Hey, all you Latinoid writers, in order to be inspire you to get
out there and tackle the science fiction/fantasy/horror megagenre, Somos en
escrito and MeXicanos 2070 has asked me to teach a class at their 2023 Palabras
del Pueblo Writing Workshop, and I’ve agreed to take the job.
Yeah, those of you who have been following me know I've shot my mouth off a lot
about how much I hate workshops and didn’t want to be a teacher because me and
school got along so good. Here’s an example:
I really don’t want to give advice on how to be a writer. Most of
the advice that has been passed on over the last few decades was muddle-headed
to begin with, and now it’s just plain obsolete, except for maybe the writing
section of Paul Riddell’s Greasing the Pan. And the last thing I
want to be is somekinda guru – what I’m trying to be is an anti-guru.
Unfortunately, I am a writer in a way that most wannabes can’t
imagine. I have a lot experiences bashing my brains out against the
stonewall of the writing life. They may not be very educational, but they may
have entertainment value.
What makes some misguided folks think I may be qualified is that
I’ve managed to publish enough to earn me a reputation as an International Cult
Author. Just ask those people who’ve said nice things about me in Russian,
Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Greek. Now, if I could just get them to
send me some money . . .
It hasn’t made me rich. Then, to be honest, it’s rare for a writer
to get rich. If you know of any writers who have achieved a comfortable
retirement because of their writing, let me know. Don’t be insulted if I don’t
hold my breath.
I have known, and greatly admired, a number of people who have
been able to make a living by writing. This is usually done by writing dull,
routine stuff – formula fiction, nonfiction that a particular market demands. I
wish I could do that, but my perceptions are so twisted that straight reportage
comes out like surrealistic constructions, and when I try to hack genre stuff I
get called avant garde! This does not get you regular, paying writing gigs.
I used to fret over the fact that I had to get a day job, and was
denied the life of a true professional, but as the years went by, to my horror,
I noticed my friends who made money as writers were subjected to hard times,
health problems (without insurance), and never seemed to get ahead enough to
get comfortable. I’d think someone was a prime example of a solid pro writer,
then discover that they were practically homeless.
Also, as bizarre as it may seem, what’s always been the easiest
thing for me to sell is the weirdest, most offbeat stuff. No one has ever told
me, "If you could just tone it down a little." It’s more like,
"Hey, Ernest, ya got anything really sicko?"
This is because writing is a crazy business. Don’t be fooled into
thinking that this is some kind of civilized activity.
I once heard Kristine Kathryn Rusch mention "scary Zen
writing stuff" that she didn’t want to talk about. Actually, it’s more
like voodoo, but only if you’re doing it right. I’m willing to talk about it.
It’ll be scary, but good for some laughs.
Come to think of it, except for the typos I corrected, I still
stand by that. I don’t wanna be a writing guru. I don’t believe in gurus of any
So why am doing this?
If you haven’t noticed, the world, especially when it comes to
writing, has undergone some radical changes.
Also, one of the cold, hard facts of this brave new world is that
you can make more money from talking to people about writing than writing.
Feel free to gasp here.
That and my getting old have me yearning for the day when I can
retire from my day job and spend the rest of my life writing the books I want
to write, and otherwise running amok.
It’s either that or make sacrifices to Tezcatlipoca, Xochiquetzal,
and whatever other Aztec deities have been watching over me to arrange for my
next novel to be a worldwide bestseller and get a great deal for the film
and/or TV rights.
I’m also brimming over with the Ancient Chicano Sci-Fi Wisdom that
I’m willing to share. And l’m funny. I determined to give the students their
hard-earned money's worth.
So sign up for Papí Sci-Fi’s Ancient Chicano Sci-Fi Wisdom,
my fellow imaginative Latinoids. Let’s not just intrude into the fantastic
genre, let’s take over!