Somehow I found myself listening to 1984 the last few days. It may have been sparked by hearing my favorite song by The Fixx, “Deeper and Deeper” (the end credits song to the movie Streets of Fire from that year) on an 80s Sirius XM channel. This in turn influenced yesterday’s Walk in Silence, with the various songs that I was listening to at the time. And as is my wont, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole and am listening to various songs and albums from oh so long ago.
I was thirteen at the time, seeing the back end of junior high and entering high school as a freshman, hoping that life would be a bit more exciting and less drama-filled. [Seriously, what is it about middle school and everything in life sucking?] I’d just started focusing seriously on writing, to the point where I probably spent more time on the Infamous War Novel project than I did on my homework. It just seemed a hell of a lot more exciting to me.
Thinking about it now, I’m fascinated by the parallels between then and now. A resurgence of ultra-conservatism, American exceptionalism, international terrorism, sexism, ism ism ism. I’m even a bit weirded out that we could fit Russia into this equation again.
With the current administration doing whatever it thinks it’s doing, I’ve been sort of preparing myself mentally to get through it. I could easily fall down the other rabbit hole — the one where I fall prey to the doom and gloom and feel like shit until it’s over and done with — or I can learn from the past and know that there will indeed be a light at the end of this tunnel soon enough. [Granted, this tunnel is a detour that we really truly did NOT need to take and it’s a big pain in the ass for all involved.]
Personal point being — to get through the troubles and frustrations of today, I’m thankful to have a decent memory of the past. It helps me to stay one step ahead of the beast.
In the context of writing: this is part of why world-building is so important to me, and it’s also why I’ve been working on future projects with the 750 over the last few years. When I was first starting out way back in the 80s, figuring out how it all works, I just sort of made up the scenes as I went along, with a somewhat vague overall plot line being nudged ever so slowly forward. The end result was patchy and inconsistent at best. Writing these practice words for a project I haven’t even started yet gives me just enough of a world and a plot to base it all in. It helps me to stay one step ahead of that beast.
It’s tricky, and you really need to know yourself and your own thought processes, but it’s worth it in the end. It’ll keep you sane, that’s for sure.