Monday, June 29, 2015

On This Day In Greece

Journals are great sources for writers of historical fiction, giving the author a personal insight into some important event. Where would we be without Josephs Plum Martin's jottings about his days as a soldier in the Continental Army during America's revolution? What of Anne Frank's diary? Can you find a journal that would give you a better sense of what life was like for a Jewish girl closeted in an attic, living in hiding from the Nazis?

A journal entry is an impression on a given day, without knowing what will come tomorrow. Day by day, the journal writer chronicles events, and it is only much later that we can look back at the collection of information and piece together a picture.

Today's journal entry should make mention of the monetary crisis in Greece.
Pensioners wait for money that is not there

Something is going to break in the world, but at this moment, there's no telling where the crisis will go. So let us note the aged pensioners sitting outside of the closed banks, in need of their stipend but unable to get a euro because the money has run out. They arranged their lives around a promise, that they would have a certain income for the rest of their lives, and suddenly that promise is broken because there is no more money. Elderly, with no means of support, are sitting in front of banks wondering how they will buy food.

Some are desperate. Some are resigned. Some may be thinking of what items they have at home that they might sell to raise money. Perhaps they will have to turn to their children for help, unless they are supporting their children who cannot find work.

The tourists will jot in their journal, describing their worry about getting cash to pay for meals or taxis to the airport. Uncertainty clouds the holiday, along with concern for the nice maid or the friendly waiter whose livelihood depends on tourism. What becomes of them, the tourist inscribes in their journal, what becomes of those who lose their jobs and cannot rely on government subsidies because the government is skint?

For some, today's journal entry will indicate a sense of their world ending. There will be mentions of desperation, strong emotions that some future writer of historical fiction can tap into to flesh out a character.

There is talk of last minute deals, and there is talk of economic collapse. Bankruptcy or salvation.

For those not living in Greece, the diary page for Monday, the 29th of June, 2015, might note that the stock market is expected to plummet due to concerns of default. Someone loaned Greece all that money, and if they do not get it back, it's gone. It isn't there to loan to others, who would pay it back with interest. Others like other EU countries who are finding it difficult to keep promises made to citizens about pensions and paid leave and early retirement.

Emotions are bubbling up all across the globe. As a writer, you should have your ears open, and then put your impressions down in your journal. Or your blog. Keep those initial sensations for later, when your historical research takes you to some financial crisis of old. The emotions are the same over the generations. It's just the actors who change, along with the scenery. They are speaking the same lines.

Observation is at the heart of a journal. Writers are good at observing, and then storing away those observations. Like a rainy day fund, except it doesn't hold money.

But neither do the Greek banks, apparently.

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