It’s been 21 years, six months, and about 18 days since Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture was first published. And I have yet to publish — yet to complete — my first novel. How sad is that?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I was six years old when I started writing songs and “selling” them. Made national radio even — my Dad pitched me to As It Happens on CBC and they interviewed me about my song writing and I even sang one (despite not being a singer) about a tornado, as I recall. Free songs I was writing, to anyone who asked.
(Nobody did, by the way, though Barbara Frum thought I was “cute”…)
In any case, flash forward to 1991. Still wanting to be a writer. A novelist, if given my preference. But it was Generation X that made me realize I could be a writer, and informed a large part of what I believe a writer — at least a novelist — could be. Loose. No real regard to “conventional” style in approach or storytelling. Modern, not lonely stories on a lonely prairie from a lonely decade. My god, the Gen X cover has upside-down clouds — how wonderfully dystopian and yet strangely hopeful is that?
Not quite sure why I’m thinking about this now. I have been pondering lately the fact that culture is continuing to accelerate — Gen X and the early 90s looks positively idyllic, all resort-ish and full of people lounging on deck chairs by comparison. Can anything I write today survive the test of time? And does that even matter?
Yes, of course it matters. And yes, of course it shouldn’t. One of the many paradoxes of being a writer — learning how to care so, so deeply, and learning how not to feel a thing.
I’m marking a new chapter (pun noted) in my novel-writing journey. Not quite sure of what it is, but I’m definitely turning a page (pun noted again; getting slightly annoyed with myself now). Whatever is coming next, I do know that it’s a good thing.
Bring on the tornadoes.