In the Trenches

Last month I touched on the question of a writer’s response to the our current condition. I ended the piece with the question: “Are we up to the challenge?” Well, one writer in our writing group was more than up to it…and she hadn’t even read my blog.

Our writers’ group, The Milton Workshop, is devoted to writers over the age of forty. Most of us have no problem fitting that requirement. Carrie, however, just squeaked by. As a result, Carrie’s writings tend to be more in tune with what is going on today. She works full time as a midwife and also has a journalism degree. Her writing is a vivid testament to her ability to view life, analyze it, and clearly report it. Her constant immersion in the medical world has put her on the front lines of our pandemic.

In the piece she most recently shared, Carrie brought us face to face with what is really happening. She has expounded on incidents in her work place that show the tragic effects of the virus as well as racial injustice. Because of her career, Carrie sees women from all walks of life, all socioeconomic strata, all races and religious affiliations. As a result, she is able to report on the overall impact of what our world and governments are bringing to bear upon us. It isn’t pretty. In fact, it’s downright scary. The pictures Carrie paints reflect the uncertainty, desperation, and fear so many people are experiencing right now.

Unfortunately, Carrie does not offer up any solutions to our problems. How can she? None of us knows where this is all headed or how it will end. Certainly, our national government has been of little or no help. Reassurance and a sense of security is not something they are capable of dispensing.

I would love to present you with excerpts from Carrie’s writing. I am not sure if she has a writer’s blog, or if she would permit me to do so. These are questions I need to answer.

Regardless, Carrie has more than met my personal challenge, and I commend her for it. Her  writing is always tight, concise and descriptive. It leaves me wanting more. That’s the sign of a truly good writer.

Freedom of speech?

Independence day is fast approaching. It’s a day when we celebrate our freedoms as Americans. For writers, freedom of speech is among the most important. But, for a writer, that freedom carries an obligation. Unfortunately, for me, it is an obligation that I have considered and chose to ignore. Why? I guess one could say that, in recent years, I’ve become increasingly neurotic. I hesitate to speak or write my mind for fear of offending someone. As our country continues to devolve, the fear of rejection and reprisal is becoming all to real.

One has to admire John Bolton and Mary Trump for their courage in attacking the current administration and those responsible for our plight. I wish I had that courage, but I don’t. Whenever the “President” does or says something stupid, I become angry and want to strike out against his obvious ignorance. That has become an almost daily occurrence. Of course, I say nothing. There have been a few times when I have started to do so, but I have always deleted that which I’ve written.

I went to bed early on election night in 2016. It seemed pointless to watch the returns. I was confident Hillary Clinton would take the election.

When I came downstairs the next morning, my wife met me at the foot of the stairs. “The light is out in the refrigerator.”

“Damn!” I hated changing those bulbs. They were hard to access and difficult to remove.

“Don’t worry about that now. We have bigger things to worry about.”

I looked at her quizzically. “What?”

“Trump won the election.”

It’s hard describe the feelings of fear and uncertainty that flooded my mind. Later, I took time to analyze those feelings. I could only compare them to how the German Jewish community must have felt when Hitler came to power. I shelved those emotions, but I have to admit that they do return from time to time. In fact, I shudder whenever I read of him being compared to a Nazi dictator.

As I said, I’ve never expressed my feelings in writing. What you have just read is probably as close as I will ever come. Take it for what you will.