Bridging the Generation Gap in Contemporary Writing

Sunday Funday at KAZE with DJ Prymtime, Cincinnati, OH

People of a certain age may remember “dinner and dancing” differently than depicted in this video. But when writing, if you’re aiming to stay true to the present, it’s important to remember how things are not how they were.

This post also serves as a note because I was stunned as I watched my daughter’s Instagram story on Sunday night. Then almost immediately, I was transported back to my days of dancing into the early morning hours at the Paradise Garage in New York City. I might have snacked on the fresh fruit that lined the bar top. But a full plate and dining utensils while dancing? No Way! Although this video may resonate with Generation Z and Millennials, dinner and dancing in the last century were more of a formal affair.

Then it hit me!

When I write fiction, most of what I write comes from the memories of my distant past. And that would be fine if I were writing historical fiction, but does it cut as a contemporary writer?

I haven’t consulted a trade book acquisition editor lately. Still, I suspect, as a modern writer, we must pull our readers into a world they’re currently experiencing and craft a tale there.

I’m sure successful contemporary writers already know this, but honestly, it was an aha moment for me.

Especially when we writers are instructed to write what we know.

But if we choose the commercial path, it might be better to write what we’re experiencing and bridge it with our memories.

Correct?

The last novel I read was the award-winning horror fiction, The Changeling by Victor Lavalle, and I must admit he masterfully wrote in the present. But it’s an allegory, a hardcore fairy tale with a foundation that rests comfortably in the past.

So, I think I get it now.  Maybe it finally clicked for me.

What do you think?

Fighting Words: Well, It’s Just Semantics

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya, ~The Princess Bride (1987)

Maybe Symbol, Status, and Personality by Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa might help.

This book recommendation on language came from Twitterverse.   The conversation was inspired by Dresden, the capital city of Saxony,  a German state, issuing a nazi emergency in their council meeting.  According to @annameierPS ‘s thread (see link). It seems the word “emergency” has a different meaning for some Germans.

As a writer, I’m reminded that although we may say the same words, often, we don’t speak the same language.  Our comprehension is colored by our perception.

Compassion Keeps Pace

Compassion doesn’t equal guilt. Feeling sorry for someone who’s experiencing difficulty serves no one.  Unless that is, it helps you think you’re in a superior position. (side-eye)   So if not guilt, then what?

Well, remember, the root word of compassion is Pass.

From Lexico – Latin:  com – together; passus -pace or step.

So, wouldn’t it make sense that compassion means

TOGETHER  STEP

OR

LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND

But to feel compassion requires us to do some spiritual heavy lifting.

First, you got to feel comfortable with the idea that everything that breathes is equal.

Wait. What?

So once you can wrap your mind around that, compassion means living together as one  or “perishing together as fools.”

“The universe doesn’t recognize good or evil; it only understands balance or imbalance~” Walternate – Fringe (2008-2013).