Since the inauguration, I’ve been experiencing an uncharacteristic inertia. A malaise has insinuated itself into my psyche, and my days are often void of the requisite energy to write or practice. As such, my productivity has tanked to a troubling low. This feels different than depression. Still, I’m not exactly sure what’s up. I’m curious if other artists are experiencing this too.
Reality has flipped on its ear. Every fucking day is weirder than the one before it. Lying is the new norm. Corruption and incompetence are routine. Decorum is out the window. Checks and balances are broken. At the epicenter of it all is an orange monkey flinging poo, surrounded by bungling sycophants cheering him on. The United States has become an embarrassing cesspool of stupidity. It’s like nothing I could have ever imagined. No amount of hallucinogenic drug use in the past–and there was plenty–could have prepared me for this moment in time. It truly is the end of the world as I knew it.
I observe this phantasmagoric quagmire and feel creatively flummoxed. I examine the situation carefully, looking at it from all angles. I struggle to find any kind of meaningful perspective. It doesn’t help that everything is changing so rapidly. It’s like fighting with a shapeshifter. I’m not sure how to approach or if I should even bother. What could I possibly throw out there that isn’t just going to ping off the monster and spin into cacophonous oblivion?
But I’m a feisty chick. Resignation isn’t really my thing.
I have been busy with the resistance. No inertia there. My particular focus has been on the uptick in hate crimes and making my community safer for everyone. The “start where you are approach” has always made sense to me, and I believe my efforts are impactful. I have no problem showing up. The struggle is making art in the midst of the madness. The irony is that this is precisely the time to be upping the creative game. It’s an all-hands-on deck call for artists everywhere.
Of course, while the Trump shit show consumes everything, our personal lives roll on. People go to job interviews, fall in and out of love, cope with unexpected bills and diagnoses, battle addictions, have sex with the wrong and right people, laugh, cry, make good choices and stupid decisions. For my part, the kids are grown and mostly gone. I find myself wondering where the time went, twiddling my thumbs and pondering what, if anything, comes next. I think a lot about social justice and how I might best serve in this environment. Attendant with that, I’m pulled to simplify other areas and find myself gravitating towards things that make me the happiest–working out and football. Creativity is a privilege and a gift. And sometimes, it’s also a burden. I don’t know if these feelings of late are due to the current climate or some kind of midlife crisis. Maybe I’m just a little tired.
I do know one thing: To deal with Trump, we have to square with our fear of death. I’ve said this before and still believe it to be true. Many of our worst-case scenarios are being realized, and there’s more to come. This fucker could get us all killed. This is a very real possibility. Any number of crazy things could happen. And the sooner we can reconcile with our mortality, the sooner we’ll be free. To drill it down to the ultimate outcome is liberation. And therein lies extraordinary power.
With every death comes renewal. My mojo is still out there somewhere. I have to believe that–because I’m not done yet.
“I want to be with you, it is as simple, and as complicated as that.”
– Charles Bukowski