Most people are not taught how to read poetry. Sure, everyone gets required reading in school, but what is an average 14 year going to make of e. e. cummings’ “r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r” while waiting for the class to end?
And so we land at the crime he is most famous for. The poem that killed poetry. “Ars Poetica.” In this poem, MacLeish’s thesis is a poem is a waste of time and one shouldn’t even bother with it. And with his poetry he comes SO CLOSE to proving this theory!
Some poems stick with you all of your life. At the same time, so does extreme trauma and malaria. One poem/trauma that comes to mind is “Ars Poetica” by well-known walrus molester Archibald MacLeish.
Great Sci-Fi is about the present. Whether addressing general inequality, sexuality, norms, political conflict, terrorism, the nature of power, or whatever other bees angrily circle out bonnets, it places contemporary problems in the future. There, characters can hash it out using fantastic technologies and hide behind applicability or metaphor.
Because of this Sci-Fi authors and audiences tend to be dreamers. Many have suffered from some kind of persecution themselves, or at the very least feel like square pegs. There is something egalitarian about Sci-Fi… something that lauds the individual.
So why is there so much sexism and racism in the Sci-Fi genre?
Writing is easy. Rewriting is NOT NOT NOT! I am continuing to fill out the details and locating the characters in time and space. This means working with all the fiddly-bit details that are necessary but not very sexy to write.
THE BREAK DOWN
Some wonderful artists are terrible, terrible people.
For instance, Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. There is no question on how wonderful his children’s books are. There is also no question that he had an affair while his wife was dying of cancer, thus driving his wife to suicide. He married his mistress shortly afterwards. They then ditched his new wife’s kids from a previous marriage because “Ted would not have been happy with them.”