"When your mom dies you're the best memory of her. Everything you do is a memory of her." -- Alice Oswalt, 7
I don't know what to do tomorrow, either. Or the day after that or ANY of the days after that. We'll have to make it up as we go along. If it's any comfort, that seems to be Trump's plan, too. I know there are protest marches planned for the 20th and ESPECIALLY for Saturday. And that's a great idea. I'm glad to see they're happening in "red" states as well as in D.C., Los Angeles and NYC. But I was thinking... Another thing you could do tomorrow, and Saturday? But ESPECIALLY tomorrow? Leave your TV tuned to a channel like Turner Classic Movies or National Geographic or any channel that will have zero inaugural coverage. Then turn off your phone. Then shut down your computer. And then -- IF you can afford it -- go find a struggling theater company and pay to see whatever play they're putting on. Or a struggling art gallery or music club or museum. Leave 'em money and see what they're about. Go see an indie film that's got stellar reviews and no audience. Or a new restaurant or other small business that needs friends and customers. Download a new band. Go to an independent bookstore and buy something from a small press. Go to an open mike. Or see any comedian. Tip your barista or barkeep a little extra. In other words, do all of the cultural and aesthetic things that Trump thinks are worthless. Make a whole big chunk of existence suddenly spike in importance. And then keep doing that, if you can. And if you DON'T have any money? Go knock on your neighbor's door and see if they need anything. If you have a friend who's Muslim, or gay, or any one of dozens of people that Trump has sneered at or hinted darkly about, go say hi and just ask if they're okay. Tell 'em you've got their back. That they can come over any time, knock on the door, even if they just need someone to yell "FUCK" with. This is going to be loooooooooooong, tense four years. We elect leaders to take worry and tension OFF of our plates. We have enough of that as it is. But for some reason, we decided to put someone in charge where the everyday weight of keeping the world from cracking apart is COMPLETELY on our shoulders, along with everything else we already have to deal with. So if we're really going to fight back, and resist, the first thing we have to do -- and it's only a little thing, really, but it's gotta be everyday -- is an ongoing, gentle blowing on the tiny spark of sanity that's still left, to keep it glowing. We've got a President who bellows cold ignorance from dawn to dusk, and he could give a shit if he kills that spark. So keep it lit. And keep things light. And huddle up. This is gonna be bad. So be good.
Thanks, grief. Thanks for making depression look like the buzzing little bully it always was. Depression is the tallest kid in the 4th grade, dinging rubber bands off the back of your head and feeling safe on the playground, knowing that no teacher is coming to help you. But grief? Grief is Jason Statham holding that 4th grade bully's head in a toilet and then fucking the teacher you've got a crush on in front of the class. Grief makes depression cower behind you and apologize for being such a dick. If you spend 102 days completely focused on ONE thing you can achieve miracles. Make a film, write a novel, get MMA ripped, kick heroin, learn a language, travel around the world. Fall in love with someone. Get 'em to love you back. But 102 days at the mercy of grief and loss feels like 102 years and you have shit to show for it. You will not be physically healthier. You will not feel "wiser." You will not have "closure." You will not have "perspective" or "resilience" or "a new sense of self." You WILL have solid knowledge of fear, exhaustion and a new appreciation for the randomness and horror of the universe. And you'll also realize that 102 days is nothing but a warm-up for things to come. And... You will have been shown new levels of humanity and grace and intelligence by your family and friends. They will show up for you, physically and emotionally, in ways which make you take careful note, and say to yourself, "Make sure to try to do that for someone else someday." Complete strangers will send you genuinely touching messages on Facebook and Twitter, or will somehow figure out your address to send you letters which you'll keep and re-read 'cause you can't believe how helpful they are. And, if you're a parent? You'll wish you were your kid's age, because the way they embrace despair and joy are at a purer level that you're going to have to reconnect with, to reach backwards through years of calcified cynicism and ironic detachment. Lose your cool, and you're saved. Michelle McNamara got yanked off the planet and out of life 102 days ago. She left behind an amazing unfinished book, about a horrific series of murders that everyone -- including the retired homicide detectives she worked with -- was sure she'd solve. The Golden State Killer. She gave him that name, in an article for Los Angeles Magazine. She was going to figure out the real name behind it. She left Alice, her 7 year-old daughter. But not before putting the best parts of her into Alice, like beautiful music burned onto a CD and sent out into the void on a spaceship. And she left me. 102 days into this. I was face-down and frozen for weeks. It's 102 days later and I can confidently say I have reached a point where I'm crawling. Which, objectively, is an improvement. Maybe 102 days later I'll be walking. Any spare energy I've managed to summon since April 21st I've put toward finishing Michelle's book. With a lot of help from some very amazing people. It will come out. I will let you know. It's all her. We're just taking what's there and letting it tell us how to shape it. It's amazing. And I'm going to start telling jokes again soon. And writing. And acting in stuff and making things I like and working with friends on projects and do all the stuff I was always so privileged to get to do before the air caught fire around me and the sun died. It's all I knew how to do before I met Michelle. I don't know what else I'm supposed to do now without her. And not because, "It's what Michelle would have wanted me to do." For me to even presume to know what Michelle would have wanted me to do is the height of arrogance on my part. That was one of the many reasons I so looked forward to growing old with her. Because she was always surprising me. Because I never knew what she'd think or what direction she'd go. Okay, I'll start being funny again soon. What other choice do I have? Reality is in a death spiral and we seem to be living in a cackling, looming nightmare-swamp. We're all being dragged into a shadow-realm of doom by hateful lunatics who are determined to send our planet careening into oblivion. Hey, there's that smile I was missing!
This fucking election. Fucking Trump. These newest revelations, that Russia hacked the election. Piles of evidence, teetering up to the sky. That Russia ALSO hacked the RNC and are holding them over a barrel because of what they know. Which would be hilarious if it wasn't so frightening. And the boiling chaos that's resulting from it. I've got conservative friends actually DEFENDING Russia on this. I've got progressive friends gloating that we've finally had done to us what we've done to other countries. That Hillary somehow deserves this. That WE somehow deserve this. That infuriating cliche about, "It's actually GOOD ifTrump destroys everything it'll start a revolution BLAH BLAH BLAH FUCKING BLAH..." And in the middle of it all is Trump -- bloated, grinning, oblivious, wearing his cheap baseball cap and ruining people's lives with his Twitter. While all around him -- smarter, better, exhausted people scramble around, trying to sweep up a china shop he keeps stumbling through, laughing the whole time at these stupid nerds picking up the broken pieces on the ground. Losers. Weak. Trump doesn't spread evil. He doesn't even spread chaos. Evil and chaos are beyond his abilities. He spreads MEDIOCRITY. And anyone who gets near him gets dragged into the same sloppy, tossed-off, first-draft shitscape he lives in. Except this time, it's the entire country who got too close to him. We're about to become, as a nation, as garish and pathetic as one of his hotel suites. Balsa wood under gold spray paint. A chandelier over a toilet. Knock-off Haviland and Parlon china on which to serve a Big Mac. And the people MAKING the Big Macs getting screwed, stripped and exploited while the predators high-five on their private jets. In nine days the electors make their choice. Let's hope they choose to save us from our grope-y, racist uncle who just won $50,000 playing scratch-offs.