Although I have never been the type of writer capable of maintaining a rigid, daily production schedule for the essays that I create, I do in fact have rules and guidelines to which I attempt to adhere to in terms of how much work I publish and how often I do so. Ideally, I like to publish a new article every two or three days and I prefer to keep the word count for the pieces I do publish at a minimum of twenty thousand words per month. Naturally, I haven’t always made my targets, but things have been going pretty good here on this website since the start of February 2017.
As those of you who regularly read ninaillingworth.com may have noticed however, from time to time the website goes dark for roughly a week or so and if you’re not following me on Twitter there’s a pretty good chance you have absolutely no idea why or when I’m coming back. I mention this of course because this is the first post I’ve made in the past week and while I willingly concede that it probably would have been better to write this update before I went radio silent; at the time I started missing scheduled posts I had no idea that my inability to “make with the writing” was going to drag on for so long.
The simple truth is that I’m an information junkie with workaholic tendencies; I don’t take vacations, I research and compose pretty much non-stop until my brain finally seizes up and a massive, soul-rending case of writer’s block objectively forces me to get away from the keyboard and in to the waiting arms of historical documentaries on Youtube (yes, that *is* my idea of relaxing.) Frankly, this happens two or three times a month but the vast majority of the time I can get away with a single night off and nobody is the wiser. Roughly three times a year however, this whole process has taken considerably longer and I’ve found myself on the receiving end of a largely unwanted stay-at-home holiday.
Furthermore if I’m being honest with you, I do actually know what finally pushed me over the edge this time and while explaining it is probably going to take more than one post – the rough outline is that I see America actively losing the struggle against a creeping fascism that has long found sustenance in the fertile soil of patriotism, racism and spineless authority worship that in turn have plagued our nation throughout the post-war historical era. While it would be a misnomer to suggest that the rise of American ethno-nationalism as a political force is “new” it is also readily apparent to me that a massive sea-change is already underway; a sea-change in part fueled by mainstream liberals who refuse to acknowledge that the US right has already lost it’s internal struggle with fascists and as such we are now actively in the dreaded “culture war” that reactionary, right wing lunatics have been raving about for more more than a decade now.
Frankly, I don’t rightly know where we go from here; what I do know is that every night for the past six nights whenever I’ve closed my eyes I see the handsome face of a 22 year old boy whose dying wish was to tell everyone on that train in Portland that he loved them, even as his life was ebbing out of wounds from a deranged fascist’s blade. As I lie in total darkness, the words of my grandfather (a World War II veteran who helped liberate a concentration camp) echo like terrifying thunder in my ears…. “never forget.” Have we forgotten; have I? I used to wonder precisely what it was like to be a German citizen standing on a street corner in Berlin sometime in the late 1920’s as the world descended into madness around you. “Why didn’t anyone notice what was happening” I would ask; “why didn’t anyone do more to stop it?” That’s the funny thing about history when you’re living it; the monumental moments, those last opportunities to turn back from tragedy, death and disaster aren’t readily apparent at the time – they can only truly be understood in retrospect. And yet, here I sit, watching the wheel of history turn and I’m almost certain that I know precisely where we’re headed, as well as what happens next and just between you, me and everyone reading this, it terrifies me.
In conclusion, I would like to thank readers who’ve been patiently awaiting new content and assure those of you who know me well enough to be concerned for my mental well-being that I will be and am indeed already “fine.” While I can’t deny that gazing into what I believe is the collective future of the western world has shaken me, I have returned to the fight unbowed and ready to once again devote my pen to what has now clearly become a battle for decency, humanity and the collective survival of marginalized people in the United States (and the rest of “the West” as well.) I’ll be back with a new post tomorrow and quite possibly the next day as well, but for now I wanted to apologize for the delay and explain (at least part of) why I vanished for a week.
Thank you for your understanding,
- Nina Illingworth
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