For some time now, I’ve been playing with news and opinion items, and using Facebook posts more than I’ve been creating my own work. I haven’t even bothered to add my own comments to what I post – only quoting some pithy bit and hoping that others might glean something from it. While a vector is a worthwhile thing, I’d rather the thought be the meme. It’s a laziness and sadness that has moved me into a pivot function. I’ve been playing with language today, but am tired and downcast, and so once again lack the essential oomph that pulls me in to writing. When I first started this blog, it helped me to establish a discipline of writing. No matter how short or inconsequential the post, it put me into the useful habit of writing. Once I was warmed to this habit, everything was much less intimidating, and I started writing a lot.
Now I’ve fallen back into just getting through a day as best I can, with nothing left over. The most frightening thing to me about this mode is that years pass. They pass quickly. They pass in a kind of a dream. I don’t feel that I’m accomplishing anything. I’m not enthralled with any particular issue, question or topic. I’m disheartened about America, generally, because far too many of her people appear willfully ignorant, hateful, fearful, small and despicable. Sometimes I have empathy, and I can understand how it can happen. I can usually find things to like about most people, but the collective hysteria of groups often terrifies me. Even the scapegoats have scapegoats now. I feel a violence under the surface, and I don’t know where or when it’s going to burst out next. Homeopathic tension release happens now and again… but I think that whatever your politics or religion or economic situation might be, it’s hard to miss that we’re being lied to every day, manipulated every day, pandered to and promised to and fed bull at a level that is only tolerable because people have learned to self-select their favorite flavor of it. And everyone wants to rant in generalities and cliches, spouting things they haven’t researched at all, and in a kind of sanctimonious assumption of audience agreement. I look at it all with only two possibilities of response – anger and tears. I was happier when I had less information about other people’s beliefs and thoughts. There was mystery, and I assumed that figurative language and irony and humor were universally understood, and that people would prefer to act out of their best, not their worst, and that people asked themselves questions and had auto-discounting factors when they heard things. Commercials trained us, I thought, to ask – what are they selling here, and why? Who is this aimed at, and why would someone think this would… move these refrigerators?
I’ve been culture-jamming, trying to put other possibilities out there, but I’m not the one thinking them up. I love being an amplifier for certain voices, but I’ve given up on my own voice. It seems so selfish for me to carve out time to write a poem, or a novel, or even a little essay. And yet, I’m not really involved in anything either – no community for emergent spirituality, no political campaign, no protest or demonstration. I just observe… amplify… criticize…
I’ve been paying attention to how very hard things can be in this country – at the personal level, among friends – but I can’t wave a magic wand and I’ll never run for office. What can I do?
— So sorry. Don’t know how to make it better. Empathy. Hugs. Please don’t kill yourself. We’d miss you. They were never going to give you a promotion anyway. What do you expect from an organization like that? Yes, you should be making more. I know this is degrading. You have to drive how far to work that shit job? Don’t listen to your brother, he clearly has issues. No, don’t let them infantilize you. Why are you buying this? That’s terrible. Sorry for your loss. I can’t believe that happened. No, it’s not fair at all. I have no idea. Hope I won’t have to make friends with the guys under the bridge. Are you that insecure that you have to brag in every conversation? No, it’s not you. Well, maybe it’s a little bit you, but not in the way you think. Yes, they lied. That’s horrible. Now that he knows you love him, he treats you like you don’t matter? Why stay? Such a waste. He could have done anything he set his mind to. Twenty years of work – for nothing. How can I possibly owe this much? The one percent? That’s mean – let’s assume people can handle a decimal point. We’re really talking about the .1, or the .01, or the .001, or even the .0001, aren’t we? What does it matter, we’re screwed. How could we have let this happen? Why didn’t I see this coming? Does she have to be such an asshat? Will you please stop undermining everything I do? Yes, an arrest normally means it’s over. Well, look, maybe a smaller place. Please don’t give up. You have friends. Leave me alone! There’s nothing I can do. Can’t I just read for a while? Go away. No, no, no. I’m listening. I understand. What can I do? I don’t know where she finds the energy. How does he have time for that? Are you f’ing kidding me? —
Trying to listen, trying to understand, trying to be a better person, trying not to be angry, trying not to cry, trying to have some energy, trying to get through until there is something to look forward to again, trying not to be depressed, trying to be a good friend, trying not to destroy anything, trying to get the household in order, trying to be a good wife, trying to be a good mom, trying not to grieve too much or too often, trying not to get lost in the moon and the stars, trying to help, trying not to be the problem, trying to judge fairly, trying to move on, trying to be sane.
Going introvert, cocooning. Giving it all up to the cosmos every night, overwhelmed and grateful. Feeling calm infuse me. Appreciating sleep. Having powerful, surreal dreams. Feeling light and love and quiet joy – but only for a while. Only for a little while.
Perhaps the gate has opened up a few nanometers.
“Science means simply the aggregate of all the recipes that are always successful. All the rest is literature.” ~ Paul Valery
“When I cannot sing my heart, I can only speak my mind.” ~ John Lennon