100 Days of Writing: Days 53-57

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Day 53 of a #100daysofwriting and I am struck by an image of a mother packing. As the image progresses I begin to realise that she is packing her daughter’s bag, as the torches in the valley creep closer to their home. The daughter doesn’t notice until too late that her mother doesn’t pack. It’s the only choice sometimes in escaping a closed society, to sacrifice yourself to the jackals, so they are too busy in their blood list to notice the little hope that escapes.

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Day 54 of #100daysofwriting and the ship that Mausu is on is merging with the settlement she grew up in. Time in my story is like a jigsaw, denoting that the ship is now home to the mad, the delusional, the mariner, Crusoe at his worst. Trust me, this is not Event Horizon – which isn’t that bad a film – this is about courage of finding the stars at the edge of the universe, the last beacons of light in a dead universe. This has more to do with present political situations then it does about a girl and her mother. Yet, there is danger that my prose will become convoluted, confused and I will have to pick it all to pieces. At present, we are running through the jungle.

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Day 55 of #100daysofwriting and I revel in the pain and joy of writing. These micro writes have afforded me real time to assess what I want to write, what I want to do, and where I want to go in the future. The Mausu story moves into its fifth draft and though it is a story still about the loss of a mother, it is framed by the tyranny of men and their rather crumby ideas of nationalism, imperialism and colonialism. Three areas that have reared their ugly heads again in the last few years, the idea of isolation and superiority is imperial dogma, and anyone who uses the suffix of ‘great’ is a monumental asshole. The idea of country repels me. The idea of using a country to repel others, disgusts me. I think this comes to the subtext in Mausu’s tale. As I edge towards day 75 I want to end all this with an Anthropocene story, for those of you unaware of this, it is safe to say that we have passed into that age. We have now done far more damage to our planet than we can ever repair but our literature fails to discuss this. Sure, Atwood in the MaddAdam trilogy tries to tackle climate change but all she does it create a story where everything changes. John Brunner edges closer. George Turner almost nails it but for me it is Kate Wilhelm back in the 1970s who shows the ultimate impact, the loss of family, of children, of home, of the very things that define us as human. I keep meaning to interview Kate, and I think after this I will message her and ask to do an interview about how writers see humanity. In today’s image we have Andreas Cellarius’ novel chart of the night sky, published in 1660. Less than 400 years later and the world is further from these ideas than it has ever been and therein lies the rub, we will now have to overcome a climate change that is insurmountable and within 400 years there simply may be no more maps of the stars.

Day 56 of #100daysofwriting and the problem with writing something in the future is the idea of cultural appropriation. There comes a time when cultures merge, in the case of my story, there are Japanese images, the tea ceremony, the shinto temple, the heart mantra but there is also day of the dead imagery from Mexican culture. These two cultures somewhere in the past, our future, have amalgamated in the race to the stars, that have long died out. I don’t refer to my characters as human, because Homo sapiens will one day cease to exist as we move along the evolutionary scale, I don’t even want to get hung up on gender, though there are mothers, fathers are never mentioned. Some words survive the evolution of language. This fascinates me, it isn’t a prediction, speculative fiction isn’t about that, it is about holding up a mirror to the society we live in now, and gender roles are becoming fluid, so is our concept about religion.

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Day 57 of #100daysofwriting and I found myself still writing after midnight. It reminds me of my time after university, in a full time job at Waterstones, coming home to my parents house and writing from late at night to around 3:00am before going to sleep. I chose to write like this to avoid distractions. Part of me still likes to do this and rather than settle down with the usual Saturday night dross on television, I am considering and researching the scent of copal. Copal is a scent associated with the dead, and is a gateway to our ancestors, from the Aztecs onwards, and it is part of Mausu’s link to her past. Through it she can reach out to her mother and a homeworld that will be long dead as she sails out in the waste of space. Sadly, anyone who one day chooses to leave our galaxy, will as their ship accelerates, leave behind their entire culture. By the time they arrive at their destination, life of Earth would be gone. What’s it like to have no roots? How will that change us if we do go to the stars and we will have to if we are to evolve. Our sun will die one day and it will take everything we are unless we leave for the stars, in some form.
Day 57 continued on #100daysofwriting after moving around sections of text, sequences and occurrences, it’s time for bed before I mess my story up anymore. Thank goodness it is a Sunday.
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