Sometimes it’s good to take a break, especially if you have some deadlines (self-imposed or otherwise) that are personally important for you to meet. In other words, I have a manuscript to finish revising and I want to get that done by end of year. (I also have a basement I desperately want to clean out, but that’s beside the point for this site.) So I’ll be taking a break from posting here through the end of the year. Have a great November and December, and when I come back in January, hopefully I’ll have good news.
Wow, what a week.
I normally try not to get political when I write these newsletters (although it could be argued that, as a writer of fiction primarily with a queer bent, my work is inherently political). I like to have a focus, and that’s usually on the things I write, the things I teach about writing, how to help other people write, and why I write.
And then this week happened, and well, you know. Now I’m trying to figure out where writing fits into a landscape that looks like it could very easily collapse.
A lot of people might be surprised to hear that I consider myself an optimist. (Hey, stop laughing. No, really. I said stop.) I think that’s surprising mainly because I’m also pretty curmudgeonly. A curmudgeonly optimist? Is that a thing?
In any case, that sense of optimism has been sorely tested already over the past year. I think the last week pretty much shattered it. Which is not to say that I’m surprised at how the election turned out. Never underestimate the ability of a group of paranoid, prejudiced people to make poor choices.
So now I’ve started asking myself, in a climate like this, what’s the point of writing stories?
photo by Aaron Burden
These days, I admit to feeling more than a little guilty if I’m not spending every spare minute I have working on my book. Which is not to say that I do spend every spare minute working on it, just that whenever I do something other than write (which is often), I feel as if I’m somehow betraying something. That I’m not really a writer. That I don’t want it badly enough. That the idea isn’t compelling enough to try to get out on paper.
But then I look at what I’m working on, and it looks like this: