Dear Cheato Diary,
Don’t hate me for ignoring you.
First, there was Thanksgiving. Then it was Black Friday. Now it’s Cyber Monday. Of course I haven’t had time to write!
Still, I’m back at it today and even though I have some ground to make up, I think I can do it. I plan to write all night tomorrow night at the StoryStudio Chicago Free Last Gasp Nanowrimo Write-in on Tuesday, November 29 from 6pm to 9pm.
Over the weekend I was cleaning out some long-ignored corners of the house and came upon a stack of my grandmother’s old recipes. She had written and rewritten the same ingredient list for gefilte fish about 30 times…on paper, on the backs of envelopes, on pages torn from magazines, even on a bank deposit slip.
Mixed into these scribbled notes were some letters from her sisters written in the 1970s. I was struck by their historical tone, as if the 70s were in the last century. (Oh, wait for me to do the math.)
As I was reading these handwritten and typewritten notes, including details of conversations and recipes, a million story ideas came to mind. But the ideas left as quickly as they arrived.
It’s been hard to focus on my stories as the election is still on everyone’s mind. Some of us are still heartbroken and terrified. Some of us are proving to be sore winners. (The latest example was Maureen Dowd’s brother. I’m not a fan of Dowd’s regular columns in the New York Times, but this meanspirited essay from her brother made me feel a little bad for her.)
I live in a bubble. The north side of Chicago is surrounded by liberal Democrats. My family–while not a bastion of liberals on every issue–is still pretty darn liberal. My friends and colleagues, even most of my corporate clients have all expressed worry and sadness about the election results.
I’m so thankful for that bubble. But I have also been reminding myself that I don’t fully experience the wide swath of American perspectives and opinions. No one really can. We tend to surround ourselves with like-minded people because this makes us feel good–and sometimes it just feels safer.
So then how will we ever overcome this gap? How will I ever agree with that particular white suburban Trump voter that brown skin is bad and gay people should go back into the closet. (Um, been there, done that.)
Oh, I’m not overstating this. I’ve just been reading the news and glancing at Pantsuit Nation.
STOP. I THOUGHT THIS BLOG WAS ABOUT WRITING FOR NANOWRIMO??!!
Ah, we writers long to disappear into the make-believe of our stories but the real world insists on being noticed. For writers, this can only be a good thing. Even though the worlds inside our heads are full of detail and conflict and journeys, the world outside our window is the one that so often needs our attention.
Voices Amplified is our attempt at living a writer’s creed:To write about what matters. To use our words to change the world. In big or in small ways, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is recognizing that we have this power and to use it wisely.
How will you use your power?