Brain Babies: It’s Not All About You.


That’s today’s topic. As a rule, humans beings are pretty egocentric. I’ve known maybe one or two who put others ahead of themselves all the time. Those people are weird.

I know that I, myself, tend to be kind of self-focused. I wouldn’t go as far as to say self-centered. I’m not a complete prick. But, I tend to look out for number one. I think most of us do. Which brings me to my point.

I see, as I imagine many of you do, a lot of fiction calls for highly specific subsets of society.

Please, only stories from: women, PoC (People of Color), Canadians, Australians, New Hampshirites, Venusians, Arachnids. I see these calls, and they don’t usually apply to me. I am, in fact, a white male from the US. I’m the opposite of niche. But, you know what? I’m good with that.

I read a lot about white privilege. I know what it is, and I know I have some. I never asked for any. But, it’s there. That’s how it goes. I have certain advantages because I happened to be born this way. Okay. Cool. Thanks. I guess.

Now, here’s the thing: not everyone has the advantages I do. Some people need a little nudge to get them in the spotlight. So they can show you what they can do. Their voices might get heard simply because some publisher somewhere said, “You know what I want to see? A bunch of stories from one-armed pygmies who live in a shack on a beach!” Suddenly, all these incredibly talented, one-armed, beach shack pygmies have a shot at getting published. That’s awesome.

When I see a call to which I cannot submit, because I don’t meet the qualifications, if I have a good story for it, I will be disappointed, but I try also to celebrate that shit. I get excited for the ones who can sub to it. Go you! I’d like to read that book. Because, ultimately, that’s what this is about. We’re all in this together. Your success is my success. It’s every writer’s success.

We are putting ourselves out there in the world, exposing our hearts and dark little secrets to everyone. That takes guts, folks. And maybe a little bit of lunacy. When a writer has the courage to try, we should applaud them. We should support them. Say, “Hell yeah! Go with your bad self! You did it, you crazy, one-armed pygmy you!”

And, don’t worry. It won’t be long before there’s another call for subs. Maybe you won’t qualify for it either. But, that’s cool. You will for the next one, or the one after that. In the meantime, keep writing. Read a good book. Hug someone you love. Drink a beer. Do something that makes you happy. And, most importantly, be ecstatic for your fellow writers when they sell something. Someday, when you make it, I bet they’ll be happy for you, too. I’ll be clapping loudly for you myself.

Also, if you see any calls for spec. fic. from writers who are aging, white males with glasses, multiple tattoos and a bad knee, please let me know. Thanks.

Ken MacGregor 2016

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