Have you ever included current social, political, or environmental problems in any of your stories or thought about doing so? Why or why not?
This month’s question could cover a lot of ground and for guidance, contributors were offered a list of possible ways we might be including the issues mentioned. I write mainly historical novels and magazine serials and contemporary magazine short stories.
Hence my title, Through a Glass Darkly: from 1st Corinthians and meaning – to see an issue imperfectly.
Although I don’t regard myself as an ‘issues’ writer, I am very conscious of the things that anger me and hold my interest. Principally, that the discrimination meted out to the female of the species never disappears. It’s an issue that embraces politics, discrimination, wars, terrorism and economics.
The theme a regular reader of my work would identify is the entitlement to education. It was a central plank in my first historical novel, Mariah’s Marriage, and also in the Anniversary serial I wrote for People’s Friend magazine, City of Discoveries.
Once a person achieves the ability to read and write, their future changes dramatically. It was, therefore, a major objective among many to prevent women, in particular, and categories of men from learning these skills. After all, who was going to continue at home scrubbing floors and making the tea? Who was going to be content in dead-end work?
Having lost that battle, it became a major concern that no further ground – like secondary education or university education – should be ceded. This is the main theme of the serial I wrote for People’s Friend last year, In A Class of Their Own, about the struggle of women to become registered doctors.
How does this theme embrace ‘wars, terrorism and economics’? Scrolling the world news channels provides an all too recognisable answer. Women are not entitled to education in many countries. Wars are fought and much of the fall-out will be to remove the independence a previous culture allowed to its womenfolk. Some will be terrorised by the imposition of anti-female laws. Almost all will be economically discriminated against.
The work of fiction, in my opinion, is not only to entertain but to inspire thought. In many Western cultures women are educated, have worthwhile jobs, equal control of their children and the right to leave a poisoned marriage. In many cultures they have none of that. Writing in the world of the early nineteenth century enables me to entertain, but remind my reader – ‘It’s not that long since you were controlled by your father or husband and your children would go with your husband if you dared to leave him.’
The hope is that the reader will recognise and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, use their vote. It was hard to come by.
A large part of Melissa’s story in Courting the Countess is about her struggle to avoid a second marriage where her new husband would be hoping for control of her fortune.
Maybe you’d like to find out how others view the use of contemporary life and some fellow Robiners have contributed below.
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Anne Stenhouse https://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-2Fj
Rhobin Courtright http://rhobincourtright.com
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/