Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obligatory Election Day Post.

I can't think of anything to say today that I haven't already been saying with the whole of my life.

This is what I wrote about it in my "writer's log", so I'll just cross-post it here:

See, this is what I mean. I can’t think today. Only in images. Right now, there is the image of a frightened, scraggly rat being pelted by rain, its fur ruffled and turned up by wind so that underneath its pale skin full of scabs and scars is exposed... And the rat trying to swim with its useless little arms that end in claws, to breathe with a nose soggy and lapped with water and snot, to just stay alive so that it won’t become bloated and buoyant like so many dead leaves on the surface of the river. What is that image? To swim, rather than to float. To put in so much effort just to feel oneself moving and alive. To be something small and perhaps disgusting or even feared: the person who doesn’t believe in the inherent benevolence of the system. Who has no delusions of Faith and can hardly weigh which is worse: to see a presidential race so close for McCain who has been running largely on fear, prejudice, xenophobia and misinformation; or to see Obama win and watch people whose hopes had been so high slowly forget them over the next four years as the change they voted for simply fails, with each passing day, to happen at all. Which is worse? Cynicism and bigotry in the present, or the slow death of hope and the devastating return to complacency and lassitude that’s bound to happen otherwise...

How can I write anything at a time like this? There is nothing to say. Even my own personal melodramas of loneliness and heart-ache seem silly and impotent compared to this Big Thing. I remember when I had so much hope--hope for the future of the country, hope for myself and my relationships... But that all seems vague naivety now. I do so much better--I see and think more clearly, I live more fully--when I am resigned to the inevitability of death. There is something peaceful in it. I am too old for new beginnings. All I want is a continuation, to see life around me thriving and messy and sometimes beautiful--to stop trying to control, to cease telling myself the story of control.

There was a time when I knew how to get a cute boy to like me, there was a time when I was sure that every good citizen would do the right thing and I could trust not only others, but myself. No, now I trust in continuation, and the Big Thing is only that life itself will continue in spite of my clumsiness and bumping blindly into everything. My fears have become modest and thin, really too small to be used against me. I’m afraid no one will ever love me, that I will never have a family, that my writing will never touch anyone or make the world a little better. What president can promise me these things? What do I care about my own material poverty? What do I care if America “falls to terrorists” or “goes socialist”? I want love and creative freedom, such small things, little rodents and pests that survive the dinosaurs’ extinction and persist even in the worst circumstances. These other things are just lies and Big Fears they’re trying to sell us so we’re ready, so we clamor and absolutely beg to be told the Story of Control, like a bedtime story, to put us to sleep.

I want to stay awake. I want to swim. I want my ratty little life to continue, I want the story of inevitable death and joy to continue. I want people, all the voters and citizens, to come back to me and sit with me and be quiet for a while, and see that there is nothing so big to fear, nothing we haven’t already faced a thousand times.

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