No, not literally off a cliff, never fear, it just kind of felt like that – I’ve been writing about life in the wilderness of the Northern Territory, Australia, when we moved out onto 250 acres of subtropical forestland, without amenities, without a house, and completely off-grid (Yes, there is a reference to writing sci-fi in this post – hang in there). 😀
It was just the two of us, and neither of us had lived in the country before. By that, I mean in any rural environment – farmland, small towns, meadows and fields – nothing like that. We went straight from suburbia into Wild Lands, which was kind of like stepping off a cliff.
The silence was the first thing that really hit. By silence, I mean human silence. Prior to moving out there, we had pretty regular habits enjoyed by most people in civilization-hubs around the world. We both worked full-time, we’d come home and watch television. We’d listen to the radio. We’d get depressed over the news. We even adopted guilt! All the things we were supposed to do.
Out there, we were suddenly cut off from the constant drone of entertainment and political messages (which I didn’t even recognize as existing) – No radio, no TV, no telephone, no voices – suddenly it was just us and the bushland (forestland) full of wildlife and their potential to be dangerous, inconvenient, deadly and interesting. Mostly they were interesting.
While Greg commuted every working day into the city, I did not. I remained isolated, just me and the wild. I ventured off the block maybe once every three months, sometimes closer to six. Interestingly, guilt disappeared and self-confidence grew. Taking on responsibility for such things as the water in your taps (by that, I mean putting it there after putting in the taps and pipes in yourself, first) is hugely empowering.
We woke up to a lot of truths while out there. I cannot, ever again, be blinkered to the herding of society achieved through guilt. I don’t watch television anymore (I follow the things I am interested in through science blogs that actually put their data on the table for all to see and poke at). Trouble is, talking about such things ought to be a whole different blog, and this one is supposed to be about writing! So, please forgive me.
I will point out that I do not put political messages into my sci-fi, although you’ll find reference to the natural strength and resilience of any planet, and of nature itself, because that’s what I witnessed constantly firsthand. Of course it influenced my writing, and my concepts. If that’s not what you want in your sci-fi, well… at least now you know the flavor of mine. 😀