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Saturday, May 09, 2020

 

The Future of My Stories


You know you are living in a historical moment when it changes the way that you write. Social distancing. Masks. Protests about lockdowns. The economy. Everything else involved in this pandemic has begun to shape the way I see the world now. Eventually, I think it's going to hit my own stories. 

This is one of those moments that is impossible to write about but also impossible not to write about. As I write a story that is about a birthday party, in the back of my mind, I am thinking to myself, would that even be possible right now? 

I wrote a semi-speculative fiction story that was set about 15 years into the future. Suddenly, due to this pandemic, my version of the future now needs to be changed and altered to consider these latest events. 

So, with all this going on in my mind, it's no wonder it's hard to write right now. Our entire world is changing. It's probably going to be a long time before things feel normal again. And the new normal may not look the same. 

I don't know about you but when I wake up in the morning, I almost expect this virus to be "old news." Since that hasn't happened yet, and life continues to march on amidst this weird, scary new way of life, every so often I get a creative tug that pulls me back into the world of fiction. I drift back to that party idea and wonder what would change if it was a birthday party in the midst of a quarantine. I wonder about the story set 15 years into the future and think about the characters. I wonder what would they see this past historical event like. 

I don't have much advice to give you except to say don't be afraid to let the way things are right now shape your stories. A part of me has been reluctant to but I think sometimes it helps us to embrace what is going on rather than try to write around it. 

4 Comments:

Blogger Angela said...

Nicole - my neighbor's teenage son, two doors down, had a birthday party last weekend that lasted about a couple hours. There were kids in the street blasting music from their cars, wearing bikinis and masks (it was in the 90s that day). Some got out of their cars, and others were driven by their parents. One family parked their convertible in front of our house and played '80s rocker music (the parents must've been my age), but didn't get out. Kids came up to the car holding balloons six feet away and blew kisses while parents snapped photos. They danced in the streets at a distance. Some were holding plates of white frosted cake. They sung the birthday song. Then everyone drove away like it never happened, and it was quiet again.

I think it's great you're writing! What you're experiencing will filter into your work. It always does. Just let it flow.

This morning I did a creative nonfiction freewrite based on a prompt by Laurie Wagner: imagine it's twenty-five years from now, and a young person turns to you and asks, "What was it like when the virus came? What did you do? How did you live?" And you write, "I want to tell you ..." and then freewrite for fifteen minutes. You might try it and see if it vacuums the cobwebs and clears your brain to start fresh. Laurie has a free video class series if you're interested, and that was the prompt for day one! So far it's been inspirational. https://27powers.org/27-wildest-days/

1:15 PM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

I think a lot of editors are looking for COVID-19 inspired stories, essays, articles, right? I agree--it's good to let it affect your writing if it's what you are feeling because our best writing comes from our emotions, in my opinion.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Sioux Roslawski said...

Nicole--I think we can't avoid our writing being colored by what is going on. Angela's right--just let your words flood out. You can sift through them later.

Angela--I imagine there were lots of people looking out their windows and enjoying the party. These days, it doesn't take much to amuse us. And I love the prompt. I might use it with students this fall. (Like most writers, I steal frequently. ;)

Margo--I'm with you. This is an emotional time. We need to vent, and sometimes what flows out is writing gold.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Nicole Pyles said...

@Angela - That birthday party sounds absolutely amazing! Like something out of a musical!

I also love that prompt idea. I think I might try that today actually. I've been meaning to journal a bit more and that might clear my head!

@Margo - I think more editors are actually! And I agree, when emotions impact our writing I feel like it's way better.



@Sioux - absolutely - sifting comes later!

3:12 PM  

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