Time’s Tell

It is every artists’ hope that their work stands the test of time.  And yet, every creation is a product of its time, and it is hard to anticipate what future-audiences will perceive as “dated.”

I recently read The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror for the first time.  Both are good spooky stories.  Still, they both clearly feel like a product of the 1970’s.  For example, both involve lengthy passages where clergy debate if the freaky goings on could be the result of ESP or telekinesis- concepts  much more in the culture of the time it was written.  Is this a bad thing?  Not necessarily.  As they often point out in The Next Picture Show (one of my favorite podcasts)- the idea of a work being “dated” isn’t really a fair criticism.  How can a work not be a product of its time?  Still, for authors, who are notoriously protective of their work, this is just one more disturbing thing outside of your control.

A good story is a good story.  As a modern reader, reaching these passages just caused a momentary, Huh. That’s weird, then back into the flow.  In setting my book in 2009, I have the luxury of a slight remove to frame the story from a bit of a safe distance.  And yet, it is interesting to wonder which aspects of the writing, invisible to me now,  might give a future-reader pause.