How To Disappear Completely

A common subject in my therapy sessions is, unsurprisingly to anyone who knows me, my utter discomfort with being the subject of positive attention. This is, perhaps ironically, a situation that co-exists with my utter discomfort with the idea of being the subject of negative attention, so you can imagine how well I deal with being perceived in almost anyway beyond passing recognition — and even that makes me a little nervous, just in case.

I mention this because, when it was announced that I’d been named as the new editor of Popverse, there followed two or three days of people congratulating me, or saying that it was a great move on Popverse’s part, or similar sentiments, and it was the most uncomfortable thing in the world to me. It was something that I found myself entirely unable to acknowledge, never mind respond to, because anytime any of the social media mentions (or emails!) came into my vision, I folded in on myself in a vain attempt to disappear entirely from view, if not from the very concept of actually existing just to be on the safe side.

I knew, objectively, that this kind of attention was a good thing and that I should appreciate it and file it away for future humblebragging purposes, but I froze at even the first step of doing so; instead, I was just horrified by the very potential of people having any kind of opinion on me or my work and wishing that I could burrow into an alternate reality where that wasn’t the case.

All of this is to say: if you were one of those people and are now one of the people reading these words, I am sorry for not replying, and I do appreciate what you said, honestly; if my brain wasn’t wired quite the way it was, then I’d have been able to say that to you directly. As it is, I’m just going to blush and then step away quietly in the hope that we can all pretend that never happened in the first place. That shouldn’t be too hard, should it…?

Because At Least One of You Demanded It!

Because I asked for questions and the wonderful Chad Nevett responded!

Ever a fan of Babylon 5? If not, why not? If so, ever read any of THOSE novels? (Peter David wrote a pretty great trilogy…)

I’ve never even seen one episode. If I remember correctly, it’s because it was on at a strange time in the U.K. – Maybe Sunday lunchtimes on Channel 4, but I might be misremembering? – and then, by the time it was a “thing,” it seemed almost impenetrable, all years-long mythology and the kind of tight, labyrinthine continuity that I find really off-putting when considering trying out new sci-fi or similar stuff. Weirdly, I now find myself wondering whether I could read the David novels without having seen the show…

Why didn’t they ever make Star Trek: New Frontier into a TV series? Or adapt novels for movies? Pride? Ego? Idiocy? EXPLAIN IT TO ME, GRAEME!

Boring answer: Because Bad Robot controls all things Trek these days, and doesn’t want any competing product for the movies. Plus, Enterprise killed the franchise stone dead for years, let’s be honest… Although Voyager had kind of done a lot of that work already, hadn’t it? I’m not sure New Frontier would’ve really worked in any medium other than prose, for some reason – Certainly, when it’s had comic incarnations, it’s never quite gelled.

How much time do you spending reading books in a day? You seem to go through them at an insane rate — in addition to watching things and reading other stuff like comics and online writing…

It varies? I tend to try to get at least an hour’s prose reading a day, but that doesn’t always work out. I also read very quickly, and if I’m into something, I’ll just sit there and read it until it’s done. I read Mike Skinner’s The Story of The Streets in what was essentially a couple of sittings this past weekend, for example (It’s not as good as you want it to be, and that’s assuming you know who the Streets are/is to begin with, but it’s very readable despite the horrible formatting).

Looking at the past few posts you did about books you read, you seem to be mostly a non-fiction reader aside from genre stuff. Any interest in ‘literary’ fiction? Any Joyce or Dostoevsky on the horizon?

God, no. I am actually a terrible literary fiction reader; I tend to get bogged down in it, overthinking it and feeling restless as if I’m not understanding it properly or getting the most out of it. My last attempt at Joyce was particularly frustrating, but ultimately abandoned because it wasn’t any fun whatsoever and that’s why I read, if that makes sense.
…Actually, the more I think about it, that’s only really true about classic literary fiction. Contemporary literary fiction, I tend to have an easier time with, but also tend to keep back unless (a) I find something that I have to read or (b) I’m on vacation. There’s something about non-fiction that I find much easier to digest and unpick and enjoy – Although, right now, I am struggling through The End of Men in a way that I normally only struggle through fiction – and genre fiction is very intentionally there for me to switch my brain off and drift before sleep.

What do you think about Chuck Klosterman’s writing?

I find that I like the idea of it more than the reality. Or, maybe, that I like it in short bursts, but get irritated by it long form. It’s possibly some kind of self-loathing thing, because the things that annoy me about his writing – His digressions, his vanity, his spontaneity – are things that I find myself wishing I could do better in my writing. Perhaps I’m not that comfortable with him because I want to be him…?
Internet: You too can be like Chad and send me questions that I’ll reply to post-work one day when my brain is a rapidly unwinding mess! Just send questions to gamcm[at]outlook[dot]com and, well, I’ll try to get to it sometime.