I first described myself as an interstitial writer in a cover letter accompanying one of my early short stories (alas, it didn’t sell). At the time, I thought it was an appropriate description of my writing method. Right now, at least, I have pressing conflicts that keep me from being a full-time writer:
- I have a Wife and Children;
- I have Work and Ministry obligations;
- I have to leave some room for me.
In the interstices of these obligations and desires, I have been learning to write science fiction. It’s proven to be harder work than I thought, and I often find myself asking if I have the pedigree to do this. After all, I’m not a professor of biochemistry or physics. I have no experience with NASA or as a voice for the Open Source movement. And I’m certainly not a brilliant in my thoughts about people and technology. So where does that leave me?
All I have left is to be who I am: a man passionate about God and His Universe, about technology and people, about words and the emotions we express with them. I stopped reading Scientific American when their editorials made it clear I wasn’t welcome, and I hesitate to talk about my skepticism with Christians who might think I’m a bad influence on their children. I’m stuck in the middle.
And that, surprisingly enough, is what it means to be interstitial.
Recently, while reading the submission guidelines for Strange Horizons, I found that they want to encourage submissions by “traditionally under-represented groups,” and realized I may just have a chance. Yes, I realize that white, protestant, middle-aged men from the suburbs are far from rare, even left-handed ones, but this is SF, and who’s more under-represented in SF than people of faith? Now all I have to do is finish a story good enough to deserve publication.
One step at a time.