Nothing earth-shaking has happened to me recently, but there have been enough small changes in my off-the-page life that are adding up. In trying to go with the flow of it all, I have realized that a change to my authorly routine is likely in order. I haven't quite figured out what that change is going to be, but I should have it ironed out by next week. Stay tuned!
Now, on to a subject dear to my heart: my Twitter community. As many of you know, I have connected with the majority of my indie author friends and supporters through Twitter. In metaphorical terms, Twitter's the neighborhood I grew up in. My friends and I hung out and played around, have gotten to know each other, learned and loved and lost together, and it's a pretty tight place. Everyone knows everyone on the block. But the neighborhood's gotten rougher over the past year: gangs of trolls have started rolling around more and more frequently, and the news is getting worse and worse. I wake up and look around the block in the morning, and everyone's yelling at each other about the latest hateful graffiti, arguing about what to be angriest about, and what to do about it.
Meanwhile, I just sweep off my front step and try to smile at the people going by, hand out a nice warm GIF or two, some friendly sentiment. A little support to keep them going. Some of them bring their own positive offerings to my doorstep, and that's so, so lovely and appreciated. We still connect about the things we used to, but not as frequently. We're all so distracted by the fact that the neighborhood's not so great anymore.
Like any other neighborhood, some people are giving up and moving out. The Seattle Review of Books articulated it far better than I could. But I like my little brownstone on the block, and I'm sticking around. Like Buster in the North End, I can see the value that remains, and the promise lurking underneath the piles of freshly-slung mud. This neighborhood still has its good people, and we will remain, stubborn and creatively prolific, defending our right to be here and, as Neil Gaiman once said, "Make Good Art".
There are some people who are constantly protesting the state of things - both in the neighborhood and in the world ... people who are up in arms for every cause, defending the offended, to the point where it almost seems like being angry is The New Cool Thing. I am, by no means, saying that being angry about injustice is not right. But what I will say is this: it is very, very, very tiring. I am an emotional person on a good day, and as much as I want to, it is difficult for me to join in every single fight - picket, sit-in, flyer-passing, rally, march, the list goes on! - in the neighborhood. I cannot fight for everything. So to my friends and neighbors: I have an important message for you.
Just because I am not as up in arms as you does not mean I disagree with you. I only have so much energy to fight. I must conserve the rest of it to live, so that the fighting is worth something. To create, so that in between the fighting, there is something there to restore our minds. I fight in my own way: I make beautiful things where and when I can to offset what troubles you. I spread kind words to counter hatred. A very famous writer once said, through the mouth of an equally famous wizard, that "(it) is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love".
So while some of my neighbors go out to fight to reclaim their virtual streets, I will be the one with my door open and the kettle on. If you need a quiet place to sit and recharge, I will be around. We'll chat. I'll share pictures of cats, funny stories, anything you need. And we'll Make Good Art together. That, in itself, small though it may seem, might redeem the neighborhood a little.
Until next time,