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100 days of Love and Hate - Day 8 [Sep. 2nd, 2006|12:20 pm]
dalekboy
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Sean Williams
Now I'm not going to run through all my friends on 100 days, and I know I risk alienating a few by not mentioning them, but the people I choose to mention merit it because of who they are or what they are doing beyond our friendship. Sean is one of these.

First up, Sean's a mate. A good mate, someone who I feel comfortable sharing some deeply personal stuff with. He's got an open mind and a joyous spirit that I love, and one of the things I look forward to doing on a Nullabor trip is catching up with Sean, no matter how briefly. He's another Doctor Who fanboy, and when we get together we geek out on the show, and other things that we love be they books, films, tv...

I also really like his books, at least those I've read. Reading as slow as I do, and with my limited funds, I've only read a few, but enjoyed them all. I still think Resurrected Man and Metal Fatigue are fucking awesome! And I love his short fiction, too.

But the reason he rates a mention here is this - he's still the same guy I met at Swancon all those years ago. I don't mean he hasn't grown as a person, he has, but he hasn't lost his energy, life and generousity of spirit.

After writing or co-writing 20+ books, there's a lot of people who would start getting tickets on themselves, hell, some manage it with only a few stories under their belt. Sean hasn't. He goes to conventions because he enjoys them, as well as recognising that con-going is actually an important promotional tool for an author - he doesn't ask or expect freebies, if it's a con he's interested in, and he can afford the time and money, he'll pay to go along.

Hanging around him, you occasionally get blessed with that special moment when a bit of conversation or a random observation spins off into an idea. His eyes light up, his voice takes on an excited hush as he mentions the key word or phrase - he says it slowly, savouring it - then writes it down. And it's not being present at the birth of an idea that makes those moments special, it's the excitement he radiates at the myriad possibilities held within that idea.

And he enjoys sharing this with you. He treats people as if they matter, as if their lives matter, and shares the joy he finds in the world easily with those around him. And that's why he rates a mention here. Because of the way he touches lives, not with his writing, but by being himself.

Now if only he wasn't such a big fan of Alien: Ressurrection...




Best/Worst ever
It's a matter of semantics. I don't mind if people say 'It's the best/worst whatever I have ever seen' but I fucking hate it when people say 'It's the best/worst thingamajig ever' and can't accept that maybe, just maybe, you'd like them to back up that statement.

Most of the time it's used in reference to films.

And when people spout this rancid gem of ultimate knowledge in my direction, I want to grab them by the throat, slam them up against the nearest wall and start reeling off a list of other films, books, armadillo skin posing pouches, etc. I want to ask them with each one "Have you seen it?" and when they say no, slam their head back into wall.

I want them to cry. I want them to bleed. I want them to learn to say what they fucking mean, rather than talking permanently in hyperbole. I want them to give me an educated opinion, not a gut reaction to stimulus, because I want a conversation, not brainless speech. I want them to think before they speak and start polluting my life with their gross over-generalisations and simplifications.

God save me from the uneducated glorification of the mundane by the mindless, middle-weight mentalities of the masses, for these are the people our world is gearing itself towards more and more. It's the best or it's the worst. You're with us or you're against us. You're evil or you're good. The uninformed opinion of the imbecile gushed about as black and white fact, all too often echoed and celebrated with equal relish by those around them.

They give power to a feeling, a reaction with no conscious thought, an opinion reached without all that troublesome thinking to slow things down. It's so easy to declare the ultimate worth of something this way. And pretty soon everyone is doing it. Black and white is fine, but the moment someone cuts themself off from the ability to perceive and think about grey, the world gets a bit smaller for all of us.

I want insight, I want to learn and understand. Don't tell me something is, try convert me with a well-thought out opinion on the why of it! It doesn't matter if you don't change my mind, what matters is that you know your own mind, can argue for your opinion, and actively listen to mine.

Because then, regardless of who believes what, we both learn something.

And we both win.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kaths
2006-09-02 08:38 am (UTC)
The black/white thing is also about belong to a group of people. Particularly in the US, where having and sharing an opinion about something (preferably best/worst) with other people is more often much more important than what the opinion actually is. That sense of belonging is a strong instinct, particularly for those living in huge cities, as our brain is designed for small tribal groups.

I like how you wrote about Sean Williams... I wonder whether writing about a writer makes you write better... right? :)

Oh, and on the best/worst thing - Darren M will often jokingly comment that something is the 'second biggest' or 'second worst', leaving him wiggle room for the possibility that he'll come across something even bigger or worse :)
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-09-02 12:15 pm (UTC)
I'd started to write about the group mentality, then cut it out, since there's a few different posts I've got in mind that may be better suited to it. I don't mind people using the best/worst thing, just the ones who are so emphatic about it.

Sean rocks. He pulled hairs from my legs with his teeth at a room party years ago, and he'd do it today if it felt right. None of this "Well, I can't do these things because I'm a serious author" crap :)

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From: gutter_monkey
2006-09-02 04:16 pm (UTC)
I totally agree. Hyperbole is the worst thing ever.
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