Whatever you think the cause of the irregularity has been this year, you would have to agree that it has been unusual.
I think anyone that is reading me is likely to agree that the source of instability has been the incumbent president and COVID and all of the right wing hangers on. I have made my peace with the fact that there is an entire section of the community who believe the complete opposite … I do not try to sway them.
A lot of writing now seems to be about making it obvious which side you are on. You have to accept that the majority of the time you are preaching to the choir and that a lot of what you hear back is part of the separation into echo chambers that we are all experiencing. I wish we could have dialogue, but some of my personal experience has led me to believe that this is harder than before.
I try to explain that I don’t buy into the bipartisan polarity that is promoted in the press and seen by most people, who discount third party options and independent options, as non-workable in what is accepted as a two-party system. I am out of my own country, so not locked into the built from the ground up sensibilities that people find themselves framed by.
What I bring to the table in terms of considerations that shape my political viewpoint, I come from a background where the Labour Party seemed unreal to me in both their more socialist incarnation and the Conservative Party were never an option. I would see the machinations of parliament go on, the pantomime of it, and I would feel little of positive impact in my life. I began to feel that politics was not the answer to anything in the world. Politics seemed to be a class control mechanism that was designed to eradicate any kind of radical change that might benefit those most in need of change, and to really just enshrine the narrative that the upper classes wished to tell about the country that we lived in.
This year’s political scene was a Reality TV Show and I never really like them much at all — staging reality as entertainment and running your camera frame encapsulated life is not reality. Trump is often seen as having no filter, which makes him appeal to those who want no Politician-speak, but they miss the fact that his filter is social media and Reality TV, and this distorts any message that he is ever going to deliver.
I have swung between writing politically driven prose and poetry, and writing things which are an escape from that. Sometimes people hook into the vibe when I am political and want only that and sometimes they hook into the non-political and want only that. A few people are there for it all, because they see it comes from the same place and it is the only way to understand the whole picture, any of the art, me the artist.
I tire of the different flows if the variety doesn’t hit occasionally, so I’m looking to change it up periodically too. I will often have to two interleaving threads that run through writing from a period. I also like to dig into new vocabularies to make it different.
Being able to get anything creative out this year has felt like more of a struggle than ever, because of the pressure bearing on me from all directions. If you have pre-existing conditions, if you are an immigrant, if you are (check whatever box that removes you from the mainstream) then the threat has felt very real. If parts of life shut down, creativity is hard to keep afloat.
I discovered TikTok as a way to get spoken word out there. I had The Saturday Books for pushing out current news driven writing. By Friday Books was and is a way to get flash fiction out on a tight deadline. You have to have games to get around the barriers. Regular Movement is a game — sometimes it gets played on this pitch, and sometimes it gets played elsewhere. But it has to get played, right?
You get to the end of the year and you realise you have survived, and you know that an irregular year is the norm, and that none of the same and all of them have challenges, and when you are living through them each of them seems as oppressive as the last. This year it just felt more of us were on the same page about what the oppression was. Next year, what will it be? Who knows? That’s part of the game.