- Stan Lee
Hello, True Believers!
It's been a while, hasn't it? I do apologize. Reality has kept me busy and has limited my output on the website since the end of summer. Now, I have been productive. There's been lots of ink going into notebooks. Maybe not as much as I'd like, but still, writing remains my favorite way to unwind.
And I'll be honest, lately, I've been kind of reticent to pursue my stories. I actually felt, and I don't know where this came from, like I should grow up a little. I should write things that are more serious, that matter more. Maybe it was a secret fear of mockery. A fear of snide whispers I would never really hear. I don't know. Still, the wild creativity just can't stay bottled up.
So I was very energized by that quote from Stan Lee, one of my creative heroes. It made me realize that as much as I'd like to be a "serious" writer, I can still be a good writer of entertaining yarns. I'll be honest, this kind of work leaves me much more filled with joy and helps me be my best self than my more serious literary efforts. Also, I think I'm better at it than the serious stuff. And let's face it, sometimes nothing beats writing, then reading a good description of a swordfight on the observation deck of an airship. Am I right or am I right?
Here's the other thing. Genre has power. It has power because it's subtle. In genre when we see other cultures being respected, when we see individuals of strength regardless of the color of their skin or the faith in their hearts or their gender, I think that plants a seed. I mean, I'm pretty sure that it was the friendship between Falcon and Captain America that helped me confront the racism that I was raised around. There they were, not just friends, but partners, equals. That message was more important than the one I heard from people in my neighborhood growing up. Maybe that's part of what I was trying to escape by retreating into my imagination.
As a writer of escapism, I also try to be very mindful with these adventures. This is an age that needs strong female characters who are bright, brave and capable. We need to write of characters of different backgrounds, different faiths and like those two formative characters I mentioned above, make them equals. Again, that plants a seed. One doesn't need to write The Handmaid's Tale or The Underground Railroad or The Man in the High Castle to confront bias. Sometimes its as simple as writing a character who may or may not be of color or of a faith different than the reader or writer.
"So, Hondo," you ask, "then why are almost all of your characters big white guys?" Well, I think that might be because I am a big white guy. I don't think I could write convincingly form the perspective of a person of color because that isn't my experience. I'd like to point out that no where in the Ivan Chronicles is there a single reference to his skin color, and that was intentional. However, although I'm probably best suited to writing about big white guys, I do think its important that supporting characters be diverse and be represented as equals. I hope you've seen that. Or even better, are seeing it now because it's been a subtle message (Gotcha!). Miranda tends to get herself out of her own jams. Sorcha Finney needs no one to help her out. Nestor is the wisest, most capable member of the Gloria Star crew whose humility keeps him from center stage. Seriously, have I ever created a character cooler than The Adjuster? As a writer I don't feel you need to pound out a message to have it resonate. But I do believe that writers and storytellers have a responsibility to include that message in their work.
Okay, so what's coming? Halloween is on its way, that's what's coming. With it, the introduction of a new series character. Then I'm probably going to go onto radio silence for a while. The reason? It's time to get the work out there in a real way. I've learned a lot about how foolishly easy it is to self publish, so that's what I'm diving into next. I'm actively soliciting cover art and am moving very deliberately, because I want to do this right. More to come.
Thanks for reading, True Believers! Expect an update soon!