When you are a writer, you look for conflict constantly. It is a fact of the writing life that stories need conflict to drive them forward, whether they are non-fiction reports, biographies, or histories, or they are fiction stories full of made-up people and made-up events. But we are in a time in history where the conflict in real life is hitting everywhere. No place, in reality, is safe.
What do I mean about there being no real-life safety?
Well, barring a technological magic bullet and a complete revolution in the way corrupt capitalists do politics, the Earth will probably become a lifeless hot rock more like the surface of the planet Venus than any kind of Edenic utopia. If the Republicans take back power next month, kiss goodbye the human race in any form but zoo animals in alien zoos on other worlds.
And Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked in the head with a hammer because of Don Cheetoh Trumpaloney’s Neanderthal political practices. Men in camo and bullet-proof vests watch polling places to presumably threaten non-white, non-Trumpy voters. Republicans are probably out-voting Democrats, thus sealing our fate. Republicans choose profits for themselves over life on Earth.
I, of course, am no more safe than anybody else. In some ways, as a writer of fiction, I am less safe than the rest of you. My imagination gives me near prescience about the bad things that can happen to me. And I write fiction about love and forgiveness and a sense of community good in solving the chaotic conflicts of life, All you have to do is get naked, figuratively and in reality both, in order to combat the dangerous world around you. But, of course, it means you have no sort of armor at all to protect you from the wounds of life’s many predators.
This last week, I faced a predator like that, in the form of a marketing service wanting to make my book Catch a Falling Star available at a library conference in New Orleans. Of course, only for the slight fee of $850.00. Now, it goes without saying, I could really use exposure like this to help sell my books. But the price is far more than I would ever recoup from royalties. And the salesman tried to hurry my decision. He offered to talk to his manager about giving me three payment installments, a used-car-dealer tactic. And he urged me to sign up before he would give me a chance to google his company, his emails, and his Better-Business-Bureau rating. He had no mercy for the fact that his efforts to keep me talking caused me to have a coughing fit. I ended the ordeal by hanging up on him. I did not answer when he called me back.
The world is ending. I am living in a house that threatens to fall upon my head at any moment. And two book-marketing schemers have now contacted me, one to scam me out of my publishing rights, and another trying to get a lot of my money for very little real value.
How will this story end? I have yet to learn how the conflict will be resolved. But I know it will not be safe.