I had a conversation with someone about The Fall Of The Hammer, and how I'd written that book during the Trump years, and finished and released it during the height of the pandemic. But I had worked very little, if any, of the flavor of those moments into the story. And the current book on my plate, Unmortal, is also not being written as any kind of receptacle for, or commentary on, our current moment in time.
I've found I do my best work when I'm not self-consciously trying to comment on my moment in time. The present moment leaves its mark on my work in some form, and always will. No point in trying to strongarm it into being seen and felt.
Anyone who's followed this blog for more than a day ought to know I don't take this stance because I'm not interested in my present moment in time. I care greatly about it. I just feel one of the ways I can care most properly about it is to not use it as the wrong kind of fuel for the wrong kind of art.
When the Trump years first landed like cinderblocks on our bare toes, I saw a burst of spec-fic that depicted the United States decades hence transformed into a walled fortress with barbed wire and gun turrets every half a mile. The impulse to write such a thing made perfect sense to me: you want to take the madness of the moment and turn it into some kind of art, even if it amounts to nothing more than a shapeless cri de cœur. Sometimes you just need to scream it out.
But even when deeply tempted to do so, I couldn't follow suit. What I was most inclined to do was look beyond the present moment — whether for the sake of simple escape, or for the sake of positing alternatives not yet explored. I figured whatever was around me would leave its influences in my work no matter how much I tried to get away from it all.