The summer of our discontent
OK, all y’all, it’s been a while. We’ve all had plenty of the pandemic. As if that weren’t enough, my dear Portland, where people take this Black Lives Matter thing pretty seriously, was invaded by a plague of a different sort. Masked men in camo who grabbed quietly demonstrating people off the streets and threw them into unmarked vans while helicopters circled overhead.
It was creepy. The national new media had us looking like a city that had lost its mind. While we aren’t seeing the masked men these days, in recent nights an ugly and violent element has created dangerous mischief. The BLM movement doesn’t need bad actors. More important, who are these makers of bad trouble, and where do they come from?
Fear of writing
Within the writer’s world there is buzz about how some of us find it difficult to write during the upheaval and loss brought about by current events. We have no idea where our lives will land. While some of my writer friends have cheerfully popped out a novel or two. I, unfortunately, I am not among them. And yet, I remain hopeful.
Margaret Atwood says that if you can’t write it’s because you’re afraid. (I paraphrase.) I thought about that. For me it’s true. I’ve started two novels. And restarted. And started again. I’ve banged out a few pieces on theatre happenings around town, and that’s about it.
I’m scared of being scared. There are days when I’m afraid I can’t do it anymore. That I don’t have it anymore. Is this how Ernest Hemingway felt? (EH had other issues, but still….)
But the novel is in there, waiting like a hairball. It will come up eventually. Meanwhile, I observe and think and wait. If I’ve learned one thing in the last 40-plus years, it’s that when one is a writer it doesn’t just go away.
Some of you already know this. In December I will become a grandmother. I’m already a grandmother. In waiting. It’s a huge life change for all of us. I love my daughter so much. I love Rob. And the dogs. And the garden. And the cottage in Multnomah Village.
I love my friends. Some of us take safe walks together. Some of us Zoom-chat. Others of us gather on decks at safe distances where we can see each other’s dear faces. One day a friend and I drove to Oceanside and walked on the beach AND ATE AT A RESTAURANT. Imagine!
I long for the day when I can see you all again, unmasked. Meanwhile, hold on. There is much for which to be grateful.
“Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.” –Hafez