I haven’t been doing too much writing since November 9th.
Instead I’ve been drinking too much gin, reading too many Slate articles, posting on Facebook too much, watching too much MSNBC, scouring Twitter for anti-Trump Agitators to follow, fantasizing about stumbling across a tape in the laundry room marked SLEAZY EVIDENCE AGAINST TRUMP, and collecting bitchy names for Trump: Agent Orange, Hair Twitler, Trumpkin, Cheeto Benito, Trumpssolini, That Orange Asshole.
But actual writing? No. Every time I started a project I’d stop because it didn’t seem to have any meaning. What difference did it make? Why did it matter? Nothing I wrote was going to fix the massive shit storm that was about to hit the White House, so what was the point? I’ve been paralyzed by the idea that none of it had any purpose, so why bother to write it all?
(Admittedly, some of the ideas I’ve come up with recently probably shouldn’t see the light of day. The Garrison Keillor Porn Parody tentatively called A Hairy Home Cumpanion springs to mind.)
But today, after I actually vomited during the inauguration coverage, I walked to the gym to clear my head. After working out, I went to wash my hands. I held my hands under the faucet but forgot to turn it on first. As I looked down, I thought of a Louis L’amour quote, “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
So I grabbed the Agatha Christie paperback I’d brought with me and a pen and headed to the sauna. (We Finns do some of our best thinking in the sauna. No one knows why.) Sweating profusely, I started to write down several ideas on the blank back pages. The ideas came pouring out along with the sweat and I remembered why I love to write. I remembered how much fun it is, and the magic of when your mind is working faster than you can write it all down. But most of all, I remembered why it matters.
I realized that the act of creating has meaning all on its own. The act of creating is the purpose. If you can achieve more than that, if you can affect change, even better. I salute you for it! I will continue to strive for that every day. But we shouldn’t become stifled by the weight of meaning and value. We can’t stop creating just because we’re not solving the world’s problems with what we create. We can’t hinder creation with this expectation. After all, Oscar Wilde once said, “It is always with the best intentions that the worst work is done.” Maybe it’s a good idea to just start creating and see where it takes us.
So consider the faucet turned back on. Hell, I may just inflict that Garrison Keillor porn parody on you after all…