A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that
I’ve noticed a lot of writers on my social media talking about how hard it is to get any writing done, what with everything that’s going on…
I know, not the worst problem to have right now. Still, what is going on?
You more or less know what’s going on, of course.
And it kind of hurts to look too closely at what’s happening. At the end of March, I read an article in Wired about The brutal reality of dying under Italy’s coronavirus lockdown. It’s truly distressing reading.
I’ve only written one bit of fiction that features COVID-19, and that was I script that I punted into a very popular open call by the BBC Writersroom. It didn’t get picked up, of course. But as more advisers to governments and medical professionals start talking about how we’re going to have to live with the virus for another 2-3 years, it’s sure going to start infecting storytelling.
It’s like, remember when folks worried about how the ubiquity of the cellphone would make all sorts of storytelling obsolete? Now, Mrs Stroke Bloke binge watches Save Me, and every time I pop my head in, the main character’s phone is welded to his face.
Are things going to snap back to normal, leaving social distancing fiction churned out in lockdown looking weird? Or are novels finally knocked out while the kids are dumped in front of virtual school going to look weird because they don’t account for the novel coronavirus and its aftermath?
What do you think? I’m inclined to agree with something I heard a writer say on the radio recently, to the effect that
When you’re deep into a project, you tend to see the world through the prism of that project, rather than the other way aroundMichael Morpurgo, maybe? I dunno 🤷♂️
But maybe that’s because I haven’t really been forced to address the issue. The main things I’ve been working on and thinking about recently have been works of historical fiction – one set in 19th century Sutherland, another in the American South in the 18th century.
Delving into the past to address current concerns seems to be a decent vein to be mining, in any event. It means that things I’ve written previously that are currently being published retain – I’d like to think – a kind of timeless quality.
I’ve just had a short piece published in Northwords Now that hopefully fits that bill. It’s set around 1945 and looks back to around 1930.
With the virus holding up the full print run, you can find the whole issue in PDF form at their website, as well as direct links to each author and piece. I commend it to you!
I had hoped to share a version of The Lamp that I recorded, backed by some beautiful music by Friendoftheblogpaul, for Interrobang’s Field Work show at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, but it’s not immediately to hand.
Maybe next week…