I’d never written anything about the Middle Ages, and for that matter hadn’t read much about it either. I know Anglophiles dote on the stuff. Me, I prefer science fiction to straight fantasy. If you’re going to invent whole worlds and cultures, why encumber yourself with armor and seventy obscure words that have no use other than that they are the names of medieval objects?
I’m not, generally speaking, a nostalgic kind of guy. I figure we left all that behind for a reason. Probably, several thousand reasons, if you want to get down to counting them. Plague, for instance. We didn’t so much ‘leave it behind us’ as we discovered a relationship between rats and people dying from bubonic infection. As we got further into it, we found the relationship to be fleas. The fleas on the rats spread the plague. But wait there’s more.
When we got even further into them, we discovered these fleas were carrying something that other rat’s fleas weren’t. Didn’t know quite what it was, though. Sometime around then, this Dutch guy invented lenses. And believe it or not, you could actually see what the fleas were carrying in their blood! This was a whole new ball of wax, looking through lenses on a tube, finding massive planets far off in the sky and deadly teensy things right up close. Some even preferred it to gallumphing around wearing fifty pounds of steel and killing people in the name of Redemption. Especially when you could actually save people by doing so.
However, here’s a guy who wants to pay for my stuff, if my stuff is about medieval doings. Lead me to the writing machine.
Two days later, I’d written two 2500-word stories. Not bad, I said. I read them over. They were indeed in English. I sent them out.
The Editor/publisher immediately emailed me that he’d received them. He hadn’t read them, but he soon would. He was preparing for a convention of gamers in Indianapolis held the following week, and the convention was a week long. Besides which, he’d pretty much settled on the content for his premiere issue, scheduled for the end of September. So he probably wouldn’t be getting to my stories until around then. But thanks for writing them, and sending them in, and we’ll talk later.
Most of my life, I free-lanced. I’m quite used to calls from producers asking my availability for this project or that and they’ll be getting back to me “soon”, and that’s the last I hear from them. Many years ago, when I started, I followed up on one or two of those calls. I soon learned not to. Better to forget they called. If they want you to do something, they’ll damn sure call back.
But this was somewhat different. For one thing, fiction writing, at my level, isn’t a business. It’s more like – I’m a porcupine, see, and I keep producing quills. Whether I need them or not, the quills are coming. I have to get rid of the ones I’ve already made. I could just bundle them up like tree trimmings and put them in the trash (in ‘sharps’ containers, like used syringes). However, all quills have patterns in them. Weaved delicately, they can make lovely, even striking, place-mats. You can even build things with them, Christmas tree ornaments, log-cabin structures for model railroads, even plaques such as those which hang on the walls of Mt. Vernon. They can say something about what your life is worth, if you are good enough at weaving them.
I’m not in this as a business. I want to sell my stories so that they will be published and people will read them. I could really use the cash, too. But I’m not looking for a contract to produce so many words in this period of time. I made sound tracks for industrial films. If I’d wanted to do that, I would have at least started there. The point is, I”m not looking for work.
So I haven’t written the guy. And, he hasn’t written to me. Now, it’s the legendary End of September. And I’ve written eight more stories. Twenty thousand words.
Do I send them all to him? I don’t think so.But the writing’s developed some. It’s not like it was when I started. I think I’ll send him the last one, and explain that things have changed and I’d love to hear what he thought of the first ones compared to this one.
Meanwhile, He seems to have become involved in a different website. www.patreon.com is some sort of exhibition site – cum – schnorring site. The setup is, you exhibit your work there and you ask for a contribution to help you make art. He’d set up a site. So, I set up a site.
You might ask, “If he jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you?” I dunno. I’ll get back to you on that.
In the meantime, I don’t think opening this www.patreon.com/freedmania will kill me immediately. Even if it’s for wannabes and other frauds. Then I’ll only be there a week or two. Anyway, who’ll know? There’s just you and me, here.