Ok, I'm heading off from Aspiring Author Land here and heading into 'manifesto' territory, but I hope that doesn't forever label me as radical, eccentric, rabble-rouser...what have you. The fact is work and motherhood have temporarily curtailed by authoring time but given me far too much contemplative time (usually while pushing a toddler on a swing for hours on end) to worry about my son's future, the future of his parent's nation and the future of the world in general. And, of course, to contemplate zombies.
I have the benefit of distance, having lived in Australia now for 17 years, to see America as an outsider. Why I still love the motherland to the core of my being, from deserts and fir forests to new England autumn, from the Revolutionary War to the Second World War, I am scared of the direction she's headed. I am a tree hugger yet love to shoot a 9 mm at tin cans. I have family that range from Obama campaigners to Obama-care haters. And I love every one of them, so I listen. I consider myself capable of emotion, logic, and foresight, but all I see is disaster.
When did we start valuing possessions above helping neighbors or creating music for music's sake rather than for profit? When did war ever become an acceptable status quo? Why on earth did we think torture was OK as long as it was on foreign soil - even as the Declaration of Independence quotes 'unalienable rights'?
And then there's the Facebook updates showing my sister's zombie walk costume and how cool the grim reaper is, while my brother on the phone won't tell me his new girlfriend's name until pestered but happily launches into an excited update on the latest Ebola news and death count.
Sometimes I feel that America vanished sometime in 2001. And maybe it did. The Twin Towers changed things, and now the changes have had a generation to set in. No one thinks it's weird that billionaires with conflicts of interest (i.e. corporate and oil interests) can run for president and claim to represent the everyday person. No one thinks it's wrong to send technology and manufacturing capability overseas so corporations get richer while Americans lose their jobs and homes and can't afford healthcare so Doctors Without Borders is forced to come in and treat people, saying that while the illnesses are different, the amount of people in desperate need of aid is no different from what they've seen in Africa. When did it become OK for billionaires to 'trickle down' their scraps to the people while saying "Just buy a lottery ticket and you can be just like us...so don't cut off my head."
Well, I think it's OK because zombification has set in. People are dead already, no dreams for the future or hopes to better themselves and the world. Their soul and passion has been killed by mass marketing, biased media, and the latest celebrity gossip, gore-dripping drama, or reality TV that fulfills the role of Rome's gladiatorial games to pacify the masses. America is dead and loving it. Shambling around like mindless zombies...
Or am I being too critical of my sister's zombie walks and the plethora of child zombie costumes for sale this Halloween? Are zombies not a symbol of the death of society but, instead, a subtle rebellion?
Brain-munching zombies in unstoppable hordes can represent the apocalypse, or they can represent the end product of all the political corruption and corporate greed at work in America. Are these zombie mobs saying "look what you've created - and now we're coming to tear down your society and eat your flesh!" Are they in fact the equivalent of the French revolutionary, the down-trodden peasant whose reply to "Let them eat cake!" is "How about I take your head instead"?
I've been writing all my life (even won a trophy in first grade) but it got shoved to the back of the closet (writing as a priority as well as my trophy) because I was too "levelheaded" for that nonsense. Now, twenty years later, I've learned a flat head isn't all it's cracked up to be. Writing is the one thing I felt I had to do, and I always told myself I'd write a book someday. Well, it IS someday.