Friday, November 15, 2019

The Uncertain Future - a Realistic View

I would like very much to write a novel that portrays post-apocalyptic life in a realistic way. This is one of the reasons, I have a folder named 2026 on my desktop to collect news articles and opinion pieces on climate change, from as many perspectives as possible. Health issues, migration, drought and flood, social disintegration, etc. What I'm most interested in is those effects of climate change that are rarely being discussed, those that tend to be less spectacular than wildfires and hurricanes.

For some time now I've been thinking about a future in which disasters are happening too frequently and involving too many people for governments to keep up with relief efforts. Not enough dollars. Not enough man power. If you truly believe the scientists, it's something you should already have recognized as a too real possibility. Something the media should have recognized and starting informing the public about. Not happening, so far. But maybe that corner is about to be turned.

Today's Truthdig news site posted an article that faces this front and center: In Our Future Climate Dystopia, This is What the Pentagon Will Do The article is a discussion of our military forces both at home and abroad, and what many of our critical bases have already suffered from climate change. To sum up as succinctly as possible: "there will come a time when the climate assault is so severe and multifaceted that U.S. leaders will be unable to address all the major disasters simultaneously and will have to pick and choose where to deploy their precious assets."

NaNoWriMo note. I did sign up, mostly for the progress charts, which unfortunately are suffering from the site makeover, incompetently designed and programmed. Still, it's been a bit of the goad I hoped for, and my writing block seems to have broken. For good? Fingers are crossed. I took several days off from writing (and doing much of anything) so I'm a few thousand words behind NaNo's goals, but a few thousand ahead of my own original one. Instead of 15,000 words for the month, I've written almost 20,000 only halfway into the month. My pace varies drastically, so no predictions where I will be at month's end.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Change and No Change

Jumping forward an hour in the Spring doesn't bother me, but my body has trouble adjusting to the jump back. Why that is so is probably one of those mysteries without a solution.

Modern life demands that we constantly change in ways that aren't necessarily intelligent, useful, or valuable, time changes being one of them. Since most humans normally resist significant change, maybe the onward forced march of bigger, better, newer, different creates even greater resistance.

It takes intelligence and the willingness to accept change when it's really necessary, and the consequences of not doing so when it can negatively affect people's lives can reverberate throughout a society.

America's criminal justice system and its accompanying systems of incarceration require massive changes in order to come even a few steps closer to something we can call justice. When the problems are known and the solutions are also known, and nothing is done, how do we overcome the resistance to change?

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Then and Now

In three months, I’ll be 83 years old. I don’t think there’s any way to convey to someone who hasn’t experience them what the sweeping changes of almost a century look like. So much of what I’ve seen or experienced is distant history to the current generation of young people. It’s human nature to live mostly in the present, with only a vague knowledge and understanding of the past. But that’s no guarantee they know what’s going on outside their little sphere of family, friends, and work. 

I read a lot of news reports every day, keeping up with political, environmental, criminal justice, and several other important issues. I’m lucky enough to have a mind that sees and tracks patterns, one of which is the increase in surveillance of people just going about their daily lives and the consequent loss of privacy. This was brought home to me (again) in a very personal way this morning, when I finished reading a Guardian article about the youth movement addressing climate change. Under it was the usual reminder that the site is supported by readers, etc., etc. But a new statement stuck out like a poke in the eye: “You’ve read 137 Guardian articles in the last month…"

Writing Notes: It’s possible that more people are writing about doing NaNoWriMo than are actually doing it.

They want to win what they think is a contest. It isn’t.
They want to do what their friends are doing.
They want to be able to boast that they did it.
They want to have fun.

287,327 people signed up for NaNo in 2018
35,387 actually wrote 50,000 words or more. 29%