There is a philosophical argument that everything we do in life is based on personal satisfaction. No matter what it is, our actions are rooted in personal desire. Work is an excellent example: most people do not necessarily want to work, but they do want the benefits they get from having a paycheck, health coverage, life insurance, etceteras. It is a compelling argument. The Arts is one of the areas where it is difficult to prove that correlary. Many people who work in “the Arts” will tell you it is because they were drawn to it, or they are compelled to do what they do. Authors must write! Painters must pain! Singers must sing! And it’s true: we must. The compelling desire does exist. But don’t think we don’t get anything out of it other than the fact that we have written, or painted, or sung. There are personal joys that go with it beyond the incredible satisfaction of seeing your name in print or hearing your voice on the radio.
One of the greatest benefits I’ve gotten out of DargonZine is the long-term friendship of my fellow writers. Last night, just hours before I started writing this Editorial,highlighted that fact clearly. Because of my involvement in DargonZine, I literally have friends all over the world. Late last week, I was given an assignment from my job to fly to Boston, MA, to support a field office for two days. I quickly sent an e-mail off to Ornoth Liscomb, the founder of DargonZine and long-time Editor and author. I missed his presence at the last Summit, as he has taken himself off the roles of our active writers, but I was able to reconnect and spend several hours chatting, catching up, and eating some really fine Indian food at a restaurant he turned me on to in Arlington. In retrospect, that particular restaurant was just the latest in gifts he has bestowed upon me. Over the years, we’ve exchanged music, books, and a variety of non-Dargon interaction that has fostered the relationship. All because a gangly-boned geek in Maine decided to start a writing project, some 25 years ago.
I had set plans for the working sessions, to which we stayed mostly on track. Much of what I wanted to get across was that good fiction is not made by happy characters, it is made by characters that get tortured, beaten, and destroyed on both emotional and physical levels. One of the exercises we ran was to put our characters through the worst possible situation we could imagine. Some hard writing definitely came out of that, but I think it helped us explore what we were writing, who our characters are, and who we are ourselves.
I enjoy the friendships I’ve forged with all the authors here at DargonZine. I hope our small family reaches out across the electronic highway into your home, and the compelling thing we must to — write! — helps to create a friendship with you, the readers, as well.
This issue, we have two stories that tie strongly to family and friendship. The first, A New Life, is yet another story from one of our newest and more productive authors, Claudia Ryan. The second, Changes, is from one of our long-time authors, Rena Deutch.
Enjoy the issue!