Before I start, a few words:
- Reading about our current political scene is never a happy choice, although I do it. After a lifetime of political activism, I am one of those tiresome people who considers it her duty as a citizen to at least contribute something to the basic requirement for the survival of a democracy: an informed electorate.
- Do not, if you wish to avoid #1, subscribe to the NYTimes or The New Yorker online
- If you cannot resist those subscriptions, do not make either one the home page on your web browser.
- Another word of caution. Should you do the worst–the Times online–be warned. It is possible to spend an entire day reading and commenting, not only on the articles and essays, but on the remarkably intelligent comments.
As for the first three bits of unsolicited advice above, if you are compelled to keep up with the state of the union, as I am, stick to print or pixels and avoid the terrible noise of television news broadcasts. Bad news is easier to handle in silence.
I believe that my reaction of increasing confusion, rather than a hallelujah, at the most recent “This is it! They have him now!! By God’ is the result of the slow, relentless drip, drip, drip of one of these moments after another since before the election in 2016, since even before the nomination. It has certainly been said before that the real danger in all this is that we will become so accustomed to horrors that eventually we will be unable to distinguish between true inhumanity and mere lack of manners, between a monster and a tacky New York real estate shark.
I have not reached that level of soul-deadening yet, but I no longer stand up and scream with either despair or hope at each event that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. I haven’t sunk to the point of shrugging yet, but I find it is not possible to maintain an appropriate degree of rage for twenty-four hours a day. And so, I am revising what was largely a family novel, turning it into what was looking like a low-intensity, philosophical murder mystery, until this week. Now I am considering deleting the subtle suggestions about the murderer and writing a chapter in which blood is shed, preferably at close range and the murderer is forced to flee into the street naked. As I see it, she is approached immediately by a group of Christians on their way west to convert any native heathens they encounter. They have climbed down from their large tour bus in search of a meal, but are so taken with the blood-drenched and attractive young murderer, that they decide lunch can wait and decide on the spot to carry her into the bus for an afternoon of sexual pleasure (theirs). While I’m working on my writing skills, I will admit my sex scenes could use some work.
On other days, I design note cards, blow up balloons, and edit other people’s manuscripts.
On a terrible day, I binge on Obama on YouTube, having discovered that if I type in only the one word, “Obama,” the result is at least a half a day of every speech by or about him, every documentary, every collection of photographs of him kissing babies or holding his wife’s hand. I find it immensely comforting, and if I have left the phone on and someone calls to ask what I’m doing, all that is necessary to protect my solitude is a one-word answer, “Obama.”
A confession of world-quality shame. I am spending a considerable amount of time on Facebook. Yes. I am. I scroll through the notifications, whipping quickly past the unappreciative wretches who only took time to “like” or “react” and giving my attention to those who responded to my politically provocative political rants.
It is a sad state of affairs when my main source of entertainment is stirring up a hornet’s nest on the social media.
But occasionally there are the “memes” that make it all worth while. I have included only one of the cute animal photos for which FB is known.
Otherwise, I’ve aimed for a little something for everyone–the depressed, the LGBT community, Winnie-the-Pooh fans and lovers of profanity, writers, environmental activists, introverts, Obama fans and those who still enjoy balloons.
My advice for the coming wars is Buy Balloons.
So many ways to describe my main character inconvenience. Those are two of my favorites. The one of the cats is framed and on my wall.
AT THE END OF ANOTHER LONG DAY OF BALLOONS AND the NYTIMES, I FOUND THIS:
Good night, Chet. Good night, David.