Friday, October 7, 2016

The Fight Is Not Over

When I first sat down to write down a couple of blog posts to help promote Thief of Shadows, I found myself writing blog posts that were apologies for the stories contained therein. There are stories within this collection that are going to piss a lot of people off, and because of that there is this inherent fear that I am going to forever deny myself the opportunity to make myself attractive to current readers of Fantasy. We live in a society today where everyone has to measure their words carefully because nobody gives the benefit of the doubt when it comes to intentions, which is an odd place I think for literature to exist.

But literature, fiction or non-fiction, must be about an author's truth.

The truth of the matter is that I think we all know there is something going on in this world that is deeply wrong. Whether it is religious extremism, racism, elitism, cultural relativism, homophobia, transphobia, the destruction of our planet, or just downright being awful to people simply because you think you've earned the right to, the world has gone crazy to the point where people want to silence, exile, or kill others for simply having an opinion they don't like.

And for a long time I was the same way.

I often introduce myself at cons with "Hi, I'm Jay Requard and I live for revolution." And the truth is that I still do--I think we are currently mired in a system that is extracting our families, our lives, our time, our identities, and more insidiously, our morality. I believe that if voting, legislation, and democracy doesn't work to resolve this extraction we have to rise up and reset that democracy. Call me a crazy humanist, but I think the dignity that EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. is born with must be held up and protected, especially in the face of irrational evil.

But what many often conflate with the idea of revolution is a notion that equals the abject destruction of everyone else except them, I cannot simply support the idea in the face of the proposed action. I was first confronted by this six months ago when someone who holds the same revolutionary ideas as me openly attacked two people that would have been their allies if not for the fact they were of a different skin color and had a different opinion. In this faux-revolutionary's mind, everyone was an enemy and in the coming "revolution" even people who wished him no harm whatsoever would be punished. He took off his false mask to reveal an intolerance and racism that is akin to "an eye for an eye" instead of liberation. Even now, I am watching someone I care about very deeply get hammered because she is white and supports Black Lives Matters. Simply stated, there are zealots on both sides of this illusion we call "the political spectrum", and those individuals on the extreme ends would rather watch the world burn to have their way before they would even consider building a path for all that moves the world forward.

Manwe is confronted by this version in a blunt fashion, and like myself, he is exposed to the fact that there is a concept of revolution that is infantile and harmful and a concept of revolution that is transformative and liberating. And for my favorite thief it strikes at his heart like a sledgehammer blow, destroying the illusion that immaturity and willful ignorance creates. But he is also wise enough to know that he must change for the sake of himself and others.

For Manwe, he will to have to find what he truly wants to fight for in Thief of Secrets, and at the very least, he has snatches of what would be in my heart (taken from The Free and The Damned):

“What made you deter from the path?” She turned her head to study him. “You were out in the hills when the battle happened. What did you see?”
“Nightmares from my childhood, from the darkest corners of magic,” Manwe revealed, simple and to the point. He trained his eyes on one of the lamps at the foot of the goddess, its simple flame a match for a more recent, more horrid memory of a cackling shaman and fell ghouls. “I saw good men sell their souls.”
“So you aren’t aligned at the moment.”
Manwe squinted against the flame. “I’d say not.”
 Magera grabbed his hand, held it firm. “Then what would you see as fair, if you had your way?”
“I would keep you all well,” Manwe answered. “No man a slave, no woman a whore. Love and let live and be left alone. End the plight of the poor. That’s what I would want for myself.”

I hope that is something worth rising for.

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