And my reaction, which is, strangely enough, that this doesn't work for me the way I suspect the collagist intended. Wait; before you decide I am a heartless bastard, let me tell you why.
At the 2004 WisCon, I was privileged to participate in a panel on "Living in an SF Disaster Novel". One of the things that we all seemed in agreement on was that we are, really. It's just that the people inside disaster novels, dystopias, and so forth (contrary to fiction) generally don't notice that they're living in a dystopia. (Actually, I have discovered lately that I can find the dystopia in any society; there is always somebody for whom a given social order means suffering. Which is one of the things that "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" means to me. But that's a tangent.)
Here's the thing. The problem with the end of the world is this: it doesn't relieve us of obligation. We still have to get up and slop the pigs. Bury the bodies. Get the crops in. Get the kids to school. Deliver the manuscript.
The show must go on.
Yes. I get up every day aware that there are people dying in Iraq. I get up every day aware that their are people dying on my block: I live in one of the worse neighborhoods in North Las Vegas. It's not the worst neighborhood, but last weekend there were shootings within a few blocks of my house on both east and west sides. There was a meth lab on my block a year or so back. Kids play in the street. The neighbors will drag my garbage can in off the street if the sanitation truck leaves it turned over. You know, a typical neighborhood.
I get up every day and let the dogs out, get dressed, go to work at my day job, come home, work on a book, hope for a sale, edit, talk to my friends, remember to email my mom, my editor, my agent. I pick up my husband at work and go back to work myself. I go for a walk or do yoga. I cook dinner.
Does the death of 200 people in a suicide bombing make my day seem a little trivial? How about the death of a quarter of a million people in the Pacific? The death by torture of a black man in Mississippi?
How about the disappearance of one little girl in Florida? A friend whose father is in the hospital with a terminal illness? Another friend who has to have a beloved pet put to sleep? Is that trivial?
Of course it's trivial, in the face of 400 dead in an earthquake, one hundred thousand dead in a war.
And of course these things make my work seem trivial. Of course they make me grieve. They make me mourn. They make me write letters to my congressman. They make me angry and sad and they make me cry.
And it makes me write even more goddamned books, too, even though what I do is trivial. Because those are my hogs, and they have to be slopped. It makes a difference to the hogs. It makes a difference to me. It makes a difference to my editor.
Does it mean I can't be happy at a sale, or an award nomination? Or a friend's good news, a marriage or a baby? A glad story about a beautiful stranger she met? One friend brings home a stray dog; another buries a child. Trivial, trivial, trivial.
But every one of those things makes a difference.
It makes a difference, too, when I walk to the store instead of driving, or when I choose to use cloth towels instead of paper towels, or when I rescue a cat from a shelter. It doesn't make a big difference. It makes a trivial difference.
The trivial differences add up. 200 deaths is a trivial number, too, on a global scale. Entropy occurs by inches.
Am I defending the Oscars, conspicuous consumption, or celebrity adulation? Well, I can't be bothered to watch them, so I really can't be bothered to defend them, either.
What I'm saying is, entropy occurs by inches.
But slopping the hogs makes a difference to the hogs. Sure, it's trivial. It won't bring back the dead. It won't cure cancer. It won't end world hunger. It won't prevent a genocide.
That doesn't mean it doesn't have value.
One cannot weep for the entire world, it is beyond human strength. One must choose.
--Jean Anouilh, Eurydice
If you've got a problem. If no-one else can help. Good luck trying to hire the A-Team. (via green_key)
janni talks about fanfiction, unauthorized use of work, arguments pro and con, and a recent dust up on scans_daily where I think both creators (insluding greygirlbeast) and fans acted with class.