Friday, April 13, 2012

Halfway Down a Drowning

George Guthridge

I remember the last moment after I drowned.
It happened last night.  The nearest water from our home here in Nontaburi, Thailand, other than a faucet, is the waterpark atop the mall, ten blocks away, and after that the river, three miles away.
It happened when I clicked on
I drowned in the verbiage. 
The numbers swallowed me.
2811 vampire/werewolf fictions.  Dracula probably needs no more blood, having been immortalized by so many words, unless the weight of adjectives bears down his wings.  6724 paranormal/horror.  That’s one hundred times more books than people who’ve had a real paranormal experience and lived to tell about it.  578 time travel.  Whew!  The odds are getting better.  1508 shapeshifter.  6621 sci fi/fantasy.    124 pirate novels.  (Don’t let that number out; people are bound to change ships from starfleets to ones in the Indian Ocean.) 
1916 westerns.  That’s more romantic westerns than unmarried adult males in some western states.  Just who are those women sleeping with?
9849 erotica.  I checked with  9849 happens to be exactly the number of orgasms in the last ten years in the entire state of Alaska.  An odd coincidence.  So I clicked on that link.  The first entry that popped up was Gangbang Volume I, an interesting redundancy.  I asked my wife if I could buy it.  The price was right: $0.00.  She said no.  “Why,” I asked smugly, “afraid I’ll want to write one and go do some research?” “No,” she said, “I’m afraid you couldn’t handle it when you’d have to watch me.”  She’s a quick wit, that one.
15,923 erotic romance.  Do the math.  That’s 6074 more erotic romances than erotica.  Which means that 6074 people got romance and only thought they were getting laid.
7316 gay entries (excuse the pun), but only 745 lesbian ones.  Assuming there are about an equal number of gays as lesbians out there (I have no way of verifying that, and if my making this blanket statement offends you, then send me a message in a bottle, via the ocean), then that means that either most lesbians don’t like to read or else they’re having too much great sex to bother writing about it.  I asked my wife if I could write about lesbians.  She said, “In your dreams.”  Now how is it she knows so much about my dreams?
From my friend Pete, a year after he married his boyfriend: “George, you know the difference between straight people and gay people? Straight people have great sex, then get married and stop having sex.  Gay people have great sex, then get married and stop having sex.”  That has nothing to do with this blog, I just thought I’d throw it out there.
The above figures are just some of the for-sales on just one website.  (One that I rather like, incidentally.)
So what’s my point?
Theodore Sturgeon, one of the greatest short story writers ever to grace the pages of American magazines, was once asked why so much science fiction is crap.  Without missing a beat he said, “Ninety percent of all fiction is crap.” I suspect that, given the Web, the number has gone up nine percentage points if not 9.9.
So how do we keep from drowning in the miasma of writing, much if not most of it amateurish, that is being foisted upon the Web? Frankly, I’m not sure.  I probably know six levels of relevancy less than anyone else about epublishing. But I suspect the way to rise to the surface is the same way you rose to the surface out of the slush pile in the old days: you write really well.  Or else you murder a dozen people, put their body parts in the refrigerator, and then they make a movie of your life; but my wife nixed that too.
The way I kept from drowning in slush (notice how cleverly I’ve circled around to my original metaphor), back in the days before personal computers much less epublishing, was to try to find a subject that is potentially highly interesting to my intended audience and then to research and research and research until I come across something that is what I call a “great aha!” (notice I just cleverly worked in the erotica).  (A truly middle-age guy is one who takes Viagra to get an erection over the centerfold of Better Homes and Gardens.)  Then I research to see if anyone else is doing stories about what I’ve uncovered and, if not, I start swimming. In other words, I work very very hard at not doing what everyone else is.
That way, when they maneuver the boats among the bodies lying face-down in the water, mine will be the one with the paisley lifejacket with Bechuanaland and Bhutan flags sticking up.
 --- George Guthridge


JackieIvie said...

George I'm still laughing. And writing.

Your wife is a real gem.


Tiffinie Helmer said...

Hehehehe! Great post. I love your wife. She thinks a lot the way I do. Keep dreaming and keep swimming. Very entertaining. :)

Sandy Blair said...

I really enjoyed this blog. Thanks for the laughs.