It is odd how we attach importance to dates, like the turn of a new year on the calendar, or the death of an historical figure. Like sign posts littering our lives, we celebrate these days, and inevitably, remember those past. Holidays can be happy, merry times, but more often, they are reflective, emotional times, and just as often, melancholy, lonely times. Our days, of course, are what we make them. Our lives, the same, to a point, and they are chronicled by the number of New Year's champagne corks we've flinched at, and how many times we've had the chance to give, or receive, the perfect Christmas gift, or the candy and card that will seal the great love of our lives.
Sometimes holidays are just days. The big year 2000, for instance, has begun. Another milepost. Threats and fears, hopes and dreams. Another day, come and gone. The first day in the 2000th year of our calendar. Nothing blew up. No huge disasters occurred. No viruses brought the Internet to its knees, and no governments crumbled to rubble. Good. These are things to be thankful for. Now comes part two. Reflection.
If nothing horrible has ushered in the year 2000, how can we make it work for us? How can it be better than the last year, and the one before? In particular, since this is a magazine column, tentatively about writing, I want to focus on horror, and fantasy, as they have been, might be--on publishing as it is and could be--and once was. Once again, the only thing I have to measure this all against is my own career as writer, editor, and publisher.
I can remember when people would ask me what I'd written. Would they know me? Do I know Stephen King? I dreaded those questions, and still do, but for different reasons. The answers, then, were nothing...