Tumultuous times ahead

It’s a tumultuous time to be a writer. Everyone wants to write books that are of the moment, that is everyone who wants to write and who is not consumed by fantasy space travel, goblins and wizards or historical fiction. The rest of us, the ones who venture out of our bedrooms from time to time, don’t get too tongue tied when talking to a member of the opposite sex and avoid dusty libraries in case we catch rickets or scurvy from the ancient books there in, want to write about life today. 

But the problem with life today is that we don’t know what it is. Right now we are part of Europe, in a few weeks we may not be. For sure at some time in the not too distance future we will definitely be out, but what will out look like and who will take us there. It’s “the will of the people” I hear them say on the BBC and other news networks. But who’s will are we enacting. Back in the swirling mists of time, well 2016 anyway, the UK voted to leave the European Union by 51.89% for Leave to 48.11% for Remain, a margin of 3.78%, how many of leave voters are still alive and what  about the young people who have reached voting age since the referendum was counted. As younger voters tended towards staying in Europe while older voters generally chose to leave it’s a fair bet that the result would not be repeated.

So let’s have another vote I hear you cry. Well no. Because if it were to go the other way then it’s one all and the Leavers, who would now be the losers would cry foul. They had the original victory, it should stand. But the Remainers, the most recent winners, would say theirs was the victory of the moment and that should be recognised. Then there’s all those who really couldn’t give a toss any longer and just want it to be over. Who can predict which way they’ll cast their votes, and would it be the same as before? 

Maybe  we can have the best of three? Why not, when the world’s political discourse is reduced to seventeen second soundbites and repeating the same thing often enough makes it true then surly you can make up the rules as you go along. Dissenting voices are accused of spreading fake news, regardless of the facts, and it takes a young girl from Sweden to point out the Emperor is actually naked. 

So how do we write a book of the moment “when the times they are a changin” and changing oh so fast. I honestly don’t know, but I suspect that it’s one of the reasons that TV dramas and literary fiction remains so popular. We can immerse ourselves in stories, get lost in fantasy worlds, and identify with constructed characters. They are safe and comforting, even if the best books are dripping with blood and murderous intent (personal observation, that’s all) there’s nothing that can harm us when we invest a few hours in pure escapism.

So in the immortal words of the Captain from Hill Street Blues “Let’s be careful out there.” and be sure you dip back into the writing of your favourite author for a touch of escapism from time to time.