I’ve avoided writing about surviving through this pandemic for a great many reasons. One being that my work has not slowed down and in fact I’ve been able to continue, albeit quite differently than before. And thus, I could whinge about not having time to actual write. You know, like a writer writes. That’s what we’re supposed to do. But that has been hard. In fact, I’ve written fuck all this last year. Also, many have not been so lucky.
In the last couple of weeks, in an effort to get back in to the swing of things, I started going though some of the pieces I’d been working on – everything from drafts to stuff I should be looking to submit, from flash to shorts to novels. Having not looked at any of this for the last year it has allowed me a bit of perspective that I haven’t had for some time. We get so focused, at least I do, in the moment, in the story, in the world building, in it all. With a bit of distance between us, I started to see some of the themes that had taken shape across these works.
I’ve always considered that I wrote science fiction with a tendency to speculative fiction. It can be quite eclectic: I’m not going to be so obnoxious as to claim it is quite unique. Actually, I was quite disappointed with the quality of some writing, although, for the most part, not the stories themselves. What did jump out out me like never before were the themes, or specifically one theme that appeared to run strongly through all of them – hope.
If you had asked me beforehand what the big themes would have been, this would not have been on the list. It’s just not really me. On a good day I’d say I’m a pragmatic optimist. So holding out hope for things is sort of like a nice idea that probably won’t eventuate. Yet that was not what I’d been writing. They aren’t filled with bubbly optimism, but they all pushed and pulled one way or another on hope.
Having further reflected on this, quite a few of these projects are quite dark, which doesn’t contradict the above, it just maybe mirrors real life a little more – even with all the hope in the world, there’s no guarantee that we’ll make it out alive. Indeed, in the end, we don’t.
Given the last year, it is a bit easier to understand why I was having trouble getting going, getting involved, and putting words on the page – hope has been hard to find.
*Creator of image unknown – “everyone” appears to be using it, so if you know the creator I’d be grateful.