I’m sure many writers of science fiction and dystopia will find useful material in what the world is going through right now. Hopefully, this will end soon and we can come together as a species to create a better world for us and our children and grandchildren. This is also a chance for all of us to reflect on what we used to do before the confinement and what we are doing right now.
Under the current confinement, I did a lot of reflection and made a few realizations, one of which was that I needed to re-evaluate the way with which I deal with my time. I have gained many hours per day just by avoiding the commute and the displacement from one place to another. At the same time, I realized that time is a rare commodity (go figure!). Time is also because, in the present, you feel like you have a certain power over it, but when you look back you see that you actually don’t have any power. I’m not talking in terms of achievements only, I’m also talking about all the things that we plan to do and never get to it, guess why? Lack of time.
For me when all this started, I had a feeling of deep regret for not putting all the stories that I have been writing for years into the world and moving on to new ones. I thought of the many doubts I had about the stories I tossed aside and those which I thought needed endless hours of perfecting. I still have some of these doubts, naturally, it’s just that life’s twists and turns make us realize that time waits for no one and that we better act fast, otherwise things will get in the way, like large-scale confinement, for example.
Stories come with a precise time and date tag on them. Yes, they can be timeless, as they are creative products. They are like fashion in some way because we write them at a certain moment in our personal history and the history of the world around us. That anchor in time and space gives them a certain validity.
But time moves on, things change, and you realize that your stories lost their anchor. This is not to say that people are not going to enjoy stories written in the past. I’m not trying to say either that my stories, being science fiction and dystopian in nature, reflected some kind of truths that are no longer relevant. They might or might not, but I think they deserve to have a proper birth date.
Even well-established writers cannot write the same story twice, well, generally speaking of course. Some stories have a certain path in literature, like Agatha Christie’s mysteries, using the same outline over and over again with some nuances. Still, these mysteries offered unique stories in each one of them.
The first week of the confinement I said to myself oh shoot, I should have published Inline. it would have made a lot of sense now. You can never tell if humanity is going forward or backward in its quest for a wonderful life.
Because what initiated those stories in the first place happened a long time ago, you know, the inspiration, the thoughts, the plotting, the passion about certain topics, even the characters who presented themselves and waited for me to finish writing their stories. I just kept them in the drawer (figuratively) and waited for that magical moment, when the stories are in their best shape and time is flooding with generosity. Time will never be enough and writing, even as a passion (and I do it from both sides of the fence, for passion and to make a living) is just like anything else, a task, that involves thinking, conscious effort and discipline. Well, plus the other more fun stuff, enjoyment, passion, and the euphoria of creation.
I know that writers seek validation from other writers, readers, critiques, publishers, and all the relevant institutional bodies. But I came to terms with the fact that I would like to express myself through fiction, regardless. It would be great if people can read my fiction and enjoy it. It will be the best of two worlds for me.
Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude for being a writer. It’s a great skill to have as a human, especially in these times of shifting gears in the human history.