I’ve been spending a lot off time doomscrolling since Russia launched its brutal and unjust invasion of Ukraine, and I can’t recall when I’ve ever felt angrier with what I’m seeing in the news.
With the war in Ukraine, the global pandemic, the climate crisis, severe weather events, and the election cycles in America that never seem to end, there is no shortage of bad news to doomscroll through.
As a writer of escapist pulp fiction, I wondered if anyone would still be interested in the kind of light-hearted novels I like to write. Why would anyone want to read stories about aliens coming to Earth looking for coffee? How could I spend my time writing about such frivolous topics with all the truly serious crap hitting the fan around the world?
So for a while I stopped work on my current project – a sequel to my humorous sci-fi series about aliens who love coffee. I didn’t feel it was the right time for writing light-hearted escapism.
It’s a very good time for light-hearted escapism
But then I thought about how popular dime novels were during the American Civil War, which featured escapist adventure stories. And during the Great Depression cheap adventure stories in the form of ‘pulp’ fiction were hugely popular.
Dime novels became very popular during the darkest years of the Civil War
During the dark days of the Civil War and the global depression, people needed the break and low-cost escapist novels came into their own as an industry.
We are in a similarly dark period now, and it’s precisely in times like this that low-cost escapism is needed more than ever. We all need to take a break from doomscrolling and find a way to unplug from everything that’s going on and relax. Pulp fiction, escapist adventures, humorous sci-fi – whatever kind of reading you prefer – is a legitimate form of recreation. So I’ve taken up my pen once again and resumed writing.
Support a worthy charity
However, I still believe we should try to do what we can to help and not ignore what’s going on in the world. As a result, I’ve made some personal changes. Instead of doomscrolling, I’ve cut back drastically on my news consumption and started doing something practical. I started giving.
Recently I did some research into charities dedicated to assisting the people of Ukraine. The Washington Post and The Globe and Mail have both published lists of reputable charities supporting Ukraine.
Charities supporting Ukraine:
- Canadian Red Cross: the local wing of an international emergency-relief organization. The federal government says it will match individual donations by Canadians.
- Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders): a humanitarian group that’s been supporting Ukraine’s COVID-19 response.
- Canada-Ukraine Foundation: a Toronto-based group that co-ordinates Canadian charitable aid to Ukraine.
- Save the Children: an international NGO delivering emergency aid to Ukrainian families.
- Voices of Children: offers psychological support to children affected by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
- Come Back Alive Foundation: a Ukrainian NGO that supports veterans and co-organizes the Invictus Games in Ukraine.
- Phoenix Wings: a charitable foundation that supplies the Ukrainian army with medical treatment and defensive equipment such as vests and helmets.
- Revived Soldiers Ukraine: a non-profit that funds medical rehabilitation for Ukrainian soldiers.
- Razom for Ukraine: a pro-democracy group that’s fundraising for medical supplies in Ukraine.
- Kyiv Independent: a Ukraine-based, English-language independent news media outlet.
Don’t ignore what’s going on, but I think you may find it more rewarding to spend less time doomscrolling and more time doing something practical. I think one of the best ways most of us here in Western Europe, Canada and America can do that is by donating to charities supporting worthy causes.
Oh, and spend more time reading great adventure sci-fi about aliens who like coffee.
And that’s my rant for the day.