Monday
Jun242013

Hope in the Time of the Zombie Apocalypse  

Dickinson wrote that “Hope is a thing of feathers,” but in our age of political blunder, book scan, and Honey Boo Boo, where reality is our obsession and the most tragic lives become our favorite television shows, a person who declares their hopefulness may fear appearing, well lets face it, out of touch. Hope is no longer this type of flying thing; it has been shot down with a beebee gun put under a microscope. The footage has been replayed with narration from news personalities, and it now lies beyond expiration in a cryogenic freezer just in case we find the technology to resurrect it in the next 100 years.

But I am not a cynic.

Biases aside, literature, the stuff we read and the stuff we think we should be reading tends to be the most important social and historical artifact. And yet, the theme of the age, this age, the plastic age in which we now live, is death. In books, we read death by alien, death by zombie virus, death by vampire cliché, and even the post apocalyptic  ‘welcome to the narrative landscape after the great death and now see if you can survive’ death story. Don’t get me wrong, I love my zombies and vampires and all things expired. And yet I can’t help but wonder when writers of literature and genre fiction and filmmakers all over the globe inadvertently combine their efforts to assert one larger message, what does it mean?

From Barbara Kingsolver to TC Boyle, from Cormac McCarthy to Susan Collins, we see similar messages. Though their markets are different, The Hunger Games’ plot-oriented first-person white-knuckle storyline to The Road’s third-person literary narrator, we can’t help but consider the idea that environmental and social messages are just under the surface—something goes terribly wrong, humankind chooses the wrong path, and this is our potential future calamity. What does this say about our hopes and dreams?

Is it that we’ve lost hope, or is it that we understand that through our presentation of this potential future is the only way we will instill enough fear, enough dread and hopelessness to effect a larger wide-scale change? Some may say that writers, filmmakers, artists may not even be aware of this massive joint effort to present this particular and creative doom, but I say take a look at modernism. The globe reacted and musicians, artists, writers on every continent created works that responded to the tension of the times, war, fear, and the absurdity of it all. Art on many levels is a reaction to the age.

Or, are we now simply seeking the zombie’s point of view? To be comfortable in this world that we are on the brink of, perhaps that’s where we feel it will be easiest to survive. Or perhaps there is no deeper meaning to this global interest in the apocalypse, after all, haven’t we been completely obsessed with the idea since the beginning of time? For humans, loss of the world in which we live may be our greatest fear.

Understanding what we are writing and creating today is difficult because we lack the power and gift of hindsight, but it wouldn’t surprise me if in fifty years that we would look back at our work today and say, “that’s when we reacted to hopelessness, that’s when we changed the path of humanity forever.” Thank god for zombies.

But then again, I believe in feathered things, great, reptilian, screeching, sharp-taloned feathered things.

 

-Olivia Chadha 6.24.13

Tuesday
Jun112013

Interview on Necessary Fiction

Sometimes, interviews ask difficult questions that somehow dredge up subjects that rarely reach the surface. Amber Lee from Necessary Fiction asked me a few unique questions about my favorite books and authors, the writing process, and what advice I would give to my younger self. Check it out by clicking here



Wednesday
Jan232013

Ask a New Author on Book Divas!

I am so excited to announce that during the first six months of 2013, I will be participating in the Book Divas' Ask a New Author column, with fellow Ashland Creek Press authors Jean Ryan and Mindy Mejia

BookDivas

This means that for the next six months, Mindy, Jean and I will be answering questions from readers and writers about our experiences writing, editing, and publishing. If you or someone you know has a question, you can email them to askanewauthor@bookdivas.com.

Here’s a little about Mindy and Jean:

Mindy Mejia “is simply a beautiful writer,” writes Mary Ann Grossmann of theTwin Cities Pioneer Press. Mindy’s novel, The Dragon Keeper, tells the story of the zookeeper of a Komodo dragon and a discovery that changes the scientific world forever, highlighting the perils of captivity and the astonishing ways in which animals evolve.

Jean Ryan‘s debut story collection, Survival Skills: Stories, is forthcoming in April. Jean writes of beauty and aging, and of love won and lost, with characters enveloped in the mysteries of the natural world and the animal kingdom. ”This book will bring you closer to the things that are important in life” (Lori Ostlund, author of The Bigness of the World).

Check out Book Divas' Ask a New Author site for past conversations.

If you have a question, do send them to: askanewauthor@bookdivas.com

Cheers!

Olivia

Tuesday
Oct232012

I Write Because...

Stemming from a Taos Writer's Conference exercise, the I Write Because Project, led by Jennifer Simpson, is a website collection of authors and their inspirations. What an amazingly cathartic piece this was for me to write!

 

http://www.iwritebecause.com/2012/10/22/olivia-chadha-writes-because/ 

Wednesday
Sep262012

Author Q & A

Here's a Q & A with Ashland Creek Press. In it you can learn more about my writing process, inspiration for the novel, and the research I did. 

http://www.ashlandcreekpress.com/blog/