I wrote this while I was trying to write something else. That happens a lot. Here’s a little glimpse of what happens when you Get Up At 5am To Write. Sometimes, when people hear that, they think I’m an Olympic Unicorn Superstar Magick Hero. Most of the time, I take the title. And then I feel like I’m being misleading so I post something like this. Also, I happen to love this piece. So much of my favorite work of mine has happened when I was trying to work on something else.
It’s somewhere near 4:00am and our two cats have seen me stir. Pretending to go back to sleep doesn’t help. I now have twenty pounds of cats climbing on me and pawing my face. Get up, Primate. Thumbs. Cans. Food. Now.
I haven’t slept through the night in a while. I’ve tried meditation. I’ve tried wine. I’ve tried no wine. I tried eating a smaller dinner, eating a bigger dinner, exercising, and not exercising. Nope, nope, nope. My husband thinks it’s the Samhain (Halloween) season. The veils are thinner and the Spirits are bopping around. Maybe I’m tuned in. But if they’ve got messages, I’m not hearing them.
Deep down, I know what it is. It’s the election. And it’s that damn blog about the election.
Huffington Post wants a blog about my religious faith and how it influences my participation in the election. It’s an opportunity to show people that Wiccans have political beliefs informed by their faith, to educate people about us, clear up misconceptions, etc. It needs to be moving. It needs to be honest. It needs to not suck.
My husband says it should be easy for me and he’s right. I’ve got 77,778 reasons why my faith encourages me to vote against Trump. Racism, misogyny, violence, nuclear war, bad hair…but I can’t find a way to say it in a way it hasn’t been said thousands of times already by people much smarter and more eloquent than I.
I feed the monsters and sit down to write, but first I check 538.com. Hillary is still leading by a lot. Arizona has turned pale blue. Iowa and Ohio are even bluer than yesterday. I breathe deeply. I open a Word document, but then I remember to check Facebook. And Twitter. I check the “likes” and shares, the “hearts” and re-tweets. People like what I have to say about the election. I can do this. I need to get to this. But first, I need to check my email.
After all portals are checked, it’s time for business. The words dogpaddle around the page. There’s a weird stain on the fridge. I’ll clean it so it won’t distract me.
Is the blog ready to speak now?
It shrugs. It reminds me of myself at therapy when I don’t feel like talking. It’s not that the blog doesn’t have anything to say. There’s tons of trauma-drama that it could share. But it’s just not feeling it right now. I feel sympathy for my therapist.
My husband has had a cold all week. He’ll want bread to go with the leftover chicken soup. I should make some bread.
Bread machines are Magick. My Ancestors would approve. I imagine my Great-Great-Great-Great-Grand-Great-Great-Grandmother warmly smiling upon me. You’re a good wife, she would say. And you’re lucky you can use that white box instead of doing all the kneading I had to do. You’re right Great7 Grandma! I am so very fortunate to live in the 21st century. I can self-actualize. I can be a writer. I need to finish the blog.
While the bread machine whirrs, I return to the computer. I check 538 again. Hillary is still leading. The cats are fighting in the hall. I wish they loved each other. I close the laptop and free-write by hand: a few thoughts about faith and the election, drifting to the dream I had last night, about riding a bus over a field of wildflowers—and reaching out the window to push the beautiful blossoms out of the way of the wheels, wishing the driver would notice how much beauty she’s wrecking. I panic. What kind of beauty am I wrecking??? I push the notebook away.
I’m hungry. I pour a bowl of cereal.
While I eat, I check Donald Trump’s Twitter. He’s awake, too, tweeting away. He’s mad and getting madder. I wonder how SNL will play it this week. I know it’s not true (I can hear the cars roaring on Broadway down below), but I wonder if Trump and I are the only two people awake in New York City. Just me and The Donald, both writing our thoughts about the election. Eek. I don’t finish my cereal.
Please, I beg the blog. I want to be done with you before we leave for Connecticut this weekend. I don’t want to think about you at the roller derby or at Josi’s bonfire. I also need all mental energy to explain to my husband—again—why we need antique furniture. It last longer, it looks better, and it doesn’t puff furniture chemicals like new stuff does. Plus, look at me. I’m sitting on a folding chair at an Ikea “As-Is” table. This is not how people live. You’re not helping. In fact, you’re ruining everything.
The blog says, Why don’t you just use that Facebook “One Political PSA” post you made last week? It was almost 800 words. No one will notice except your FB friends and they liked it. Use that.
I find myself sighing and shaking my head the way my father did when I had crappy excuses for forgetting to call or sweep the garage. This blog has to know I can’t just regurg something from Facebook. That’s absolutely cheating.
Just be honest, the blog says in a slightly patronizing tone. You know you write best when you write what you feel and not what you think others will like. Or try to sound smart. You are smart. You don’t need to try to sound smart.
I nod. Thanks, blog, I say. Patronizing or not, the blog is telling the truth. It doesn’t have to “be good.” But it does need to be honest. I need to feel my heart pounding when the words are hitting the page. I need to feel like I’m running. I don’t need to “sound smart.”
Yeah, definitely don’t try to sound smart, says the blog. You come across as condescending. Your aunt is probably right. No, she’s definitely right. You do condescend. You should be more mindful of that in your writing. And in staff meetings. And at dinner parties. And with people on the subway. You know, you probably shouldn’t talk at all.
I sadly realize the blog will not get finished today.
Wait, you’re walking away? It asks. You want to be a writer, right? Write through this block. Don’t be a quitter. You’re being a quitter. All of the internet is waiting to read me and you’re letting them down. ALL OF THEM. DOWN.
You know what? I think I’m feeling sleepy.
Broadway is getting louder and the sky lighter, but I still have an hour before I have to get ready for work. I snuggle next to my husband. He stirs and puts his arm around me. The bread machine beeps, letting me know it’s got this, there will be hot bread when we both wake.
The piece will find its way. I hope so, anyway. But not this morning. Not right now.