I'm Still Alive (I Think)... Are You?
If we're in a simulation, I'm done now. Turn this thing OFF!
(There was no stock footage when my search terms were "world all jacked up," so here's people enjoying some nice paint bombs)
Oh, hey there, reader. I'm glad you're here. (Melinda turns to notice you from her chair by the fire, wool blanket on lap and pipe in mouth. There is a nice fire crackling for ambience. Melinda coughs violently because she doesn't smoke.)
I just noticed my last blog post was at the end of February. As in nearly 5 whole months ago. I really have no excuse for not posting other than THE WHOLE GODDAMNED WORLD FELL APART.
I mean seriously, Australia and it's wildfires were poised to be the defining event of 2020 but turned out to be a freaking hors d'oeuvres to a chef's special of You're all Fucked. Sorry for the language but it's 2020, all bets are off. We have a politicized pandemic where Covidiots and maskholes run rampant, spreading disease like it's candy. You've seen the videos, right? Oh, you haven't? Here, I'll summarize...
Store clerk: "Sir, can you please wear a mask?"
Shopper, pulling out a gun: How dare you? This is tyranny!
Same shopper: Where is the backpack aisle? I need to get a bulletproof one for my son for back to school. Price of freedom, and all that.
(Yeah, you see what I did there. I know, because you is smart).
OK, so as if that's not enough, America is also divided over whether or not we should still be racist. Some of the old, white men in office are super nervous about those who look different from them. You know, on account of all the people with brown skin who want their jobs.
Guys, my eyes are nearly stuck in the rolled back position. I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.
This is why we need good fiction. I am re-reading Fahrenheit 451 (after maybe 20 years). Ray Bradbury is freaking fantastic. His writing is pure poetry and is, sadly, quite applicable now. Most people are familiar with the basic premise: it is a future wherein firemen set fires instead of putting them out. Books are illegal and free thought is considered both strange and dangerous. One of the interesting points in the book comes when the fire chief, Beatty, describes why this has occurred. He says that it wasn't because of some tyrannical government but rather the people themselves. We became dumbed-down ourselves and grew angry at thoughtful literature.
I am working full steam ahead on my novel in progress (read more about it here). I'm trying to finish an editable draft by the end of the year. The theme of the book is whether or not technology is helpful or detrimental. Of course it is not either or, but I am exploring the extent to which technology can isolate human beings from each other.
I've written before about how fiction (especially science fiction) has the power to create empathy within us (though I've since had second thoughts about being a white author and writing as someone of color; but the empathy section I still stand behind 100%). As a writer, I find that I end up living inside the characters I create to such a deep extent that I feel I know them as well as real people. As readers we all know this feeling. How many times have you mourned the end of the book because you miss the characters?
The world needs more of this right now. We are polarized, broken up into us and them. This is a natural tendency, but we can be better than our base instincts. We can learn to listen. We can give those with less representation in literature the chance to speak about their own experiences. We can be open-minded. These things are not easy but they are critical. Besides, as I always say, nothing worth it is ever easy. After all, we don't want to end up in the world of Fahrenheit 451, do we? They did it to themselves, and we can to. Instead, let's celebrate differences in appearance and thought. Let's give each other the chance to fail and apologize for our mistakes.
See? I started out all ranty and angry. But look what writing does to me. I'm all warm and happy.
Thank you for reading :)
Your Average Neuroscientist, Melinda