I’m having a difficult time writing these days.
I’ll sit at my desk ready to work on a piece and then my phone beeps. There’s another news alert – The Press Secretary has doubled down on a clear lie at the daily press conference.
Or there’s an announcement of another Executive Order (decree).
Or I hear about some State Rep in Minnesota who passed an amendment so that health insurance companies won’t have to cover many pre-existing conditions like diabetes, prenatal care, ventilator care, Lyme disease … the list goes on and on and on. (Interestingly Erectile dysfunction will still be covered – Phew!)
Or there’s a gag order on government agencies who report directly to the public, (EPA, USDA) if you cared about the environment or the food that you eat, good luck, you’re now on your own.
Or an elected official is tweeting about the “fat women” who attended the Women’s March or the “lard” those women have in their brains.
I spend most of my time these days seething (when I’m not curled up in a fetal position.)
I am a writer. It means I have a vivid imagination. But one doesn’t need to have a bigly imagination to see what is happening. If I wrote fiction, I’d have enough material for many, many dystopian sagas.
America seems to be under attack from within. And it’s frightening, it’s challenging every belief I have ever held.
Our rights are being threatened, our information controlled, our children with chronic illness and people with disabilities are at risk, our very livelihood as writers is going to be challenged (will I be punished for even daring to write this?)
When suppression and repression is the new reality, it’s difficult to write about charming chickens or a walk I took through a bucolic town. It’s difficult to write anything positive when the cloud overhead is so heavy and ominous.
It’s difficult to write about anything except sharing outrage at what is happening. Again and again. That kind of writing seems to come easy, it comes from a bottomless well.
I know I’m not alone.
And I also know I can’t continue at this full throttle speed. As I have cautioned so many other people – “Take care of yourself, this is a marathon not a sprint.” I need to remind myself of that very advice every day.
Somehow I am going to have to section out time to block myself from what is happening in the world so that I can conjure up the writer I was before – if that writer even still exists.
There is an app out there that automatically changes all pictures of Trump to kittens, maybe I need to install that.
Or maybe I need to lock myself in a room away from the internet, social media, and my phone.
Or better still, perhaps I need to try and capture these feelings of fear, loathing, and disgust and channel them into my writing. Chickens can be angry, walks can draw attention, mothers can speak out.
Maybe, just maybe, these times will usher in the evolution of a new kind of writer. I am positive that once we have found our balance, we writers will find a way to cope and we will use our skills to make sure our fears and our voices are heard.
Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.
Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.