Saturday, July 12, 2008

Writing About Now in Fiction

Admittedly, I don't spend much time thinking about the issues at large-- things like the never-ending war, the presidential campaign bombardment, or even the recession-- with Michigan leading the way. (Oh wait, that's not a good thing for Michigan to be first in! Damn.) Honestly, gas prices barely register on my radar anymore. I'm lucky enough that these are more background noise than immediate impact on me.

I'm fortunate to have enough money that I just stick the credit card in and fill up, though, I do admit to going to the station where use of their special magic card gets me 10 whole cents off each gallon this summer. Woo. Save up honey, at the end of the summer we can buy a Squishee! But we'll have to share.

But overall, my life continues whether or not these things happen. I'm not trying to dismiss their importance. I know there are a great many people who's lives have been turned upside down with current events-- like the floodings and fires in non-mitten shaped states. I've been fortunate.

As a member of this current time, I do occaisionally wonder if my writing should reflect the current culture. Maybe times are tough for Bo, trying to eke out a few dollars in Michigan's delightful economic conditions. But there are places that are doing okay. Belts a little tighter as happens when businesses are folding and packing up everyday, but many places soldier on. Many workers still have jobs. Lots of people have not lost their homes. And it doesn't seem like it'd be much fun to write a story where Bo can't get a case...

I don't see much reason to insert the current conditions into my writing. At least not at this point. Part to keep from pinning the stories to any exact years. Who knows when Bo Fexler will finally make her novel debut? Why set the stories in, say 2008, when she might not see print until 2010 or later-- even if she did get picked up by some suave agent tomorrow? I like amiguity.

I've read about writers who were accused of being afraid to mention the Vietnam war in their writing. But did they need to mention it? Does it matter if the detective mentions that their's a war going on. Chandler didn't spend much time talking about the war-- for example, in the Lady in the Lake, there is one line about 'the war' and another about the Bay City police 'conserving rubber'. His case of missing wives has nothing to do with war or any other current condition. People will lie, steal, cheat, screw and kill whether or not we're in the War Without End or if gas is $10 bucks a gallon.

I'm not afraid to mention any of the current issues in my writing. I chose not to. I'm not opposed to writing that does reference current events. It's just not part of the stories I'm trying to tell.

Oh, and if you get a chance, check out the link to "Past Bo Fexler Sightings." I've moved all the short story links to a new home. They're settling in quite nicely, I think.

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

And I can't get it out of my head. Age, temperament, family history, or being married to a political scientist. I don't know. But I wish I could erase it all.