I was going to write about how story makes us feel better, how each genre has a specific way of going about that task and what I get specifically from steampunk. Today, though, all of this is more than an idea to fill up blog space or stimulate conversation.
Since October, before I started looking at steampunk seriously, I found myself at the mercy of public agencies whose intent is to protect the otherwise helpless. Not somewhere I was expecting to be. It was stressful in a way that I have not been stressed before and were it not for my writing friends I might not have got through it as well as I did. While things are a lot better, it’s not over yet. Once more I feel like grain of sand at the mercy of a very large grinding wheel. Or caught between two industrial-sized steam-driven gears. And that made it all better.
Suddenly, not only was I not alone (my tribe has scattered into married life with children), but I was now the hero of the story. In steampunk, it’s the creative individual that has a chance to make a difference. I have choices. Ok maybe not time travel, but I at least know I’ve not done anything that the machine itself is not trying to do. It just looks different. I've been listening to Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant.
Cory Doctorow’s Clockwork Fagin, reminded me of the value of tribe, and the beauty of imagination, skill, and mischief. Especially mischief. I am reminded, also, that there are ways around every issue, every challenge, if I just keep my sense of adventure about me. We don’t always know what to expect, what’s coming even when we have decided what we want for ourselves. Hand in Glove was a surprise. At least it was for Califa Police Constable Aurelia Atreyu (and I’m sure she’ll forgive me if I spelled her name wrong). Her story reminded me that when things seem to be overwhelming and wrong, relax and follow what I know to be right.
I did. And I not only feel much better for it, but I now understand there the plan I was expecting someone else to make was mine all along. Thanks, Ysabeau.
There may not be a direct correlation between my situation and any one of the stories I’ve been filling up on lately, but there is an effect. I felt better. I was happy, happier than I’ve been in days. I’m back working on my novel, seeing gaps and lapses that I haven’t been aware of. And I’m looking forward to the next story, another author to find out what else there is to make me happy, to show me how to make the world a better place.