Editor’s note: after having been away from this blog for so long, this is going to be a very different sort of article than the type of work I usually publish. In some ways, the entire article is an editor’s note and as such I’ve written it in the style of a journal, or perhaps a letter from the editor. Please bear with me while I find my way back to keyboard and out of the darkness I’ve been residing in for the past little while.
To tell you the absolute truth; I’ve been staring at this blank sheet of paper for almost two weeks trying to find a way to explain my recent absence from the site to readers and patrons (patreons) I feel that I’ve let down. Furthermore, my task hasn’t gotten any easier as I’ve worked my way back to the keyboard to start writing regularly again and as such, I’m forced to face the reality that there simply is no easy way to explain everything that went wrong in my life during the months of October and November of 2017. Even as I’m writing this letter, I’m constantly fighting the temptation to just close this window and walk away, leaving the matter an unexplained mystery for all time. The only way to really tell this story is to be as honest as possible and as such, I warn you now that things are going to get a little bit personal:
“So let me tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out and take it easy, Ackley kid.” – The Catcher in the Rye, sorta.
Originally, I honestly believed that the whole problem began when I got sick at the end of September. I’d been caring for a sick cat, writing regularly and helping my boyfriend look for another place to live after we were informed in the late summer that our current lease would not be renewed because a developer wanted to knock down the house we’re in now. I realized at the time that I was incredibly stressed about our unstable living arrangements and the workload I was taking on was a bit excessive; so naturally, I wasn’t all that surprised when long days combined with longer nights to wear down my immune system. Just as September was drawing to a close, I came up with a flu that lasted three days and a sinus infection that lasted just a little over two weeks.
If I had only been gone for two weeks, I scarcely doubt many people would have even noticed; but while I was lying in bed, playing video hockey and catching up on my reading, two important interrelated things happened that would send me into a very dark place inside myself for most of the next six weeks. Quite simply, I went on without the world and the world went on without me.
As I lay in bed, I became intimately aware of just how frightened and bothered I truly was by the subjects I explore in my writing; in particular the ongoing attempts to normalize an *openly* fascist President and the ongoing attempts to manufacture consent for a proxy war with Russia, likely in Iran (and Syria; who are both Russian allies) over the largest natural gas field on earth. Furthermore, left alone to my thoughts and with no one to impress, I was also forced to confront an uncomfortable truth about myself; namely that the suspension of my Twitter account and the damage that had done to my ability to share my writing actually had affected me, deeply. Despite my bluster, I’d been quietly suppressing feelings of hopelessness, powerlessness and bitter frustration for weeks, while desperately trying to keep smiling and regrow a following on my new Twitter account. I just hadn’t admitted any of that to myself yet because that would be “letting the bastards win.” Just beneath my conscious perception these emotions had been gnawing at the edge of my awareness and it wasn’t until I’d been forced to stop and consider them, that I understood I’d had a small, but constant stream of negative thoughts going on in the background of my mind; possibly for months.
Simultaneously of course, the never-ending propaganda war being conducted against us all went on without me; from Russian Pokemon-Go plots to “rig” the election that conveniently also cast shadows on the largest black liberation movement in the country, through a renewed effort to demonize Iran and promote Saudi Arabia in the western media and inside countless articles about swine emperor Trump that failed to even casually mention that the President of the United States is a fascist. While normally I would describe this situation as “Tuesday” and think nothing more of it, my time away from the endless churn of lies had suddenly stripped away the desensitization necessary to not be horrified by it all. Like a frog that had escaped the pot, only to be returned to the boiling water ten minutes later, I suddenly found myself able to perceive just how quickly and thoroughly we were all being taught to hate; by both a fascist president and the ostensibly (neo) liberal establishment that purported to oppose him. Two more weeks would pass and throughout that entire time I sat down at my keyboard to write every night, but literally nothing coherent would come out; the horrifying size of the problem had rendered me unable to properly communicate what I was perceiving.
The Road Out of Hell
Frankly, there’s no way to sugarcoat this; I am afraid that the United States (and indeed the so-called “West” as a whole) are in for some extremely dark times in both the present and the very near future. There is a disturbing and altogether ominous tenor emanating from influential foreign policy experts in Washington DC that feels eerily like the lead up to Iraq and the beginning of what has now become America’s forever war in the Middle East. Simultaneously, the most powerful “liberal democracy” in the world is experiencing what certainly looks like an open slide into fascism that also seems all too familiar for those who have observed similar catastrophes in other places. The situation is bleak and if I’m being completely honest with you, I’m afraid that it may be too late to stop either one of these ascendant political forces from plunging America, if not the world into darkness; and soon.
In this political environment, we are probably doomed to repeat the mistakes of our collective past. Probably doomed, is not certainly doomed however and in light of the staggering consequences of losing this battle against either fascism or bloodthirsty imperialism, I certainly feel a moral obligation to keep fighting; despite the fact that I’m not up to this challenge, despite the fact that I’m scared, despite the fact that I have no hope of countering the endless tide of propaganda leading us all towards a future that only murderers and profit-hungry ghouls actually want. If something I write here on this website can help people understand why we keep repeating these terrible mistakes as a society and do something to stop the cycle of madness; I don’t see how I have the luxury of hiding away from a world that’s rapidly becoming a waking nightmare – no one chooses to live in times of great strife, it just sort of happens to us and we’re all forced to make the best of bad situations.
In conclusion I’d like to apologize to my regular readers for abandoning them for so long without notice and once again express how truly awful I feel for letting you all down during that time period. For those of you who donate monthly with Paypal or Patreon, please let me invite you to move your donation to another creator for the next couple of months so I can make this whole sorry situation up to you. I’m currently eating well enough and working hard to bring regular content back to this site, so feel free to give me until February to earn back your trust; it’s my sincerest hope that by then all of this will be a bad memory and the work I’ve posted here during that time will speak for itself.
I’m ready to report back to duty and promise to fight the inevitable to the best of my meager abilities; thank you for your patience.
– Nina Illingworth