Wednesday, June 10, 2020

In defence of molecules

My goodness, Wednesday has crept up on me! Days blur together in this new "date-less" regime, so I was happily perusing the internet this morning, checking email, social media, news headlines, and various other intriguing links that popped up along the way, when I suddenly realized it was Wednesday. Blog post day! What possibly gems of insight do I have to share today?

Like Aline, I have been plodding along on my first draft at a snail'a pace, in fits and starts as I feel my way forward. Like her, there have been exhilarating moments when the story just poured out and it was exciting to see what would happen next, and other moments when I would ask myself the usual writer questions. Why in earth am I writing this dreck? Where is it going?

The pandemic has sapped a lot of creative energy. First of all, the formless anxiety we feel from the constant news of suffering, dying, and outrageous reactions, along with the disruptions to our routines and social supports, makes concentration very difficult. Secondly – and I felt this very acutely at the beginning – our stories, even though about murder and mayhem, seemed silly and trivial in the face of global real-life tragedy. And as if the pandemic weren't a big enough crisis, the death of George Floyd has triggered anti-Black protests across much of the world and brought the struggles and despair of Blacks and other people of colour into sharp public consciousness. All of which has made my own story seem even more trivial and irrelevant.

Yet fiction is about people, and crime fiction in particular shines a spotlight on people in pain. People who are desperate, frightened, enraged, or horrified. It doesn't usually paint on a big picture, global canvas, but rather it drills down into the unique and individual lives of those make up that canvas. Put together, molecule by molecule, fiction can tell the story of that global canvas.

So I will write on, delving deep into the story of my unique band of characters and hoping that I contribute in some small way to the bigger picture. And also hoping that when my next Wednesday comes along, I will have something more coherent to say.

No comments: