I love writing when it is raining. It makes the house feel cozier, and it has always, since childhood, made it easier to escape to other worlds. Sometimes they are worlds I have made up, and sometimes they are places born and nurtured in the imaginations of others. Today is a day to visit the People of the Green Hills, a society of my own making.
The Green Hills people were created from my dismay over the directions our society seems to be taking. All around me, beautiful green areas and farmland are being bulldozed for retail places that then sit empty. Why? Because the developers are trying to capitalize on our thirst for accumulating hords of stuff, much of it disposable or useless. It seems most things are built with obsolescence in mind to create industries that survive on the weaknesses of their products. We have allowed ourselves to become dependent on these things, so that when they break down or shut down we will pay almost anything to have them repaired or replaced. This does not even speak of the fads to which we fall prey: the popular jeans, the popular toys, the popular cars, computers, phones, TV’s, etc, etc, etc.
We are so stressed trying to pay for all these things and have the lifestyle we are supposed to have, that we will pay anything for entertainment. Entertainment is valuable and important, whether we are stressed or not, but should we pay more for that than we pay for our police or firefighters, for our soldiers or teachers or nurses? Our whole value system is out of whack, and most of the population-myself included-is being carried away helplessly on the tsunami of opinions generated by the media which dominates our lives.
All of that said, I am not actually a malcontent. I like people and I believe in them. I think most people are good and want do the right thing. There is still so much beauty in the world, both natural and manmade, but our focus is directed elsewhere creating a culture of fear and desperation. We are allowing this to happen. It doesn’t have to be that way.
As a person who always seems to be on the wrong side of fads and trends, I create imaginary worlds where I can belong and be happy. I want eveyone to belong and be happy. I want to live in a society where people understand that the big picture of life is a puzzle and all the pieces are different but of equal importance in creating the whole. The People of the Green Hills was an ancient culture built on that principle-and others that seem so obvious-out of the ashes of a society like our own that imploded. Inspired and guided by the spirits of that happy place my protagonists are trying to create a world within our world to save us as theirs saved them. It is not a boring place; anything but. Life is in and of itself plenty enough exciting and wondrous to prevent any participant from being bored.
The book The People of the Green Hills is finished and the groundwork has been laid for the stories that follow. I have already written the first 40 pages of The Bend of the River, but I have learned so much about writing in the last year, that I feel like I need to start over with a much more well defined plan. Today I am grappling with the placement of ghosts or spirits in the story. I believe that when you love someplace and really invest in it, you leave part of yourself there. Your steps and voice echo forever for those who are sensitive to it. Because the People of the Green Hills were so much a part of the place where they lived–here, but 25,000 years ago–their spirits remain and have seen that it is time to guide the main characters to a new way of life so that they can save themselves. The over-arching story of the series is the creation of a colony where the protagonists can survive the looming apocalypse. Along a path rife with danger, they are guided and comforted by the wise spirits that came before.
Today I am brainstorming about the spirits who will guide my new characters, Sophie and Jimmy. I have to consider their personalities and needs to determine which of the spirits should to come to them. I also have to figure out the where and how, and what the ulitimate outcome will be. I know that Sophie’s father was murdered and Jimmy’s mother commited suicide, so they are both wounded coming into their relationship. Sophie is only 20 and Jimmy is 28,and Jimmy is concerned about the age difference. Sophie is so young in years, but has been damaged out of any innocence she would normally have had. What to do? Where to go? What characters are waiting backstage to make their entrance?
These are my questions for today.