Hey friends, I’m just doing some writing on my electric typewriter doohickey while I wait for my baby to hopefully fall asleep in her crib. Thanksgiving week, and the nanny is out Monday, Thursday, and Friday, so it’s gonna be a bit of a hectic week, but I’ll live. The electric typewriter is great, but I have discovered its limits! Recently I was trying to work on a long, complex essay (working title "Am I being discriminated against? Or am I just not good enough?") and I just had to switch to the computer, because the electric typewriter wouldn’t let me hop around enough.
Anyways I’m trying to get into writing literary non-fiction, I read the most recent volume of The Best American Essays. The guest editor was Rebecca Solnit, and she did a fantastic job. I’ve read a few years of BAE, and some times it is filled from cover to cover with lyric and personal essays. This volume had a better mix. No reported stories, really, since the book isn’t really meant to showcase journalism, but many of the pieces went beyond the personal, and most were written in more pared-back language.
I’d say the essays fell into three rough themes: a) racial inequity; b) the male backlash against feminism; and c) climate doom!
At this point, the question of whether it makes more sense to be fatalistic about climate change or not seems largely mooted. Humanity must do everything it can to reduce emissions, and those efforts probably won’t be enough. America, as far as I can tell, is going to do absolutely nothing, and other nations rightly wonder why they should do anything when the world’s largest economy won’t.
I think the human race will probably survive, but I also think life will be an ever-expanding series of catastrophes, and that amidst the chaos we will be hard-pressed to maintain our standard of living, much less improve it. But what can you do? If the recent election has proven anything, it’s that although the individual isn’t powerless, their power is quite limited.
Recently I thought about pitching an article about millennials and retirement. Given that we don’t have stable careers and often don’t own our own homes, how can we prepare for retirement? It’s a good article in theory, but the problem is you can’t really do anything. You can’t prepare.
Oh well. It really puts things in perspective: as I think Lynyrd Skynyrd put it in their classic ballad "It’s Getting Hot In Herre":
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
I think that means gather the rosebuds in may, because they probably won’t be around any later.
ALSO, wait, I meant to write about this. I placed a story in Gulf Coast. Pretty happy about this! I have terrible luck with literary journals, but with this and the recent West Branch ‘placement’ maybe my luck is turning.