This is a personal and not very entertaining post. I will ask you to keep your political views to yourself, please. Feel free to comment on the subject of the post, but if you feel the need to express your frustration with Republicans or Democrats, please do it elsewhere. You’ve been warned.
Because of my background, I’ve lived through the periods of political upheaval and social collapse. I’ve seen the government and social net fall apart. It taught me a certain resilience. When you get to the point where you can’t take it anymore, you learn that, no matter what happens, life goes on. My father is the perfect example of this. I’d asked him about Putin before, and he basically said, “Eh. Sometimes you live a little worse, sometimes you live a little better, but it doesn’t really matter to people like us. We can’t do much about it. Let it go.”
I can’t be quite so hands-off in my politics, but I have to tell you, I’ve reached the point where I can’t watch or read news anymore. I’ve switched to BBC and it helped for a while, because they seemed to be a bit more measured. But I log onto social networks, and it feels like a non-stop screaming. It is always an emergency. If it’s not a hurricane coming, it’s healthcare being taken away. It’s radical fear mongering against the refugees, or women, or incumbent Republicans or whoever the latest target is, followed by people screaming in outrage.
This morning, it’s about the lack of response to Puerto Rico, and possible nuclear war with North Korea, and police beating people in Spain, complete with pictures of people bloodied or up to their chest in water crying.
An elderly couple in their late seventies is forced to become a new kind of migrant workers because they don;t have enough money to retire. They are cleaning campgrounds and hotels, and they are a part of entire generation who can’r afford to retire.
A Wells Fargo teller stole money from a homeless person. What kind of a scumbag would do that?
It feels like the planet is boiling.
It has been proven that seeing images of people in distress and watching people at extremes of emotions, such as anger, sadness, and outrage deeply affects our psychological well-being. We are pack animals at the core. We sympathize. We are so good at it, we sympathize with made-up images when they exhibit human emotions.
From the professional point of view, I understand the logic behind sensationalizing every story. We react to emotional images and topic, and the stronger is the reaction, the higher are the ratings. But at this point it’s a non-stop bombardment.
The thing is, all these things were always happening. But before the explosion of technology, there was some way to shield yourself from it. You could turn off TV and walk away. Now it’s everywhere. It’s on the phone. It’s on Twitter. It’s on Facebook. It’s in my email. For the first time in a long time, I actually feel real fear about the future. I haven’t been in this place since my early twenties, when we were drowning in debt. I’ve donated money. I’ve called my congressmen, who ignored me. I volunteered my time to good causes. None of this seems to be making a damn bit of difference. I don’t know what else to do.
I’ve been trying to limit my exposure, because my job is to provide a break from all of that. The essence of my purpose as a writer is to create a novel that can give others ability to escape. Our work is that refuge in a storm, a place where a reader can go when their loved one is in ICU, when they had an awful day at work, or when life just needs an off switch. But at this point I can’t escape. I’m having the hardest time actually writing. Being a writer means cultivating a sensitivity to other people. You become a bit like a satellite dish in a constant receiving mode. Right now it’s too much. I understand why people go on retreats and hide for months in some secluded cabins. I can’t do that, because I am a wife, and a mother, and a friend, and I suspect I would be clawing at the walls within the second week, but I understand it.
So, in an effort to try to find some balance in life, I’m installing a plugin that will auto-Tweet the posts from the blog for me. I will view the comments and responses to those posts, but not immediately and if you want to get my or Gordon’s attention, the blog is the best place. Facebook tends to be a little less fear-inducing for me, so we will still be there.