Tales for an Accelerated Culture

Generation X: Tales from an Accelerated CultureIt’s been 21 years, six months, and about 18 days since Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture was first published. And I have yet to publish — yet to complete — my first novel. How sad is that?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I was six years old when I started writing songs and “selling” them. Made national radio even — my Dad pitched me to As It Happens on CBC and they interviewed me about my song writing and I even sang one (despite not being a singer) about a tornado, as I recall. Free songs I was writing, to anyone who asked.

(Nobody did, by the way, though Barbara Frum thought I was “cute”…)

In any case, flash forward to 1991. Still wanting to be a writer. A novelist, if given my preference. But it was Generation X that made me realize I could be a writer, and informed a large part of what I believe a writer — at least a novelist — could be. Loose. No real regard to “conventional” style in approach or storytelling. Modern, not lonely stories on a lonely prairie from a lonely decade. My god, the Gen X cover has upside-down clouds — how wonderfully dystopian and yet strangely hopeful is that?

Not quite sure why I’m thinking about this now. I have been pondering lately the fact that culture is continuing to accelerate — Gen X and the early 90s looks positively idyllic, all resort-ish and full of people lounging on deck chairs by comparison. Can anything I write today survive the test of time? And does that even matter?

Yes, of course it matters. And yes, of course it shouldn’t. One of the many paradoxes of being a writer — learning how to care so, so deeply, and learning how not to feel a thing.

I’m marking a new chapter (pun noted) in my novel-writing journey. Not quite sure of what it is, but I’m definitely turning a page (pun noted again; getting slightly annoyed with myself now). Whatever is coming next, I do know that it’s a good thing.

Bring on the tornadoes.


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3 Responses to Tales for an Accelerated Culture

  1. I’m not sure what to make of your next-to-last chapter (throw us a bone), but one problem with an accelerated culture is that I don’t think any faster than I used to (in fact, I’m pretty sure I think slower).

    You’re right about the leisure-class lifestyle we enjoyed only a decade or so ago; the idea of sitting down and putting out a novel every three years seems almost wildly quaint.

    That’s never been a goal — I’m not a novelist and have no interest in fiction — but I think you ignore a changing landscape at your own peril. And not to put too fine a point on it, we’re all getting older, and while that doesn’t ring any alarm bells when you’re 28, you do tend to notice the one-way nature of the journey when you move past 50.

    Good luck with what’s next.
    TC/Writer Underground’s most recent blog post: Michael Wolff Says Copywriting Isn’t Dying. — It’s Already Dead. Is He Right?

  2. Graham Strong says:

    Yes, alarm bells might have something to do with it… lol.

    Great link – I think though that you’ll always have those who write a book every three months, and those who write one every ten years. It is interesting though that publishers are pushing their writers to produce more. I’m not sure – for some writers, anyway – if that is the right approach though. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t see anything particularly wrong with speed writing, though except for a select few – Stephen King comes to mind – writing faster doesn’t mean writing better. You can immediately tell the difference between the stories Fitzgerald wrote in one week and those he wrote in three weeks, for example.

    I wonder how much this will change the way publishers look at the writers they sign? You’d think they’d snap up the 12-book per year writers first.

    I hope that’s not true of all of them…


    • I wonder how much this will change the way publishers look at the writers they sign? You’d think they’d snap up the 12-book per year writers first.

      You can’t help but be right. For years I’ve read about agents and publishers pushing writers to develop an online “platform” for promotion.

      And if it’s one thing that’s true of online promotion it’s that the more prolific writer wins about 98% of the time.
      TC/Writer Underground’s most recent blog post: Weekly Tweetfest

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