I’m being very wordy today. Of course, I haven’t posted at all in the last couple of days, so maybe I’m just unbottling.
This one will be short, and it’s more just random bitching than anything else, but I really think that where you are, physically, can have a profound impact on your mental condition and ability to get things done. Not just in a “climate doesn’t agree with me, so I’m cranky and don’t do what I’m supposed to” way, but in a “if what you need isn’t close at hand, it can screw you up” sort of way.
Even with the wonders of the interwebs at our fingertips, there’s still a lot to be said for having actual interaction with other humans, having physical places one can go to get things done. I think I’ve finally determined that it really is living in this place that’s causing a lot of my issues.
Sure, there’s the obvious physical and medical ones – asthmatics with a low heat tolerance should probably not live in sagebrush-covered deserts, for example, and people who do best in high humidity should steer clear of arid highlands – but the general attitude and inclinations of the people in this area are exceptionally detrimental to my mental health, and cause more roadblocks in my chosen vocation than not.
Some would say “well, just bully through,” and that’s fine and well… and also what I’ve been doing for two decades here with zero success.
When you have conversations with local bookstores about showcasing your work, and they end with “Are you JK Rowling or Stephen King?” “No.” “Then call us back when you are *click*,” the local libraries have secret committees to decide if they’ll put your book on the shelves – which, among other things, demand that you have at least 100 reviews on Amazon and have appeared in a library journal for them to even consider it, whether you’re donating copies or not, and that’s before they hold a vote on whether your work has “significant local merit” to be included – and the schools only seem interested if you or your work somehow promotes some sector of the disenfranchised, downtrodden or otherwise minority aspect… you start to question things.
When you can only find three local writers’ groups, and all three are pretty solidly focused on romance (one YA, the other two bodice rippers) and they seem intent on pushing you out if you don’t write their type of material, and there is essentially zero interest or support for any other groups from local book stores, libraries or colleges… you start to question things.
When you can find only one reader’s group, and they stick to cozy mysteries and bodice rippers… you start to question things.
Especially when you go and look at other areas, and find dozens of groups, institutions, people and stores that have their arms wide open to writers and books of nearly any type and genre – for example, in Bend, OR, I found two horror-specific writers groups, five readers groups for same, and nearly double that who deal in genre fiction in general, as well as three bookstores that were pleased as punch to put copies of my stuff up. The libraries were less willing to put my books out, but said that if I lived in their area they would include them with no issue, and one librarian pointed out that if she got enough requests from locals she’d order one, all but saying “hint, hint” when she suggested I call any friends in the area and have them drop suggestion cards in – and when I read blogs and newsletters from other places where there may be hoops to jump through but it doesn’t seem as though being a writer is something to be vilified and suspicious of, I start to seriously think that relocating is really in my best interests.
To be honest, had I not recently reenrolled in Magic Kindergarten and were my finances not quite so dire, I do believe I’d throw my computer, coyote and Playstation in the truck and just haul ass out of here. I have never liked it here, and as I become slowly more certain that the location is draining my will and ability to function as well as the likelihood of ever accomplishing anything with my so-called work, I develop an ever-greater “grass is greener” complex.
Of course, there’s also the general idea that if I was somewhere that the land itself wasn’t trying to murder me, I’d be better off in general, but I really think that it would be best for my career to consider a geographical reset. Hmm.
What do the rest of you folks think? Does a change of venue actually have any chance of making things better, or is like the old AA saying: “Put an asshole on a plane in Boston, an asshole gets off the plane in LA?” Let us know in the box below! Back to brooding…