I have lived through a lot of scary, upsetting events. I remember the Bay of Pigs. I remember those stupid school safety drills where we were told to duck and cover, crouching on the floor with our arms over our heads as if this would prevent all that radiation from the A-bomb from finding us.
I lived through the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I lived through the assassination of Martin Luther King. I lived through the assassination of Robert Kennedy. I lived through the shooting of James Brady and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. I lived through the death of Senator Paul Wellstone, a loss that hits close to home.
I lived through the murder of John Lennon on the streets of New York. I lived through the shooting of Gabby Gifford in Arizona. I lived through Columbine, Sandy Hook, and the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting in Charleston, and too many more to count.
I lived through the nation-splitting agony of the war in Vietnam. Parents pitted against children. Violent and non-violent protests. Fear and paranoia. Kent State with national guardsmen killing students.
I lived through the deeply upsetting Watergate as the exposure of the corruption that took place in the highest office in the land, in the People’s House, unfolded before our eyes.
I lived through 9/11 and the ongoing aftermath of that event, which forever changed our way of life. We have adjusted, raised our vigilance and I feel protected well enough by our intelligence gathering to move on with living a workaday life.
But never have I lived through anything like the 2016 campaign, election and continuing fallout of all that.
The lies are monumental. The deceit and greed are staggering. The collusion with a foreign enemy that I fear is going to eventually be fully exposed, to our horror, and possibly even treason. The arrogance, the cruelty, the hate, the misogyny, the nepotism, the corruption, the deep self-interest, the Narcissism writ large. The disdain for the good of our country. The disdain for preserving the only fresh water, the only air, the only planet we have. The greed of those who must have oil, rather than blood, running through their veins. Those willing to do anything, say anything, abandon any humanity, all for the sake of the almighty Dollar.
I have been trying to figure out how I feel. It isn’t fear, not really. I guess I am rather fatalistic about accepting reality as it unfolds. It’s more like a sickness. Heart sickness, for sure. But also a sickness of the soul. It’s as if everything is blighted, stained, corrupted. I find it hard to move my attention away from this train wreck, and to be sure, I feel some responsibility NOT to bury my head in the sands, turn my back, ignore or deny. I feel an obligation to resist in whatever way I can. And I will.
But the soul sickness dampens my imagination. It smothers my creative energy. I feel desperate to break out of this malingering, pestilential malaise and try to recover the energy I need to approach the work of writing. To get lost in the flow of a story would be a deep blessing right now.
I got through the events of November with my annual practice of a public practice of gratitude, sharing on social media 30 Days of Gratitude. It really does help. It is one thing that I can think of to take up again now as a defense against the darkness.
I am asking if any of you creative types out there are having similar struggles? What are your strategies? How do you put all this out of your mind long enough to free your mind for the imaginative play that is creating? Please share your tips, your feelings, your reactions. Maybe together we can pull each other out of a morass of soul numbing events.