“It’s difficult to focus on writing, particularly fiction, when the world feels like it’s on fire.”
Hugo award winning author, John Scalzi wrote that recently, in an article for the Los Angeles Times. He talks about how hard it is for science fiction writers to write their stories these days, because it feels like we’re living in a dystopian novel already.
And maybe that’s what I’ve been feeling lately. And that’s why it’s been so hard to sit down and write. I have stories waiting to be told. They mill around in the back of my mind, waiting for my fingers to get going. The characters talk to me while I’m reading a book, or binge-watching a show on TV. Or I suddenly decide to do yard work when I haven’t done that in years. The characters shout, “Hey! When are you going to finish our story?”
But when you wake up each day to the rubbish that’s happening in our country, (can I say ‘crap’?), it’s hard to peel oneself off the floor, to sit in a chair and type up a story about a horrible but hopeful fictional future – when the real future looks even worse.
I could ignore the news. I could cut myself off entirely from social media, radio, TV, talking to people. But I’m not that disciplined.
“To be human is to tell stories. It is what makes us human most. Everything else, is shared with other animals. Storytelling appears to be ours alone.”
“SFF (science fiction/fantasy) writing is the most segregated world in all of literature. What message does it send if there’s only one PoC on a new planet? We are all people, so we have to humanize [our characters] – they should be all colors. No more lily-white futures. You kill off entire races. This is called literary GENOCIDE.”
Doesn’t that just make you want to stand up and applaud? Well, it makes me want to get on and write that story! Especially SFF.
From her ferocity and passion, I am reminded that the future I write about should be what I believe it’s going to be – not the one pictured by today’s lazy supremacists. Their vision of the future is really that of the past, and that’s what scares them. Because the future will not belong to them. There are too many of us who will not allow it. And storytellers play a big part in that picture. Quoting Alicia again,
“It takes all of us to break down borders. We have to work together across racial borders in order to change things, and make things better.”
“It’s important to… see memory and imagination as an important part of research because we don’t give ourselves permission to spend time thinking.”
“… weightless, unhinged,Eons from even our moon, we’ll driftIn the haze of space, which will be, onceAnd for all, scrutable and safe.”