Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

A Quick Note About My Blog…

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Folks, I’ve been asked this question in the not-so-distant past:

“Barb, why do you talk about school shootings/sports/politics/current events? Why don’t you just talk about publishing, or your stories, or happy stuff?”

While I talk about my stories — and quite often — I feel a need to talk about the things that concern me. As a writer of young adult fiction in particular, school shootings hurt. I think back to my school days, which weren’t the world’s easiest, and wonder how much worse things would’ve been had someone opened fire at my high school.

Or worse yet, at my junior high. Or even at my elementary school.

While I cannot begin to understand what the people who’ve endured school shootings at Sandy Hook or Washington State have gone through, I can at least empathize with them. And I try to do that, while discussing what disturbs me so much about these atrocious, horrific events.

Now, as for why I talk about everything else? Sports — that’s easy. I love sports, always have, and it gives me a commonality with others I wouldn’t be likely to have any other way.

I mean, really. I’m a classically-trained musician with two music degrees, a good amount of performing experience (mostly with classical music, but some in other styles, mostly jazz or backing up a pop vocalist), and I write. These things set me apart from the average run-of-the-mill human being.

Yet I think there’s a lot more that I have in common with other people than not. And sports work as a metaphor for that.

Besides, I love the competition. I enjoy the intellectual struggles of the coaches, the little quirks of fate that change the outcomes of various games, and enjoy seeing players overcome all sorts of obstacles.

“But what about current events, Barb? Or most especially politics? Why must you talk about that? Surely you know that Republicans/Democrats/Independents/Martians buy books, too, and that every post you put up that’s against one of these groups is likely to alienate people?”

I talk about current events because they interest me. I try to pay attention to what happens in this life. I can’t comment on it all, no. But the important stuff, I try to say something if I can. Because being buried in an edit or working out changes in a contracted story just isn’t all that interesting for anyone who’s not actively involved in the process of writing or editing…though, granted, I’ve had various things to say about the writing process or the editing process in the past, and probably will again.

And I talk about politics because I live in the United States of America, a democratic republic. Politics are part of the deal. I may not like what happens with regards to my elected officials; in fact, most of the time I can’t stand it. But it’s up to me to watch what they’re doing in order to make the best possible voting decisions I can.

If that alienates people…well, I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it’s going to have to be. (That we’ve reached such a state in our society that people want their writers to share every last belief with them to the last jot and tittle isn’t good, to put it mildly. But we’ll save that discussion for another day.)

“But — but — happy talk, Barb! The world is so dreary and depressing as it is. Why can’t you just talk about fun stuff? Or post pictures of dogs/cats/chickadees/monkeys, etc.?”

I’m a firm believer in being who I am. And that means “happy talk” is out. (If you’re looking for that from me, you’ve really come to the wrong store.)

Now, if there are no more questions from the peanut gallery (ha!), I’d best get back to what I was doing before. (Namely, editing.)

Until soon, folks…

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Written by Barb Caffrey

October 28, 2014 at 6:15 am

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