I love reading Eric Flint’s books. Even when they’re not especially “good,” per se, I still go out of my way to get my hands on them. There’s something special about the way that he constructs story-worlds that I find captivating, and I think I may finally have some of the right words for it. Time and again, I’m struck by the way in which his stories convey a rigorously optimistic, idealistic world view; his protagonists work together to create a better world, or a better future, or a better something else, but there’s always the underlying presence of cooperating with others in order to improve upon what already exists. I don’t always agree with everything that he writes, but given a choice between an Eric Flint-esque book and something less hopeful, I’ll pretty much always pick Flint (or at least return to Flint after a jaunt elsewhere).
Part of it has to do with inspiration, and part of it has to do with my personal headspace. I consistently reference the need for inspiration towards something better when I review Flint’s books, often referring back to my article on Schindler’s List. I sometimes feel willfully self-deceptive when I consciously shape my media consumption like this, but I find that my own outlook on life is far more positive and constructive when I make sure that I balance my media intake with more hopeful and inspiring stories.
All of which is to say that I find that Flint’s writing serves a very distinct purpose. I like his work more for the fact that he very specifically introduces such positive people and/or groups into his stories; I find it tremendously reassuring to read about people consciously working together to create a better world, and I often feel more empowered to do the same after reading his work. It makes a nice counterweight to my research into things like sex slavery, MKUltra, or Operation Condor. There’s something refreshing to Flint’s idealistic community organizing that helps to clean out the toxicity of the horribly sinister things that we human beings have routinely done to each other.
I think there’s more to be covered here, but I’ll leave it at that for the moment. What do you think? Do you have similar mental health management strategies? Do you actively seek inspiration in the media that you consume?