All this big, depressing bullshit is getting in the way of getting shit done.
Ok, yes, that’s basically been the last year in a nutshell. Most of the time, the pandemic and people insisting on life as normal (aka: might literally kill my family) can get shunted from panic-attack-inducing to we’ll-just-stay-hunker-down-and-keep-on-as-best-we-can. But here in the US we’re overachievers and top a deadly, uncontrolled pandemic with sedition and coup attempts.
I’ve been struggling since the election. Ramping up to the election was bad enough, but at least then it felt like there was some element of agency. We could do something about our wannabe-fascist dictator. We voted. But I didn’t celebrate when the results came in. Since then, I’ve been waiting. Would we have faithless electors? Would courts uphold the baseless and oft-debunked claims of voter fraud?
January 6, I was out of the news loop until after my kid went to bed and the violence in DC was already largely under control. My reaction when I found out? Surprise that it wasn’t more. That it hadn’t been worse. Which I in no way mean to downplay, dismiss, or otherwise minimize the awfulness of those events.
We’ve been told for months that this would happen, if not longer. Believe people when they tell you who they really are.
I was halfway through drafting a novel, but my word count since the election is zero. Blogging meets full avoidance. Words are like pulling teeth when writing is what I desperately need.
Most nights lately, I binge watch Netflix and knit. Knitting is great because it’s relaxing and creative and I can make visible progress while shutting down the anxiety parts of my brain. But it’s not writing.
I try to be kind to myself and aim for writing-adjacent things. I’m transcribing a handwritten novel, taking a couple online writing classes, making to-do lists and a Bingo card of things I want to accomplish writing-wise this year. Still, it’s hard after the rhythm I found last summer and fall to have that ability to focus stripped from me by all the hate and violence and worry that the next coup attempt will be more successful.
At the same time, I need to acknowledge that it is a mark of my many privileges that constant worry of hate and violence is relatively novel in ways that viscerally impact my life. Reminder: Black Lives Matter.
I don’t have answers. Wear your masks, wash your hands, value others. I’ll be blundering through my creative process and working to figure out how I can still make it function. Lack of focus sucks, but I’ve dealt with it before and found ways to write anyway.
And if all I can do is knit, at least I’ll have a kickass basket to show for it.
*By “world” I mean the scope of my world, which keeps getting smaller the longer I’m in lockdown. I might be American, but I actively try to avoid the US=world/default/global standard mentality.