This weekend me and a few fellow writers conducted the State of Black Science Fiction Youth Symposium. From 11:00 am to 5:30 pm we held a workshop on writing, listened to inspiring words from L.M. Davis, Tananarive Due, Ed Hall, Alan Jones, Alicia McCalla, Wendy Raven McNair and Balogun Ojetade. We participated in a group read story by the youth then wrapped the day up with an abbreviated version of the State of Black Science Fiction panel. During those hours we played a few games, laughed a lot, ate pizza and learned a few things as well. At the end of the day I was exhausted and exhilarated. The energy and the enthusiasm of the children that attended reminded me why I decided not only to write but to self publish.
Contrast this to the weeks prior to our symposium. I spent way too much time ‘discussing’ politics, the implications of multiculturalism in fantasy and the proper approach for African Americans in science fiction and fantasy fiedl. I also spent way too much time listening to people whose perception of their status stretches far beyond the reality. It occurred to me that something dreadful was happening, something that I thought I’d protected myself from but was now sinking in up to my neck. My hobby was becoming like a job, and not a good job at that.
I write because I love to. I share my books with others because I think I have something to say that others might be interested in and enjoy. I have no profound messages or life changing revelations, just hopefully good stories that will bring a few minutes of enjoyment to those that read them. To say that I’m ambitious about what I do would be true to a certain extent. I like a good discussion like the next debater, but I find myself getting involved more and more into discussion that were destined to lead nowhere from the start. And then I see this room full of young children, picking up my books and smiling with wonder and then rushing over to me to purchase them. There is no discussion of if they should read them, or what are the ramifications of such books to the genre, or whether or not the genre that they claim is legitimate. They see something they like, they get it, they read it, they enjoy it.
The State of Black Science Fiction Youth Symposium reminded me of where I need to be. It’s the same place I was when I first began writing my books and a place where I somehow slipped away. I always believed that the most important relationship is that between the writer and the reader. Everything else is in the way. It’s time to get back to the fun. So if you see my avatar pop up in the middle of a heated discussion, please forward me a link to this blog. I’ll appreciate it.