Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

IWSG: October Thoughts

Each month begins with an invitation to share our reflections with other writers who are a part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post our musings and read what others have written. Sometimes we are challenged and sometimes we find encouragement by what we find.

Each month IWSG posts an optional question. This month, the questions are: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

I keep thinking about national events that hover, not always in the background, as I write. The Kavanaugh/Ford hearings, waiting for the FBI report, that sense the vote will move ahead regardless of what is discovered, the news about the children, illegal immigrants, some 4,000 shunted to tent cities in southern Texas, global warming, tsunamis, the gradual rise of the oceans, the 'tribalism' that shapes our politics -- all these are not quite background.

I write historical fiction, stuck somehow in mid-19th Century, and through research and intuition, try to re-create what life was like then for those who don't make the headlines. My writing keeps me focused. More observant. Maybe even hopeful about the future, for don't we survive somehow?

  • I am saddened by the women who have confided in me their own stories of sexual harassment and rape. For women who grew up in the 1950s when, yes, that Ozzie and Harriet Nelson household was the ideal we aspired to, perhaps we were particularly vulnerable.
  • Social change occurs slowly, very slowly. In that mid-19th Century, women and children were routinely sent into the mines to dig coal, for they could reach places men could not. Literacy was a dream and, for many, not a reality.
  • We have the 40-hour week now, at least for hourly workers, though if you are a 'professional,' the week is as long as it takes to get the work done. Before I retired, I routinely worked 60-70 hours a week to read my students' papers and prep for classes. I'm not complaining, for I loved working with my students. Just maybe that's why I never began to truly write until I retired.
My thoughts are darker this month. All I can offer is an affirmation that writing on large or small projects keeps us connected to our own creativity, to the unique promise of each day, even as the seasons shift to fall, and, perhaps, through groups like the Insecure Writer's Support Group, we gain that precious sense of community.

Dahlias at Manito Park (Sept 2018)
Thank you, co-hosts for the October 3 posting: Dolorah, Tanya Miranda, Chemist Ken, and Christopher D. Votey. Now, go check out what others have written over at the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

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