A great thing about the net as that it removes gatekeepers. Traditionally, entry into the media was controlled by people who decided whether or not you would be given a shot. Gatekeepers. On the plus side, it meant that there was some degree of quality control, but on the other hand the gatekeepers were the arbiters, and if you didn’t fit their perception of what constituted quality, you didn’t get it.
The net allows everyone in, and it can be chaos, but good stuff tends to meet good stuff, and centrifugal forces develop, people link up, like-minded folk meet and develop ideas, whole movements generate from a single post. Most wither within days, but some grow and grow. For me that’s awesome. Most of what I watch onscreen is on my laptop, I never watch TV and don’t go to the cinema that often. Most of what I read is on my kindle or online.
The range of material available can vary between awful and fantastic, but I get to choose what I consume. Good or bad, it’s me deciding what I read and what I watch, not some self-defining arbiter whose values and tastes mean nothing to me.
As a writer, I’m getting more and more out on a limb, structure-wise. I’m growing more comfortable with my natural inclinations toward what my pal Ernie would have described as ‘deconstructed’ storytelling. And I don’t mind. I welcome it. Every day I write, I discover new places and I create new things, and I get to ignore every literary rule that I want to ignore. I have no publisher to please, no agent to feed, and I get to follow my own path. I just do it.
A couple of weeks ago, Cambridge University Press asked me if they could use one of my short stories and I just said Yes. There was no middle-man, no strategy, no conflict. No money either, but the day job sorts out that side of life.