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  • Christine Shuck

Powder Keg

How are you doing?


I don't see many people these days and only talk to a handful. My only outlets are the news (local, regional and the U.S. version of Al-Jazeerah), and Facebook.


From this narrow vantage point, all I can say is that we are a powder keg, as a nation, as individuals, and that fear, no matter how much we wish to deny it, is ever-present.


Maybe I'm wrong, and I would love to be, but it feels as if the events of 2020, from the fires in Australia, to the world-wide effects of the lockdowns in response to COVID19, have set the stage for the civil unrest we are seeing now.


That all of the fear, the anxiety and uncertainty on an individual level, are compounding into a level of anger on a pack level. That it is all connected, these riots, protests, and more.




I think that, at this moment, the police are a focus for our rage, which is a second-level emotion to the fear and anxiety over the financial and social impacts that COVID19 have wrought. Why the police?


Have you ever been pulled over by the police? Even in the most positive of experiences, it has been filled with anxiety for me. And not because I had something to fear, per se, but instead that once that police officer has me in his sights, I know that anything can happen. I am reduced to holding my tongue, submitting to his demands for my papers (the permission issued me by the government to drive, the permission issued me to be insured, etc - all a reminder that, while I like to think I'm free to do as I like, I'm not), and dear god, NOT arguing unless I want to be threatened with arrest of getting my car impounded (and yes, those threats have been said out loud). In a sense, I have to be quiet, circumspect, polite - otherwise, I risk everything from additional fines to the indignities of being searched, having my car impounded, or losing my freedom.


And I am a white woman. Dare I say it? I have white privilege. Shit, one look at my plump body and white hair and I'm the antithesis of dangerous in anyone's mind (which is, let's face it, an advantage on every level).


If I am stressed out over cops, then it should come as no surprise that cops are a natural target.




Our population is scared. Our world has been turned on its ear. What do you mean you can't come together for graduations, for birthdays, for funerals? Even me, as antisocial as I can be at times, have a hard time understanding this. It's hard, harder still to watch as our world contracts into single family units, stepping away from our extended family and friends, and hunkers down waiting for tomorrow's bad news.


And then there is my certainty that, as our state opens back up again, as if everything is fine (when it most certainly is not), there will be a second wave of this, far more deadlier than the first. We have no idea how bad it can get, but we will find out soon. And with it, our economy and personal finances will fall as well, like dominoes, and multiple levels of dominoes, falling flat.


We don't like to study history. We prefer to think that we are where we have never been before and that history doesn't apply. But it does. In 1918-1919, more than 50 million people died of the Spanish flu (which likely originated, by the way, in a small town in Kansas and was not Spanish at all - food for thought for those blaming a bat in China). It changed the world. It toppled governments. It helped set the stage for the Great Depression and the second World War.


Do you really think that, just because we are more technologically advanced, that it couldn't happen again?




Worse, think about how the virus spread across the world in the early 1900s. They didn't have fast automobiles and jet planes, and yet it spread. The ease of it being spread now, well, we can see how well it has moved across borders and continents.


My point in all this is:

  • Don't be surprised that folks are reacting violently to the news of George Floyd's murder at the hands of the police - our history of enslavement, attacks on people of color, and racial inequality in this nation is clear. The standards by which we police our police must change if we hope to ever see equality in this country.

  • Don't be surprised at how short of fuse we all have, no matter the personal impact COVID19 has had on you and yours, as a community we are frightened and financially impacted.

  • This will get worse before it gets better. In knowing this, I believe we are better prepared.

  • In a year, we will be through the worst of it, but the aftereffects will linger for at least one generation.

I just had to say it, and share it, and ask that everyone take a breath, hunker down, pull your loved ones close, and be prepared. For food shortages, for civil unrest, for COVID19 to come down hard in the fall. Knowing of the possibility, it makes us better prepared.


And after this, I promise to return to regular programming. Here, in fact, here it is...




Progress!

I'm moving along in G581: Mars and I am now at 62,126 words as of Monday evening with 32 chapters identified and 17 chapters completed. I shoot for around 3,000 words per chapter. A few are far shorter, others, far longer.


I'm realizing that I really need to knuckle down on Monday through Wednesday and get a bulk of the writing done. Eventually, I would love to see each of those days be 3,000 word days and then the remaining 3,000 words of my 12k goal be accomplished on the other four days. I want Thursdays to be a day that I can spend out and about in nature with Em. On Fridays I will have two back to back cleanings and on the weekends, I tend to work with my husband on various house and yard projects (of which there are many).


Right now, I'm sustaining at or close to, 2,000 words per day. I hope to up my game today and tomorrow, so that we can go on an adventure, Em and I, to a local nature sanctuary or trail on Thursday.


I think it will be 2-3 weeks before I have my first draft in hand. And then I'll...

  • Do a first edit myself, running through it, correcting issues.

  • Read a chapter at a time to Dave in the evenings. Maybe two chapters a night and correct as needed.

  • Send it to my editor.

  • Send it to my beta readers (let me know if you are interested in being a beta reader).

  • Final edits, cover design, blurb.

  • Release it in August.

All of the edits, et cetera will be done in the evenings and after I've finished my daily writing quota, as I will be delving into G581: Earth directly after finishing G581: Mars.


Hang in there, folks. I'm sorry if I was a Debbie Downer in the first part. We will make it through this and likely be leaner, meaner, and far more financially savvy in the aftermath. I do believe that. Take care, and thanks for reading.

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©2020 by Christine Shuck - Author, Artist, and General Malcontent. Proudly created with Wix.com