We are very pleased to have a special guest post from Jason Cordova, a bestselling Hispanic major award-nominated author and veteran. He’s also a huge hit in Japan, with his novels having been translated to Japanese. We at JDA Books are proud to support his brand new book, Darkling, as the first in our #FearlessMen series. I’m a big fan of book one in this series, Wraithkin, and am very excited for this to come out today. Let’s see what Jason has to say about being Fearless:
For some reason there is a small group of individuals who are afraid of the hashtag #FearlessMen. I don’t know why, really. I mean, I wasn’t bothered at all by the trending #FearlessWomen hashtag. What’s there to be afraid of? In the end, it’s all about self-empowerment, which basically means that you’re responsible for empowering yourself up to achieve what you want. And if being applauded for picking yourself up off the ground, brushing the dirt away, gritting your teeth and not giving up causes some to get their knickers in a twist, well then, they’re not fearless at all, are they?
Why anybody would feel threatened at anyone else’s success is beyond me. I mean, I will make fun of If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love until the day I die, but do I resent the author? Not even a little. It’s her story, and she can write whatever the hell she wants. Not my desire to be some sort of overbearing gatekeeper who uses a supposed moral authority to judge whether a book or story meets their merit list or not. I want everyone who writes to be successful and make money on their creations. Art is expression, but your kids don’t get fed by kind words and pundits praise.
Anytime the voice of dissent seems to arise nowadays, it is ruthlessly squashed in the name of safe space. For some, the 1st Amendment only applies to those who agree with what they are saying. This is silly, of course, but fear drives people to do silly things. It’s why I watched the #FearlessWomen Twitter… debacle with some trepidation. Why, you ask? Well, because I did not see empowerment. I saw kowtowing. I saw applause for following a trend, and heard nothing but crickets to those women who decided that they wanted to be truly fearless. Women who aren’t afraid to potentially make enemies or hurt some feelings in order to speak their minds.
Paul Laurence Dunbar once wrote a profound poem titled “Sympathy”. (side note: I’ve quoted Dunbar in the past and I love his work. Personally, “We Wear The Mask” speaks to me more so than any other poem I’ve ever read). In the third stanza of the aforementioned poem, there is the following verses:
I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,
When he beats his bars and would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings –
I know why the caged bird sings.
–Paul Laurence Dunbar, “Sympathy”
I know why those who yell into the digital void of social media do so, though they themselves do not. In an era of unprecedented freedom and prosperity, fear drives men and women to seek the comfort and familiarity of some form of being controlled. True freedom, and responsibility, makes us want to keep our head down and quiet lest we make waves. A caged man or woman can protest to their heart’s content because they know that they are in their “safe space”, even if it is a new form of slavery. They enjoy being told when to do stuff, where to, how to, etc. One of the saddest sights I’ve ever seen was when I was walking around a college campus one day and spotted a “free-speech zone”. It was a painted area away from the main campus of the school and students were welcomed to exercise their free speech and protests there, and there only. The area was maybe 100 feet by 100 feet, and protesters were milling about, occasionally shouting chants, mostly texting and updating their social media accounts. That’s not fearlessness, but being herded and controlled. Everything we do these days is tightly controlled and censured, yet more and more people are perfectly okay with this. This is true censorship, ladies and gentlemen. Yet some are perfectly content with this.
#FearlessMen and #FearlessWomen both should step up and put a stop to this. There is no reason that an individual’s rights should be taken. I cannot fathom anybody willing to argue and attack someone over what their political affiliation is when there are much bigger problems going on. In order to be truly fearless, we have to believe in it. And until people are willing to step outside of their comfort crowd and shout it to the skies, there will be nothing but fear and safe spaces.
Make sure to check out Jason’s new book Darkling, military science fiction following an elite armored special ops soldier and his brothers. Wraithkin, the first book in the series, was one of the best military sci-fi novels of 2016. These characters are #FearlessMen, and the heroes we all strive to be.