Our @HomeCrazzyHome Christmas Party is done. Old Lady Quilting Club is passed. All my Christmas presents are purchased and arrived. It will be just the three of us for Christmas dinner, so no need to go overboard. I am straightening the house. But most importantly, I have turned my attention from the past and to some extent even the present. I am firmly focused upon the future.
2020 will be a big year for us.
Alan is retiring.
We are getting married.
I am turning fifty-five.
Fifty-five? I remember as a teen thinking that I would never live to see thirty. Certainly not thirty-five. The concept of 2000, a new millennium, was mind-boggling.
Growing up religious, I was certain that those hellfire-and-brimstone revival preachers must be right. Jesus would most definitely come back before such an auspicious date as 2000.
Then, it was 2012. The Mayan calendar this time foretold the end of time.
And yes, I believe that we, the human race, and this planet face cataclysmic change. But I have come to believe that we as a species will meet those challenges. We will find a way to go on. In some form at least. We have survived so much already. War, famine, natural disasters.
But what form?
I believe that, too, is up to us.
My latest fascination is The Great Courses offering on the French Revolution. (Great Courses is some of the best money I spend. Bringing university lectures into my living room. Expanding my mind and knowledge. I wish everyone could have it…and use it. Not a paid endorsement, either.) To see how the ideals of individualism, liberty, and the Enlightenment are distorted, subverted, and perverted into terror is frightening. The depths of the human soul is dark.
Nonetheless, I remain a descendant of those Enlightenment thinkers. My own Transcendental roots have their foundations in those philosophes. My own feminist-homemaker beliefs are more closely embued in the salons of Madame Roland than the writing of Olympe de Gouges. Some perverse part of me longs for those days of salons and cafes. A time when reason, philosophy, and politics were the purview of all.
Transcendentalist built upon this, adding a uniquely American flavor to it. Writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller also participated in such gatherings of the mind.
Then, I remind myself: we have something better. We have the internet. I can connect, not merely with my friends and neighbors, but with the whole world. Like-minded individuals from around the globe can come together, discuss their viewpoints, debate their beliefs, and ultimately incite revolution.
And have their heads cut off for the privilege. Yes, both de Gouges and Roland face the guillotine in the Days of Terror. The very revolution they had incited consumed them.
In some ways, the internet, itself, is another example of such perversion. Something which began for the spreading of knowledge and ideals now is consumed with fake news, greed, and cute cat photos. As with the bright ideals of the French Revolution, I shake my head and ask…how did we come to this?
But all of this reiterates one of my core beliefs…
The pen is mightier than the sword.
And women have throughout history taken up the pen in defense of one another, their families, and society itself. That above all is my purpose and calling in this life.
Write about anything and everything that comes to my mind. That is how it once was for these philosophes, Enlightenment thinkers, and Transcendentalists. They did not write only in specific genres. Or for money. Or fame. They wrote for the pure cause of the sharing of ideas. The freedom of speech at its best.
And as I enter this new phase of my life…passing from mother to crone…that is my commitment as well. Whether my words are read by no one or a million people matter less than that they be written and put forth for those who would read them.
So, what does that mean practically speaking?
Yes, I intend to continue writing fiction. My pen name will change just as my real one will. I want few vestiges of my former self. It will also become more focused. My heroes and heroines will become older, fatter, and face more real-life challenges. Yes, I know that is already a hallmark of my body of work. But it will become a litmus test for me in terms of what stories I focus upon.
Other themes will be environment and post-apocalyptic societies. Writers have always led the way in reimagining society. That may seem auspicious goals for literary erotica but I believe that it is especially appropriate to this genre. Love and sex are powerful tools: for good or evil.
Women, in particular, have always used them to rise above their ordinary lot. From Eleusinian mysteries, vestal virgins of Rome, the cult of Isis, Druid priestess, and beyond, women have used sex as a gateway to the goddess. The sad fact that little factual evidence of such things remains should not deter us from celebrating them. After all, there are only a few paragraphs in reliable, contemporary records that document Jesus Christ or King Arthur. Yet whole legends have risen up around these men. Perhaps it is time women created their own legends? I am working on one such story, The Goddess Chronicles.
But it is not merely fiction upon which I will focus. Two other writing projects have captured my mind and imagination.
Transcendental Ramblings (or perhaps the Modern Transcendentalist or Transcendental Translations) is my project to update the works of Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and other Transcendentalist writers. While making their works more readable, 21st century English is part of that, it goes beyond that to explore how their ideas and beliefs apply in our modern world.
I will begin with one of the shortest writings, Civil Disobedience has been created by the likes of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandella with inspiring their non-violent protests. This will be my third or fourth reading of the Thoreau classic, but my first attempt at commentary.
The Feminist-Homemaker is my most ambitious project. The idea is to publish a monthly online magazine that combines the ideals of early feminism in terms of women’s issues especially the role of the carer with practical advice such as recipes, organizational tips, and crafting. Think Ms. meets Good Housekeeping.
All of these projects as I plan a wedding, remodel a one-hundred-fifty-year-old house, and enjoy the brilliant mind of my partner and soulmate. Oh, and quilt, walk, lose weight, sew, and learn photography.
Then again I am continuing a long tradition of women leaders and writers. Hopefully not to guillotine.