I’ve been paying more attention to my writing on a lot of levels. Writing, editing, paying attention to where I am spending my time when I’m not writing, and what I’m spending my time on when I am.
Which means I’m becoming aware of all the writing that I do in working towards a story that may never be seen, at least, if I’m presenting the story in a traditional way. Not just the scenes that get cut, or the false turns, but the background that is never intended to be shared in the first place. Some of this background doesn’t make it to the page, remaining forever trapped in the wanderings of my mind — but occasionally the ideas need to take form on the page.
Which was a thought quickly supplanted with, “Anywhere is too close, anytime is too soon.”
This is the 74th incident where there is gunfire on a school campus. 74, since the Sandy Hook shooting in December of 2012. Which means there have been an average of 4 incidents of gunfire on school campuses in the US per month, for the last 18 months.
And that does not count shootings in other places, in malls, or stores, or on the street, or in a place of worship, or in people’s homes, or on military bases. And it doesn’t account for violence that does not involve guns, such as stabbings.
I wish I could be writing something helpful. Something to comfort, something to incite change, something to make a difference. But instead I find myself just stuck.
I know that there will be a rise of voices about the need for gun reform, and a rise of voices in reaction to this. There will be a call, and the giving of, prayers, thoughts, and support. Depending on what information begins to unfold about the victim and the shooter, there may be rising conversations about bullying, mental health issues, school safety, and who knows what else.
There will be those who avoid the news, and there will be those who follow it obsessively, wanting to know more about the victim, the shooter, the community. There will be many questions, and perhaps accusations, people looking at the past and playing, “if only,” and “they should have.” There will be yet more heightened scrutiny at security in schools, what could have been done, what should have been done, what was done.
I can add my voice to the myriad of voices that will appear, but there will always be those who can voice things more articulately than I can. I can sign petitions, and send prayers, but it’s hard to feel like those make a difference when there is still so much violence. Every few days (if not every day) there is another report of death and violence. Yes, some of it has always been there, and the rise in coverage is tied highly to the media’s tendency to sensationalize everything.
But, it is hard to ignore the facts that we have so much violence in our society. We sensationalize it, we raise it up within our culture in many ways, it surrounds us. We normalize it in ways that are horrifying.
I write this because this time the violence is nearby. But the reality is that I want to be writing with without the nagging thoughts in the back of my mind that next time it will be another community. In a church, a store, a home, a park; taking over the media, or being ignored; a shooting, a stabbing, some other form of violence. It will happen again, and that makes me wish that there was more I could do.
It makes me angry that we all don’t do so much more to make changes. To figure out the changes that need to be made. To figure out the next steps so that change can happen. To stop digging in our heels on one side or another — responding out of fear and knee-jerk reactions, and digging deep in order to get to the real heart of the issue.
Why are things like this happening? How are we normalizing all of this? How can we change the culture that we have created? Because that is what really is needed, a cultural shift. A society recognizing deeply embedded issues and taking action to make a difference.
They sat in the moment, waiting as the tensions settled and the air calmed. Ayrella looked down, into the infinite space that stretched between them and the waters. Her head was light, adjusting, she realized, to all the changes that had occurred to her just in that moment. Another transformation, and she knew it would take some time to adjust to this reality.
“There are three,” Ikthar said finally, as the airs seemed to calm. “Three, it would seem, who should be undertaking their journeys soon. The seeds have already been planted, though they may not know it yet.”
“What is it that we are supposed to do?” Thipar asked, always seeming impatient, always preparing for his next move. “Guide them on their paths? Help them to find their way and overcome the horror that is descending on their Realms?”
How does your typical day start? Coffee? Tea? Yoga? Wrestling bears?
Every morning I wake up with the sun, refreshed and ready to face the day. Which is good, because the first thing I do is have to fight my way past a blob-monster, and scale a castle wall to reach my morning coffee. Then comes the dragon wrestling.
I wish I could say that my typical day starts in some exciting way… like if I were able to share some of the dreams that I remember in the earliest moments of awake when they still have hold of part of my brain. I used to love to lay awake in the mornings, purposefully dwelling in that time when the veil between dreams and reality seems more permeable. I had a lot of great times, drifting in and out of worlds where magic was real and easy to access (for me, at least). Where I got to wear awesome dresses (I love awesome dresses, a particular dress was once purchased for me because the “Allison “eee!” factor” was pretty high), and fight off the bad guys.
Someday I will learn this patience thing, and to not put up a post right away. But this one… this one I really want to put out there now.
I remember at one point, some years ago, I had a conversation with my sister about our tendency to wander around in the children’s and YA sections of the bookstore. She noted how she loved the fact that, now she was going into education, she had an excuse to explore those books. I’d been working with kids for years, so never thought twice — no one ever asked me if the books were for the children I worked with or for myself.
I was slow to get into reading “age-appropriate” books. Until I was about nine years old, I only read chapter books if they were required for school. I much preferred my picture books. Then I was finally introduced to books that I liked which didn’t contain pictures, and a monster was born…. I now devour books, I adore them all. But, still, some of my favorites are not books that are “written for adults.”
Three songs of significance. With some thought this becomes a very interesting question, it is not asking the most significant, or even for ones that have a positive significance. It is simply asking to celebrate three significant songs.
Last week I discovered a new, awesome, post idea over on Just Get It Written. Started by VikLit, it’s a celebration of the small things. Of little achievements (and big). They are doing it every Friday, but I’m going to aim for at least one Friday a month.
And today’s that day! So, what are some of the achievements and little things to celebrate today?
Disparate Threads went live this week! It feels kind of awesome to be sharing the story, and I just hope people enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it (and, yes, even editing it).
I participated in my first Insecure Writers Support Group, “Post Day.” And it was spectacular! I’d actually started the post a while ago, but posting it for this day, and all the support and comments I got felt really awesome. I am now feeling motivated to actually try working some more on Hazel, and seeing what might come.
I rearranged my room, and am quite happy with the results. There is now SPACE! Like, I can see actual floor. It is most impressive (previously there was a large bed, in the middle of the room, leaving little space… now that bed is against the wall, and FLOOR!
Yes… it really is the little things, isn’t it?
What are the little (or not-so-little) things that you are celebrating this week?