Monday, September 9, 2019

Can't Write the Apocalypse




It should be easy for a writer to build her own apocalypse. After all I can kill off characters, torture them, give them mountains of angst and guilt, add a good dose of neurosis even psychosis while I have them do horrible things to each other. BUT, building my own apocalypse is not nearly as easy as I thought it would be.

Let me ask you this, is there anyone else out there who cringes and feels like they’ve been gut punched when they see one of the world’s beautiful cities overrun by monsters or destroyed by megalomaniacs, or natural disasters? Honestly, I can hardly stand to watch. I had to peek through my fingers at a good bit of the last Spiderman movie as Venice and Paris were laid waste, and then London! OMG! My home stomping grounds, please Gods, NOOO! 

I’ll admit it, I’m in possession of a good thick cynical streak that seems to get thicker as I grow older, and I’m enough of a curmudgeon not to be surprised when people suck massively. But I really count on that thin venire of civilization to keep down the suckage as much as possible, if only by the wonderfully neurotic power of shaming that manipulates us all with the need to look good in the eternal selfie for which we all unconsciously pose. I’m counting on that layer of subterfuge and denial to last at least until I’m well dead and gone, then if humanity fucks itself into oblivion, at least I won’t be around for the fun. In the meantime we all continue to be ashamed of some nebulous thing that we did or thought or are, as we continue to pose for the ever present camera while we dog paddle around in the sea of denial and escapism. 

There, you have it! The cynic has vented. Better the devil you know, I say. The thing that terrifies me about writing the destruction of the cities I love or the civilization which is the only one I’ve ever known is that in doing so, I have to come face to face with what we are beneath the subterfuge, what we are when we are naked, like the emperor, with no actual new clothes to cover the truth. I find that a terrifying place to be, as a writer. 

My best writing has always happened when I’ve written from the place of my fear, when I’ve opened Pandora’s box and peeked inside. But apocalypse, dystopia, that’s blowing the box a part and letting all hell loose. I’m not sure my fragile writer’s psyche can handle the outcome. All right, I get it, we already live in a dystopia. That’s the reason for the endless selfie and the avalanche of escapist gaming and media. The world of Ready Player Oneis more than the monster under the bed. Just because we cover up our heads, the monster is no less real. 

The destruction of a good bit of London through flooding is imminent if I am to allow the Muse her way in my next novel. But I’m not sure I can do it. I’m not sure I can open that box and just see what happens. Yes, I’m neurotic, yes, I’m a fear based person, but it’s just fiction, FFS! Why do I find it so difficult not to rejoice in just one more of the powers of god we writers possess? I don’t want to think about what humanity looks like once the venire is gone. I don’t want to think what I would look like once the venire is gone. While we all watched Mysterio destroy Venice and Paris and London, what we didn’t have to watch was the aftermath. Okay, I get it, there are lots of movies and books which are exactly that. The ones that take place in the distant future don’t bother me so much, because that’s no longer my world. The ones that follow on after the Mysterios and the nuclear holocausts and the manmade natural disasters, they’re a lot harder for me to deal with. Mysterio aside, the rest are only slightly more removed than the monster under the bed. Please, give me my social media world full of mindless entertainment and selfies that make me look like I’m not the guilt riddled neurotic that I am. Better confronting the world with memes and gifs than thinking too hard about a real apocalypse. 

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