Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!
Last Wednesday I awoke, as did many in the United States and elsewhere, to a world seemingly turned upside down. I try not to get very political here… there are plenty of other places you can go to for that… But it should also come as no surprise to my longtime readers that I’m a working-class liberal, both politically and socially. As birds of a feather tend to flock together, my circle of friends reflects this inclination with generous portions of writers and other artists.
And last Wednesday I found many of them in full-throttle breakdowns of shock and fear.
I find more and more that my natural reaction when faced with adversity is to escalate my resolve to meet the challenge. That combined with my desire to uplift fallen spirits that day, inspiring me to grab the wheel of a foundering ship and cry “Allons-y!” with the following…
This is not the end. This is not the beginning of the end. It’s not even the end of the beginning. I know that many of us are shocked and frightened this morning, but I will say this: We will survive.
Furthermore, and to borrow the words of a great generation that came before us: “We shall overcome.” We must not look at the election of this man as an epitaph on the tombstone of America. Instead we must see it as a CHALLENGE and a sign of how far we still have to go.
Hold hope. We can and will do better. Our democracy is and always has been a work in progress. Designed with checks and balances by founders who, in their wisdom, crafted a constitution built to thwart the rise of tyranny and grow with us as a people.
Watch-out for your friends. Your family. Your neighbors and co-workers. Protect them. And most of all protect the people you DON’T know. We’re all in this together. We must be vigilant. We must embrace that our differences and diversity are a strength. Because when one person’s inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are trodden upon, all of ours are as well. You must stand and oppose this as the price of freedom… even if you feel that you are amid a sea of deaf ears and cold hearts failing to do so.
I will never let hatred or fear rule my heart, and I beg the same pledge of you. It all starts with us, and we will make a better world only through the combined efforts of all of our good works in all of their facets. We need only the courage to hang-on and try.
So yeah… As it did for so many others, the shockwave of the election reverberated through my life this week like a meteor impact. But unlike many, I refuse to give-in to despair.
I’m not a superhero or a politician, but I am a writer. I use words and myth to entertain and inspire. It’s a talent and a gift that not only brings me joy, but something I view with a sense of purpose and responsibility as well. This week I have seen and felt more clearly than ever before why we need stories. Stories of good over evil, and heroes grappling with troubled times.
We need them because our stories bind us together with a language we can all understand. A language that strides the real and unreal to speak truth and inspiration beyond the boundaries of our singular lives:
This is the power of the bard and storyteller. So when I speak of “the combined efforts of all of our good works in all of their facets”, this is my facet. Whether you are a fellow writer of fiction like myself, or a member of the multitude of other creative arts… don’t dismiss your power as irrelevant and unimportant if you desire to act. The truth is anything but:
All of this is underscored on a personal level by thoughts I had about my novel nearing completion a few days before the election. You see, a major theme in Vivian’s Last Cigarette is Prejudice. The “changelings” of the story are, in essence, a highly visible minority that can be seen as metaphors for any in the broad span of “otherness” that receive bigotry in the real world. The most obvious comparison is race, but the aspect that they are people who have changed from “normal” to something else could echo multitudinous things: From an individual adopting a “strange” culture, religion or lifestyle, to experiences not unlike some found in the LGBT community.
The metaphor of change gets even more use as my protagonists are in their teens, a period when we all are changing. When we are all in transition, coping with the loss of childhood and learning what it is to be an adult.
My villains are human supremacists. My heroes share stories of loneliness and discrimination. The climax pits hope, courage and love against hate and fear. This is an old story, albeit one that I’m trying to tell with a fresh voice… And I had the gall to wonder if a story of fighting back against prejudice was overdone. If it was played-out. If it was still relevant.
Then I awoke last Wednesday and discovered that, yes, this kind of story is still relevant. Perhaps now more than ever.
So this weekend I did not sit and mourn. I sat at my computer. I sat in the sanctum of my study. And I wrote. I wrote about orcs. About a couple youths dealing with being orcs. About how by one telling the other that she isn’t a monster, he changes the course of both of their lives.
I hit 60,000 words and almost finished another chapter. It’s going to be a story where heroes grapple with troubled times and bad people. And win.
Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!