I have written nothing for nine months.
The “Stay-at-Home” orders following eruption of the coronavirus accorded me a perfect opportunity to write. I had time to dive deep into research already begun for the final volume of my American tetralogy, Embracing the Elephant. I had time for reflection as well. Current world events (other than the virus) promised to expose me to an environment which in so many ways paralleled that of the American Civil War, the setting for my new unnamed novel.
What a gift.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I had more time to write, research, and reflect. I simply couldn’t bring myself to do anything with the opportunity. I haven’t even contributed to this blog for nearly a year. Instead, I feel like a dinosaur struggling through the morass of the La Brea Tar Pits. I am not inspired. Instead, I am innervated.
Last week, as my TV displayed the images of several thousand insurrectionists storming the U.S. Capitol, chanting “USA! USA!” as if they were great patriots, then watched the Confederate Flag, a symbol of racism, being paraded through the Rotunda for the first time in American history, I felt terror and disbelief and rage and confusion – something I can now describe faithfully in my novel.
Still in my horror, I am frozen.
Destruction is not the elixir for me that it appears to be for others. Between the destruction of the virus, destruction brought by the Capitol mob, destruction of civilized discourse in our society, and destruction of a belief in a common set of facts, I am left speechless. Which cannot be, for these are the things about which I write, I must write. Someday. Soon, I hope.