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Scrutiny And The Spotlight

Updated: Jun 18

Halfway into the month of June. Business is ticking over nicely. Final edits done on the next novella and novelette, so now taking time between projects. Which is usually spent handling beta work for other authors - this time is no different. And I get my beta fix on the regular. New work has come in, which means time has to be set aside for it. As someone who's 'always writing', I need to to schedule my work, whether it's writing, edits, beta work, etc. Still, I'm grateful that the author work and creativity are still coming, even in the midst of the current pandemic.

Oh, yeah - there's still a pandemic.

Which, in part, is the thrust of this entry.

I've not left the house since March. Not because of any apparent ill health or infirmity - simply because I've not had the desire to. Why? Because even at the best of times, I appear to be an idiot magnet. For those people who try to walk and look at their phone at the same time. Who somehow veer into me with near pinpoint accuracy. Who don't turn away or cover their mouth when they yawn or cough. Even without a pandemic, I try to distance myself from people, let alone crowds. To avoid those kinds of people - and the annoyance they provoke - I stay at home.

I'm aware similar idiocy continues. People not observing social distancing. People not wearing masks in public. And in the midst of the current pandemic, the plight of systemic racism against Black people rears its head - in particular with George Floyd. Footage of his death at the hands of police officers has provoked a national, and I dare say international, outcry. We as black people were well and truly in the spotlight. Protests of Black Lives Matter both in the U.S. and here in the U.K. I've seen the outcry and protestations from a number of races, not just black. That said, I've reached out to a number of peers and friends; black men - to see how they were. To see how they were holding up. Anger. Frustration. Fatigue. I, myself, was weary. Told this to Rodney V. Smith when we got into a short convo a little while back.

For my part, it's a wearing experience, because I've experienced a whole lifetime of racism, systemic and otherwise. In some areas, I saw hope. White peers, aware of the privilege they have, acknowledge it, call it out and took positive steps. Asked how they could help. I'd been approached to beta read a story to make sure it was racially on point. Asked for recommendations on black authors. My Twitter notifications kicked up a gear or two. Publishers that were caught giving racist tirades quickly discovered such things were the nail in the coffin - and folded. Publishers such as PMMP (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing) admitted they could do more to encourage diversity, and actively sought submissions from black authors. Reaffirming. Humbling, in some instances. Progress; at least, I would hope.

But from the last time I mentioned scrutiny, I knew I was reaching the stage where, to quote Keith Murray, 'Oooh, I might lose my cool.'

With those who will tell you that All Lives Matter (which they do), but are missing the point that Black Lives Matter because these are the ones facing systemic racism. With those who would argue why don't black youths stop black-on-black violence, missing the point that the systemic racism we as black people face is from the system that is meant to serve and protect everyone. And then, apparently in the name of veganism, came a tweet comparing black people to animals.

That was when I lost my cool.

Protests have evolved here. Protests in the cause of Black Lives Matter have now begat protests of (as one reporter called it) anti-anti-fascism. Where statues had been pulled down, given their history linked to racism. More recent protests have been against this. Right-wing protesters, according to the likes of The Guardian, were out to defend monuments like the Cenotaph. Apparently making Nazi salutes.

And oh, yeah - there's still a pandemic. Where Covid-19 doesn't care what you're protesting, although it might be grateful that you don't observe social distancing. Or aren't wearing a mask.

Anyhow. The internet is full of idiots and full of arguments. I don't feel the need to respond to all of them; just as well, when there are more rewarding things to focus on. The indie horror fiction community is still by and large supportive, and I give thanks to the readers, peers, publishers, editors et al. for that. But, I'm still with the scrutiny. And now I'm at that point where, once in a while and as a matter of principle, 'I might lose my cool.'

#coronavirus #COVID19 #blacklivesmatter #writing #scrutiny

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Photography by Josie Macdonald Photography © 2020 and Ronya Galka Photography © 2020. Used with permission