Last Thursday I typed in the last line for my first ever book, a 52,000 word novella titled “Ring Around the Rosy”. What began as a short story for a specific on-line magazine submission request took on a life of its own, and as I strolled past the 7000 word submission limit I knew that the story had something else in mind. I did not know I’d come back to the story, on and then off, for more than a year and a half, but I got to like the characters a lot, and wanted to find how they did with their challenges.
In addition to the 7000 word limit, the magazine noted two other story requirements: at least one main character with a disability, physical and/or mental; and the setting for the story had to be one of apocalypse. I believe I met both those requirements, and my story has been sent off to a small group of “Readers” for consideration and feedback. After I’ve received replies from my Readers I’ll begin the process of re-write, and once satisfied, the journey where no W.B. Cushman has gone before — into the world of traditional and on-line publication. I’m excited for it all.
It’s the idea of apocalypse and the potential for some kind of dystopian future that I want to discuss here. It all seems too real these days, that possibility, a Mad Max, Blade Runner, Soylent Green, Children of Men, Matrix of an existence. Our two candidates for President, apparently the best we can do – North Korea’s arrogant and in-your-face nuclear game of the ‘Dozens’ with the world – global religious warfare – honor killings – original inhabitants of this country maced and set upon by dogs for defending sacred tribal lands and the right to drink fresh water www.youtube.com/watch?v=VADcWANqBp8 — families crushed by eighteen-wheelers in the south of France.
My “Rosy” story’s wasteland setting is more the result of humankind’s stupidity, not the outcome of hate and fear-monging, gender repression and ethnic cleansing. Who knows where those behaviors, if ongoing, will take us.
Anyway, I offer today a vision, a dystopian vision I guess, of where we may be headed, may in fact, be rushing toward. In pictures and musical words.
First, Australia’s Divinyls – “Back to the Wall”: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrBd96o7y4Y
Here, science fiction writer Philip K Dick’s stories, brought to the silver screen: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmujN53yNIA
My “Rosy” story is about children. Here’s a scene from ‘Children of Men’, when children no longer exist: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBzWTIexszQ
Or this chilling future from ‘V For Vendetta’, which doesn’t seem all that improbable: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrwTDfdck7I
The Kinks, not like you usually hear them, with this possible dystopia – “Scrapheap City”. Sing it, girls: www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuyP-VI_ves
The future. Who does it belong to? What will it bring? In my “Rosy” story, it brings heartbreak and devastation. But there remains some good.
And because there does, I’ll end this piece, a little schizophrenically, on the upside, that maybe there just might be at least a smidge of hope. Because of people. ’16 Blocks’ www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlQse0lODq0