Most writers write because ‘they have to.’ The ‘they have to’ comes from, as in my case, a character yelling at me that I had to tell her story; create a different world that will entertain and, by reflecting issues that exist in our own world, also make people think. Entertaining the reader and making them think, in my view the ideal mix when writing. Of course we would like to make money from what we do, it’s a form of affirmation that we are good at what we do and that people like what we’ve written. I’m no different. However, and this is the big thing, most writers write because ‘they have to.’
For fantasy writers like me, the source for much of the material I use comes from what I see around me. However, if you did write about some of it people would think it too unreal, even in a fantasy world. So, let me paint a scenario for you. A sexual braggart, bully and congenital liar wins an election; people are angry and vote to leave an economic union that has benefitted them for decades; those who caused the financial crash in 2008 have yet to be penalised for their criminality; overt bigotry related to sexual orientation, race, creed… You get the picture, and it’s not a pretty one.
Then, let’s add that some of the world’s most famous people have died in 2016 – you’ll have your own memories here. So have some less famous but incredibly influential individuals. For example, look in Wikipedia for Donald Ainslie Henderson. You’ll see that he died on 19 August 2016 aged 87. You haven’t heard of him? Well, he was the director of a ten year international effort between 1967 and 1977 that eradicated smallpox throughout the world and launched international childhood vaccination programmes. Some man. Some legacy, eh?
And what do we have for 2017? Well, let’s hope it’s not the same shite that we’ve had in 2016.
But I won’t hold my breath.
I’ll write again in 2017 but until then, hold on to your humanity and decency. It’s all that we’ll have against some of the forces that are currently riding high in this world of ours.
J J Mitchell
‘Never leave anyone behind…’