I write random streams of consciousness as the mood takes me here on my blog, and this is one of them. (If you subscribe, please note you can change your settings so you just get notified once a week instead of every time there is a post.) I often write my novels that way too, writing whatever is flowing. Every artist has their own way. Some authors write a plot outline, and do character sheets, and carefully construct each chapter. I’m not one of those authors. My head is a chaotic place. I always wanted to blend in and be different at the same time, and write to build resilience, to spread love and hope, and to be listened to when I spoke. Maybe I’m deluded, but maybe everyone is in their own way.
People need a narrative. When Judeo-Christian morals flooded western culture in the middle ages and people became increasingly mobile and in touch with other cultures, ideas of art and philosophy and morals and beliefs were shared, and languages changed and developed. The English language borrowed words from many other languages to create its own, and then over time we had ‘civilisations’. We had migration, and we had people taking over other places, and we had all sorts of interactions good and bad, resulting in a blend of cultures and a history based on wars viewed differently from each side.
And here we are. Here I am in Australia. A country that never forgets how we got here. We were brought here, on ships, as prisoners or officers or as hopefuls. Our forebears pushed a native culture aside and said ‘we’re civilised, we’ll show you how it’s done’. And then we said ‘sorry’. Even though it wasn’t us, we weren’t there, it happened before our time, we said ‘sorry’. It’s only been two hundred and something years, and we’re a unique culture. The culture of multicultural culture, the Aussie battler, of mateship, of ‘she’ll be right, mate’, and of ‘we have no idea what the hell they’re doing over there in those other countries, they must be nuts’. We’re a peaceful people, a helpful people, a people who want to relax and enjoy life. We’re the children of immigrants. In our blood we have English and Irish and Chinese and Polish and indigenous history (to name a few), and we’re Australian. We’re a blend, a mongrel, a bitza, and we’re fine with it.
So back to the narrative. People need a narrative. They need to understand the world around them, and some people are desperate to change their narrative. Some people don’t want to live in a world where women have breast implants the size of basketballs, or where YouTube is full of people trying to ‘out-stupid’ each other, or where people get rich by being rich, or where there is so much cruelty to people and animals that you can’t scroll anywhere on the internet without seeing it, or where your expectations of what you need to be are based on superficial women getting plastic surgery and men getting away with rape. There’s so much more to life, and people need to see it.
Not all men are rapists. Not all women are superficial. Not all people got rich by being rich. Not all people think that sex is the be all and end all of life. Change your narrative. Change what you take from the world around you as being lore, and mentally live how you want to live. I changed mine by writing books about people. I created a world to escape to where bad guys never win, where trauma can be overcome, where love never lets you down, and where good people find each other and heal the hurts of the past. Yes, they’re just stories. Yes, they’re not everyone’s style or flavour. Yes, there are lots of books out there which would be more directly influential and life changing. But I changed my narrative. I see hope in these characters. I see that love stands a chance. I see how people should never let go of the good even if the bad seems easier. I see men as vulnerable and full of strength, and I see hope for women to move beyond sexual assault to reclaim their sexuality without needing to do a ‘world blow job tour’. And that hope has spread to my real life and it makes the good easier to see.
My advice? Read wide. Focus on who you are and what you need. It doesn’t have to be what’s trending or what’s popular. You don’t have to follow a capitalist narrative. You don’t have to follow an aggressive war-based narrative. You don’t have to follow a rape culture narrative. Live your own narrative. People need a narrative.