Three years after my last posting, I return changed. More of life’s roller coaster rides, — including more losses, new alliances, and revelations — have left impressions on me.

I return angry and shaken. Some people deserve some dark mojo. Some don’t. Maybe this could lead to a discussion worth having, one in good faith. I can’t promise an easy one either way.

Hence, this entry. A stream of consciousness at three in the morning. Shelved for three weeks. After all the edits, it’s still shaken, still angry.

Trigger warnings: Descriptions of discriminatory conduct. Harsh language.

Audiodrama cliques.  I met a wretched tangle:  oh, the feels and pleas and plays at community.  With strings attached.

The gates were guarded.  The moats, full of shiny happy alligators.  Predators declared themselves my brothers. Adolescents with grey neckbeards and twenty-dollar microphones clutched their pearls.  They cornered me and peppered their calls for civility with gee-whiz euphemisms cribbed from pulp sci-fi.

They’re not fans of my work though.  They tell me so. Too scary. Too weird.  Too original. Too many notes. But nice of you to show up, I guess.

They marginalized me.  Symbols of my heritage were mocked and called Pokémon. Podcast networks and radio productions withdrew their invites to contribute when they realized my audio fiction wasn't corny, campy, insipid clones of Old Time Radio.  I was once told, “I’m sorry, Joe, but Afterhell is out.” They didn’t promote my audios or tolerate any more lip from me.  But to this day, they stuff my mailbox with spam.

They are positive.  Supportive. And so inclusive.

Fine, so I walked.  I didn’t miss the control freaks, the Howdy Doody pablum, or the nonexistent bump in my sales from all that “exposure.”  Sometimes fulfillment is a solitary path. Boo hoo.
Now there’s a bigger, tighter, younger, more motivated community of podcasters out there.  Solitary, it turns out, is a rotten way to do time. “Should I reach out,” I ask myself.

I pop my head out from under my rock and perk up my ears.

“Positivity” is the watchword.

Oh God, I have to write for some happy time fun place?  Nah, I’m not gonna fit in here either.
I grow weary of Wonder Bread old-guy radio and kumbaya pixie-dust fantasies.  I’m wounded. I’m angry. I was dumped in the shadows. Part of me always lingers there.  I see the bad we do. I’ve heard worse. And I bloody well say so.

I reserve the right to be myself.  And to me, “fuck you” is a positive message.  It says, “You can’t break me.”

If dreams must be treasured, that includes my nightmares.  I never wanted them. But they’re mine to process. And I’ve learned that all dreams carry meaning, not just cheery blessings but warnings.   

Maybe my dreams ain’t pretty, but they get me there.  They’re mine. I got this far. However short the distance, I got here.

And no thanks to the “don’t worry, be happy” crowd.  

I am sick — tired — of narrow-minded Audacity jockeys telling me to write pretty.  I write pretty well, thanks.

But my stories would be so much prettier if they made people smile more.

Look, my work might not be your cup of tea.  But I never tried to fool you. I make it quite clear:  “Listen at your own peril.”

In contrast, I’ve heard a lot of podcasts over the last 15 years that were supposedly good.  Hackneyed writing. Music and effects from a boombox in front of a mike. Different room tones for every actor in the same scene.  Cheesy accents. Spousal assault for laughs. Non-binary characters as laughing stocks. And the price of admission was always, “Be positive, Joe.”

Well, the fuck I will.  I’ll like it when it’s worth liking.  The same deal as everyone else. I like what I like, I make what I make.  What I do, I do.

I suggest you learn to cope.  Y’know. See the positive side of it.

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