So the last few weeks there hasn’t been a blog post because I have been (and still am) horribly occupied by a bout of gastroenteritis. Thankfully (sort of?), this has been limited to brutal diarrhea in my case. Which I count as a win, because I absolutely hate throwing up.
While I’ve been experiencing my own personal shitshow, there’s been a series of much bigger shitshows occupying the world stage. Shitshows in macrocosm AND microcosm. Very artistic. And I wrote a whole post where I was trying to reckon with all of it. What do we do when the barbarians are at the gates? Especially when they’re not even cool and proper barbarians, like Visigoths? When they’re wannabe Nazis and Confederates in polos with tiki torches who have the implicit approval of the president?
I wrangled with this question long and hard. I thought about love and boundaries and faith and the paradox of tolerance and all sorts of other things.
And I realized that I’m not equipped to help with any of it. Not in this space, by trying to talk it through or reason it out. I have a degree in theater arts, you guys. My four years of formal training is in faking it.
But faking it isn’t gonna cut it this time around.
So what I’m realizing just now, as I type this, is that there is only one thing that I can do. And that’s to write my shit.
I specialize in patently ludicrous, escapist nonsense. But it’s my dearest hope that it is inclusive and friendly to the groups out there that are under fire by literally the entire American political machine, which is currently being backed by douchebags who couldn’t even be bothered to make proper torches so they decided to go to ideological war with citronella.
That moment you realize you’ll be buying Tiki-brand stuff forever.
I specifically don’t write the world the way it is. Reality is my day job, and sometimes it’s pretty goddamn bleak. I rarely, if ever, include it in my stories. I write the world the way it should be. In my jams, nobody gives a shit about the color of your skin or your gender identity or who you want slash don’t want to bone down with. In the immortal words of Captain Malcolm Reynolds, “We’re all just folk, now.”
If there’s a gay couple in my stories (and there almost ALWAYS is) the barrier to them getting together is never “oh what if s/he isn’t gay” or “society will never accept us”. Because those shouldn’t be barriers. The barriers are the shit that everyone runs into. Sort of.
“I’m in love with her but she’s the crown princess and I’m just a rangy mecha pilot prizefighter.”
“I know she loves me but will she keep loving me once she knows my secret?”
“We were never supposed to fall in love but here we are. What do we do now?”
“I loved you and then you betrayed me, how can I ever trust you again?”
“We were each other’s collegiate lesbian fling, back in the day. Is there maybe something more there?”
So I guess my point at this juncture is that my way of helping make the world a better place is to write about how the world should be instead of how it is. Along with making standing monthly donations to humanitarian organizations, I can make sure that my silly escapist fiction does its best to peer into a world that’s better than reality.
Which, in all honesty, is what speculative fiction has always been about. Who am I to try to change that?