2020? I don't know her...
Ok, the only thing I can do is acknowledge that I fell off AGAIN and move forward. Some of you read my last blog post about dealing with depression following the publication of my first novel, Chymaera’s Overture. That was in December of 2019, and I was really hopeful 2020 would prove to be a better year. More creative and productive.
I got the complete opposite, which you can guess because this is my first post this year. We are in freaking September!
You know what happened. A nightmare for the entire world. 2020 proved to be a dystopian vision, albeit one that we have been warned about. A virulent virus circled the globe. Murderous insects emerged, some attacking people and others, food. Too many acts of unjust brutality and murder sparked protests for equality and justice. Some rioting followed. Climate change caused storms of fire on some lands and storms of water on others. Absolutely too much loss has happened and hasn’t stopped.
We’ve all been pulled apart and overwhelmed with increased stress as we try to take care of our families and friends. We’ve been ordered to stay at home, work from home, educate from home - to live our lives within four walls.
Ordinarily, I am a news junkie. I like to know what’s going on and be an informed citizen of the world. But this year, dang. The more aware I’ve stayed, the less it felt like I could write, but not precisely for the reasons you might think.
Every year is awful for someone, usually a group of someones. I am no stranger to horrific news, but this year hit different. And not just because it was affecting moi.
Give me a minute and just explore. What are stories really about? If you are on this site, you probably read genre fiction at least part of the time; but I’d argue that most of the tales you read aren’t about the genre standards you’ve come to depend on. Stories are rarely really about unicorns or dragons. They are not about the haunted moors or grim castles. They aren’t about washboard abs on the love interest or the heiress’s fortune. It might feel like the story is about the void of space or the destructive evolution of AI, but is it really?
My husband and I discussed the other day about how we usually remember events in relation to family gatherings. Do you know what that means in a year of practically no dinners or parties? No coming together for a visiting relative? The days/weeks/months flow together with no break, no relief, and little meaning. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve hugged people who aren’t my husband since COVID-19 made its appearance. We live like survivors on a deserted island. We turn to each other and almost subconsciously feel removed from our loved ones. Texting and whatnot can only do so much. And I can’t say that social media has helped. If anything, with all the legitimate reasons for uncivil discourse, you have to be careful with how much of yourself you expose to folks these days. Even when dealing with the ones you love and considered close.
I don’t always know what day it is or when was the last time I spoke to someone I don’t share a name with. At times I have wondered who I am now. How has all of this changed me? Because it indeed has. But I don’t have the answers yet. 2020 is still going strong, and I have other shit to do.
So, yeah - I’m treating 2020 as a cataclysm, and I’m not touching it for now. For realistic pieces, there will forever be a before and an after. Everything that comes out in the near future will either have an alternative time line (fantasy) or is prior to 2020 (contemporary). Maybe in the future, when 2020 has long been in the rearview, and we feel stable and connected again, I will figure out a way to weave all of this (throws up hands) into something. Right now, 2020 is a story all it’s own. One that centers upheaval, pain, and isolation. I write dark things, but damn, not that dark.