Distracted

I’m distracted. I think we’re all distracted, right now. Times are a bit distracting. And unsettled. Mrs. Dave is back on a more or less normal work schedule, and the Wee Horde are officially on “Summer Break,” whatever that means this year. In reality, we’re pushing ahead with a slightly more diffuse academic schedule. They’re both about two years ahead in real terms, so it’s fairly light, but the 20/21 academic year is still up in the air, so we’re pursuing keeping them up on at least some mental exertion, rather than turning them into free-roaming savagelings until September.

Me? Oh, I’m keeping on. The bad brain days are getting more numerous, and I’m … concerned for the future, and angry. Like a lot of people. The hypocrisy on parade is sickening, the damage to life and livelihood is possibly unrecoverable. I dunno, folks. It’s hard to think about fiction right now.

Or is it? If I let my imagination run wild, I have little vignettes popping up constantly, inspired by the latest madness to float across my feed. Times of great tension and conflict are amazing at bringing drama to the forefront. For my own work, and the stories I’ve enjoyed, it’s often manufactured drama (in more than the sense that all fiction is manufactured (even the hand-crafted artisan fiction with the multigrain crust on the surface, and the special, flaky sea salt harvested by naked virgins under the light of the full moon)), where a shadowy cabal is exploiting simmering tensions for its own ends.

What I’m saying is, as unpleasant and uncomfortable as current events continue to be, they’re rich fodder for imaginative and realistic storytelling. (Of course, that said, if you’re a lot closer to points of conflagration, see to your safety before settling in to work. I know how writers are, for I are one, and we’re likely to miss a riot while in the flow.) Current events IN SPAAAACE is an excellent way to gin up conflict for your characters.

14 comments

  1. Sitting in Philly watching things burn (not in my immediate vicinity, but some idjit did blow up an ATM a block north of me), I was just thinking that there had to be some source material in all of this crazy anarchic pandemic rioting. Great (or slightly off) minds think alike!

  2. The problem is, this is all so bloody unrealistic! There’s no way I could put this in a book.

    Impeaching the President based, AFAIR, on wishful thinking. Closing down the economies of a huge swath of the entire world over a disease that has proven to be not nearly as serious as first thought . . . and then keeping the economies shut down. Rioting and arson for justice–when the killer’s already been arrested–and the burned out businesses are mostly those of the rioters communities.

    Who’d believe any of those things? And we’ve had them all in less than a year. One has to wonder what Reality’s going to do next, to laugh at writers who have to have worlds that pass the smell test?

    1. Yeah, just because something is absurd doesn’t mean we can’t laugh, and look for an inspiration to take us in the direction of a happier story.

      Some months back, I’m not sure exactly when, I was in a very bad mental place, much worse than now, despite that things now are probably more challenging.

      Felt very alone, and helpless. One thing that helped turn me around was ‘what if the boog and a reincarnation isekai’. Then I said ‘one character does not an awesome enough story make’. Decided I wanted to do ‘magnificant seven, with a cross section of Americans who would pick the right side, the side that made America the unusually peaceful place it originally was, a philosophy, not a strict partisan line’. Just brainstorming different types of mind that fit that helped me. Then I said ‘pair them with the seven daughters of a fairy tale monster’. That helped me recall that America’s peace is ultimately built on a network of personal relationships that is beyond human comprehension, and that I don’t need to betray people who have extended the hand of peace to me simply because I have baggage related to the higher level theory. That however upset I am over the higher level stuff, there are people who haven’t acted to betray me. I got a lot of healing in my heart after that experience, and that is helping me now.

      In conclusion 1) These are not dark times, these are great times 2) Satire is really difficult right now, but other genres may be more rewarding 3) it is heartbreaking, but healing is possible 4) things can improve without us being able to understand the theory of how they can improve.

        1. Not written, it isn’t currently an active project. Trying for some of the same themes in main project.

          At the moment, I’ve a suspicion that the bit I described is going to be stripped for parts and combined with stuff from other notions.

    2. “The problem is, this is all so bloody unrealistic! There’s no way I could put this in a book.”

      It is only unrealistic if you think the authorities are aligned with the interests of the American people, and are working to keep America a free and great nation.

      If, as I do, you think that some (many) of the authorities are actively working to make America (and Canada!) into a slave-state like China, to thereby enrich themselves and allow them to more freely pursue extremely unsavory habits (#EpsteinDidn’tKillHimeslf) then all this makes perfect sense.

      One of the most unrealistic things I’ve put in a book is giving a human the power to do literally anything he wants, and he freely chooses to do the -right- thing. Absolute power -not- corrupting absolutely. Just to change things up from the grey goo, you know?

      It makes the book more fun, but as far as Real Life (TM)? Never going to happen.

      But it could be that I’m just a bit cranky about things today, given the news. People are not bad, generally, but there certainly are some bad people. May they contract boils, the lot of them.

  3. I thought about a nod at current events in the next book in a certain series . . . for thirty seconds at most. No. That’s not what I write about or for. Now, writing about characters doing what they can to hold back the forces of chaos, raise a family, help their friends (aaaaaand get back at their enemies)? That’s what I do, and what I think my job is to do right now.

    1. Ahhhhhh!

      And here I was looking forward to seeing how your characters would handle certain things! 👿

      Seriously, thank you. Your stories are comfort reads right now. 😀

  4. I know it wasn’t meant that way, but current events in space are one of the bright spots of 2020.

  5. The juxtaposition of current events might inspire a short story from me soon.

  6. Plenty of ‘character outlines’ out there right now… And no, as a story, it would be too unbelievable to be sold… Now if you added the SMOD? Maybe… Schedule that for November after the Yosemite quake…

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