It was down to 2º outside last night. The auguries for a hard winter are becoming impossible to ignore, and so many people are facing complete destitution, having to choose between eating or heating, or neither.
How, one might ask, can we be complacent in our delight at the warmth we may personally experience, when folks are suffering, when they can’t avail themselves of a stock of hardwood for burning in the living room, when they daren’t turn the heating on?
These worries make personal joy a kind of mockery, it seems. And yet we do indulge ourselves, if we can, and nobody would begrudge us if we’ve made our own contribution to those less well off. I guess that’s human, if not overtly humane. But I can’t shake the deep suspicion that this easy warmth is not destined to last, that times are getting worse and worse.
So I forbore in drinking another glass of chilled white wine, and took myself off to bed, to snuggle under the duvet and to ponder the ‘logline’ of my latest version of my science fiction novel. In this fiction, characters are facing desperate struggles of conscience and mental health. It’s not easy for them to find joy in their circumstances either. Somehow I have to present their conflicts within a single sentence, leaving the reader themselves eager for more.
The resolution of these matters, and a sense of light at the end of a gloomy tunnel, is possibly the natural task of the story writer, a task I do undertake with a certain joy.