I’ve talked before about how difficult and draining Afterwar was to write, and how bumpy the road to publication was. The pain is still somewhat ongoing; I feel an ignored Cassandra, shouting into the wind. I fucking told you so,
*sigh* I was prepared for the book to be ignored, but I was not prepared for the feeling of…well, I feel like I did my best and it still wasn’t enough. It’s a common, creeping little feeling, lying in wait for any unsuspecting (or even suspecting) writer.
I just keep looking at current events and shaking my head. I saw this coming in 2015, I think, and the weight of seeing ahead, along with the weight of witnessing my country descend gleefully into totalitarian filth, wears on me daily. I can barely stand to look at the news. My heart aches.
Our midterm ballots arrived last week. The Princess and I (the Prince has not yet reached voting age) sat down at the dining room table, shielding our ballots, and passed the state voter’s guide back and forth, reading campaign statements and filling in little boxes. She’s hopeful.
History tells me what comes next. The camps and dehumanization are already here, and growing worse daily. The “Fuhrer worship” of that small-handed orange shithead grows, racists and nationalists cavort openly with their fascist buckles jangling, and our major journalism is supine. The police are full of rage, hatred, and military surplus; they are the Mango Mussolini’s private army now.
I know it’s always been bad. Even Eisenhower saw where the military-industrial complex and its pursuit of more profit by fear and murder would end. There’s been no shortage of warnings. America was a genocidal slave state from the start, and refusal to look at that plain fact lets exceptionalism, fascism, and murder grow like rank weeds in rich soil.
I just…I am in despair. I poured my heart and soul into a warning cry, and suspected it would be ignored. The small hope that it wouldn’t is thoroughly crushed.
So I continue writing. What else can I do?
I just finished a romance because after Afterwar and the epic fantasy, I wanted something lighter. Now I’m struggling with guilt because how dare I write something I enjoy, knowing what I know?
The enjoyment is necessary. We’re not just fighting to halt evil, but also to preserve what is precious and joyful and good. Intellectually I know this.
I just have a hard time convincing my heart that it’s not a waste of time, that I’m not fiddling while Rome burns.1 I already feel like no matter what I do, it won’t be enough. Nobody will be saved, nothing will be preserved, the horrifying things will come to pass and all I’ve ever accomplished is dust in the wind.
I have to believe that it is the attempt itself that matters. I have to believe that daily decency, kindness, listening, boosting marginalized voices, and refusing to let the despair paralyze me matters.
Some days, though, heartsick and sore, I can’t bring myself to. Some days I have very little faith in anything other than humanity drowning itself and the planet in its own blood. Some days, like today, I am not even furious, just exhausted, terrified, and sure that nothing matters.
Please, dear gods, let me be wrong.
Please let me be wrong.