Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Diversity of Discomforts

That poor baby is teething, and that's what's causing her/him such discomfort. I'm feeling a little bit this way myself today (uncomfortable, not teething), so I decided to rearrange the words in my blog title to reflect this fact.
     Why am I feeling a diversity of discomforts? I suppose you can guess some of them. Tragedies in Tucson and accompanying rhetoric. I'd like to write more about that, and perhaps will next week, when I get my thoughts clear. One piece of it that I keep returning to is the shooter--and the massive impact that one person can have on an entire nation. One person is really relatively small (regardless of actual height and weight; in this regard the shooter appears to be relatively average) to have such a large impact. Having a semi-automatic weapon increases the impact, or creates the impact. But still . . . one person.
     Another important source of the discomfort is that this month--January--I have taken off from my commercial work (mostly taken off; I have a few smallish responsibilities) to work on my novel. My dream was that by the end of the month I would have a solid draft, perhaps even ready to send to my agent. Far more accomplished authors than I am would never admit that in public. When it's in progress, no one really knows how an artistic project will go, whether it can follow any timetable of completion, whether it is truly viable. This is the reality as I understand it from myself and others.
     So . . . the first week of my writing sabbatical was rousing. By Sunday, I had the first five chapters in a shape I felt quite good about (something writers are not supposed to say out loud, as the worm can turn at any time). Monday, starting in on chapter 6, the worm turned. By this morning I was in a panic.
     I calmed myself a little by moving away from the chapter and working on a structural overview, thinking that seeing the events of that chapter in context might help me solve my problems. This did help to some extent, and I managed to muddle through chapter 6. Decided to leave it for now, give it some breathing room, move onto 7, and continue to consider the structure of the whole work, how the parts may eventually fit together, how the threads weave in and out. But . . . I'm worried. And not just a little bit uncomfortable.

6 comments:

rasirds@cox.net said...

I live in a suburb of Phoenix, about an hour's drive from Tucson. In addition to the horror of events, the nation is continually exposed to a large amount of misinformation. NPR announcing the death of Ms. Giffords is an example.

Changing the gun law in AZ is about as practical as using a baseball bat to catch a salmon. After fifteen years of living here, I realize that owning/carrying guns is as much a part of this State as Grand Canyon. Guns are part of the culture here. This will not change.

Where were all those people willing to talk to Brian Williams before the thrill of TV fame? Ironically though, with all the budget cuts here, this obviously mentally ill young man probably would have continued to fall through the cracks. Our governor says she has not cut the funding budget for the mentally ill in this State. Her son is confined to an institution. Are people naive enough to believe he gets the same treatment as John Doe?

We are bound by a Constitution that does not recognize that cell phone video convicts Mr. Shooter. We are spending too many tax dollars needed elsewhere to pay anyone to defend him, much less an attorney who comes at such a high price.

Unfortunately the shooter, while so far only one man, is representative of the path society is taking and hoping for rational thoughts about an irrational situation is unrealistic.

Guns don't kill.Changing the number of bullets therein does not make even one death acceptable.

NY Times, l/11/11. Article: Page 1. Quotes Ms. Giffords saying, "I have a Glock 9mm and I'm a pretty good shot with it." Nice.

And....

You can and must give yourself credit for what you have accomplished professionally. A few weeks will not change the already fine quality of your writing.

Susan Messer said...

Thanks, Rasirds. I know you have a lot of thoughts and feelings about these issues. They are truly huge.

rasirds@cox.net said...

Thank you for allowing me to express some of my feelings on your blog. My feelings are fairly agreed with by the intelligent people who live here.

Susan Messer said...

oh, of course. Here's another perspective I liked. A bit more on the philosophical side.

http://cancerbitch.blogspot.com/2011/01/debbie-friedmanarizona.html

The author is someone I know, one of my old writing teachers.

Jim Poznak said...

This shooting was horrific. To put this shooting in perspective, here's a quote from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for 2006:

"Violence is a serious public health problem in the United States. From infants to the elderly, it affects people in all stages of life. In 2006, more than 18,000 people were victims of homicide and more than 33,000 took their own life. The number of violent deaths tells only part of the story. Many more survive violence and are left with permanent physical and emotional scars."

And that's only in the US, its much worse in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, etc.

Beyond the obvious reasons (a Congresswoman and a white suburban shopping center), I am wondering why this shooting got so much more publicity than all the 18,000 other homicides and 33,000 suicides combined, other than perhaps a few.

Susan Messer said...

I especially like this comment because of its lack of partisanship and its focus on the larger social problem--violence. And it's certainly true about violence in other countries being so much worse than here. And, yes, very good point about why the focus on this one. Partly because the victim was a public figure; also the "mass murder" aspect of the event. But important points to contemplate . .. Thanks.