I was going to write about family separations at the border. I was going to. I didn't know what really could be said about it; in fact I don't know what to say now. I've tried and tried to write a blog post, to be honest--about that, or about anything.
The fact is, my hands still don't work.
I tried to write a blog post about that--to share what I was going through in the middle of it, rather than at the end as people always seem to do. I didn't know what to say. I've been wordless. Once--when the pain had started to come back and I knew I had nothing to lose by the experiment--I typed a sentence. What I mostly learned is that I've half-forgotten how to type.
There's hope for the hands. They actually are improving still, I'm able to do careful light housework without compromising them--it's so good to finally be able to do something, anything, and to get the place clean again--and after a great deal of research we've chosen a method and a place for therapy which by all accounts has a good chance of working. As for me--I've been wordless. I don't take back my previous post, all the meaning I've found in this, but I've been in the place of "I don't know what this is anymore." Sometimes when I look at my a-few-months-younger self, I see someone who couldn't bear to have plain old meaningless ordinary troubles happen to her. I mean, I did learn the things I said. But I set out to learn them. I don't remember asking God what this was. Maybe because it seemed pretty clear. I may have guessed right.
But I probably should have asked.
We're scared of the emptiness. Of not knowing what this is. Of course we are. That's what stories are about, in a way--why we like them and need them. It helps to watch other people go through it, see how they handle it. Robert McKee, the Story teacher, calls it the Gap--the moment when the familiar solutions stop working, when the character is forced to choose a new road.
Can I, for instance, learn to write by voice recognition? Write fiction by voice recognition? I would have called it impossible, but last night I wrote the first page of a short story. It flowed and grew and made me see things, the way good rough-drafting does. I couldn't believe it. I was just trying to write down a few lines I'd thought of, awkward as I expected it to be. Instead I wrote--spoke--a scene. Someone killed a rabid fox. I saw it happen.
In a way, I don't know why I'm boring you with this. To type or not to type? These things are so personal, huge on the inside of a life, very small when looked at from outside. Like a tendon in the foot or in the elbow, just part of the equipment of everyday life, disregarded.
As a child I wondered why prayer requests seemed to be always about health. I wanted people to be more spiritual, or more selfless. I was healthy as a weed.
I was going to write about the family separations. I still don't know what to say, except that when I think about it, really think about it, I feel like I'm trapped under the oak that fell last week just downslope from my spring in the woods. And I experience a burning anger toward Trump--utterly useless. And of course I think of other family separations, of the police official at Vénissieux who asked, annoyed, why all these people were yelling so much. To which a priest replied, "If someone took your children, wouldn't you yell?"
By the priest's account, the official looked thoughtful, and said yes. May God be with the people in parallel positions today, and give them courage to choose new roads.