I need coffee today, lots of it, to contemplate either outcome of the mid-term elections.
My food is simple today: It’s a fast day for me. I’ve just had this one so far. On Keto, I used to fast once every week or two. But I felt I needed one: just coffee with a bit of unsalted/grass-fed butter. And water, filtered and sparkling.
It is a day for sorting and balancing things—books, diets, goals, dreams, hopes…I’ve had a few bumps in the road. I feel I’m working dealing with things well, still, it helps to sort it..This will be my one and only political post. But I need to post it so you will understand my writing dilemmas and goals for the future.
I’ve been taking stock of my writing goals. I’ve been publishing for many years at university presses and in literary journals and have had many liberal friends through the years (I’ve always had more liberal friends than conservative due to the circles I hang). But recently, I’ve lost many of them.
I am an independent/libertarian type person, my politics are vastly complicated. I have always been socially liberal—I am for gay rights; I am a conservationist (particularly where agriculture and people like Monsanto are concerned—am vastly interested in organic farming and grazing practices—the thing I believe will truly do us in—the Frankenstein of agricultural science, pesticides, GMO foods), I live off the grid and use much less energy than most people while taking care of my forest and river, I walk the walk; I am no racist; I am reluctantly pro-choice (within 12 weeks unless for the physical health of the mother—beyond that is simply barbaric); have always held feminist views having been raised with a raving chauvinist (the Me, too thing was a long time coming—don’t screw it up, Democrats, let’s have due process here and some common sense)– but I am not a socialist and I think practically how we can afford certain policies or how effective they are anyway—both parties have got to do something about this deficit and use some sense. My family has always been in the private sector, so I’m a fiscal conservative. As a Libertarian, I see all this political noise as a balance. Both sides contribute to the conversation in my opinion. And if either completely got their way, we would be in trouble. It’s difficult to decide how to vote since my views are never represented anywhere, but I tend to vote economically since I believe socialism will topple this country and then civil liberties will be gone anyway. I’m afraid of a permanently entrenched massive government that is basically inept. And I want to err on the side of freedom rather than comfort. I listen to all sides, subscribe to DNC newsletters, read NY Times, LA Times, Huffington Post is delivered to my mailbox. I watch Fox News, especially Chris Wallace and the nightly news with Brett Baier. Fox is the only station with conservative editorial comment. You have to have both sides and when my students wrote argument papers, I insisted they research opposing views fairly or they received lower grades—no matter which side they were arguing. This is a must, yet so few people do it. It’s a must if you want to see what each side is leaving out, and it’s a lot.
This is not a popular way to live life, though my conservative friends/relatives don’t excommunicate me. However, these views will not fly with my far-left progressive colleagues.
But “cultural appropriation” is a problem for a fiction writer since it’s becoming problematic to write from a minority point of view anymore if you are white (I would not be for this in reverse). The “death of the author” and soon the novel– worry me. I have expressed this in writing and within the department where I was an English professor. I also went on record that the university should not take a political position of any kind since we were a public institution and were experiencing lower enrollment already. I was attacked personally and publically, accused of being an “anti-intellectual” and more. When my son was diagnosed with testicular cancer and I had to be engaged in finding doctors, etc., the university used a technicality (didn’t advise me of things) so I would lose my seniority. I was left off lists that advised teachers of dates to respond if one wanted classes. I know there were a couple reasons for this. Some had to do with my politics and the fact Northern has been trying to winnow out adjuncts who came up within their ranks.
This was really fine with me since I had to care for my son and father (who has Parkinson’s and heart problems). I really didn’t want classes. It was time to “retire.”
But more upsetting, I just became aware this last week or so that I’ve been “unfriended” by many of my liberal writer friends. It’s a small community here in Michigan.
I still have my close writer friends, though in these times I think they find it hard to like me. You are either with them or you are against them. Many of them knew my politics. I haven’t changed, I’m still a loyal friend and I still know and respect their positions, but times have changed. Both sides are at fault for crazy over the top rhetoric and in some cases behavior, and it’s too bad to see how this is affecting interpersonal relationships.
I wanted my children to go to a public university so they would be exposed to all ideas—that is becoming harder to achieve. I’m afraid conservatives will not send their children to public universities any longer, will pick private schools, open more of them as a result, and we’ll just become more and more divided as a people. I also think public universities will have trouble staying in business soon because their enrollment is going to drop precipitously as it has at Northern where I taught. Since I’m no elitist, I find this disheartening.
But this means I must regroup. I had already been considering writing something more commercial—for fun. I’m tired of reading people who are so in love with their own words, anyway, tired of reading folks who just want to hear their own heads rattle, and this includes my own writing. I’m sick of trying to impress people and want to write to reach them instead. Or to entertain, unite somehow. These days we can’t even root for sports teams together anymore and I want to write something that unites people, or at least something everyone can relate to or have fun with. I’ve been rereading Agatha Christie and some ghost stories and loving it. I need more linear structures for commercial work, though time travel novels obviously have complicated structures. And my idea will move people through time. I have never needed an agent for literary fiction and nonfiction, but I will for commercial writing. So there will be a learning curve.
Mostly, I need to grieve over losing my friends. So far, I haven’t lost the real close ones, though I’ve lost a few I really valued. I want my liberal friends to know even though they seem to hate me, I still love them. I always knew their viewpoints and always believed they had important things to contribute.
What I believe in this blog: There are very few “hateful” people in this country, very few, even when they seem to behave that way. There are very few racists in this country – we voted twice for Barack Obama. And those that didn’t, most of them, didn’t vote against him because he was black but because he had contrary economic views.
But I believe in US! In you and me. I have to. I do not believe in government’s ability to solve anything. But I still believe in us. I see people of all political backgrounds and all races reaching hands out to help one another. I believe in the goodness of most of us. In our ability to do the right things without some government forcing us to. I’ve seen too much evidence we can work together. Most of us are good. And I believe the rest are mentally ill or environmentally deprived. And that we have to work to fix that.
We all have things in common but, of course, we all have unique experiences to share and are unique people. Louise Erdrich (one of my favorite writers of all time—if you haven’t read her, you should) was criticized widely in literary circles (accused of being too interested in postmodernism and not enough in the tragedies of colonial times). She suggested in interviews (she was half German, half Native American) that when white people hung Indians and committed all other types of atrocities, everyone was a victim of this colonial experience, what happened to Native Americans as a people—we have all inherited it, it’s a cross we bear, white people are victims, too—think of her saying that!! And when I considered what she said, I thought this: I think it might be easier to be the people perceived as the obvious “victim.” Emotionally. I mean. (Again, I am not diminishing the struggle minorities have faced in this country or imagining what that horror was like, economically or otherwise—there’s no way I can). But neither can they imagine the “oppressor’s” position—sins of the father? The collective guilt we have to feel there seems to be no way to assuage, one we are not personally responsible for. We pay for their crimes, too. Perhaps it was her mixed heritage (though I suspect it was her Native American heritage since my native friends seem more spiritually evolved than most cultures—a generalization, but a good one) that made her understand something so incredibly wise. She pointed out we are all mix-breeds. Also probably not a popular position these days. Perhaps she understands that in order for us to progress in any kind of individual growth, we often have to forgive those who have wronged us—even if they don’t ask for forgiveness or deserve it—and we have to forgive ourselves for our own sins—and this is true collectively as well. I agree with her.
We have to move forward together somehow. We must…
What do you think? Are you as sick of politics as I am? Have you lost friends one direction or the other? Have you felt the need to unfriend folks? Aren’t we all contributing to a larger conversation? A balance? Or do you truly feel we’d be better off eliminating half the population? What is the solution? Or don’t answer at all and tell me about your diet experiments, your loves, your passions. Anything!
Dreams: Slept unbelievably soundly, a good healing sleep. Much needed. But no dreams I remember. I am trying to invoke my mother and grandmothers to arrive in my dreams and still believe it will start happening. The research has been fascinating on this! Have a wonderful night and happy dreams!
I am not a doctor. I don’t recommend this diet or any other and this blog is not a substitute for medical advice. I am simply recording my experiences on carnivore and keto!