Ring the bells that still can ring“Anthem,” Leonard Cohen
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Last month I wrote about the challenges of running a writer’s group during a pandemic. This week I thought I’d tackle what it’s like to be a writer at this dark time.
Many of my writer friends have found themselves unable to write or have found it to be a lot harder in the shadow of this virus.
I’ve been lucky. I had my own writer slump late in 2019, after I was not accepted into a mentorship program called Pitch Wars. But by the time we started our stay-at-home oddysey (224 days and counting) I was already working on my next novel.
What I have noticed, though, are more dystopian themes creeping into my work. No big surprise there, right? I write mostly sci-fi and fantasy. With the economy crashed, the virus rampaging across the country, justified black anger exploding on our streets, and an angry blowhard of a President who has no interest in solving any of these things, why wouldn’t my writer brain turn to thoughts of a future full of death and collapse and destruction?
And yet, even my “dark future” short stories have glimmers of hope.
I’m not sure how to explain it, other than the fact that I am an inherently optimistic person. Sure, we’re facing a number of seemingly insurmountable issues today, but we’re also seeing a groundswell of small “d” and a large “D” democracy the likes of which we haven’t witnessed in decades.
So yeah, hope is bleeding in through the cracks. Check out my latest short story themes:
- A member of the lamplighter’s guild brings light to his city after an attack of darkness
- The city of Venice is raised from the lagoon bottom, and an elderly woman returns to see hre one-time home
- A virtual artist escapes the suffocating strictures of the city-state of Seattle and heads to a free-thinking life in vancouver
- Prickly pears grow tomatoes, and a woman forms her own found-family in the face of a societal collapse
Despite the horror of the last four years, maybe, just maybe, I still have a belief in the goodness of most of humanity.
It’s a surprise, even to me. I was pretty sure 2020 had beaten it out of me, but my writing tells me otherwise.
So I’m going to let myself feel hope in this time of brokenness, and to share it with others through my work.
The cracks are where the light comes in.