Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Maybe Your Baby Done Made Some Other Plans

Scott's Note: Angel Colon guest blogs this week.  Not that he needs any introduction, but Angel has written that most entertaining of novellas, The Fury of Blackie Jaguar, and now he has new novella out, No Happy Endings.  It's a heist novel about the robbery of a New York City sperm bank.  I figure robbing a sperm bank for supposedly choice semen would be a tough enough job, but it turns out the job gets even more complicated when a huge hurricane, super storm Sandy, hits the city.  

Intrigued? Laughing a little? I am.

Here's Angel.

Guest Post by Angel Colon

I quote a Stevie Wonder song for a handful of reasons, primarily and for the purposes of this little think piece because of that horrific, helpless, empty feeling that is letting go of a work in progress as it becomes a final draft and moves on to being its ultimate form: THE PRODUCT.

Don’t get it twisted, for all the merits of art, its final form is ultimately a product. Whether its bought, witnessed, participated in—the ultimate goal of art is to be distributed and consumed. In a bizarre way, those who create are scions of anti-capitalistic sentiment that births the very bricks capitalism used as a foundation.

Horribly pretentious, no?

But that’s a deep bar discussion for another time. For this bit of time I’m stealing from you, let’s talk about what it feels like to be a hair’s width away from your product being consumed, judged, and ultimately “digested”.

I’ve been through this mess a few dozen times by now (short stories, articles, and long form releases) in only three short years. The feeling of immense dread, that expectation someone will turn on me hard enough to give us all whiplash and scream, “FRAUD” is a constant. It’s never enough that gatekeepers and people you respect within the craft have given you the green light, nope, now the reader is coming to the party. This is the person willing to part with money to put eyes on something you’ve worked hard on and they honestly give no fucks about how the sausage was made; only that it’s tasty, tasty sausage.

And that’s a tough one. Some folks dig breakfast sausage and others like hot links. There’s no way to please everyone and you know this but it doesn’t matter. The idea that anyone is going to openly hate or, worse, PRIVATELY HATE something you worked so very hard on is mortifying.

Now I’m craving beer brats…ANYWAY.

So how do we handle that? How do we move past our own egos, because let’s be honest, this fear is utterly soaked in the flop sweat of our ego, and allow the product to stand on its own wobbly legs while we close the door on it forever?

Well, I think for one you don’t do that. I think you need to watch your darling be accepted or torn to shred by the dogs. You need to accept that once things are out of your control there’s an opportunity to learn at hand. I’m not talking about assessing where flaws were in writing/promo/overall sales; we can all suss that out well enough. I’m talking more about building thicker skin—allowing the scars to build up and be able to tackle all feedback and lessons with as little emotion possible. Too often we allow our emotions to bleed out more after producing than we do during production. It’s a flawed approach. Scream, cry, and laugh while you create. Become stone when you present. Still take the bits and pieces that improve your craft but don’t anchor, be ready to move on to create the next big project.

That’s the only way to keep the screaming and crying from starting. And hell, maybe all that pent up anxiety and frustration helps your next work become something better. That’s the goal: to always grow and further perfect your craft. Never become complacent, never become satisfied.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to hide someplace and ignore I have a new novella out. You should go buy it and judge me while I pretend not to care.

You can buy No Happy Endings by clicking HERE.

Angel Luis Colón is the author of NO HAPPY ENDINGS, THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR, and the upcoming short story anthology; MEAT CITY ON FIRE (AND OTHER ASSORTED DEBACLES). He’s an editor for Shotgun Honey, has been nominated for the Derringer Award, and has published stories in multiple web and print pubs. Find out more at angelluiscolon.com or on Twitter by following @GoshDarnMyLife.

No comments: