Fracking Friday: Fracking as Metaphor

Someone wrote to me recently and said: I know all about fracking. I live in Western Colorado, where fracking has been used for decades to extract natural gas. I should have been paying better attention to its metaphor possibilities.

For me, fracking is clearly something that works on various levels. I had already begun thinking about a novel with two women who lived together, for whom the worst things had happened. In Daisy’s life, it was the sudden death of her husband; in Lee’s case, it was the aftermath of retirement for a woman who had been a pioneer in her field. In both cases, the centre of their lives, what had been solid, was suddenly gone. When I started finding out about fracking, it felt like in many ways fracking paralleled my characters’ experiences—their lives had been suddenly and potentially dangerously been fractured from all that had been settled and good.

Fracking becomes a metaphor for sudden loss and change–something that happens that breaks apart the solid foundation in a wrenching way that leaves collateral damage behind. A reader who was widowed himself wrote to me to say, “I’m astonished how perceptively you’ve captured the essence and currents of bereavement and grief, the loneliness and longing, the resistance to newness and the hunger for it when it pokes its head around the corner, the self-discovery that emerges… I love how you wove the interplay of rock fracking and soul fracking.”

How about you? Where has your life been fracked? How do you move on? How does your experience of being fracked affect your environmental concerns?


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