Noonday Demon

Once upon a time I was a good writer.

OK, maybe good is stretching it. A serviceable writer if you were looking for a certain type of experience (85,000+ words of a certain type of experience).

A serviceable writer with flashes of brilliance when I put my mind to it, or more accurately didn’t over think it.

Then something happened.

I’m not sure what.

Hormones. Life. Aging. Job troubles. Money troubles from job troubles. More job troubles. Even more job troubles after a brief lull during which I got comfortable and started working in long form – ask me about my five finished, unpublished novels. Did I mention I have a trilogy?

All of that feels like an excuse. All of it. Yet, the amalgamation of those things feels like a lead balloon I can’t control.

It sits in my chest swelling and growing heavy at the most unexpected times.

When I’m sitting in traffic just waiting, resigned to the fact that no one around me has the faintest fucking idea how to drive any more – because yes, I’ve sat in the lane next to someone who literally left a city bus length’s worth of space between him and the car in front of him. How do I know? I was behind the bus.

When I’m sitting at my desk in the office I share with someone who never works anywhere but at home or at the client site – because yes, it’s important for me to spend 45 minutes on the road so I can sit in an half-empty office at the juncture of two empty corridors so no one can speak to me outside the two meetings I have scheduled during the day that are the sole reason I came into the office in the first place.

When I’m brushing my teeth, for my dental hygiene is amazing because brushing and flossing are two of the easiest things to accomplish on my ridiculously long list of Self Care Actions – always title case, if you please, because we must take our self care seriously.

This balloon inside me swells bringing me to sobs with no warning. Literal, mouth open, I just saw someone I love die in front of me sobs. That’s a lot of fun at the office.

Whatever this is inside me swells taking up all the space in my head and heart, demanding I pay attention to it and making me sick when I don’t.  And if it would just stay in my chest I could handle it. I could learn to carry the weight of it no matter how heavy it got. But it won’t stay put. It migrates.

It activates my brain when what I need most is a good night’s sleep. It makes my limbs too heavy to lift, my feet drag, and my head weigh more than I could possibly balance on my neck when what would benefit me most is a good, vigorous workout. It says “go ahead, have ice cream for dessert in the middle of the day. You work at home. No one cares.” And then convinces me the phrase “no one cares” is the truth.

It makes me want to disappear. Not to die necessarily, because death leaves behind all kinds of messy complications and God forbid I take up anyone’s time or energy, but just disappear even if all that happens is feeling like this stops.

And all of that is just an aside to the poisonous memes it injects into my thought process, the ones that say that once upon a time I was a good writer…but that I shouldn’t expect to be one ever again.

Don’t look at the dogs, work the lock.

Fuck the 2020 Presidential race.

That’s right. You heard me. I said fuck the 2020 Presidential campaign.

It may feel good to post countdowns to the next Inauguration on your Twitter or Facebook page, and while I get the value of feeling good, what good does it actually do? Maybe it makes someone else feel good briefly. But here’s the truth about 2020:

It’s fucking distraction.

Take a good hard look at the last four years. What did the Obama Administration actually accomplish?

Between 2009 and 2016, President Obama signed 1,340 bills. A significant number of those were things like this gem “To provide for the award of a gold medal on behalf of Congress to Arnold Palmer in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf,” which he signed on September 30, 2009.

Granted, he did a couple of amazing things, like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (January 29, 2009) and the Library of Congress Sound Recording and Film Preservation Programs Reauthorization Act of 2016 (July 29, 2016).

But the truth is, a lot of the good stuff Obama did – like expanding the marine sanctuary in Hawaii – he did by executive order. It wasn’t legislation passed by Congress. And you know why?

Because Congress was too busy trying to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to create any really meaningful legislation.

Congress was too busy trying to make Obama look bad to do its fucking job, which is, to refresh, send the President legislation to either sign or veto.

That is Congress’ job: to make legislation.

And this is why the 2020 Presidential race is the dove flying out of your pocket.

You need to ignore the 2020 Presidential race because without a cooperative Congress, the President only has so much power.

You need to ignore the 2020 Presidential race because 2018 is right around the fucking corner time-wise. In fact, if we didn’t start working on 2018 on say, oh, November 15, 2016 we’re already behind.

And here’s another reason why you need to ignore the 2020 Presidential race: there is a Census happening in 2020.

Half the states in this country are trifecta – Governor, State House, and State Senate – controlled by Republicans. Thirty-two states in all have Republican controlled legislatures, and another six have split legislatures.

You know what that means if we focus on getting a Democrat in the White House in 2020 and continue to let state governments run like this?

It means the Republican party controls redistricting after the 2020 census.

That means more voter suppression, more disenfranchisement, and an ever deepening hole for us to climb out of. It also means an increasing reliance on the Electoral College.

How well did that work for us last time?

We need to focus on getting more people into Congress who see this country as being for all of us not just for the 1%, the white, the heterosexual, the able-bodied, and the church-going.

And just as importantly, we need to focus on our state legislatures before they stab us in the back again and gain the right to shape politics well into third decade of the 21st century.

There’s this great scene from the pilot episode of Magnum P.I.. Magnum is trying to steal his benefactor’s Ferrari as part of a series of security checks on the man’s estate in Hawaii.

After getting through the lock on the security fence, luring and trapping the dogs outside, Magnum goes to work on the car itself even as the “major domo” of the estate has let the dogs back in and sent them to find the intruder.

Fuck the 2020 Presidential race.

It’s the dogs. Congress and the state legislatures and ensuring everyone gets to vote…that’s the Ferrari.

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