The COVID-19 pandemic and safer-at-home orders gave many of us a chance to work on a project we normally wouldn’t have time to complete. Personally, I took the opportunity to finish my current novel, a fictional memoir of a schoolteacher who wins the lottery and decides to run for president.
Considering the current global struggles with a pandemic and systemic racial injustice, you would think this would be perfect “ripped-from-the-headlines” material for my book.
These are vital issues for us to grapple with as a global community to be sure, but there are three key reasons I won’t be doing so in my novel.
The first of which centers on the fact I am seeking traditional publication for this book, meaning it could be a year or two (or more) before it hits the shelves. Will these issues have the same resonance then as they do now? It’s impossible to tell.
Second, to embrace these new issues means I would need to reject my original narrative, which was complex and nuanced already. I’m sure there is a great story out there about a president dealing with such issues in his/her first or last year in office, for example, but that’s someone else’s tale to tell, not mine.
Third, is is hard to tell such sensational stories without looking making your work look like a cheap and insensitive imitation of real events. That's the last thing I would ever want to do.
For now, this is my story to share. Hopefully it will make headlines of its own.
I've been writing stories and taking photos since I was old enough to hold a pencil and stand behind a tripod.