Ordinarily, I write these blog posts over the weekend, on either Saturday or Sunday evening – at least the rough draft of them, at any rate. I mull over ideas throughout the week, so that I have some sort of argument to make, or funny story to tell. That way, when it’s time to post on Monday morning, I have something reasonably polished to share with all of you.
Not this week. I’m writing this shortly after Monday morning, and I have no idea what I’m writing about.
And it’s not because I’ve spent the whole weekend carousing at Halloween parties. I mean, I did spend both Saturday and Sunday nights at Halloween parties, but they were fundraising and networking parties for various small theater companies – both low key affairs. (I didn’t even wear a costume to one of them.) And it’s not because I was busy with other writing projects – even though I am nearing the end of a new rough draft.
No, the problem this week – the reason I’ve been unable to focus for more than ten minutes at a time, the reason I’ve only started this draft at 12:15am on Monday morning – is that I’ve been unable to tear myself away from the news. The alternately horrifying and hilarious soap opera that has been this presidency has hit a fever pitch of activity this past week – and that was before the announcement on Friday of the first sealed indictments of the Mueller investigation, the details of which we’ll only learn today. That hasn’t stopped me from spending what few free moments I’ve had in the last few hours from scouring news sites, just like most of you, trying to figure out just what the hell is going on.
It’s funny. When this grotesque story began this year, this bizarre mix of Jacobean tragedy and a Mel Brooks movie, I was anxious to begin writing works of protest. Most writers were. (I even wrote at length about what we'd all be writing, right here.) But the thing of it is, writing takes time. Even these few half-assed paragraphs are going to take an hour or two write out. A full-length play, which is my medium of choice? That takes months to research and draft. The epic saga of this administration’s rise and apparent downfall is taking place too quickly for that. By the time we finish processing what’s happened this year, Mike Pence’s Vice Presidential pick is liable to be sworn in as the 47th President of the United States. And the mental effort of keeping up with what’s going on, in order to have something to say, is sapping away the time and strength needed to say anything at all.
It would be nice to have a President I agreed with, but that’s not necessary for the republic to function, or for artists to function within it. But it would be extremely helpful to have a boring President. (It would also be nice if they followed the rule of law and weren't constantly stoking nationalist fears and risking nuclear war, but I'm lumping all that in with being "boring.") Especially since there’s a top-down pattern to the behavior of this nation’s citizens; as Shakespeare puts it in Hamlet, “madness is catching.” (Seriously, about three or four insane news stories have broken in the 90 minutes or so since I started typing this.)
If you’re reading this, on the morning of October 30th, 2017, it’s likely a quick digital detour for you – a brief palate cleanser in between reading the details of whatever these indictments are going to be. By all means, I’m not going to keep you. Let’s all just take a moment, get our bearings, and figure out just what the heck is going on.
Then, speaking for myself, I’m going to get back to work. The latest draft is almost done…