For something

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There is a lot of anger running rampant in the world right now. People are infuriated about the economic situation, and the increasing disparity between the wealthy and the rest of society, about the lack of jobs and the lack of respect for those who struggle to eke out living in these tough times, and many other things. They are demonstrating in countries all over the world to demand true democracy.

None of this had started when I began my novel, but I could have written about it anyway. I have always been an environmentalist; I have always felt that war solves nothing; I have always believed in a fairly liberal philosophy and in (gasp!) listening to intellectuals, such as climate scientists, who have spent their lives studying issues, rather than those who disparage their knowledge. I even helped start and edit a newspaper at Iowa State University which discussed such things.

However, I didn’t focus on these things. Instead, I chose to explore a more deeply personal set of topics: such things as recovering from a loss;  finding a deeply satisfying career; finding love; caring for a child; and dealing with a disappointing relationship.  Partly, this was because that I want to be for something, not against something. During the years when I protested the first Iraq war, and wrote and edited for The Drummer, I became tired of railing against things. It wore me out. I started to believe that it is at least more life-giving to be for something positive. So this is a novel that is about women creating powerful, exciting, lives for themselves in the face of the kinds of adversities that we used to face before this recession. Maybe my next novel will tackle some of these more global issues, who knows?

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