I got some nice compliments on the FoG column today. I was a little worried that it would pass unnoticed, but several people, including James Enge, Paul Jessup, and Cat Valente responded in some fashion to it (For example, Cat boosted the signal after declaring her happiness at being on the list). I was pretty nervous about this column, and I am still not sure why. Maybe because I put a lot of work into it, or perhaps because I thought that it might not work. To date most of my columns have been extemporaneous; this one required a lot of planning and reading, more than I had thought it would require.
But I learned a lot from it. First of all, I am still as anxious as crap about a significant piece of writing until someone responds to it. I am usually not too concerned about my FoG columns because, honestly, I don’t know if they are widely read. Comments are often sparse on the site anyway, but particularly for my columns which are far less pop-culture oriented than those of my compatriots. I am usually more nervous about the reception of my Apex blog posts, which are read more closely (as I found out in particular with the postmodernism column). This column, however, meant a lot to me in terms of the care put into it and, well, the love.
I love speculative fiction, fantastika, SF, fantasy, widdlezingsongwubble, whatever you want to call the array of fantastic literatures. I would be a very different, and I think much suckier, person without the influence of imaginative fiction on my life. While it has not saved me from myself (and really, there’s nothing that can do that, except you yourself), it has been lens and comforter, puzzle and joy for over 3/4ths of my life. While I hope to write a lot more about it (and a lot more OF it!), this assignment required me to look hard at the literature I love and think about what makes it resonate for me, and how that might be a quality that others, who may not share that love, can appreciate. I find it to be both a daunting exercise and a sort of cultural duty to show people what fantastika has to offer, because I feel that it has done so much for me.
I’m quite happy that people liked the column, and that my thick-headed fear of failure was unwarranted.