I Am All These Things

Okay, I’m doing something a little different this week. It’s not going to be a regular occurrence, but it may be something I play with when I’ve got something to say that’s important, either from a publicity perspective, or from a “this is important to me personally” perspective.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog at StevenHWilson.com, then this week you’re also reading the script for my weekly podcast. (And you can hear my reading, as well, here!) If you’re a regular listener to my podcast, that is the Prometheus Radio Theatre podcast, then this week you’re listening to my blog. Again, not a permanent change. Next week my listeners will hear the next chapter of Phil Giunta’s wonderfully scary novel By Your Side, and my readers will hear about Lara Parker’s wonderful expansion of the Dark Shadows mythos, Wolf Moon Rising. But this week, and now and then in the future, both groups will receive the same message.Why? Yeah, about that… have you noticed that on my website, on Twitter, on the PR for cons where I’m appearing, I always have multiple titles? Usually “Author, Publisher, Podcaster.” And that’s a short list. I’m also a convention planner, a stage actor, a voice actor, a director, a comic writer, an audio dramatist, an IT geek, which means I’m a programmer, a web developer, a database administrator, a data analyst, a project manager, a division chief… it’s a long list. And I’m not enumerating it so I can brag. I’m doing it to point out that I do a lot of things, and a lot of the people I deal with regularly only know about one or two of the things I do day in and day out. I frequently get approached by people at my day job who say, “I didn’t know you wrote comics!” or “I didn’t know you had a podcast,” or “I didn’t know you wrote books.” And I frequently talk to people at conventions who know me from stage shows, but don’t know about the podcast, or who know the podcast, but didn’t realize I have ten titles for sale on Amazon, or books on the shelves of their local library.

I’ve established five websites, not counting a half dozen set up for clients and employers. All five are still running, and I still maintain four of them. That’s a lot to keep track of, and I’ve recently had it brought home to me that people are having trouble keeping up with where I am and what I’m doing at any given moment. I feel your pain. As Fifty creeps up on me, breathing heavily in my ear, panting hungrily and–Dude! You drooled on my neck! Gross! Get away, Fifty! Go sit in the corner and wait out your 22 months like a good nightmare creature… Sit… Stay!

Yeah. As Fifty creeps up on me, I have a hard time myself keeping track of where I am and what I’m doing. So I’m making an effort to tie it all together and make it, if not less confusing, at least a more comprehensive picture of who and what I am. That way, if you should want to interact with me (I make no assumptions), you’ll at least have an easier time of it.

Also, to admit to some personal angst, sometimes I have trouble coming to terms with all the things I do. I want to do them all, except that doing them all, doing them all well, and doing them all in a timely manner involves sleeping four hours a night and having no time for relaxation, house work, conversations with live human beings… And sometimes that can make me resentful, even of the things I want to do. I start to feel that people are waiting on me, counting on me, expecting me to do something, and I get… anxious. But really, it’s not only other people I feel I’m letting down, it’s myself I’m letting down. I promised my listeners new episodes of the SuperHuman Times back in 2008, and I’ve never delivered. You guys probably understand I’ve got a lot going on. Lance Woods, the author, certainly understands, or at least tells me he does. But I don’t understand. To me, it’s absolutely unacceptable that those episodes were promised and not delivered. If it were up to me, I’d fire this Wilson guy! But, apparently he knows someone important, so he gets to stay…

This year, my New Year’s resolution was to go easier on myself. To stop being so frantic, enjoy myself, and do the things I want to do. That took a lot of the pressure off. I realized that, yeah, I still want to do all those things… podcasting, writing, directing, producing, publishing… everything except running the conventions. That I’m happy to leave to the next generation. For a while I had thought, “Maybe I’ll drop podcasting,” or “Maybe I won’t publish any more of anyone else’s books.” But, y’know… I want to. I just need to be patient and realize that everything can’t happen at once, and hope everyone else can be patient too. I also hope that the end products are worth the wait. I think they will be.

What I’ve realized is that I can do all these things, and I can do them without killing myself. I don’t have to choose one or the other. I don’t have to voluntarily give up something I love. I can say that only death will force me to give up doing what I love doing. Death can force me to be nothing, at least in this world, but nothing can force me to be “just an author,” “just an IT guy,” “just a podcaster.” Being just one thing and no other would be labeling myself, and I’m not going to let that happen.

See, I hate labels! The labels “Husband” and “Father” are cool. I’m both of those things. But I hate labels that seem to convey the message that if you wear this one label you can’t wear others: Gay, Straight, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican… And I hate that labels which don’t mean one, narrow thing are taken (deliberately) by people to mean one narrow thing: Christian, for instance. I’ve actually had people ask me, upon learning only that I’m a Christian and nothing else, if I really believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old. Seriously? People, not all Christians are fundamentalists. That’s a small subset of a very large religion. Even more pernicious is the assumption of so many Americans that “Muslim” and “Terrorist” are synonymous. Yes, some Muslims are terrorists. And some Christians bomb abortion clinics. None of these sociopaths are models for the majority of their brethren.

So, yeah. I hate labels. They’re used to file people away in cubbies. They’re a lazy intellect’s way of classifying people once and for all so that it doesn’t have to keep thinking, keep re-classifying, keep discovering new truths. New truths and re-classifications really mess with the lazy intellect’s nice, tidy world view. But people are complicated. People are amazing. You can know a person his entire life and never know everything about him. There’s always something new to discover. Slapping a label on him is like putting on blinders and sticking plugs in your ears. You stop learning new things about him.

I really hate labels.

I prefer just plain adjectives. Like blog tags, you can hang as many as you want on a subject. One tag doesn’t prevent the use of another.

And so, at long and rambling last, we come to the point of this hybrid podcast/blog: I want to bring together some divergent pieces of my personal universe, maybe get you excited about them, and at the same time get myself even more excited about them. Cause there’s a lot of cool stuff going on in the universe shared by Steve, Prometheus Radio Theatre, Firebringer Press and yeah, even though I stepped down from the committee, Farpoint.

Prometheus, it can finally be told, will be releasing a new season of SuperHuman Times–the first episode is almost complete as we speak! We hope to have episodes ready shortly after the completion of Phil’s reading of By Your Side. And, after that, I still plan to produce more full-cast episodes of The Arbiter Chronicles.

Speaking of The Arbiter Chronicles, the blog audience is probably very aware that there were four eBook novellas released over the Summer, but I didn’t really take the opportunity to talk them up on the podcast. The novellas adapt and expand the first four episodes of The Arbiter Chronicles from back in Season One, so they’re Mutiny Springs Eternal, A Man Walks into a Bar, Man of Letters and The White Lady. They’re available everywhere eBooks are sold, and each one is only 99 cents. We haven’t really done a lot in the way of monetizing the podcast over the years, but, if you’d like to show support, this is a good, cheap way to do it. And I think you’ll enjoy the extra story and character points that the prose form allowed me to include for each episode.

The novellas, of course, are from Firebringer Press, our publishing arm. Coming in 2014 from Firebringer is an anthology titled Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity, edited by Phil Giunta, and featuring SF, Horror and Fantasy stories from some new authors, as well as Phil himself, Lance Woods, and Prometheus regular Dan Corcoran, AKA Renfield. We’ll be adapting those here as audio offerings, to be sure, but… I’m not sure how yet. Stay tuned.

And if that’s not enough reading material, have you checked out ReDeus? Created by Paul Kupperberg, Bob Greenberger and Aaron Rosenberg, it’s a shared universe in which the gods return to earth to take over. All the gods. Every one there ever was. There have been three volumes of short stories thus far: Divine Tales, Beyond Borders and Native Lands. All are available in trade and eBook. I’ve got stories in all three volumes, and Phil Giunta contributed to the first two.

And, of course, there’s Farpoint coming up in February of 2014. Prometheus will perform at the opening ceremonies, Phil, Lance and I will be on panels throughout the weekend, and special guests will include voice actor Phil Lamar, the voice of Samurai Jack, Melissa McBride, The Walking Dead’s Carol, and probably my favorite living author, Alan Dean Foster, author of the Star Trek Logs, creator of Flinx and his Fabulous Minidrag Pip, and likely the man who’s adapted more screenplays into novels than anyone else alive, while still managing to publish several dozen original works of his own.

Is that all? Probably not. The future holds promise. We’ve reclaimed the studio, which had become little more than a storeroom with a microphone in the corner. We’re getting ready to schedule recording sessions again. I can’t promise new full cast stuff weekly, but I think we’ll keep you entertained. I don’t always know what we’re going to be doing next, but I think it’s pretty clear, we’re always going to be doing something.

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