Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Open House Day 35 - Colleen Anderson

Steve Lockley invited me to be a guest blogger and then I forgot about it because I was so busy. And since he told me to write about whatever I wanted I thought I would write about busyness .

These days everyone is busy busy busy. In fact we have become so busy that we don’t have time to socialize. Let’s think back six hundred years to those good old feudal times. If you weren’t some rich noble gathering your tithes, then you were either a farmer or a merchant, or a servant. In any case you worked from sun-up probably to near sundown. Winters meant doing more work inside, mending and preparing for the planting season. Everyone, whether bakers or dyers or smiths, worked long hours. But they stopped in time for dinner and spending time with their families in the evening.

Now, we might be busy with work or with our kids’ activities or maybe even our own leisure plans. A friend of mine has a sailboat. Sometimes he’s busy with fixing and maintaining it before he can enjoy sailing it. Many friends have houses so they are often busy cleaning up the yard or fixing things before they can relax. We’re busy taking extra courses, or workshops, or learning a sport and don’t always have time for our friends or family.

Odd, isn’t it, that we fill our time with so many things so that we don’t have any time? As a writer I also have to find time to do my art and since I don’t work full time writing (I wish I could) I must find time around my job. This pretty much goes for any art form. You either live in poverty pursuing your art, or do it around your day job. I sometimes wish we still had patrons as they did in the middle ages; you were supported as you made your great works. Of course, if you fell out of favour, as so many did, you died in abject poverty. In that way perhaps not much has changed through the centuries.

Keeping busy as a writer and editor is actually preferable. From time to time I pop a DVD into my computer and watch a movie or download a TV show. If I do too much of this my mind takes on an ennui that frightens me and I start thinking, “Is this all there is?” Reading a book works better for my psyche. Perhaps this is why I write fiction, especially speculative fiction. The worlds of what-if are endless, with permutations of society, culture, beliefs, interactions, economies, environments and much more.

We write for various reasons: to expand our intellect, to share our visions, to lessen the pain of our world, to exemplify the beauty of some aspect of life, to explore the endless intricacies of human interaction, to learn something of ourselves and others. We are endlessly curious and human beings are better off if we’re busy than sitting idle.

But we need that balance with the work world. Writing is a fairly solitary profession. I like to meet up with other writers and talk shop, take workshops, chat about trends and styles, or a particular story/author/convention. And that’s often where we meet, at conventions. Even with the social media that lets me communicate around the world, there is nothing like meeting people in person and letting conversation take its natural flow.

I have a tendency to write long pieces but I will stop here. I attended the World Horror Convention in Austin, Texas earlier this year and will be attending my first British Fantasycon in Brighton this fall. I’ll be meeting writers and editors from a different continent and possibly a different perspective. I might learn nothing but only interact and enjoy. In this busy world, I’m glad I can take the time to do this and swim in the same pool as so many other fantastic minds. I look forward to meeting many of you in the future.

Colleen Anderson is a poetry and slush editor for Chizine Publications http://www.chizinehub.com/ as well as a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Vancouver, BC with the requisite writer’s companion. Her work has appeared in over hundred publications. New pieces are coming out in The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies, Polluto #8, Mirror Shards anthology, Bull Spec, Witches and Pagans #23 and Candle in the Attic Window. She writes fiction of all flavours, especially dark, and poetry. www.wordpress.colleenanderson.com

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