There are many types of war, mine has always been within. Nowadays, too, it seems to have manifested into something tangibly external. How so? In a word, it’s the woke agenda, encompassing as it does all manner of radical, shamelessly anti-American, authoritarian, socialist, Marxist, globalist ideologies.
I’m not one of the guilt-ridden virtue signalers who believe, somehow, that the country in which they achieved a cushy, middle-class lifestyle is to be struck down as irredeemably flawed, its Constitution illegitimate and its values corrupt. No. America is the land of my birth and I’m proud of it. North is indeed still north. Facts exist, truth exists and not every fucking thing is relative.
Why a faction within this country, supported by the current version of the Democrat party, itself propped up by the so-called legacy media machine, is keen to destroy it in favor of, what? – communist style dictatorships and a warped vision of equity hinging upon entitlement, lack of meritocracy and the redistribution of wealth can only be explained by the tenacity of the weak malcontents in this world who demand something for nothing.
But enough of politics. Fight for what you believe in, fight to win, and if you’re not willing to fight then don’t complain when the shit doesn’t go your way. Life and the cosmos itself is a play of opposites, like it or not, and we’re here to apply our influence, come what may, within a Mystery none of us are fully capable of unravelling. I believe that truth exists, people are essentially good, but the shadow energies within us all are powerful and sometimes gain an advantage. I’m a classic romanticist when I believe that the myths are true fictions that can be relied upon to center us personally and culturally, that those without a mythic or otherwise spiritual or contemplative reference are inevitably schizoid, ungrounded, uncentered and lost within the conflicting energies that life and the idea of death challenge us to resolve.
I was called, in my humble way, to write novels, for a time at least. I answered the call and I wrote them. Furthermore, I did my best to transform unpaid novel writing into a successful expression of my vocational destiny. I failed at that. Why did I fail? I won’t ever know for certain, except that when it comes to the essential trinity of talent, timing and drive that defines success, I possessed only two out of three. My writing is more than good enough to win through. I demonstrated more than enough drive. My timing, however, is clearly terrible.
Remarkable success is inevitably the goal of us dreamers. But I for one was keen to remain grounded and focused upon rational and reasonable results, reasonable success, reasonable rewards. Namely, I sought at a minimum to simply have my books earn themselves out, as they say: to earn back in sales what it cost me to publish them. The costs of writing novels, of course, greatly transcends economics, but I’ve discussed all that at length elsewhere, no need to rehash it here.
What am I saying? Simply, that I have retired from publishing novels. The costs have overrun my resources in every facet. I don’t have the money or energy to keep fighting against the oblivion that seems inevitable regarding my work. Perhaps my novels are truly shitty, but I doubt it. It’s more likely that I’ve simply been writing for an audience that no longer exists. The first novel sold its 250 copies or so, but looking back, I don’t think those sales were legitimate. That is to say, I don’t think most of the folks who purchased that book did so because of the story or the writing but rather merely bought the book cover. I think too many folks assumed that the cover expressed a version of wokeness and even mask-wearing paranoia that they sought to support and signal by way of a purchase.
I could be wrong. But that the second novel has flopped so catastrophically, selling only a handful of copies, and now even the first novel has quit selling, well, besides the fact that I can’t afford to advertise the books any longer, the commonality is me going more public, as it were, with who I am. And somehow, these days at least, what the author looks like is used to define and otherwise signify a polarizing political ideology. You cannot read that person, they say, because of who they are and what they stand for, what they symbolize. And of course those who allow themselves to get lost in such poisonously warped and twisted ideologies are merely demonstrating the hateful discrimination and inequity they originally sought to challenge. Too often, we become what we hate. Especially when we’re suffering from a condition of personal and cultural mythological schism.
Besides wokeism, I’d say it’s also true that in terms of novels, the demographic of readers has simply shifted further and further away from anything to do with writerly or intellectually challenging styles. That Amazon, for example, immediately classified my first novel as requiring the so-called Word Wise functionality for the eBook version because the language I used was deemed “difficult” goes to show where things are at these days. My writing is hardly a difficult read. I’m convinced that in the twentieth century, nobody would have found my novels at all difficult in terms of vocabulary. People, it seems to me, were simply better educated and better read back then. Is it the fault of video media and the anti-intellectual dumbing down of the American educational systems? Perhaps. Have reader’s tastes simply shifted towards less rigorously intellectual formats like, say, romance novels? I can’t say. I don’t study it. And I frankly don’t care. I write what I write and so be it.
The hard fact is that nobody is buying my books. And I’m not keen to continue, after two and a half years of effort and outlay (not including the seven years spent writing), to lose money and otherwise waste my time. We write to be read. When you’re not read, why write? At least why publish? Sure, there is value in the attempt, in the work for its own sake. But not enough for me to keep at this. We all have our limits.
The third novel, then, will remain stuck somewhere within its second draft. The fourth will never be completed at all. Not unless something miraculous occurs in my life to inspire me to plunk away at manuscripts I don’t intend to ever spend the time and money to shepherd towards publication. Something miraculous? A miracle of inspiration, yes. Or me somehow becoming so catastrophically bored that writing and self-editing fiction for no one but myself seems like a productive thing to do. But I don’t foresee it.
What next? What to do? What happens to Carnegie Olson and his failed adventure? Long term, I can’t say. Short term, my carnegieolson.com web domain expires 11/15 of this year and I won’t renew it. I’ll likewise cancel my hosting plan and my firstname.lastname@example.org email address will disappear with it. It’ll save me a few hundred bucks or so a year.
Why not keep the pen name and the website up until I figure out what I’m going to do? Well, it costs money and I’m sick and tired of throwing good money after bad, that’s all. And I don’t have any ideas, vocationally or even within the context of a hobby, to do with authorpreneurship or my writing in general. Nobody is reading it. The world-of-action has refused it. The threshold guardians have won out. They win, I lose. It happens. Hell, it’s happened to me more than a few times. Casualties of war….
Meanwhile, there’s nothing left except to bestow thanks – my heartfelt thanks – to those handful of readers who read and indeed enjoyed my writing. May your own efforts and adventures prove fruitful. May your dreams come true. All the best. Goodbye.