STATUS: Tuesday, July 26th

The Daily Report

As the impending presidential election continues to consume more and more of my brain cycles, I find it useful to remind myself of the advice my father gives: always proceed as though the world is not going to end, just in case it doesn’t.

Even if the world does come crashing down around our ears in the aftermath of November, of course, Ligature Works is set to launch at the end of September. I’m moving forward on making it into a real thing. We’re now listed in Duotrope, the online writer’s marktplace/submissions manager thingy. It has also been submitted to the Submissions Grinder and we’ve sent a note to the SFPA website saying that we exist. Going places.

Financial Status

I would really love to see more growth on both my personal Patreon and the Tales of MU one before the end of the month.’

The State of the Me

Doing pretty good.

Plans For Today

Work, work, work. This is going to be a hectic week, but I think it’s going to turn into a good start for next month.

Ligature Works poetry rates increased!

Back at the start of the weekend, I was considering raising the rates for poetry on Ligature Works from $5 to $15. After looking at both my budget for the zine and the marketplace, and giving some thought to game theory, unintended consequences, and being the change I want to see in the world, I have decided that Ligature Works will simply offer $25 for all accepted submissions, poetry and prose.

The reasons for this are basically threefold.

First, having very different rates for the two forms places a material incentive on authors submitting prose works, and yet it motivates us to accept poetry over prose. If you’re mainly a poet and you see someone offering 5 times the rate for prose as poetry, mightn’t that lead you to deforming your work to hit the higher payday? It’s not entirely a hypothetical possibility. The submission guides as originally written even noted the often porous boundary between flash fiction and prose poetry.

As long as there’s economic tension between the prose market and the poetry market, all the creators out there who submit to us would be trying to steer their shorter submissions into the “prose” door while we’re encouraged to shift them into the “poetry” one, which creates an incentive for authors who have written shorter works to pad them out to a “safe” size, at which they can’t reasonably be construed as a prose poem, whether that suits the piece are not. This is contrary to our basic belief that all pieces should be the right length for themselves.

By removing the difference between how we pay for prose and how we pay for poetry, this frees up both sides to behave naturally and submit/receive each work as its own thing.

Second (and strongly related to the first), it seems hypocritical to pay one rate for prose pieces regardless of how long they are, and another rate for poetry pieces, as if the fact that poetry is often less substantial in word count and page space means that it’s inherently less valuable.

It isn’t.

I myself write tens of thousands of words of prose fiction a month many months, and hundreds even in most of my worst months, but it’s a good month if I write one poem. Some people spend a year or more getting everything just right in their poem, going through multiple drafts and making sure every word bears the weight of the work.

Third, if the point of the “paying people” portion of this exercise is to reinforce the idea that creative work has value, we need to be prepared to provide value in return. When I set the rates at $25 for short stories and $5 for a poem, I based it on what I’ve been prepared to accept myself. And that’s fair enough. But $5 isn’t a “tacit payment” in the same way that $25 is; it’s way more tacit, way less payment.

Don’t get me wrong; I would still submit my poems to a venue that pays in the $5 range, or one that cannot offer payment. But I find myself unwilling to create a venue that values one over the other.

I’m aware that this decision is likely to have unintended consequences of its own. While the prose rate of $25 is still below what is considered “pro rates”, $25 for poetry is fairly competitive. It’s below the big markets, but above most of the small zines.

One obvious consequence of this is that our first few issues, at least, will likely be smaller than I’d envisioned, in terms of table of contents. But! That’s okay. I’m looking at the 2016 issues as a sort of “soft launch” anyway.

http://www.ligatureworks.com/submissions

STATUS: Monday, July 25th

The Daily Report

Last week of the month, and I really need to hit this one out of the park. I need a week like my first week in June. I think I’m in a good position to have one.

This past weekend, Jack and I had a decadently life-affirming lunch with Renaissance woman C.S.E. Cooney and her mother. We talked books, movies, and what we’ve been up to lately. I talked up Ligature Works a bit, but as much as we talked about work stuff, most of the time was just catching up and hanging out, and weirdly, being able to sit there for 2-3 hours with another writer, a writer I greatly admire, and just talk might have been the biggest shot in the arm I’ve had since WisCon.

My family member in the hospital is still in the hospital, but likely to be discharged in the next few days.

Financial Status

Well, thanks to a very generous gift, we are now officially registered for WorldCon 75 in Helsinki. I’ll be looking at how my financial are lined up for actually getting us there after WorldCon 74. Nothing else much to report right now.

The State of the Me

I think I’m hitting my stride with this “summer” thing. Midafternoon nap and adequate hydration are really the keys.

Plans For Today

It’s a creative day. Last week’s aborted end means I’m a little ahead on Tales of MU for this week, so I’ve got that going for me.

STATUS: Friday, July 22nd

The Daily Report

So, first thing: a close family member is in the hospital with a painful but not likely life-threatening condition. Any predictions about the trajectory of this day must be somewhat guarded. The fact that I do not drive means I’m the least likely to be called on to help in times like this, but I must be prepared nonetheless. That said, my goal for the day is to still keep things normal as possible.

Another submission for Ligature Works has arrived. So far it’s heavily slanted towards prose, which is sort of the opposite of what I’d expected. It was kind of a bare afterthought that I made the venue poetry and prose instead of just poetry. Ah, well. There is still more than a month left in the window, and it might be that interested poets are taking more time polishing their works.

I have not had the same feeling of absolutely kicking backside in July that I did in June, though I think this is more appearance/feelings than anything else. June was a very heavily “front loaded” month for me, as it started directly after WisCon. July started with a family vacation. I keep catching myself feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing except for posting a short story I actually wrote in June, and while it’s true that there have been a lot of days where I’ve set immediate goals I did not reach, I have crossed more items off my monthly goal list than that.

I still have a lot left to do in the last week of the month, but I’ve done a lot in a week before.

Financial Status

Basically unchanged. My Patreon pledge total been hovering just below 400, sometimes with two steps forward, one back. It went down yesterday by enough that I noticed. I’m not sure if that was a response to me tweeting about Black Lives Matter and police violence, or because the $10 benefit is right now kind of contingent on people buying the $25 benefit, or just someone no longer has the financial ability to give that kind of support. I’m not saying this to call the person out and ask them to account for themselves; truth is that they don’t owe me an explanation any more than they owe me money.

There’s actually an “exit survey” thing that I never look at. If I had a few thousand supporters, maybe that would feel like anonymous data from which I could gauge general trends. With just over a hundred (and less than that, in all previous months), it feels kind of creepy and invasive to be scrutinizing individual motivations for leaving. I’m grateful people pledge any amount of money for any amount of time. In general terms, I would rather not be told when they leave, or why.

It does slightly change the odds on hitting the $400 mark before the end of the month, though. I really hope I make it back.

The State of the Me

Doing okay. I think for July and August I just might have to build a two hour nap into my afternoon schedule. It tends to happen anyway. I think my days would be more productive and better ordered, and my mental health better, if I just counted on it happening.

Plans For Today

Ideally what will happen is I’ll finish and post the chapter of Tales of MU that I started yesterday.

What happened yesterday.

Yesterday was surreal. The first thing that happened in the morning was that I saw the news about Charles Kinsey, the Black man shot in the leg while in a state of complete compliance and surrender. He wasn’t the police’s target: they were aiming at his autistic patient, sitting curled up on the pavement, legs crossed, clutching a toy truck that is not only clearly visible as a toy truck but has been identified as such by the helpful Mr. Kinsey.

When the links first started popping up on Twitter and Facebook, I read “shot” and thought “killed”. When I caught a reference to Mr. Kinsey speaking to reporters, I was so relieved. And then I read what he said about it, and I started putting it together with a lot of the more brutal things that have come out through recordings of police: people on camera giving execution-style finishing shots or ignoring and withholding medical attention from a victim who is bleeding out on the ground, the rash of gun deaths ruled “suicides” involving fully restrained prisoners who had been checked for weapons, the recordings and eyewitness testimony involving captains and other officials issuing shoot-to-kill orders and advising their officers not to leave a victim alive to testify, etc.

And I wrote a series of tweets. I was conflicted beforehand and throughout, about the utility, necessity, and appropriateness of a white woman talking about the absolute callous disregard the police as an institution hold for Black lives and the deadly consequences this holds. I went ahead and did it because I thought the things I had to say did need to be said.

I’m not going to rehash it all here, as it’s all been said already. I storified the tweet thread, to make it easier to share and read. The reason I’m making this blog post is to describe what happened next, as the tweets have resonated so much and spread so far that many of the individual tweets have been retweeted over a thousand times, the rest several hundreds. I have gained more than 300 followers on Twitter, meaning that more than 10% of my current followers came along in the past 24 hours. My notifications are utterly flooded if I don’t keep them on the friends-only setting. The Twitter app on my phone crashes if I try to check them. I think I’m getting something like a hundred notifications a minute, almost 24 hours later.

I had been having an emotional week for personal (and, to some extent, physiological) reasons already. I was tired when I made those tweets. I was exhausted afterwards. I tried to have a normal wake day, but I didn’t make my status post and I didn’t even take my morning pills until 3:30 in the afternoon.

Because it needs to be said: none of this is a complaint about the attention. It was not my goal and when I realized my tweets were blowing up, I added a link to Black Lives Matter’s donation page to the end of the tweet thread rather than trying to profit off it myself. I suspect that there will be a net gain for me either way, whether I sought it or not, even as I kind of suspect a lot of the new followers will bounce within a few days. It’s just the nature of things.

This is not a complaint, but a report: what happened yesterday, why I didn’t make a status post, why there was no chapter draft. I don’t regret that my day was taken over by this. But for those who don’t do Twitter or don’t follow me there, I believed an explanation was in order.

Today, I’m going to do my level best to have an ordinary work day, trying not to get distracted by a still climbing follower count or people’s responses, which includes a growing amount of negative backlash by people who want to debate me using racist and erroneous assumptions about crime statistics, or who want to read my tweets as a generalization about all police as individual officers rather than statements about the police as an institution. Having my notifications set to “only people you follow” is all kinds of help there, though regrettably it means I’m likely missing attempts to contact me.

…well, I just wrote this paragraph about an ordinary work day, and then got a text about a family member and a medical emergency. I don’t know the nature or extent of it, and can’t guess what affect it will have. Ah, well. No one ever knows what the future will hold.

STATUS: Wednesday, July 20th

The Daily Report

So, an interesting thing happened yesterday. For the second time, someone tapped me on the electronic shoulder regarding one of my medium pieces and asked for permission to reprint/crosspost it on their site. After some discussion of terms, I accepted, and now my satirical news story about men sitting alone in Ghostbusters theaters is up on Global Comment. I have to say, I prefer my original headline, comically unwieldy as it was, but the site has its own priorities.

I’m curious to see how well it does there. So far if the little Facebook widget on the articles are accurate, it seems like its already the most-shared recent piece. None of the other widgets are registering any shares, which is odd since I used them to post it to Twitter and Tumblr. It’ll be interesting to see where it tops out, and in particular how it compares to the numbers for the Medium version. The experiment might inform some of my decisions regarding the placement of future pieces.

Financial Status

Things continue apace. My Patreon is still hovering just below $400. Tips are slow. Household is fine.

The State of the Me

Yesterday I had rising anxiety all throughout the day. Saying I did not have a good night last night would be an understatement, and I remain tense and fragile feeling today. I kind of just hope I can get through today without breaking down.

Plans For Today

…that notwithstanding, it is a work day and I am working. Not sure on what yet, but there’s a lot to be done.

 

 

 

Truth, Consequences, Twitter, and Milo Yiannopoulos

So, late yesterday Gamergates’s semi-feral pet journalist, Milo Yiannopoulos, received his most recent lifetime ban from Twitter. I’m given to understand he has collected almost the whole set now.

Yiannopoulos was banned for his part in inciting a racist hate mob against Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones. His supporters are predictably calling this a violation of his free speech rights, which treats us to such amusing spectacles as self-proclaimed conservatives calling for Congress (the government) to force Twitter (a private enterprise) to bow to their wishes.

The beleaguered Breitbart blogger’s minions, being part of that peculiar but segment of the alt-right that is vocally against justice, is trying the usual tactic of “using progressive’s rules against them”, something they learned from studying Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals in a deeply misguided attempt to understand the modern left, an exercise which now ironically informs their entire playbook.

Of course, since their whole schtick is an utter lack of human empathy or even a rudimentary theory of mind, they can’t actually understand someone else’s point of view enough to understand anyone else’s “rules” or “tactics” or the theories behind them, so their attempt to leverage identity politics consists of basically shouting, “He’s a gay man who has sex with Black people, so you can’t ban him!”

It took all of about five seconds for this to morph, telephone-game style, into them shouting “Twitter banned Milo for being gay, that’s homophobic!”, which is how they think “identity politics” works. And when it doesn’t work for them, they think they’ve uncovered some great hypocrisy.

The other rousing defense they offer of their… you know, I’m not sure what to call him. He positions himself as a thought leader, but a lot of the time? It’s literally just positioning. He doesn’t direct the crowd so much as run to get ahead of where he thinks the crowd will likely be. There is some element of self-fulfilling prophecy to this, inasmuch as he draws attention to easy targets of opportunity (as he did with Leslie Jones). I guess it’s fair to say he is leading the mob, with a philosophical side note that the leader of a mob is also part of the mob.

So the other rousing defense they offer of their leader is that all kinds of criminal activity happens on Twitter and Twitter doesn’t do a thing about it, so apparently Twitter has declared that “saying mean things” or  (more spuriously) “having the wrong opinions” is worse than conspiring to commit terrorism, among other things.

But of course, it’s not that. The self-proclaimed conservative set love to crow about how liberals and progressives don’t understand consequences. Even Leslie Jones’s harassment wasn’t actually harassment. Nobody did it. It happened, paradoxically, because she should have known better than to respond when it started. In their mind, everything that happens to everybody else is a natural consequence of their own actions, and we should all know better.

But such consequences never seem to be the same for the alt-right, do they? No. They say “You’re punishing him for his opinions!” They say, “I guess he’s friends with the wrong people.” They say, “The leftist mob who runs Twitter (lol) can’t stand a conservative gay man who speaks his mind!”

But what happened to Yiannopoulos was not a result of these things, nor an indictment of his actions on an absolute scale of morality. What happened  to him was a consequence of his actions, and a predictable one. He should have known better.

Imagine a crowded marketplace. There are shady deals happening. People are being ripped off, pickpocketed, maybe even forcibly robbed. Over in a corner, people are plotting a violent crime. There are a thousand conversations happening at once, some pleasant, some not.

Say policing is a bit lax in this marketplace, because those who run it would rather have the great crowd of people not presently being inconvenienced by violence and theft feel like it’s a safe, chill place, and because truth be told they make a lot of money from the rip-off artists. There are also some logistical difficulties inherent in keeping the peace in a place so big and boisterous and crowded, but they’re definitely not doing all they could do.

Into this marketplace comes a young man who, seeing a merchant he doesn’t think should be there, he goes over and upsets her stall. And this is not some rinky-dink peddler, but the stall of a great merchant house. He just knocks it over, and keeps knocking it over, and keeps knocking it over.

Is this the worst crime that’s happening in the marketplace?

No.

Is it some great big heap of moral rightness that the authorities deal with this outright disruption of their marketplace faster than they do similar acts to smaller-time peddlers, or greater acts of violence that happen at the fringes, or the conspiracies to commit crimes that don’t actually disrupt the running of the marketplace, however heinous they might be?

Of course not.

But it’s realistic. It’s reasonable. It’s almost inevitable. It is the person who disrupts the orderly running of the enterprise who is the person most likely to be removed from it.

The “speech” (actually, conduct) of Yiannopoulos and those like him has the effect of making Twitter impossible, dangerous, or emotionally draining to use for many people. Luckily for him, so far the “lift” generated by the “engagement” he creates has been seen by Twitter as enough of a net positive to override the drag on it created by the people chased off or browbeaten into silence, or worse. This is a very clinical description of the calculus engaged in by Twitter, and it’s not an endorsement of it, but the conservative crowd is always telling us we have to deal with the “real world” the way it is, and this is how it is.

But when he turned his sights on Leslie Jones? He aimed too high. He struck too close to the heart of the marketplace. She was recently in a major motion picture, currently garnering impressive word of mouth on Twitter. She was recently the subject of a happy ending story generated by Twitter, when she used the social media platform to highlight the inequitable treatment she was receiving from snobbish fashion designers.

Even with that, because of some combination of Twitter’s laissez-faire corporate culture and systemic racism and sexism, it took Twitter far longer than most reasonable people would have expected, when not accounting for those factors.

So while we might well say that he should have known better, it’s entirely possible that he believed he would get away with it. After all, he always has before. If he believes the narrative he’s helped to promulgate, he might not have thought that Leslie’s star was truly too bright for the powers that be to be ignored.

Or he might have been counting on it, angling for the ban and muttering under his breath about what was taking them so long, just so he could have the next piece for his “poor little victim” routine. He’s so oppressed!

In the banning of Milo Yiannopoulos, conservatives got everything they say they want when they’re describing their most reasonable-sounding, least bigoted-sounding goals.

  • A private business decided how to handle a situation.
  • A man suffered the consequences of his actions.
  • The outcome was dictated solely by economic pressures; i.e., what made the most financial sense.

What more could the right want?

STATUS: Tuesday, July 18th

The Daily Report

Well, some of my plans yesterday got derailed by sudden extreme weather. There was a heck of a squall. At its peak, it was raining so much and the wind was blowing so hard that Jack pulled his car over on the way to the store to text me and ask if a hurricane had somehow managed to sneak up on us.  It was “just” a severe thunderstorm, but he couldn’t see one foot past the windshield.

I lost a little bit of progress on a couple drafts to power dips. Not a lot of actual words (thank you, autosave!) but enough to take the wind out of my sails, especially as the lights continued to flicker. I really need to think about getting an uninterruptible power supply for my office. It sucks to have to switch to a mobile solution when bad weather rolls in.

It wasn’t a bad day, all in all, though. My Ghostbusters piece was a hit. It got picked up in a few unexpected places, and the director of the movie liked a tweet that contained a link to it. Granted that he has liked a lot of tweets mentioning his little film, so it might just be random social media engagement, but I like thinking that he might have read it.

Interesting thing is that while the Ghostbusters piece spread faster initially than the “Infidelity” one, that one gained steam more as it went, and it also generated a lot more revenue. It’s possible I picked up a patron or two on the strength of the new piece (always hard to tell where they’re coming from), but nothing in the way of tips.

…suddenly hitting me that the Infidelity piece had my support links woven into a little bio at the end, that was humorously tied into the theme of the piece, while the Ghostbusters one has—as have all my more recent Medium pieces—a generic, large-text copy I’ve been using. No other Medium piece of mine has generated the same level of income as the “Infidelity” one did, but none of them had anything like the same viral legs.

So maybe the lesson here is that the organic bio (bio-organic?) approach that ties into the piece keeps people reading long enough to register the links and click on them, while the shouty approach just registers as “Okay, the thing I came for is over and now here are the commercials.”

This is why I do so much post-morteming on my own work. It’s easier to spot these patterns after the fact.

Financial Outlook

Well, I’m going to be adjusting my Medium strategy on the basis of the above observation, and maybe that will shake loose some more change mid-month and alleviate that anxiety I was talking about yesterday. Other than that? Things pretty much continue.

The State of the Me

I drank a lot more water yesterday. This makes a huge difference to my well-being, particularly at the height of the summer, but it’s the kind of thing that’s harder to think of or manage the worse off I am. Yesterday I was already doing a lot better, and as a result, I was able to take better care of myself.

Plans For Today

It feels kind of like a “muddle through” day, not in the sense that I’m struggling but there’s no particular direction. I’m going to putter around creatively and see what happens.

STATUS: Monday, July 18th

The Daily Report

Well! Last week was very bumpy for me, but I had a pretty good weekend, physical fatigue notwithstanding.

I did not expect the opening of the submission window at Ligature Works would cause an immediate rush of submissions, as it’s a brand new venue and no one knew what to expect, guidelines-wise. There wasn’t a long build-up time before I even discussed that it was going to open, and I didn’t talk it up much in the interval. I was intellectually prepared to wait a week or more to get my first submission, or to have them start trickling in during the back half of the window.

Well, they started to come in on Saturday, and I now have several stories sitting in the Dropbox folder into which they’re deposited. I’ve only given them a quick initial read through, since it was the weekend, but I like what I’m seeing. I can’t wait for poetry to start coming in.

The next two weeks (inclusive of this one) are going to be a bit busy for me, since I was so out of it last week and AFK the week before. I have to keep reminding myself how many goals I crossed off in the first two weeks of June, and that the “big” thing for the month (the short story) was knocked off before the start of the month. I can do this. I didn’t promise anything that I can’t do.

Financial Outlook

Until I really hit the next level in my audience-building and crowdfunding efforts, I think I’m going to have to used to the idea that the middle of the month is going to be a little tense. We’re doing muuuuch better than we were mid-June, mind you. As a household we’re fine. I’m just personally feeling a bit insecure with the adjustment from “mainly dribbles of income throughout the month” to “large infusions of income at the start/end of the month”. I’ll get over it in time, especially as each month of growth means that I have more left over after regular monthly expenses.

In terms of the longer term: things are going well. My Patreon is just a smidge shy of $400, really believe we’ll cross that line before the end of the month. The Tales of MU Patreon hasn’t grown much at all this month. I still have a lot of anxiety connected to that project and my inability to write on a consistent basis for so much of the time since my move, which means I’m not pushing it as much as I probably could or should be.  There is going to be a point where I need more people kicking in to it for it to be worth it to keep the project going, though. If it actually did average out to $50 a chapter ($55 is the official tally right now), I’d be sanguine if not ecstatic. But I basically only see that on

The State of the Me

I feel loads better than I did last week, even than I did yesterday. I’m taking a lot of naps and drinking a lot of water, going to bed early even if I can’t immediately sleep, just to make sure that I’m not staying up all night and getting plenty of rest. Monday’s my usual cooking day and I have opted for a crockpot specifically so I won’t have to stand around in the kitchen near a heat source. This will also help me manage the end of my day a little more easily.

Plans For Today

Going to be focusing on creative stuff today, to try to kick off a week of high-gear writing. There’s a Tales of MU draft due. I’m going to be working on a chapter of my Patreon serial, Making Out Like Bandits. I would like to a Monday Monster, but none of my ideas are really gelling.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

There’s this group of scientists, mavericks, their work widely derided and discredited. They’re interested in not just investigating the supernatural, but examining it, scientifically. They think they’ve figured out a way to use advanced particle physics to fight and even contain ghosts, if only they can get anyone to believe them.

At the same time, supernatural activity is on the rise in New York City (of course it’s New York, where else would it be?) because a man who believes this ruined earth is wicked and in need of a hard reset has built devices to collect and amplify psychokinetic energy until things reach a boiling point.

Drummed out of academia and out of other options, our “ghostbusters”, if you will, go commercial with their operation and enjoy some local success and celebrity as the artificial supernatural surge creates high demand for their services, though they run into problems with unsympathetic local and federal government officials, which results in some serious setbacks for them until the apocalypse is actually at hand, transforming an iconic creepy old building into a gateway to another realm as the amplifiers go critical.

In a pitched action climax, our heroes wind up ineffectually fighting a giant monster set on cleansing the world by force until they decide to focus their energies (metaphorically and literally) on the portal that allows it to operate on the physical plane. It’s a desperate plan, but this is a desperate time…

That, of course, is a rough outline of a lot of the major plot points of the all-male version of Ghostbusters that came out in 1984. It is also serves the same purpose for the 2016 version.

Oh, spoiler warning? Sorry! But not really. Because telling you this isn’t the same as telling you the story. If you’ve only seen the male version, and I told you that’s how the 2016 version goes, you’d probably be imagining something a lot more similar than it actually is. You might be reading it right now and thinking you’ll know how it goes, and still be wrong.

And honestly, chances are that if you’re even a little bit interested in this movie, you know the premise, and chances are you have an idea what the climax is going to be, at least in terms of the broad strokes approach I took above.

There’s been a lot of breath and ink and screen space expended over the past couple years about the precise difference between a “reboot” and a “remake”, and what the merits of each are, and sometimes how they compare to “retcons”. Frankly, that conversation bores me.

I think it also misses the point by a wide margin. Telling a story over again in a different way is not some new Hollywood fad. It’s a basic part of what storytelling is.

I told a dude on Twitter who was complaining that this movie wiped out the original that it hadn’t, that the boy version of Ghostbusters (and its sequel and all the spin-off media still existed). I told him I checked. Twice. Nothing was wiped out. His response was to say that is interesting and ask me if I’d heard something from Sony about a “DC-style multiverse”.

I told him no, that’s just how storytelling works.

The new Ghostbusters movie shares an outline and some phlebotinum and iconography with the guy one, but it is telling its own story. You could take the same basic premise and the same pile of elements and turn a dozen filmmakers or writers loose with it and ask them to tell their own version, and get a dozen different stories.

Which one’s the real one? They’re all stories. They’re real stories. But they’re stories. None of them is what happened. Unless you believe in the Sandman version of the multiverse, where all stories are true somewhere, in which case: all of them are what happened, somewhere. But that question honestly doesn’t interest me. They’re stories. They don’t have to be true, only true enough to themselves for you to get lost in them.

Are they all good? Is one of them best? That’s a matter of perspective.

We’ve already been down this road before, most of us who were kids when the male version of Ghostbusters came out. We watched the movie and accepted its reality, and then the cartoon came out, with all the same names but not the same likenesses, and a lot of the same gadgets and gizmos, but other ones, too, ones that didn’t quite fit the logic of the movie, and a lot of little elements here and there that made it hard to believe we were seeing a continuation of the story we’d seen on the big screen (or on VHS, or whatever).

And then the sequel came out, and it was very clear early on that as far as it was concerned, the cartoon did not exist. Had not happened. Yet the cartoon was still airing at that point, and it went through shifts as it went that made it harder to accept that even the cartoon was a single coherent story.

There have been Ghostbusters cartoons (plural) and comic books and video games and roleplaying games, all of which tell the same basic story or similar stories in different ways. A comic book of the cartoon might act like the cartoon (or parts of it) happened, but the cartoon doesn’t return the favor.

If you’re of a certain turn of mind, you might be pumping the air or slamming your desk and thinking, “Yes! She gets it! That’s so annoying. Why doesn’t anyone care about continuity?” But this? This here? These aren’t complaints, they’re observations.

I honestly don’t think being shackled to continuity does much for art. I honestly do think that looking for a single definitive telling of a story and elevating it to the point that we can’t try to tell the same story a different way hurts the art, hampers it.

So, irrespective of what I think of the Ghostbusters movie I just watched (and the short version is: it was amazing, and I will write a proper review by and by), I want to say right off the bat that I’m glad that it exists. I’m glad it got made. I’m glad that the story was told again, a different way.