Decades ago, I had an idea for a series of environmental romances.
They would be a Harlequin series, I explained to a friend.
The romance would play out against a backdrop of environmental calamity. One book would be about deforestation, another the deteriorating arctic ice, another an oil spill in the Gulf, yet another on endangered animals. And so on.
"Imagine it!" I exclaimed.
Exotic locales! Dashing (Greenpeace) heroes or maybe dashing CEOs who, thanks to the meddling of the beautiful, caring, clever heroine-marine biologist-animal sanctuary owner-eco minded journalist, has a change of heart.
The romance genre is littered with high powered business fellas, maybe one of those wealthy CEOs has a (green) heart and decides to cancel that oil pipeline for good?
"It would be fun and educational!" I enthused. You'd get all the allure of a romance novel and, at the same time: environmental awareness!
But my friend was sceptical.
It didn't sound very sexy to her.
And she's right.
Environmental issues are not sexy. Think: swaths of destroyed forest, oil covered sea otters dead on a beach, polar bears stranded on ice flows, elephant carcasses minus tusks.
It's not sexy! It's sad and upsetting! And it's very hard to write about without devolving into ALL CAPS RANTS!
I shelved the idea.
But now I'm thinking: maybe I'll bring it back?
'Climate Fiction' (Cli Fi ) is a genre now and there are some environmental romances out there (not to the extent I was imagining, mind. I wanted an entire division at Harlequin. - a signature line: Eco Love. And a designated section in the book store.)
The universe also seems to be telling me to do it.
I was at a writer's conference at the end of April that also had an environmental edge and a student / scientist got on stage and with great fervour told the writers in the audience to do something. She said that scientists write about eco issues with their mind, but what was desperately needed was writing from the heart.
We need you to put the word out there, move people, make them care, she said (I'm paraphrasing).
I'm not sure my 'Eco Love' series was what she had in mind...but no matter!
The call has been heeded! I'm ready to pick up my pen for the cause, for clearly there is the need to increase the visibility of eco issues in the mainstream, and this is where the artists & creatives like me come in! We need novels and plays and (more) movies and tv sitcoms about the environment! GO!
Because, this is a PR war, apparently.
In actuality, in early May I started writing an eco book--not a romance, but a cli fi dystopian comedy-mystery, if there can be such a thing.
For some reason, I'm choosing bizarre genres for my eco minded creativity. Girly hearts and unicorns. And a laugh track. None of it fits with the severity of the issue. But I want to make it fit. And perhaps that's the point. It needs to fit.
Or rather, all that heaviness needs a counterpoint.
The situation is grim and you either laugh or cry. Love or hate. I'm choosing love and laugh, thank you very much.
What are you going to choose?
And how are your going to choose to express it?