Saturday, January 28, 2023

It’s the Work... and Then Some

I decided to drag this post from Facebook over to my blog, mainly for posterity’s sake. It is surely vaguebooking to those who don’t know the origin, but pretty clear to those who do.
I kept saying I wasn’t gonna wade in... but I’m wading in.
It is about the work. No one has said it wasn’t. But is the bulk of the work you see and know representative of a picture that’s bigger than you might have realized, or is it an insular subset?
I’ll be very honest: particularly in my editorial capacity, I have historically said that it is all about the work, and once I put out the call, the onus is on the creator who wants me to see their work to get it to me. And sell it to me. It still is.
But because I also make it a point to listen when people whose experiences in our chosen field, whose personal and cultural backgrounds might be radically different from mine (and even from the stable of creators and readers that so many of us know so well), speak up and question whether my/our experiences and perspectives could stand some expanding, well, yeah, it might rub me wrong at first, but if that questioning doesn’t give me food for thought — or reason to explore beyond my well-honed worldview — then perhaps that’s my failing.
As writers, editors — hell, creators of all sorts — aren’t we among the most passionate, most vocal proponents of education?
Do we somehow feel we’re beyond being “educated” ourselves?
We all have our prejudices; I certainly own a set. But as far as this business goes, a thought or two (and I’m grabbing this bit from my response on a related Facebook thread):
You know, I’m 63 years old, I’m a straight white male, and I’ve been in this business a long time. I have many "old" relationships in the field. But I still consider myself a novice. I am learning — with writing, with editing — with relating to people — and although I can’t begin to read as much as I’d like to, thanks to my aging eyes giving me problems, I strive very hard to stay informed, to welcome and honor different viewpoints, and to do anything but remain stagnant. Everything I write is a practice swing in the game of getting better.
Editing-wise, certain lovely things are happening... and while the project I’m heading up honors its old-time roots, above all, it’s for playing the long game. To stay not just relevant but maybe even motivational in this business.
I simply feel this is the decent way to be. And that said, despite being a pretty well-educated old fart, maybe I don’t yet know enough about THE WORK to make as informed an evaluation as I thought I did.

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