Jan. 20th, 2011

My reviews of the Narnia books start up at Tor.com.

I had a couple of additional things to say about this, but I'm still recovering from a very bad attack of insomnia which has not left me particularly coherent, so, more coherent thoughts later. Perhaps next week.

Choices

Jan. 20th, 2011 08:27 pm
I almost hate to do this, because it's going to sound like I'm jumping on the whole auugh with Realms of Fantasy bandwagon, only several months after it all happened when we've all moved well on, but I'm really not. This post isn't about Realms, ok, even though it's going to start off about Realms and mentions Realms.

It's about choice. And assumptions. And assumptions about choice.

So. my twitter friend, Fabio Fernandes retweeted a tweet from Marty Halpern, which went like this:

"Thinking of submitting short fiction to REALMS OF FANTASY magazine? (And if not, why not?) You should read this:http://tinyurl.com/4dsghwz"

I read the post, did some clicking around Realms' website, and twittered back:

"@martyhalpern @fabiofernandes Why not? Other issues aside, RoF still doesn't accept electronic subs."

Marty Halpern responded with:

:@mari_ness If you choose to limit yourself to only e-sub markets, then that is, obviously, your choice."

And instantly my fists clenched and I had to try not to scream.

Now, let me clarify: I have no doubt that he didn't mean to frustrate me with the statement, for a very simple reason: he hasn't met me, and to him, the choice is obvious.

For me, it's not quite so obvious.

I am lucky enough to have three (3) post offices more or less near me. The largest and most modern one, relatively wheelchair accessible, is alas, completely beyond my reach, since it is located on the very busy State Road 50 with no sidewalk access. Unless someone drives me there, it might as well be on the moon. The second is in downtown Winter Garden, and presents its own...difficulties. This is an older building, and although a ramp was added, it is not easy to navigate, and once inside the counter is too high for many wheelchair users, although admittedly I usually use a cane when entering this one. The third is actually a mild delight: it's like the smallest Post Office EVER, in downtown Oakland, a downtown that actually still has dirt roads. Odd though it may seem to say this, this is actually hands down the easiest post office for me to use, mostly because it's so tiny that it's only a few steps from where I park my trike to the counter, but it's also the furthest away.

Note the word "trike" there. I cannot reach any of these post offices via wheelchair or scooter; they're too far away, and I don't drive. This means, to get to either of the two accessible post offices, I have to use the trike. Now, I love my trike of awesomeness. If I could, I'd ride it every day. But, a few conditions prevail:

1) I have to be having a good or relatively good physical day.

2) This day has to follow a day where I was physically well enough to charge the trike.

3) It cannot be raining.

4) It cannot be too hot, or, on very hot days, I have to be having a very good physical morning.

5) If it's only a relatively good day, I cannot need to do grocery shopping or any other errand.

6) I have to be willing to spend at least one or more likely two hours on this trip (getting there, waiting in line/dropping off mail, returning)

7) Whatever I'm mailing has to be important enough for me to risk losing the rest of the day to fatigue and dizziness.

7 may or may not happen; I've ridden the trike and been fine, but, I've also ridden the trike and not been fine. The joys of a chronic illness.

So, let's relook at that tweet, shall we?

Sure, I suppose I have a choice. But my choice is this:

1) Snail mail a submission to Realms of Fantasy, and risk spending the rest of the day sick and in bed for this opportunity.

2) Email a sub to, say, Beneath Ceaseless Skies*, while keeping my feet up, and be able to do something else that day.

My chances at both publications are equally good (that is, not very good at all), but in the second case, I haven't lost an entire day (or, for that matter, risked a fall in a post office.)

Now, this is not to argue that I avoid post offices entirely: if I have something very important to mail (my tax return) yes, all of the above is absolutely necessary and worthwhile. (Plus, as I said, I love riding my trike, so I admit to occasionally looking for excuses to use it, and I get to ride my bike path when I go to the Oakland post office.) And this is not so much to get into the issue of esubs versus snail mail which has been covered extensively elsewhere.

But I do want to note my irritation with two words here: "obviously" and "choice," and to try to point out something that seems less obvious to many:

Not everybody has the same choices that you do. Or, even if they do, these choices may come with different consequences.

It's something that comes up all too frequently in my life: "Well, you have a choice." It's a true statement. But my choices are different. Sometimes they are more limited; sometimes less limited; sometimes the same. I just ask that you don't assume that they are all the same.

(Also, I am severely sleep deprived from last night's hellish insomnia attack, so I'm a bit more...grumpy...and, dare we say it, probably oversensitive, than usual.)

* To name a mostly random professional paying market that specializes in fantasy and doesn't know or care who I am.

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