Sure, every other penguin has got their own website, blog and Twitter account where they tweet like mad with all the other twits.  But this is my website, with my stuff on it.  It’s what I can do, here in the safety and solitude of my space, on my MacBook Pro, on whose hard drive is everything precious to me (backed up of course).  This website is the means of doing what I have wanted all my life to do, to share the worlds, the people, the dreams I have crafted and continue to craft.  This website connects you with a rich treasury of humor, inspirations, reflections and observations, the strange and the warm and the beautiful, all the intricate, engrossing, unblurbable creations that did not fit into the publishing needs of the polar bears at this time.

A single, demented penguin, waddling off by herself into the Arctic waste, squawking persistently.

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