Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Antidote to Election Day Funk

I spent much of yesterday feeling slightly sad.  I wonder why.

Part of it was feeling slightly rushed in the morning.  We went to Target, which should be an easy trip.  It's only 2 miles away, but it seemed to take forever.

I was also in that mood where I wanted to go out to eat.  I got to work ready for a lunch out.  But Monday was my lunch out day, not yesterday.

Maybe it was that I had such a nice lunch out on Monday.  I met one of my writer friends, and we had great conversation about writing projects.  We talked about the visual artists that we know.  One of them uses shadowboxes, and we wondered if we could create shadowboxes with words, with short fiction.  She's wrestling with a story for her collection, and we talked about what gives modern women power.  We talked about the accomplishments of children and how that gives some women a kind of currency.  I wondered if, as we have to care for aging parents, that care will be the way that some of us one-up each other.  I don't know many women who are still competing on the good looks field.

It's the kind of free-ranging conversation that I treasure, a throw-back to grad school days, where we mixed theory with gossip with inspiration for future artistic work.  That was Monday--no wonder Tuesday felt a bit pale in comparison.

Even my evening spin class didn't move me out of my funk.  I felt tired and wiped out.  I was able to do the class, but not with my usual gusto.

So, what finally shook my sadness?  I got home and ate some popcorn and read a chunk of James Martin's Jesus:  A Pilgrimage.  But even that felt hollow somehow--plus I wanted to make pan after pan of popcorn.  I stopped at 2.  So, although the book captivates me, I decided to do some work on my online classes.

In one short story class, my students are having a fascinating conversation about Sherman Alexie's story "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven."  They're wrestling with what it means not to have control over one's life and the way one is perceived.   They're sharing experiences.  I wrote some responses too, and some responses to the other stories.

After that, I felt better.  So literature proved to be the fix I needed, as it so often is.

I thought about my online class, how not everyone is participating at such an active level, but some are highly engaged--much like in an onground class.  I thought about how much I loved being part of it, and how, as with the onground classes, I had hopes that the rest of the class was enriched by being part of it, albeit a silent part.

I went to bed before much of the election coverage trickled in.  Once upon a time, I'd have stayed up late and spent time speculating about what the returns meant.  Once, in my younger days, I'd have spun apocalyptic possibilities.

Now I am old enough to know that it may or may not matter who wins which election.  Now I try to guard my inner optimist a bit more than I did when I was 19.

So off I go, this morning after elections, into a world which may or may not be changed--no, wait, let me amend that.  Changes will certainly come, and some of them I'll like, and some I won't.  But what's important is to treat each other with compassion and then to go home and either create compelling art or create compelling classes with good conversation about great literature.

If you're in need of inspiration, here's a wonderful videopoem by the incomparable Nic Sebastian.  It uses images from underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor ( This page of his site explains how he tries to heal underwater reefs with his underwater creations which are both artificial reefs and attractions for divers and snorkelers who might otherwise be diving around the endangered coral reefs.

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