It's 2008, welcome to the future. I've been debating recently what to do about The Future, particularly in terms of this site. I know why I'm here - writing is what I do, and much of what I am, and the internet is a fantastic way to give your writing a home without having to become an Author published by the mainstream. But who really reads blogs, or finds them interesting? What's the difference between a blog and a website?
I personally think it's got everything to do with how many people contribute. If I post a self-indulgent uber-rant here every week or two, it's a blog... but if more people contribute, and we have everything here from serious investigative journalism to poetry to web comics, then it becomes something more. The potential for what it could become, almost limitless.
Initially I wanted to start using the Weaponizer name to publish books, and that's something I still intend to do. I am now of the opinion that in order to make publishing worthwhile, I need to go some distance before I begin. I don't want to just publish myself, any more than I want to continue doing Weaponizer as a simple, self-contained blog. Instead, I want to bring together a cohort of talented, engaging, serious, non-professional writers and artists to collaborate, exchange ideas, give each other feedback, and provide a shimmering, multi-faceted body of creative work, right here on this site, for all to see. When I have assembled such a team, then together we will begin the work of making a name for ourselves. With your help, we could make this site the formost home of online and in-development fiction in Scotland.
Scotland has a rich literary history. You all know about Conan Doyle and Walter Scott and Stevenson, but what about more recent creators such as Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Matthew Fitt? Most of these writers are published either in England or in the USA - and to get that far, they had to compete against the hordes of writers from these countries; often as much-maligned outsiders. Yet some of these creators (Millar, Morrison) are among the most successful Scottish artists working today, dominating their chosen fileds.
This generation of creators has produced an inspiring canon of new Scottish fiction, and I believe that there are many artists and writers out there with equal talent and potential. I want to provide somehwere for these new writers to meet, influence each others' work, and get a sense of community.
Are you a writer, an artist, a musician? How many times have you met a fellow creator in the pub or club, exchanged phone numbers or emails, but never contacted each other again? Art is often a solitary pursuit, but what if all you had to do was meet online? Meet somehwere where you could gossip, argue, work, and play... A place where you could get real-time feedback from other creators... A place where you could fight writer's block with written assignments, creative techniques, workshops and sound advice... A place where an artist could find a writer, a writer could find an editor, and a reader could find the best, the freshest, the most raw art in Scotland.
Such a place doesn't exist outside the staid confines of the literary establishment, and the odd writer's groups (Writer's Bloc, Laura Hird's site, and the awesome Writers Against Writing, to name a few) which pepper the back rooms of fair-trade cafes and University buildings, fighting the good fight... but such a place is, I believe, necessary. I think it's vital to our development as Scottish creatives, and so I'm taking it upon myself to build this place. This place is Weaponizer.
So what does The Future have in store? My ideas so far include a free forum, the classes / workshops / assignments mentioned above, hopefully some guest lectures / essays by published writers, an online store, regular real-world seminars and gigs, plus self-publishing opportunities for those who wish to sell their work.
I'm excited about The Future. Look for me in the clubs and bars, look for my digital shadow as I ramble my way around the blog-o-verse... Join me, make me less pointless... Make us less pointless... Make Scotland less invisible...
Let's steal The Future for ourselves, and let's do it right here.