If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Ignore ‘Em

I’ve been getting this jones to do some writing lately. Fiction writing. I’ve gotten literally dozens of unfinished pieces in different folders and at different stages. I don’t know that my urge is to finish them; I just want to get lost in the process.

So I’ve dipped my toes when I have time. But a few days ago this happened: I was in the kitchen, mulling some ideas in my head while I put together a bottle for the baby. A newspaper was on the kitchen table, and in it, yet another article about Trump. My brain started doing what it always does: arguing with imaginary people.

I know better than this, and forced myself to stop after a few minutes. I tried to return to those thoughts from before, ideas for the stories I’m working. Gone. Utterly gone. The idea of sitting down and writing felt like a chore, and a Sisyphean one at that.

And I realized: this happens all the time. This has been happening to me for a long time now. No wonder I never write nuthin’.

What I’m getting at here is not supposed to be any kind of political stance or discussion about the looming election (although, you have to admit: it sure does loom, doesn’t it.) Instead, I want to mentioned a different epiphany I had today. Because I was on the internet, on Reddit and Facebook, and the articles about Trump: they were legion.

Somehow, instead I ended up watching some YouTube videos. First I watched The Robert Randolph band play Squeeze and Voodoo Chile. Then I watched a short video on how to play the Black Lion opening in chess. Then I read an article about a guy who paced a 3:55 marathon for a bunch of people.

And it was back! The urge to write. The desire to get in there and pound some keys and make up whacky stuff. It was like an antidote to all the… what do you call it (ha, here I am, an urge to write, and I’m at a loss for words). All the cynicism and bitterness and doom and gloom, all of that weight was just gone.

It seems so obvious, I know. But it’s easy to forget the obvious when your brain is more or less constantly trying to solve the complicated puzzles of saving your soul from the degradations of the world. So call this a reminder Find things that delight you, immerse yourself in the awe of witnessing genius, and use it to erase the malaise of all this dreck that seems to earn so many page hits and generate ad revenue.

And then go write about it!