Tag Archives: risingtide

Courteous Courtesies Are The Seeds of Respect

My first Wednesday post in a couple of weeks, and I’m really jut rambling at this point. It’s been a busy summer, and the fall/winter will be just as busy, but with putting the words down as opposed to trying to get them into people’s hands. But enough of that, let me get to the crux of this post, which is the difference between courtesy and respect, at least how I see them.

You’ve often heard the phrase, “Respect must be earned.” Okay, sure, there’s truth to that statement. And how does one earn respect? By continually displaying that they’re worthy of it, that their character is sound and solid, that they’re, in essence, a good person who treats you and others well, regardless of what’s going on around them. Of course, that takes time. That’s the key word here: time.

It takes time to build respect, for it to be properly earned, and enacted. Yet, we’re also told to “respect everyone,” which includes assholes with beliefs we don’t agree with, and well, I’m not sure respecting everyone is even possible anymore. How can you respect a person you just met? Especially when you disagree with their beliefs right down to your very core? So much so that you’d rather tear out your own entrails than be subjected to those beliefs in any way.

Here, let me put it another way… I’m a Ford guy, huge Mustang lover, and I always will be. Now, you Dodge people are out there snickering, saying my Mustang is full of shit, it’s not even a car, not really. More like a collection of junk put together with bubble gum and rubber bands. You know, I’ve heard all the jokes before… FORD = Fucked On Race Day; FORD = Found On Road Dead; FORD = Fixed Or Repaired Daily, or my fave, FORD = For Only Retarded Drivers. I’ve been constantly needled by Dodge people over the years, talking about their Chargers and their trucks, their goddamn superiority in all things mechanical. It’s ceaseless, all the time, it’s like they can’t let it go, like they feel the need to stick it to us Ford owners every chance they get.

All we want as Ford people is to be left alone, to be able to have our Fords without having to fight an overwhelming number of Dodge owners just for the right to have what we want, what should be a completely acceptable choice. Me owning a Ford doesn’t physically hurt any Dodge owners, it doesn’t go against their edict that Dodge is better (because, see, they can still buy Dodge and hang Dodge shit on their walls, put Dodge shit on their lawns), and by purchasing a Ford, I’m not forcing them to buy a Ford or take down their wall decorations or lawn ornaments. But, they see my Ford and out come the insults. Out come the japes and the keys, going after me personally and the paint job on my Ford, or, for fuck’s sake, the “Come to Hemi” speeches. I can’t tell you how many of those I’ve endured and how many others I’ve shut down in the opening lines.

And you know what, I just can’t respect that. I won’t. How in the holy hell can I respect someone when their very presence puts me on the defensive? After years of abuse, that’s what happens. We get jaded, fearful, beat down. So, yeah, when I see a Dodge owner roll up, I’m automatically trying to figure out where the next little dig is going to come from. And I can’t respect that, not right away, not just because this guy believes so much in his Dodge and its Hemi.

But, that doesn’t mean I can’t be a courteous member of society or, as I like to call it, a civil human being.

Because, really, what do I know about this Dodge owner other than he’s a Dodge owner?

Maybe this Dodge owner is different, maybe that Dodge was his dad’s and it’s just been handed down and he’s looking to trade in. Or it’s possible it’s just a rental, and his usual car, a Prius or something, is in the shop. Or maybe it’s his Dodge, right, and just maybe he doesn’t hate Ford owners like the other Dodge owners. Sure, he still believes that Ford is an inferior automobile, that his Dodge smokes my Ford, and that’s perfectly fine because I still believe my Ford puts his Dodge to shame. We’re on equal footing there, but maybe he’s more like a Ford owner in the sense that he doesn’t care. He knows, at least in a greater sense, that the type of car we own only defines us to a degree, and there are a great many other things that define us as well, such as life experiences and education.

And this is where courtesy comes into play. It costs nothing to be nice, to smile and shake hands, and have a conversation. We may find we get along quite well, and at that point, we start the long process of building mutual respect. Again, respect takes time and it’s not just given. What’s freely given is, well, like I already said, courtesy.

And if we find we can’t get along, we part and that’s it. There’s no need for hate, but at the same time, I’m probably not going to respect them anymore over time. I can always, however, be courteous.

You see, not liking someone isn’t enough of a reason to hate him or her. Sure, you can use caution when a person is apart of a group you have bad history with (like those Dodge owners), but caution shouldn’t equate to rudeness, to a complete disregard to common courtesy, and that’s something we’ve forgotten (myself included, about 75% of the time, but I’m working on it).

I think if we could get back to that courteous place, the one where we gave people a chance to be decent to each other and where we were courteous 95% of the time, we could start to heal the rifts.

Over time, I could learn to respect that.

If you have comments, feel free, just remember that I reserve the right to delete or not approve any asshole posts. I’m generally interested in building toward a better me and a more inclusive writing community, because #risingtide is a thing.


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FandomFest Recap

imageAnother weekend, another convention, so it’s RECAP TIME again. You’d think these things would get old, but they never really do. It’s sort of like reliving the highlights of the weekend one more time, in detail, before putting the convention to rest for good. And like all conventions, FandomFest had its highs and lows. Of course, as an author and vendor, my perception is much different than just your regular attendee.

One of the first things I judge a con by is sales, and sales were meh. Just meh. Part of that was probably location: our table space was surrounded by high-walled vendors on all sides but the back, and there we had the publisher’s banner. So people walking around the other aisles couldn’t spot our books and we were reliant on independent foot traffic. The layout wasn’t bad–the celebs were all in the back of the room as were the photo-ops–so people had to flow by the vendor space to get to what they really wanted. All that is well and good, but our table was offset from the doors, so we weren’t a straight shot back to the celeb area, and all this means little to most people, but table real estate is a key factor in selling well. Also, horror isn’t the biggest genre at this type of convention. These are more comic, sci-fi, and fantasy readers, with just a smattering of horror people thrown in. Maybe if there’d been a few more horror movie/television guests, it’d have been a bit different, but maybe not. All that said, I’d still like some sort of magic bullet to help increase my own personal visibility. My wife tells me to be “nicer” and “talk to more people.”

Ehhhhhh.

I participated in two panels this weekend: The Walking Dead and a panel called Paths to Publishing. I enjoyed The Walking Dead much more than the other, simply because I’m a huge fan of both the comics and the television show and it’s awesome to talk to other fans in a kind of no-holds barred environment. Good insights all around. The panel was moderated by L. Andrew Cooper, and the other participants were Michael West and Jettie Necole. I’ve read some of Michael’s work before and he’s well worth your time. My wife picked up Ruby by Ms. Necole this weekend.

My other panel, was also fun, was more of a “work” panel, talking about publishing and writing and contracts and that sort of thing. So if you’re a writer and want a recap of that, here it is in a few words: write good shit, read your contracts, make good network contacts, research potential publishers, and be a professional.

imageNow FandomFest wouldn’t be anything without its fandoms, now would it? And believe me when I say some of the most excellent costumes were on display this weekend. There were so many that I couldn’t keep up, so as you browse through my photo gallery, you’ll notice not every picture has a caption. Mostly that’s because I have no idea to which fandom they belong and would rather leave it blank than fuck it up and offend someone. If you see a picture and know the fandom, drop me a line through the contact form and I’ll update the gallery. Click on over the FandomFest Gallery and gaze upon the magnificence that is Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Dr. Who, and others. Oh, and yeah, this fucking guy was there doing Drake from one of the best sci-fi/horror movies ever, Aliens.

As always, it’s good to catch up with my fellow scribes. In a perfect world, we’d be able to have these good times and good conversations much more often than we do. My shout-out to Tim McWhorter, Tony Acree, Stu Thaman, and Terri-Lynne Smiles.

A special thank you, too, to the fine folks at Post Mortem Press for continued support and letting me take up massive amounts of space at their table. You should click that link up there and hit up the website, buy some books, support the arts, and be scared.

Next up for me is the Dan Emmett Music & Arts Festival in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. I’ll have a table and be selling with the incomparable Violet Patterson. Come by and see us, have some good conversation, maybe even buy a book or two. We’ll be waiting.

Come back Wednesday to read about writing in someone else’s sandbox!