2020 has been quite a year, and I don’t apologise for beginning this post with a non-original phrase. I’m a little rusty, not having posted anything here for what - two months? That’s a little unusual for me, but then it all comes back to that phrase about Fact and Fantasy. Let me explain:
We’ve reached a time of the year when, in between the rush to be ready for Christmas, we tend to look back on the events of the year. I’m no exception to that, and as I’ve spent those last two months referred to above catching up on all manner of tasks, I’ve now started to count up the good stuff from 2020 against the bad. I’m one of the fortunate ones, having completed writing two books (*), enjoyed trips to both Crete and Australia, and spent time with the people I love. Against that, like many others, I have seen much of my normal expectations in life disappear. The virus caused that, but at least I was never close enough to personally fall victim.
My initial impressions in March were of a distant threat that was probably no more dangerous than a strong dose of the flu. My latest experience in the last week was of the death of the father of a close friend, a resident in a care home. Some lessons from life are the toughest to learn.
The coronavirus epidemic has been an education for us all. I’ve learned a lot. The most important one I will take with me into 2021 is the amount of influence politicians have over our lives. I was in Australia when the various governments around the world began to place restrictions on our daily lives. I saw what happened there, and then I left to endure the shambolic knee-jerk nature of decree exercised in Britain. It happened alongside the diminishing time for the UK to negotiate a trade deal with the European Union, another event which we hoped our political governors would handle with due care and urgent responsibility. No such luck!
So, this is where I come to the fact and the fantasy.
This year I can look back and realise how easy it is to be led by a fantasy and ignore the facts. That virus thing so far away is now ever-present around me, and affecting everything I do. I wrote a book that highlights the damage done to us all by politicians – a fictional story, but one based on facts. I watched the television news and noted how a US President could be so openly delusional, believing his own fantasies, while millions of Americans placed their trust and still gave him their vote. And here in the United Kingdom I saw the trust placed in our own government to do the right thing betrayed over and over again.
But, on the plus side, this year I’ve learned the power of a smile – even from behind a mask. I’ve seen communities come together and help strangers. I’ve found that people in other countries are just like us, and I know how good it feels to open up and to share our knowledge and our resources.
There’s a New Year ahead. Let’s all go into it better prepared from what we learned in 2020. We need to turn the fantasy of a better world into reality. And that’s a fact.
* Three Bears and a Jackaroo was published through KDP in June, and The Titanic Document is currently with my publisher Matador, due for publication in March 2021.
Need to know:
I don’t just write fiction.