Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Maybe I mentioned that, since there’s no baseball this spring, and maybe not this whole season, I’ve been working on a baseball novel. It’s a great world to inhabit while the real one is collapsing around us—the thrill of the grass, the sound of bat on ball, the smell of peanuts, popcorn, and Crackerjack. I can’t talk much about the story, but it takes place in the minor leagues in California and Texas and involves a special player who seems to have MLB stardom in his genes. He just has to pay his dues in the minors to earn a shot at The Show.
The problem I’m having is that the coronavirus is changing everything about our society. I’m setting this book in 2021 or 2022, since that’s when people might be reading it eventually, but there’s no mention of what happened in 2020. I can’t know how things are going to turn out in 2020, whether there will even be minor league baseball next year. People might have no money to spend on sports. How many of us will come out of this thing unemployed, busted, and ruined? Will life change like it changed after 9/11—with wholesale rearrangement of things we use to take for granted?
So the real question for novelists is how to carry on doing what we do without leaving space for the inevitable effects the pandemic is going to have on us all.
Or do we just ignore it and proceed with the true-enough premise that fictional worlds are fictional? My baseball world of 2021 is separate from and completely unrelated to the real world. Heck, I’m even using fictional team names so I don’t prompt readers to say, “No Amarillo Sod Poodle ever pitched a no-hitter, you dummy!” Why not just pretend that things are the way I say they are in this product of my imagination?
In #QuarantineLife, those of us who write are probably writing up a storm—just to stay sane. So how are you handling coronavirus in your fiction? Subtle acknowledgment or total abstinence? Does it feel better to confront it directly or to let that world in your head remain free of it and all the upsetting consequences that follow?