Lighting the way

There is a moment when you are out in the woods, lost and weary, and you finally catch a glimpse of a light off in the distance. But your body is struggling to put one foot in front of another. Your mouth is dry, eyes sagging. Your breath ragged. And a fog has descended upon your mind. You don’t know if you can reach that light. And part of you just wants to lay down right there, sleep, even though another part of you knows that if you do you’ll never get up again.

It’s the same with any struggle. You fight so hard to attain a goal, work day and night, and see that light at the end of the tunnel. And sometimes you make it. Sometimes you get there and realize it wasn’t a lantern, it was just a fire fly and now you’re further off track then before.

But finding waypoints along the road will help. Setting markers, attainable goals. Little projects that lead up to the larger ones. Taking chances…

Sometimes it feels like you’re moving backwards. Sometimes it feels like your just stuck in a pit of despair and avoiding the rats of unusual size. But the light is still there… waiting for you to reach it.

More often then not, we are our own biggest road block. Our will fades, or determination takes a vacation, and we let the RoUS get just a little too close. They have to nibble on our toes before we finally get moving again.

Think of them as motivation to keep moving. Don’t get mad at them, but don’t sit around and chat with them either.

Absolon, life like? (Or- Michigan is fucking NUTS!)

absolonsmI posted the second chapter of “Absolon” today.

It’s kind of freaky, actually. I wrote it, and posted it. In this chapter we start to see what happened to the world after WW3, and what people are dealing with in their daily lives.

One part of it, I think I might spoil a little, because I was shocked to learn it wasn’t as inconceivable as I thought it might be.

In Michigan they just passed a law that requires community service (that is, they will have people work for free) in order to get basic health care and food stamps, and/or unemployment.

Sounds kind of straight forward, right? Even a little intuitive when you think about it. They get “free money from the state” so lets have them work for it.

Now lets look a little deeper.

Everyone who works pays into the system. We pay taxes, social security, and medicaid. We pay these things so that when we are down and out, out of a job, and looking for a new one, then we have a little security to fall back. We also get roads, military, politicians, and all sorts of other things out of the deal. Not all of which we agree with, but we pay our taxes, elect our officials and hope things work out.

Second, there is a system for unemployment for a reason. Everyone who works pays into it. And when we are out of work we take from it. That is how it has worked for a very long time. It gives everyone a chance to look for a new job, get well (if it was a medical reason) or just take a breather and recover for a bit before jumping back into the rat race.

Not everyone will get a chance to take advantage of unemployment, but shouldn’t we be grateful? Unemployment only pays a small percentage of what you were making before hand. Not enough to pay your bills usually. Who the heck wants to be on unemployment? Most people want to get back to work as soon as possible.

Which brings us to another problem in this system…. Work.

If you have a bunch of people on unemployment and food stamps working for the city for free, then what happens to the people who did those jobs before the city started getting free “community service”? Do they get laid off? Fired? Restructured? Retrained?

Or do you throw them back on the unemployment lines so they have to come back and do the job they were doing before, only this time for free.

Even if you figure that the people working this community service are doing it for “pay” in the form of unemployment and food stamps, how can you guarantee that they are being paid a decent wage for that time? How do you measure that? How do they still have time to go find a “real” job?

Why not just create new jobs and hire them?

Grumble, grumble, grumble….

Anyway, there is a lot more to this argument. A lot of fall out that could happen if it passes, and sticks.

Move over! I’m coming through!

Early a friend tweeted a link to this article, in which Joe Abercrombie (a traditionally published writer) said self publishing is too much work. He doesn’t want to publish, he wants to write.

Yep. He’s right. Self publishing is a LOT of work. There are covers, editors, formating, and months and months of writing with little return.

But it’s worth it!

For centuries art has been funneled through publishers of one sort or another. Book publishers, music producers, game developers, TV executives, art curators… you name it! There was a gate keeper set in front of your goal that you had to get through.

It’s like a lottery. Someone wins, and a whole hell of a lot of people lose.

And publishing, like any lottery, wasn’t dependent solely on talent or content. It was also marketability, how much money they could make off you, and sometimes your ability to stroke their ego.

Guess what? It isn’t a lottery anymore. The gate keepers are starting to notice wholes crashing through the walls, bypassing the gate they so carefully erected.

Indie game designers have produced, sold, and created major hits among gamers. Like Limbo, Journey, Minecraft, and Bastion. Games that skyrocketed past all the game publishers, earning millions.

Indie authors, like Hugh Howie, and Amanda Hocking proved you don’t need a publisher to make it big. They refused to give their rights away for someone else to make money off their talent, and they succeeded.

In film we now see some amazing special effects, animations, dramas, and story telling available right on youtube. For free. Netflix is offering some of them, like the Guild, streaming. Theaters are playing others, like Plurality, as ‘pre movie vignettes’. Others will follow suit. Indie films will get longer, and better, and eventually be available along side everything else.

Musicians, like Maclemore, are hitting the top charts without signing their life and their music over to some producer.

Even physical objects, and hand made goods. You can go to Etsy and by something directly from designers, artists, and makers. Or you can download designs from Thingaverse and print them on your 3D printer.

Publishers… the gate keepers who so carefully erected that wall so they could decided what was published, and who succeed, are starting to see that their wall looks more like swiss cheese then brick.

The status quo use to be that people produced things, and the person who sold it and distributed it, was the one who made the most profit off it.

I see a future where the person who designed, created, wrote, painted, filmed, or made an object…. they will be the one who makes the most profit off their IP. They made it. They should.

Copyright is broken. DMC is bulky, and intrusive. Publishers are more interested in the bottom line then the creators they say they serve. We’ve known this for a while, and now we have ways to combat it.

Move over publishers, I’m coming through.
If all that’s standing in my way is a little hard work, then I’m rolling up my sleeves, and I’m doing it.