I haven’t posted a blog lately.
I skipped a few weeks mainly out of consideration for you.
I try to stay apolitical in these things. Not because I’m afraid of losing readers — Amazon has handled that nicely for me. No, I figure you’re subjected to the same endless stream of doom and gloom that I find myself wallowing in. Didn’t think you needed another brief tour of the Weimar Republic V 2.0.
It’s painfully obvious to me that Bad Things are just around the corner. And by Bad Things, I mean Old Testament-style calamity — famine, plague, war, cities buried under rubble, bears running rampant, rains of frogs singing show tunes while wearing top hats. That sort of thing.
Look back at history. Humanity seems to just go nuts every fifty years or so. We’re about to enter another such phase, and since we’re armed to the teeth and living on a world that’s headed toward the Venusian style of climate-as-a-bakery-oven things don’t look promising.
See what I mean? And I’m in a good mood today.
But instead of trying to prop up everything I just said with the same arguments you’ve read a few dozen times, I’ll be self-indulgent and talk about how it’s affected me.
I’ve been caught in a slow burn of rage since a certain day in 2016. As the US and the world spiral down into fascism, I’ve been overwhelmed with a pernicious blend of apathy and lethargy. Why write books? Burning them will soon be a televised national sport. Why put so much time and effort into an art form that people (not you, I’m talking about the others) won’t buy because ‘it ought to be free’ ?
I know, I know, we need books and music and art now more than we’ve ever needed them before. I know that, but — a small mean-spirited part of me just wants to play the fiddle while Rome burns. Wants to enjoy the internet before it becomes an Arm of the State. Wants to eat drink and be merry, before everything comes down to lines and food ration cards and loyalty oaths.
Hey, I’m a writer, and yes, I’m nuts. Goes with the territory.
I hope things will self-correct. I hope we will emerge from this detour towards horror relatively unscathed. But then I see some grinning little bastard in a red cap screaming abuse at a Viet Nam war vet who just happened to be Native American and I realize how tenuous and fragile that hope truly is.
I grew up on Star Trek and Apollo and the unspoken assumption that things would only get better. Better, faster, sleeker. We should be out there among the planets by now. Nobody should be going to bed hungry. Black folks and brown folks shouldn’t be terrified they’re going to get shot for having a taillight out, or arrested for talking on a cell phone in a hotel lobby. Women shouldn’t be hounded off the net because they said they deserve equal pay, or because they like to game without getting threatened with rape.
Instead, we have — this. Regression. De-evolution. A headlong charge backwards, with flags and banners leading the way.
So I’m pissed. I guess that sums it all up in a tidy little package.
I’ve tried to channel that frustrated energy into my writing, but I’ve learned something else.
My writing sucks when I’m pissed. It’s preachy, heavy-handed, despairing. Unreadable.
So that’s where I am now. Churning out turgid, hackish nonsense while the world beats its plows into swords and grins at the prospect of laying open a few hundred million innocent throats.
I will keep at it. Maybe a few good pages will emerge, here and there, and I can find balance. I haven’t yet. Frankly I’m tired of trying.
Thanks for sticking with me. I hope we’ll get through this together.