Yesterday, I went to see the movie Trolls with my son. At first, I was like, “Damn, I have all of this studying and union work to do. Plus, I have this stack of essays to grade.” Blah, blah, blah. Then I though, “Damn it, this better not be a musical!” because I saw singing in the previews, and I am not partial to musicals. I’m not going to spoil the movie for you, but I really think it’s an anti-Fascist and anti-Racist movie. Yeah there was the glitter and singing, but fundamentally it espouses the ideas of working together for the interests of the whole group. Without spoiling it, the oppressors also had to reflect on who they are and what they do, and nested in the film was an unexpected love story. My favorite part was when one of the oppressors does the principled thing, after having contact with the Trolls. What a great message for our youth in today’s political context. Plus, the movie had some of my favorite songs in it like “True Colors” by Cindy Lauper. This, of course, has nothing to do with my novel, well it does in a way.
This morning, I mapped out two chapters and really left wiggle room with open-ended questions to consider. For me, a hard writing plan will probably kill the flow of ideas, though a map is good. Let’s just say in a map you can take multiple routes. You have to allow for twists and turns and the unforeseeable and frankly, you have to honor the driver, which is me. I am also pulling from this rich political context to add tension to my novel. It is a post-apocalyptic novel, after all.
For example, all of the appointments of what appear to be White Supremacists will definitely have an impact on women, not just people of color. You really can't attack one sector without attacking others, although I was reminded of an episode of Black Mirror Season 3, where the new forms of discrimination were based on genetic superiority. That is not a new concept in literature and film, but the State in that futuristic setting had essentially waged war against anyone who was categorized as being genetically defective. The military model was "Pure and Strong," but that comes at completely dehumanizing practices where the inferior groups were hunted down, globally.
I also realized after doing this exercise, that I need a longer prelude or some kind of prelude. I don’t want to rely on flashbacks, although that is a great literary device. Sometimes, there is no explanation for post-apocalyptic conditions in a novel, like the masterpiece The Road, but I do want some framework.
Anyway, my son is about to take his very first science project to school, which incidentally is why we went to the movies yesterday. Below is an image of the first habitat he modeled based on a coral reef. I am so proud of him because he did most of that work by himself!
(And in that rush, I forgot to post my blog!)
Dr. Jesú Estrada,