Myke Cole and I have had our differences. My first impression of him was somewhat negative if not muddled. I had recently self-published The Big Red Buckle and shown up to Legendary ConFusion in order to get to know other writers and fans involved in the genre. It was morning, before the opening ceremonies, and we met in the restaurant. I’d never heard of him, he’d never heard of me. He offered his business card, I responded in kind. He refused my card because it was “too large.”
I spent the rest of that weekend feeling mildly persecuted because of my decision to self-publish my first novelette, but whatever, pretty much everyone else I talked to at ConFusion had previously jumped through those same hoops themselves and so the convention ended a success. I walked away with a couple of new friendships, a better understanding of how these things work, and a renewed sense of what I needed to do in order to get my writing out there. Despite everyone’s else’s assurances that Cole was “really a good guy” I also left with a bitter taste in my mouth from our subsequent interactions. I think, for whatever reason, I rankled him and he in turn annoyed the hell out of me. All the drinking may have contributed to this mutual animosity.
It’s now been more than a year since that initial interaction and we’ve done an admirable job of getting things back to the way they were before that fateful morning at ConFusion. I don’t usually read much of what he writes, he steadfastly refuses to read my writing (I can only assume).
Cole’s contributions occasionally pop up in my social feeds from time to time. Mostly I have steered clear of his writing because, man, first impressions are really hard to shake. Honestly, while I’d rather not feel butt-hurt over that weekend, I admittedly have felt that way. And what a shame it is to feel butt-hurt.
Yesterday, because I was looking for more of what people in the business of writing have to say on the whole Hugo Cluster-Event 2015, I browsed Cole’s blog. So far, nothing about said Cluster-Event but I couldn’t help myself and I ended up reading about his next book release. I came across a post entitled “Nobody owns the military experience” which had nothing to do with the Hugo’s yet still felt very familiar to me.
The military experience belongs to *everyone.* No one who lives in any society is untouched by a military. An 80 year old woman who has never served, but has lived through the American interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan has just as much “ownership” over the experience as a 25 year old Marine who has fought in both of them. One experience is no more valid than the other. Both of their stories are “military” stories. Both deserve to be told. -Myke Cole
Notice, I’m not claiming that I’ve read Cole’s blog and come to the immediate realization that we’re actually bosom buddies separated by service or birth or even a bad business card exchange. Should we ever meet face to face again, it is possible whatever about me irritated him before will likely continue to nettle him in the future. I’m not wholly a different person than I was in January 2014. I still make mistakes, I can and have made bad impressions, and in order to conserve razors I shave a lot less.
But I wanted to say that I’ve given at least his blog some time and thought and for the most part what I find there is valuable. I now plan on opening a book or two. Cole has done an excellent job of articulating some thoughts and feelings I’ve been nursing, beginning with the aforementioned blog post. Yeah, I’m no saint, but at least I’m big enough to recognize common ground. I’ll never make music if I constantly strike the same damn cord. Hopefully my repertoire will grow a little bit from this experience.