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Resistance by Laird Barron

Author’s note: Ten years on since I wrote this. Nothing’s changed, only moreso.

To new writers, and especially to young writers: expect resistance. I am forty-three. I’ve written since I was five. I know one thing if I know anything.

They will try to stop you.

Resistance to artistic aspiration is typical. In general, people aren’t going to leap onboard your dream train. It’s cute for a teenager to talk of becoming a novelist, or a poet. The gloss is tarnished once you travel beyond the solar system of middling youth and into young adulthood. If it has not already begun, it will begin. If it has begun, it will now begin in earnest. People will gently, or not so gently, undermine your artistic endeavors. How will you pay off your loans? How will you pay off a mortgage? How will you afford a family? What will become of you?

Grow up. Get real. It’s for your own good. We love you. Stop, just stop.

They will attempt to subvert you. They will attempt to cajole and coerce you. They will roll their eyes and shake their heads and talk about you in hushed tones of mourning. When you pursue the dream of being an author, people always mourn you. They will bargain with you. They will read your words and pronounce you No Hemingway, no Jackson, no McCarthy. They will probably be correct in this latter judgment. It doesn’t matter. Hemingway was no Faulkner, Jackson was no Shelley, McCarthy is no Steinbeck. None of them were Shakespeare. Be sure they were told this or something like this and by someone who loved them, wanted the best for them.
Print is dead. Publishing is dead. No one reads. We love you. So stop.

They’ll do anything to blunt your progress, to deflect your trajectory. They’ll offer you a raise at the sausage plant. They’ll marry you, knock you up, or get knocked up. They’ll send you down the trail behind a team of huskies. They’ll jail you. Drug you. Withhold love. Punish you. Blast your mind with a 24 hour news cycle and infinite cartoons on the Cartoon Network. They will guilt you for the hours you spend apart, writing, dreaming. The most insidious of them will publish you, review you, praise or condemn you, encourage you to rest on your laurels or to simply quit, the world is better off without you, because you’ve made it, or because you never will. And so they say, Stop. Quit. We love you. Come back to us, don’t leave us here.

They will do anything to stop you. Remember. They love you. You have to be ready for that.

( Reprinted by permission of the author.)






About Laird Barron


Laird Barron, an expat Alaskan, is the author of several books, including The Imago Sequence and Other Stories; Swift to Chase; and Blood Standard. Currently, Barron lives in the Rondout Valley of New York State and is at work on tales about the evil that men do.


Laird Barron’s Patreon

Below is the authors new for 2024 Patreon Introduction:

“The Sun’s rim dips; the stars rush out;

At one stride comes the dark” –Samuel Taylor Coleridge

My name is Laird Barron and for the past quarter century I’ve written in the fields of crime, horror, and the weird. My first collection, The Imago Sequence, arrived in 2007; my latest work, Not a Speck of Light (Stories), is slated for September, 2024. Between those points, I’ve published several other collections, novels, and a host of short fiction and essays.

The goal of this Patreon project is threefold—first, to consolidate my social media presence; second, to serve as a repository for my extant interviews, reviews, and commentary; finally, to act as a conduit for new material; be that essays, videos, or serialized fiction and nonfiction.

In coming years, this site will stand as a growing treasury of my interwoven universes and their myriad denizens, from Jessica Mace and Isaiah Coleridge to Rex and Old Leech Hisownself. I invite you to join me on an odyssey that spans the bronze dust of Ultra Antiquity into the nightmare core of the Great Dark.

Click the links for details of each reward tier: