A lot of my colleagues are escaping from the dreary dystopia of current affairs into writing their own fictional worlds. More power to them. I’m having trouble getting back on the path. Especially in this last month, having put my back out to the extent that I can’t bear to sit up unless I’ve taken the muscle relaxants that turn my brain to mush.
First I couldn’t write.
Then I couldn’t read new fiction by other writers; it felt like too much emotional effort to get involved with new characters and situations. Instead, I’ve been reading Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances. Again. This time I’m reading them in German translation, which not only improves my vocabulary but forces me to slow down so that I appreciate anew the finer points of dialogue and plotting.
To keep my brain from chewing itself up, I’ve been escaping into the Duolingo series of Czech lessons, which are little bite-sized bits of syntax and vocabulary that entertain me in, I think, the way that crossword puzzles entertain more normal people.
But the strange collection of sentences offered in these puzzles is pushing me back to fiction. I find it almost impossible to type things like “I am looking for my aunt’s bear” or “We do not know whether we are brothers,” without starting to imagine the fictional world in which somebody would actually say these things.
And when I was looking for a picture to illustrate this post, the internet offered me, “My children are Americans.”
So they are.
And I need to write stories that will help them remember that… while also figuring out the mysteries of the long-lost brothers and the missing bear of my aunt.
In the long run, I can’t escape fiction.