Perception

Has something like this ever happened to you? Everything on your blog is formatted just the way you like until one day, without warning, the fonts decide to change themselves. That's what happened to In Medias Res on Friday. I double-checked my Blogger dashboard, and the template settings are the same as before, but now in IE8 and IE9, things don't look quite right. In Google Chrome, however, everything is still the way it's supposed to be.

Weird? Yep, but it got me thinking. I formatted my blog a certain way, and in one web browser it comes through just as I intended while in another, it doesn't. Kind of like some of my stories. I write them from a certain viewpoint, but how they're perceived by readers is entirely out of my hands. I might think one of my tales has a certain theme or underlying truth to it, but since I try to avoid being heavy-handed or didactic, that message may not come through exactly as I assumed it would. That's why it's always a delight when one of my reprints on Amazon receives a review from a reader who actually gets what I'm going for. Not all readers are on my wavelength.

"The Coyote" is up at Bent Masses this week after two years of submissions and fourteen rejections. It features Mercer the "Soul Smuggler," one of my recurring characters who also appears in the latest issue of Big Pulp. According to fellow writer Siobhan Gallagher, Mercer is a "corpse-snatching phantasmal antihero" who uses his powers for both good and evil, depending on your point of view. He may be the patron saint of the suicidal, or he may just be a selfish bastard doomed to inherit the earth, such as it is. You'll have to decide for yourself.