Steps along the Path: Seizing Opportunities
So our last post was about learning and striving forward. This post is about taking those opportunities that do come up.
Background: a while back, I was contracted to write four novels for Ed Greenwood’s Onder Librum initiative. Fifteen settings, heaps of creatives contributing prose fiction, RPGs, songs, you name it. The golden-voiced Dave Robison was “Lore Guardian” for one of my settings—minding continuity in this shared world, wrangling authors, building community, that sort of thing.
He emailed me last week saying he had something to discuss with me. I love getting emails from Dave, but I assumed this was a “KT, you need to play nice with the other authors,” sort of discussion. After all, I’ve been heads-down in my own projects, less involved than I’d hoped to be.
Instead, Dave explained that he was taking a new position in The Ed Greenwood Group.
And he asked if I’d take over as Lore Guardian for Wolf and Empire.
Slightly unexpected twist of events, but hey!
I’ve got an actor’s instinct: Always Say Yes. But this time, I hesitated. Because I’m juggling so many balls at the minute, I needed to make sure I could do a good job…and also not die. So Dave had a long chat with me. So did my fellow Canadian author/Lore Guardian, Marie Bilodeau.
“It’s a chance to learn new skills,” Marie said. “And expand your networks, you know?”
And so I’m saying, Yes.
It got me thinking, though. Dave pointed out that the author-wrangling is similar to the freelance editing I’ve been doing. Tracking continuity is something I’ve done while interning for The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. And I’ve written for Ed Greenwood before—when I was asked to submit to an anthology he co-edited.
They’re all small steps up the garden path, aren’t they? A one-off story here; diving into a project there. Dark nights of the soul aside, when I look at the writing life I’ve built thus far, it’s a lot of saying yes—projects building one on top of the other.
See, you never know where any of it will lead. Really good conversations, a bit of correspondence, agreeing to be on a panel…for a solitary activity, writing involves a lot of forging connections with other people. I’ve joked before that the writing world reminds me a lot of Victorian high society. Maybe we don’t have formal letters of introduction, but there is a tendency, on meeting someone, to suss out mutual connections. You see whether you’ve got friends in common, whether you’ve been to the same conventions, whether there are any second-or-third-degree connections between you. Basically, you’re trying to sort out where they fit in the web of your writing network.
Connections build on connections. “Oh, man, you know Dave? Dave is great! And now, I know you! Yay!”
And skills build on skills. I have done similar work before. Similar, but not the exact same. I think that’s important, when you’re building a writing life. Similar work creates confidence—both for you, as you flail about; and also for the people who’ve asked you to do the thing. Not the exact same means more learning, more growth. More skills to build on later, the web expanding.
Every step along the garden path, another step closer. Those actors are onto something, man.
This whole week has reminded me of Ghostbusters. Specifically, the bit at the end, where this happens:
And as we know… “When someone asks you if you’re a god, you say, “YES!””
Which jives well with my usual strategy of, “Say yes and then figure it out.” So far, there’s only been one occasion where that didn’t work so well. For the most part—if you can do it and not die, I think it’s a decent plan.
That’s my plan for now, anyway. I don’t know where this particular path will leave, but I’m glad to be one step further along.
What I’m Listening to this Week
Oooh, this week, it’s the Domine Jesu section of Duruflé’s Requiem. I love the super moody start, the melody uncoiling like a snake, followed by a delicious alto line. Then suddenly, at ~1:38, there’s DRUMS. And the CHOIR.
This is ridiculously fun to sing—all high and dramatic and operatic, with the orchestrations trilling away under the vocals. The Latin’s pretty intense, too.
Libera eas de ore leonis,
Libera eas de poenis inferni,
Et de profundo lacu.
Deliver them from the mouths of lions,
Deliver them from the pains of Hell
And from the deep pit.
Posted on February 28, 2016, in Writing and tagged Community, creativity, fantasy, KT Bryski, science fiction, steampunk, TEGG, Victoriana, writer, Writing, Writing life. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.