Better View of the Moon is primarily a blog about writing and creativity. But it’s hard to ignore the orange elephant in the room—the election of a president who makes me feel like screaming instead of writing.
Like many of us, last night I experienced the weirdness of watching President Obama’s farewell speech while trying to process the breaking news about the “compromising and salacious” information—“kompromat”—that Russia has allegedly collected on our incoming commander in chief.
Obama’s words were high minded and inspiring. They were democratic; they put country first. Yet as I watched them, I was also watching a steady, ahem, stream of pee jokes about his future successor.
It’s very hard for me to write what I write—mostly poems and essays of connection and compassion—amid all of this noise, and amid all of my own gleeful contributions to the noise, and under a cloud of what I can only describe as schadenfreude.
If compassion has an opposite, it is surely schadenfreude—that pleasure we get in seeing others fall. That’s an ugly emotion, and I’d like to rise above it. At the moment, though, it’s fair to say that I’m mired in it.
I’ve written very little of value since Nov. 8—not creatively, at any rate. I have restarted my blog after a hiatus, and I’m doing daily appreciations of poetry collections. So words are coming—but they are from the head, and not from the gut, where poetry originates. (For me, poetry starts in the gut, and the head’s job is to make the mess work—but without the deeply felt source material, the brain has nothing to work on.)
Obama said many things I found inspiring, both about working together and about remaining vigilant. “I’m asking you to believe,” he said, “not in my ability to bring about change—but in yours.” These were powerful words of a public servant who is more concerned about the nation than about his own legacy.
And I found a model in those words for a practicing artist—not to put self first, but to put art first.
Somehow in 2017, we have to heal. Somehow we have to quiet the noise, quell the fear, silence my negativity and resentment, and find the love. And we need to do it soon.
And we can do it. Yes, we can.
(I’m offering a workshop on this topic after inauguration day, and some promotional info follows.)
The day after the inauguration, I invite you to join me for a workshop, which I’m calling “Fierce Love in Trumpmerica.” If you’re interested in more information or you have questions, you may write to me at this link. http://www.papercranewritingservices.com/contact.html
Fierce Love in Trumpmerica: A Writing Workshop
It can be hard to write when the world has come unhinged. Screeds come easily, and obviously any fool can tweet. But sometimes we need to locate that inner wellspring of love and compassion to write our boldest work—whether it be love poem or manifesto.
This four-week course will combine tools for introspection—meditation, journaling, chant—with an investigation of how to regain our writing poise in a new era that threatens to shake our equilibrium. Daily exercises, one introspective and one generative, will prompt new work and new ways of cultivating stillness.
All genres are welcome as participants find a personal path to regaining and strengthening their voice. The instructor will offer personal feedback on all work, but the course itself is generative instead of evaluative.
Course starts Jan. 21, the day after the inauguration, and runs through Feb. 18. Cost: $99.
To enroll, contact me, Karen Craigo, here. http://www.papercranewritingservices.com/contact.html