Walls

Blergh, Novelicious, Obstacles/Challenges, Uncategorized, Writing

I’ve been absent from my blog for the last several weeks, but not from writing.  I started writing Morning Pages (essentially a journaling exercise), documenting and observing in my beautiful Moleskine notebook, creating unexpected art, and (of utmost importance) have been writing The Book.  It’s NaNoWriMo and I’ve been riding that energy, but yesterday was awful.  Although I have completed 1 section (there are 5 total) I was arrogant (read: stupid) enough to think I could get the whole book drafted this month.  I thought this until I’d sent the first section to some friends for review and sat down to start the second section.

The chirping of crickets filled my ears, my head, my soul, accompanied by the BWAHAHAHAHAHAH of the inner critic, and the absolute truth that what I was writing was total shit.

This is the first time I’ve ever hit this particular wall, and I am now fully aware of why it’s so cold and heartbreaking.  That self-doubt (I can’t say this well, my writing is crap, this story is stupid, I’m an idiot, other people will be hurt/mad/whatever) carried over into every aspect of my life.  My interactions with people were yuck, I bailed on an event I’d paid for, and tried to fall asleep at 7:30 in the evening to avoid having to think.

It was horrendous.

Today, I’m facing the reality that I will not complete all five sections by the end of November – I have no idea when I’ll complete them.  The sense of urgency to finish – to get the work into the world – has only increased, but I feel like my capacity is diminished.  I’m also taking the opportunity to thrash myself a bit for wasting all this precious time.  “You’ll never have another opportunity like this!” say the voices.  “How many people get the luxury of time between jobs to create?” say the voices. “This topic is so relevant, so timely, HOW ARE YOU NOT DONE YET?!” scream the voices. “What makes you think that what you’re saying is real?  What if you’re a delusional psycho?” whisper the voices.

I’ve had similar experiences in other areas of my life, and I have to believe the same axiom holds:

pass1

That last bit isn’t traditional, but it’s honest.

That nameless feeling

Blergh, Change/Transformation, It's Personal, Life, Obstacles/Challenges, Reflection, Uncategorized, Writing

You know that feeling you get when there’s a lot of shit moving around, change is coming, transitions are pending, and you know it’s going to work out but it still feels crappy?  It feels like you can’t tolerate one more disruption, no matter how minor, or you’ll never crawl to your feet again – that feeling?  Oh, and as soon as you’re careless enough to say “oh cheezus – I can’t handle one more goddam thing or I’ll die!” the spiteful goddesses/gods/FlyingSpaghettiMonster sends just one more thing – just to see if you really WILL die this time?

That feeling.  That awful, indescribable, shrinking, contracting, solidifying, small, helpless, useless, no-one-cares-about-me-and-i-hate-my-own-goddam-self feeling?

Why is the only remedy for that hateful feeling to ride it out?  To fucking sit with all that discomfort and agony of waiting and ever-increasing feelings of worthlessness and shame and unwantedness?

WHYWHYWHYWHYWHY??????

In all of our human inventiveness and creativeness and blahblahblahblah, how have we NEVER come up with a better solution than “ride it out”?  I’m not counting all those things that will eventually kill you – drugs, alcohol, overeating, overfucking, punching and kicking shit, beating people up, stealing things, and all that other crap.  I mean a genuine, bona-fide, non-lethal way to spare ourselves all that unpleasantness.

Oh, and I’m also not talking about all that bullshit meditation, “it’s all just energy,” don’t resist, let it flow through you, the-sooner-you-learn-to-accept-the-easier-it-will-be, do some yoga, hike in nature, get a friend, get a lover, cook something delicious and share it, and all that other HIDEOUS well-meaning but enraging advice!  Keep your goody-goody, namby-pamby do-right-by-the-world smarminess to yourself buddy.

There is REAL SUFFERING happening here.

Well, when I say “real” I mean “real to me.”  I don’t mean “real” as in I’m a refugee, lost a child, am destitute or homeless, have to sell myself for money, or other people are selling me for money, being tortured, kidnapped, or killed, having to find food for me and my kids at every meal, living in a war zone, have to choose between food and medicine, suffering a crippling, wasting, painful disease, having to care for others constantly with no respite, have no friends, family, or loved ones, am living in my car, or on a landfill, am watching people suffer or die daily, am elderly and have almost no income and no family, live in a medical facility with no outside contact, am disabled and have limited access to care and support, am a vet living with PTSD and don’t know how to get help, and…

I think I should stop writing now.

Trump, the ultimate male fantasy figure

Blergh, Hard Stuff, Obstacles/Challenges, Power/Privilege, Social Justice, Uncategorized

As many of us have (more than I would have guessed, according to polls) I’ve been thinking about Donald Trump, and this startling wave of publicity he’s riding.  He’s always been one of “those” people – in the news for various things, none of them very positive, most seeming pretty slimy.  His wealth certainly represents one aspect of success, and I’m sure many people see him as a powerful man, but those things don’t explain, for me, why he’s suddenly the front-runner in the GOP’s pack of nominee hopefuls.

So why?  How can a man who is almost a caricature of himself suddenly capture the minds and attention of millions of people?  I think one answer is that he is the ultimate white man’s fantasy persona.  He does and says whatever he wants to – regardless of its impact on other people – and reaps no significant consequences.  He appears to need no significant relationships, have no important emotional attachments that are impacted by his behavior and words, and we know he has all the means he would ever need to support himself.

In short, he’s the ultimate loner and mythic hero figure, at least in the minds of some; a “man’s man” who doesn’t have to be “politically correct” or cater to the needs and whims of all these namby-pamby weepy types who populate the world.  He’s free and able to say exactly what he thinks, do whatever he wants, have whatever women he wants, and buy anything his heart desires.  But where a hero is usually deeply connected to a quest, often a quest to make life better for people who are suffering somehow, Trump only wants to make life (even) better for others like him – über wealthy, privileged, entitled men whose power means they (seem to) answer to no one.

I believe that the men who support him are men who, like him, are terrified of the changes they know are coming.  They see the power structure that has benefited them starting to shift, and they’re having trouble coping (as anyone would). When they hear Trump saying all the vile, hateful, angry things they’re thinking – they’re relieved.  Someone else feels the same way, and someone is actually saying all the things they think but won’t say. I use the word “won’t” deliberately because I think not saying those things is a case of will, not a case of ability.

On some level, I believe many of the men who are so enamored of him right now know that the statements he makes are wrong.  That they are mean, vindictive, hateful, and largely inaccurate.  It’s the difference between being pissed and having a crazed rant inside your head, then getting your shit together and dealing with the problem in a mature fashion, or just standing around calling the other person names, or threatening to punch them in the face.  It’s much easier to just rant and rave and ignore any significant work that needs to be done.

Thinking with nuance, from a variety of perspectives, and acknowledging multiple opinions and needs takes a lot of work and effort.  Screaming angrily about what you don’t understand or care about, the unfairness of it all, and that you don’t want things to change is much, much easier, and Trump is the master of that rhetoric.  He’s the poster boy of the entitled, privileged white male who simply doesn’t acknowledge that all those other water-filled meat sacks are actually human beings.

He seems to just not care.  And that’s why he won’t last.  Because most of those white guys who fantasize about doing what he does know, on some level, that it’s wrong.  Many of them have women they care about, they have friends or colleagues of different ethnic backgrounds, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, and so on.  Most of those men care about hurting someone’s feelings, even if they aren’t aware of that care.  That’s why they don’t actually *say* those things, but live out their fantasy through Trump and men like him.

Even though people are often greedy, petty, and oblivious, I just can’t bring myself to believe that Trump represents anything other than a fleeting moment of vicarious excitement.  I have to believe that the majority of people do care about the feelings of others, even if that care is deeply buried.  I have to believe that mean and spiteful men like Trump don’t truly represent the men (or women) of this country.

GOODFELLAS, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, Joe Pesci, 1990

GOODFELLAS, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, Joe Pesci, 1990

No accountability, no consequences.