I have no words. And words are the one thing I usually have.
I look around and see my writer friends blogging and tweeting their outrage about the most recent shooting (take your pick which one), and meanwhile I’m posting on my blog about the Weezer concert or my summertime tan. And I think, my god, the stuff I’m writing about is meaningless. Who cares about my struggles getting a middle-grade novel published when people are getting killed for no good reason?
But I don’t know what to say.
I really don’t know what to say about all of this. Horrible isn’t a strong enough word. There is, in fact, no word that can express how awful I feel every time I hear about innocent people dying, whether it’s at the hands of the police, or a sniper, or terrorists, or because somebody’s two-year-old accidentally picked up a loaded gun. It’s awful. It’s ALL SO AWFUL. And I don’t even know what to say.
I’m writing this post on Friday, the day after five Dallas police officers were killed by an angry sniper in response to the deaths of Philando Castile of Minneapolis and Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge –black men who were shot and killed by white police officers only a few days earlier.
I usually only post on my blog once a week, on Wednesdays, and for a moment I wondered if it made sense to wait until then to post this. By Wednesday, I thought, there will probably have been another shooting or attack to be heartbroken about. It’s a horrible thing to think. And even more horrible because there’s a good chance it’s true.
The violence and hate going on in our country right now… Again, I have no words. I try to tell myself that history is always violent, and that every generation believes they have it the worst. But I don’t quite believe myself. It really seems like things are getting worse. Besides, we should know better by now, people! These things that are happening, especially these hate crimes in which Americans are killing other Americans, they should not be happening. There is absolutely no excuse for any of it, and it makes me ashamed of my country.
And I just… I just… I just don’t know what else to say.
In a way I feel guilty that I spend my energy writing fiction and silly blog posts. Shouldn’t I be using my writing skills to somehow combat this needless violence?
And the thing is, at some point you have to take a break from reading about the violence. My husband watches cat videos to cheer himself up after reading the news. I read the news in the morning, but then I read novels at night — so I don’t get nightmares. Of course you should be informed about the terrible things going on in the world, but at some point, I think, you have to take a break from the sadness and fill your mind with something more pleasant and positive. Give yourself a reminder that, despite everything, there is still good in the world.
So that’s my job, I suppose. I don’t have the words to write about the bad stuff, so I’ll write the stuff you read when it’s time to give your heart a break; when you want to remind yourself that there’s more to this world than violence.
And meanwhile, kudos to all the writers who tackle these difficult subjects with intelligence and passion. May your pens be mightier than the guns and may your words help inspire others so we can have some much-needed peace and understanding in this country of ours.