Stronger Together

Last Wednesday, the day after the election, my muse may or may not have wanted to write. I’m not really sure.

nv15-day-after-the-election

A few years back, I saw Jonathan Maberry at a writing conference, and he gave out some advice to new writers, particularly writers new to blogging and social media. One of the things he said was don’t talk about politics.

So I don’t talk about politics, at least not on this blog, not unless there’s some direct relevance to the kind of science or science fiction I write about. But after doing some soul searching this past week, I’ve decided that I do need to say something about the election, because it is relevant to my writing.

For me, this election was about the future. What sort of future do we want? What sort of future do we believe in? I happen to be white and male. Over the last year, certain other white males looked at me and seemed to presume that I was “one of them” and that I’d be receptive to the vision of the future they wanted.

But I do not believe in a future where everyone looks like me, nor do I believe in a future where people who are different than me are safely cordoned off. I believe in a future where people of all races, religions, sexual orientations, and genders or gender identities are united in our common humanity. I do not see our diversity as a problem. I do not think our differences make us threats to each other.

Now I’m given to understand that not everyone saw this election the way I did. For some, economic anxieties or national security or corruption in Washington took priority. That’s okay. I’ve made my peace with that, and I hope that over the next four years those issues are addressed in a productive manner.

It will probably be awhile before I blog about politics again because I agree with Jonathan Maberry. Political posts just alienate readers. Besides, when was the last time the major issues of the day were resolved in a comment thread?

But as my muse and I get back to work, I have to acknowledge to myself and others that this election has changed me. Whether I intend it or not, those changes with affect my writing. Right now, the only thing I can say for certain is this: as a science fiction writer, I have a renewed commitment to depict a future that is not populated by white men only and to tell stories in which humanity is stronger together.

9 Responses to Stronger Together

  1. chemistken says:

    Yeah, it’s been kind of hard for me to write this past week, because I just haven’t been in the mood. But I’m feeling a bit better now, in no small part because Trump seems to be signaling that he doesn’t envision the same future some of those other white males wanted either. We’ll see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • James Pailly says:

      I’m glad you’re recovering. This past week was one of the worst writing weeks I’ve had in years. But I’m now finding that writing is a good outlet for dealing with what has happened.

      Like

  2. I very much agree with everything you say here.

    My political posts are usually among my least popular, so I don’t do too many of them. Almost half of all the straight political posts I’ve ever done has happened in the last few weeks, and if I had prevented myself from posting on politics during that time, I wouldn’t have posted at all. It was just occupying too much of my mind space.

    But I do think there’s a way to talk about politics without necessarily losing people (or at least the people most likely to read science, philosophy, and science fiction blogs). When I do post on politics, I usually focus on my views and why I believe them, and try not to spend much if any time attacking the other side. (I know my Nov 9 post wasn’t like that, but that was Nov 9.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • James Pailly says:

      I for one have enjoyed your political posts. Part of that is that I agree with you on most issues, but there were other pro-Clinton bloggers that I tuned out or unfollowed because they got way too preachy.

      The difference is that you’ve always done a good job explaining why you hold a particular view, and you try to be fair about why others might disagree with you. I’ve seen you approach philosophy, religion, and politics that way. I think if you’re going to blog about any of those touchy subjects, that’s the best way to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Scott Levine says:

    I agree with what you’re saying, too. I try to stay away from writing about politics on my blog, too, but this week has been too hard that it’s been difficult to avoid. I guess I’m lucky that the main blog I keep is about one set of topics, so it’s easy for me to keep myself from going too far into the ugly. This has been a terrible week, you’re right. It’s hard feeling so powerless and so worried. I’ve also found some comfort in writing, but not a lot. Here’s to you for keeping moving. I’m not saying we need to normalize what’s happened, or what might happen, but we need to keep moving forward, one way or another. Writing, for many of us, is the way to go. We can get through this one way or another, James. Keep up the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • James Pailly says:

      Thanks, Scott! It helps to know that I’m not the only one who was hit hard by this, and that we’re going to get through this as a country together.

      I know what you mean about having one set of topics for your blog. The fact that I write a science/science fiction blog helped steer me away from all the politics that was happening this year.

      Like

  4. I agree, and I must admit there’s a been a few short stories written about orange ogres in the past few weeks. I’m Canadian, so making comments on American politics is not my place, but I can’t help but think of American scientists like Neil deGrasse Tyson. The idea of (loud, popular) voices like his being silenced sends a shiver down my spine to make Stephen King jealous.

    Liked by 1 person

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