Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Distractions

I can't be the only writer (permit me to call myself one, though I'm an obscure, one-book author hopefully working on a second) who finds himself inordinately distracted these days by the sorry state of the world and the inept, not to say criminal, way it's being run.

Every morning I wake with a fresh resolve to eat a quick breakfast and then start writing. Instead I can't abstain from listening to Democracy Now! over my oatmeal and coffee for its reports of this or that national or international outrage. Afterwards, fed and suitably inflamed, I go to my computer, not immediately to resume working on the second draft of my novel, but first to check my email. Then, helplessly, I go into Salon and The Nation and various other vehicles of the Left, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times for their takes on the news, the Globe & Mail, The Guardian, and maybe a blog or two of the Left and sometimes of the Right. I even, now and then, check out Fox News for its poisonous slant on things. Usually, though, I save that entertainment for later.

Eventually I get to my writing.

What I'm writing now, as mentioned in the previous post, is a novel about back-to-the-land hippies (mostly Americans) in Canada, circa 1971, and so perhaps my procrastination every morning to catch up on the world's (notably the United States' and Canada's) bad news isn't entirely a waste of time. The Sixties, to borrow once again from Dickens, were both the best and the worst of times. These times seem only the worst. In the 1960s we in the counterculture lived, as some acknowledged, off the fat of the land. Now, at the start of the 21st century, most of the fat's been rendered except for the obscenely rich one percent.

In the Sixties we more or less played at making a revolution. We can't play at it anymore. We have to work for it. In any case, change is coming, whether we work for it or not, and whether we like it or not. You don't have to read James Howard Kunstler or Jeff Rubin to get an inkling of that.

Now back to my novel.

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