Yes, my MFA in Creative Writing is cutting into my time and, consequently, I’m not actually doing much writing. But that is how things go sometimes. I am writing a lot for my classes, but not for my blog and that’s okay.
Another reason that I haven’t been writing, however, is that I fear my brain is simply fried. Brain Fry – is that even a thing?
My sensory neurons seem to have gone on strike. Considering that we are going into the week of Thanksgiving and I actually have a few days off from school, I think I am going to embrace it.
As a wise friend said, I should not cross that picket line. I should let those neurons strike and sit back and read a warm and fuzzy book or watch mindless TV shows on Netflix or just sleep.
And, yes, the irony of the absurd discourse on refusing refugees as we go into the holiday where we “give thanks” for having been welcomed by the indigenous people of this land when we were all refugees is not lost on me…but that is for another post.
The news has become nearly too much for my remaining brain cells to process.
Bruxelles, a city I love in my adopted country of Belgium is basically on lock down. I try to replace this with images of tapestries and cafés in winter and the rich smells that waft out of the multitude of chocolate shops.
The police in the city where I currently live – New York – are conducting practice drills to evacuate the subways following a hypothetical mass shooting, you know, just in case. This image I try to redirect towards one with the glee of children and tourists delighted by the lights and busyness of this city that truly never sleeps.
People are dying in Burundi because of political instability. My exhausted mind tries to think only of the hippos in Lake Tanganyika at sunset as I walked with a group of women, colleagues, after a long week of work so many years ago.
And then I think of Mali and my heart shatters. I try desperately, but not very successfully, to hold on to my memory of watching a long line of regal Tuareg crossing the main bridge of Bamako on camel back, over the wide span of the Niger river.
Instead my mind swaps back to the photo of a woman murdered last week in a hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali. I did not know her but she worked on HIV and was an international development worker as I have been. Many of my friends on Facebook knew her well and are posting tributes. Even more of my connections on LinkedIn and elsewhere are doing the same. The world is a small and shrinking place.
All of these things, plus the attacks in Nigeria and Beirut and Paris (and the list is too long), in such a short span of time are more than I think I can actually digest. And so I write this, to get it out and help myself process, but I will probably retreat again. At least for a while.
I will work hard to replace these ugly truths with beautiful memories from my life and let my heart and mind rest and heal and focus on what is still good in this world: love.
May you find abundant beauty in your life, today, tomorrow, this week and always.