Sunday, December 18, 2016

the election, torpedoing us all

Another theory - it's the election that has upended my writing and that of many others. A great piece I just read in LitHub confirmed this. Ever since that horrible November day, I've had a sinking feeling that creative work is pointless, we're all doomed, the bad guys won, and the rest of us should give up. I won't continue to believe that, for sure. But it will take a while for the despair to wear off.

As writer Lauren Groff wrote:
I haven’t been writing well, at all. I’ve been deeply depressed, probably because you have to be a bit of a utopian to be a writer and we can hear all around us the sound of our most deeply held ideals crashing down. The narratives we used to tell ourselves in hard time have been proven false—that people are essentially good, that Americans are deeply generous, that truth matters and liars get what is coming for them, that democracy matters and the arc of history is toward progress, that morality and kindness are rewarded, that our elections are fair and un-stealable—on and on, these have all been proven wrong. When you make your living in narrative, to see that false, incoherent, deeply destructive and cynical narratives are winning out makes you feel as though your faith in the essential goodness of humans has been obliterated.

These wise words are from this article:

However! Life goes on. Wayson is here on a bitterly cold night; I made chicken stew, we ate and laughed about his memory impairment and mine; we watched Episode Eight of "The Crown," SO INCREDIBLY GOOD, and now we're about to watch, on my actual TV, the next episode of "The Hollow Crown" which stars the divine Benedict Cumberbatch. Life goes on, and realizing just how profound an impact that election had on me has been a strange kind of comfort.

In other news: Anna put a little video of Eli's first Christmas concert on-line. Five kindergarten classes all singing at the top of their lungs, and, as she points out, my grandson not participating. He sang the song to her over and over at home, but on the night, decided to keep his mouth closed. Interesting. She said he was surrounded by his best friends: Pema, Yontin, Jahzavion, and Stacy, the girl he intends to marry. How happy that list of names makes me. Except - I still need to check out Stacy.

And ... still feeling the sting from the negative comments on my teacher assessment a few weeks ago, I was very glad to receive a note from a former student whose memoir I've edited over several years. Now it's at the copy editor's, ready for publication. "You have been the best coach a tentative writer could wish for," she wrote. Okay then. Good to hear.

I have tried not to think about Aleppo - it's too unbearable. But two young people arrived at my door last night, soliciting donations. There are so many at this time of year, I was about to say a gentle no, but they were from the U.N. Refugee Association, so I couldn't wait to sign up. Not only to do my minuscule bit to help refugees, but because my mother worked for UNRA after the war. So, as we head to the anniversary of her death on Christmas Day, I hope I'm honouring her, too.

P.S. Two hours later: Just had to turn off "The Hollow Crown" - watched Henry VI, part I but not part II. It was even worse in terms of slaughter and horror than last week. The rivers of blood certainly put the slaughter in "King Lear" and "Hamlet" into perspective. Funny, that tonight we watched the modern crown and then the barbarism that led to it. Enough crowns for now, thank you very much.

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