You wouldn’t think that in this age of interconnectivity, where everything is theoretically available at the tip of your fingertips merely by clicking some keys, that geography matters much. I didn’t used to think so, either.
Then I discovered that, first off, a near-total cutoff from other humans tends to warp one’s psyche significantly. Further, so far as pursuing one’s art or artistic career goes, having local resources, people you can speak to in person, make for an infinitely larger impact and realm of visibility and accessibility. I’m not knocking the internet or the people one finds there (some of the folks I’ve babbled about on here, like Robert Davis, S.K.N. Hammerstone and Jennifer Howard, are legitimately awesome people and have provided laughs, advice and support in more than adequate proportions), but between the spam, the scammers and a general anxiety relating to “butting in” or stepping on anyone’s toes, the internet is a vast warehouse of places One Does Not Go (TM) and ultimately feels impersonal and lacking, somehow.
Trying to find and connect with individuals of a similar mindset, or people to connect with for mutual support of my work and their own seems almost like a lost cause in my area. There seem to be a total of five bookstores within thirty miles. The local Barnes & Noble representative has proven less than friendly, and employee interactions while shopping were less than stellar. Two more are “attic operations,” that deal only in very specific, non-fiction arenas. Of the remaining two, one has proven to be awesome, both in a personal and professional capacity (Dog Eared Books, and if you’re in the Carson area, you should stop in and say “Hi,” or at least “like” their Facebook page), and one has yet to be investigated (it’s on the menu, but travel and distance prove to be difficult at times.)
The libraries have likewise been interesting experiences. Most of the clientele seem to be in the dusty recesses of the research section, unwilling to engage in social pleasantries, and the staff seem minted from the portion of readers that believes a book has no value until its author is dead and it has lain dormant for a minimum of 30 years. Very off putting when socializing, and very unfriendly on the professional front.
Attempts to locate writers or readers groups have likewise proven fruitless. Only one writer’s group seems to actually meet in this area, and while I admire their determination and efforts, they are primarily working in other genres, and their style of writing and critiquing didn’t seem to mesh well. So far as book clubs or reader’s groups, I found two. One does only romance, the other only children’s books for approval amongst their respective little ones. Again, more power to you guys for finding like-minded members and struggling on in a world that seems to want to ignore reading if it doesn’t come in .HTML, but not helpful on either a social or professional front for someone like myself.
The social front doesn’t hold much more promise. Here in Nevada, it’s drinks, drugs and gambling, pretty much. If you’re not into those subjects, it usually feels like you’re on the outside looking in. In Carson City, it feels even more oppressive, as nearly every business or service seems targeted at the elderly or school-age kids, with little to nothing for the in between (again, unless you’re into drinking and gambling).
There’s not really a point to this post. Just me whining, really. “I’m lonely, and I can’t find anybody to help me!” Self-indulgent? At least a little. But it still feels rather depressing, trapped in the maze of the interwebs, looking for groups that suit my interests and mentality (or that provide legitimate services for my needs) while dodging spam and scams constantly, then turning to the so-called “real world” and discovering you’ve already been over all the options, thanks to a ridiculously small pool. Three times. Or more.
Anyway. Work continues on Rotten Apple, with minor pecking at Ioudas and a still-unnamed project. A return to excerpts should come in the next day or two as I delve into Fifth of Jack. If anyone’s got suggestions, questions, comments or flames on places to poke at for either social or artistic interaction, I’m all ears; if you’d just like to share how your geographic locale limits (or doesn’t) your proclivities, or make demands on what fiction you want me to post next, drop it in the magic box below. Until next time, folks.