For me, the week that was supposed to conclude with the end of the world began with The Next Big Thing. I'm featured on Tracie McBride's blog, which she calls Exquisite Corpse. Fitting in a cosmic sort of way. I'm a fantasy writer so them ghosts, zombies and vamps don't scare me none. An apocalypse is just another opportunity for a story.
If it really does occur, nothing will matter anyway. Nothing. Not how many stories you've written or if you are traditionally or self-published. Or if the novel is done or it isn't. But my belief is you have to keep moving forward because, as the tragic events of last week point out, you never know when your number is going to come up and some lunatic is going to turn your workplace into just another live violent video game. For the families and friends of the victims of all of this year's senseless tragedies, the world came to an end a long before today.
I live on the edge, always too busy, too stressed, and too close to neighborhoods where gun and gang violence is so routine the shooting at one NYC Public High School last week didn't even make the news because no one died. Even though none of those I know and love in Newtown were hurt, my Christmas spirit is near death.
Last Wednesday, a rare sunny day, the fact I got to go to the bathroom and eat lunch at work, and that I avoided all measure of parking and traffic gridlock nightmares lulled me into a sense of hope. I began this post in Starbucks on East 9th Street in Greenwich Village, sipping a tall skinny vanilla latte, nibbling a tomato and mozzarella panini, before heading to Fantastic Fiction at the KGB Bar.
I should have gone home to do homework, and paid for it with two almost all-nighters to hand in my assignments due before the world ended. There is a lot of holiday work still to be done but it seems a waste of energy to bake cookies and wrap all those gifts (bought online and still in the boxes) if no one will be in any condition to eat them or open them
The future seems grim, well with massacres every couple of months, catastrophic flooding on a regular basis, blizzarding in October and pouring rain in December, and people still arguing that violent images and games have nothing to do with this and climate change is a myth. So why should I not enjoy Mary Robinette Kowal reading and puppeteering?
I don't scare easy. So, if the end does come it will have to be absent my older son since I don't want to die in traffic going to pick him up from school in the middle of yet another flooding rain and windstorm. Getting the Noah's Arc analogy yet? My middle son got home early, not wanting to met the end of the world on a Megabus speeding along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Like in Pompeii, if it happens in NYC today, those Amazon boxes piled in a corner will be mini time capsules of a civilization who ignored the warnings and blissfully bought new iPads and iPods, and paper books, and pretty clothes for their little daughters instead of repenting or running for their lives.. Depending on the time of day disaster strikes, I might die doing my life's work-- taking care of kids in a New York City public high school with scanners and metal detectors and an average of three ambulance calls a day. Because most of the kids are great and appreciate the care and service and maybe I've left my imprint in time by helping a few out along the way. Would like to think so. But I'd rather be with my husband and pretty daughter and son # 2--if he's not out celebrating the apocalypse with his friends.
If we're all still here Saturday, we'll go food shopping, get the last few gifts, bake those cookies, make the gingerbread house, wrap the presents, and put up the tree.
Apocalypse or not there isn't anything you can do, nowhere you can run. Just gotta keep moving forward. In the end, if it comes in one big bang, a shower of bullets, an accident, or simply dying of "natural causes" how much money you have or how many fancy toys or baubles you possess won't mean a thing. Nothing but what you did with your life, no matter how long or short, will ever matter. Nothing else. Nothing..