Yep, I did it again. I disappeared. Disappeared into a world on fire.
This was a common occurrence in a past life. I kept a go-bag in the trunk of a car I didn’t own. A phone call, a pager beep, I’d be gone.
The travel never bothered me. Lack of control over the situation did. Leaving my family behind, that bothered me most. After seven years, I returned home to stay.
By the time my wife and I started our nomad life, I’d been home for ten glorious, uninterrupted years. We’d raised an amazing son ready to begin his own solo adventure in life. With our tiny nest emptied, we set out to travel, together, at our own leisure.
Those two years have been bliss.
We’ve driven thousands of miles. Explored twenty-eight states and both coasts of this magnificent country. We’ve sipped coffee each morning while watching dolphins play in the Gulf surf. We’ve slept beside a glacial lake the hue of well-worn jade reflecting a night sky crowded with stars. We’ve navigated the stranded jigsaw islands of Maine, tossed into the sea, and carpeted with pillows of moss, each new shore a new world.
Most importantly, I dedicated the majority of my time to writing.
In the two short years since our journey began, I’ve published five books. In the previous four years, I’d published six. By the end of 2020, my goal had been to add three more.
But then an unseen enemy arrived on our shores, changing all our lives.
I’ve been working on this post for nine months, unsure what to say. COVID left me mute. My muse retreated into social isolation. Keeping our new lifestyle alive hijacked my every thought. I underwent a brutally honest self-assessment of our lifestyle, my writing career, our future.
The images above show the new reality of our nomad trip planning since March. With the West engulfed in flames, everywhere in between a fermenting Petri dish, our once leisurely travel across the formerly United States more resembles a sequel to Fury Road. My sole goal for the past six months has been to ensure we can continue living the nomadic life we chose when all the insanity recedes.
And it will recede.
But staring into a burning abyss fueled by rage, hopelessness, and a divide so vast the other side is difficult to see, I realize that might be hard to believe.
Add to this uncertainty the emptiness of the internet where our private lives are sacrificed on an altar of corporate greed. A digital void where truth has no meaning. Where society has gone not to flourish but to die, diced into warring tribes as though the Apocalypse has already happened.
At the outset, we fled the surging virus. Sought refuge in distant mountains. I set my rocky writing career aside to work and bring some much needed stability to our situation.
But as the moment approaches for the Fight or Flight reflex to subside and my muse finds space to roam, I’m no longer sure what to say.
My stories are often cautionary tales. Crimson Son speaks to the militarization of society and the contemporary distorted view of heroism. The Stormblade Saga tells of an antediluvian myth about a people doomed to ignore a coming calamity while mistreating those with the true power to shape the future. Under the Flickering light explores the life of a sentient antivirus culling the herd of humanity made mindless by an addiction to a virtual existence – an existence fed to them by an all-controlling AI, leeching away the remnants of their humanity…
Writing cautionary tales doesn’t come without problems. When those forewarned events come to pass, the underlying message can quickly shift from productive to harmful. When the sky has already fallen, do we really need more warnings?
No. We need a message of hope. I think I found one. Stay tuned…
To my fiction fans: Ace Grant, is on hold. The pandemic, the elevation of the BLM movement, the awkwardness of being “too on the nose” with my fiction (The upcoming title was Medicine Man and focused on a big pharma bad guy…), I don’t want to trivialize any of those movements. They’re important. They matter. End of discussion.
So powerful. Thank you.
Andy! Haven’t quite gotten back to writing yet, but I’m headed that direction. Got to clear my head a bit and sort out the remnants of this year, but I hope to be harassing you with manuscripts soon enough.