I honestly don't even know what to say. My country is in chaos. My state is in chaos. Everyone is attacking my profession as if we're somehow to blame for people's stupidity. Every day, though, we all have to get up and go to work as if none of this is happening.
When I wrote the book that will hopefully come out sometime in 2018, it was as a dark realism vision of what could happen. Yet, before my very eyes, just two years after I wrote the book, it is now simply a book set in reality.
I keep being told, like so many like me, that we should have "talked more" to "the other side." But their values disgust me. If you saw a child exhibiting open hatred to someone else simply because of their religion, it seems to me you'd correct that child, not try to tell it that its values were okay and try to reason with it. And yet, here we are, being lectured that we should have "talked more" or "listened more" to people who...even as I write that, I hear the irony. I'm not immune to seeing it just because it's coming out of my own mouth.
My uncle's husband is a Trump supporter. You didn't misread that. A gay married man who lives in a deep south state supports this man. Log Cabin Republicans make me insane, but this? I don't even know how to process this, and that's where we are.
That is where we are.
And I know, in the midst of all this, it's not nearly as important, but we also live in an era where YouTube "stars" are getting book deals. I was shopping at my local Target a few days ago and I saw that one of them had actually gotten a contract to publish a novel. Not a self-serving memoir, as most of them have been publishing (a memoir from a twenty-three year old...let that sink in...), but a full-fledged dystopian YA novel. And yet, at the same time, who can blame them for cashing in? If someone came to me when I was twenty and offered me a publishing contract, would I have refused, saying "No, no; I shall struggle on, learning my craft, taking my lumps, in the name of nobility and the all-important lessons of The Struggle!" Not a chance. Still, what should we tell young writers these days? Certainly not "spend years honing your craft in hopes that someday, someday someone will come upon your novel and praise it." Instead, our best advice to young writers these days might just be "start a YouTube channel, wear very little clothing so you get very popular, prank people in ways that disrespect them, get a million viewers, and then they will come to you with a book contract." Creative writing classes these days will be about how to build a great brand on Twitter and YouTube. And yes, I know that this all sounds like sour grapes, but I hope you see that there's more to it.
We're upside down in the Upside Down. Alive in the Super Unknown.
Not a lot seeming to be great these days. I hope things are better on your end. Thank you for your support during these dark times.
See you next month.