Being topical, accidentally or otherwise

19 Nov

One of the worries when you are writing for magazines is that your article will already be outdated by the time it’s published. It takes longer than you might think to put an edition of a magazine together, and articles are usually commissioned weeks or even months in advance. When I wrote my latest article for Christianity magazine about the effects of Covid-19 and associated lockdowns on vulnerable children throughout the world, we were in lockdown. By the time it was published, we were in that beautiful period of semi-normality between the first and second waves of the virus.

(This is a concern for fiction as well, by the way, and an area where historical fiction has an advantage. My thriller series The Sarcophagus Scroll is set firmly between 2017 and 2020, and is getting older by the minute while I try to find a publisher for it. The Gates of Janus, on the other hand, is set in first century BC Rome, and however much time passes, it doesn’t look a day over two millennia.)

Yes, I have the cover article 😊

This time, the delay has worked out well, as least as far as topicality. I wrote a second article on vulnerable children in lockdown, this time for the Esperanto-language magazine Esperanto en Skotlando. (No, I’m not going to bother translating that for you.) As you can imagine, this article is a lot shorter and much more basic, since my Esperanto isn’t even as good as my Albanian, let alone my English. However, it is more topical, coming out just as England went into its second lockdown, and shortly before the west of Scotland moved to tier 4, which is tantamount to lockdown. (As I write this, I can see that ‘lockdown’ still sets off the spellchecker. I imagine that will change.)

I realise this is a niche interest: not only can the magazine only be read by Esperanto speakers, it’s also only available to paid-up members of the Scottish Esperanto Association. However, anyone can get hold of digital copies of back issues for free. So you can read my lovely article in six months’ time, which gives you plenty of time to learn Esperanto. And hopefully, by that time, all talk of lockdowns will be completely outdated.

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