Something Wicked This Way Comes

I’m sitting in the coffee shop trying to mind my own business and get some work done when the folks at the table next to me manage to break through the (loud) music playing in my earbuds…

You’ve got a table with five folks well into their eighties…well beyond their eighties, actually. Nothing unusual in that – my preferred coffee place has a pretty good mix of customers. What is unusual is that this group is having a knockdown, drag-out argument about politics.

On one level I had to fight to keep from laughing: you had the tiniest little blue-haired woman I’ve ever seen getting into it with a retired-farmer type. And she’s giving him the business. I half-expected chairs to fly, and the pair to start a UFC match right in the middle of the floor.

On another level, however, it just adds to my ever-growing conviction that we’re fucked as a country (and as a world, but that’s another story/post). As someone who makes shit up on a daily basis – dark and depressing shit for the last couple of stories – it is unnerving when the real world proves just as bad as the world Connor inhabits*.

*Then again, that’s why I wrote his story as sci-fi: so I could draw out and illustrate many of the problems I see around me…and even more the ones that I see coming.

In the backstory for the universe Connor inhabits, I posit a multi-sided civil war tearing the US apart in the mid-2000’s. More and more, as time goes by, I am convinced that prediction may actually come true…and may even “beat” my prediction by a decade or two.

Please note – I am intentionally NOT discussing my own politics or beliefs. I am commenting on everything and everyone, not the “other” side.

A bit of my own backstory: I am a history geek. In specific, I have a degree in Roman History.  In even more detail, that degree is specifically on the transition from Roman Republic to the Empire.

I see all the worst elements of that period coming not just to mild fruition in the US, but growing in intensity and the negative passions of resentment, bitterness and rage. That does not bode well. Not for us as individuals, not for us as a nation, and not for the rest of the world.

I hate it when my direst predictions feel like measured and calculated forecasts rather than semi-idle speculation made up over pints of beer in an attempt to play around with just how much I can screw over my characters.

And, yes, the story I am currently writing – and even the ghosts of other ideas fluttering around the back of my mind – very much has an element of commentary on today’s world. I still intend it to be the intimate, honest story of a fucked-up kid trying to make his peace with life and survival, but the reasons why he’s so fucked up? That’s the real world…

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