Missive from the Gem State: Part 2

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced the opposite of writer’s block. Which is that time when there’s too much to write about and you just don’t know where to start.

But it’s always good to start and let the organization follow.

Here is a list of the things I am currently thinking about as I continue to self-isolate in Idaho.

  1. The dissolution of the United States and the ways in which this could happen with the least amount of human suffering.
  2. Communal self-determinism and sufficiency. How this is already happening. How to amplify community support and find ways to make it feasible for all communities. The possible ramifications of smaller communities (What happens when there’s an all-white supremacist community? Etc.)
  3. Capital “F” Fiction as a supporting pillar of white supremacy. Whether or not it is possible for me as a white person to write fiction that undermines white supremacy. Or if I am fooling myself into believing this is possible. Whether the only real option is to step down and make room for people of color.
  4. Related to #3: my course syllabus for the class called “Traditions of Fiction”. Every single author listed on the syllabus is white. Most are white men. Most are straight white men. I am working to create an alternative syllabus that still traces the history of the short story in the United States but that takes into account other narratives than the singular white monolith.
  5. Thinking about the self-fulfilling prophecy of “traditions”. How we teach them because they have been taught before, thus adding meaning and importance due simply to repetition.
  6. The fact that Edgar Allan Poe married a 13-year-old.
  8. The idea that some people probably knew that about Edgar Allan Poe and dismiss it because it was “a different time”. I admit that it isn’t necessarily useful to judge people based on the mores of our time. However, I like to think that when people look back at my work decades from now at least they will never say, “Oh, there’s Laur. They MARRIED A FUCKING 13-YEAR-OLD.”
  9. The Tulsa Massacre and the fact that I didn’t hear about it until I was twenty-seven.
  10. The spike in COVID-19 cases that have happened due to the “re-opening” of the country. And the fact that I KNEW this would happen. And so many people KNEW this would happen. And that people are dying unnecessarily because the economy is more important than human lives.
  11. A recent outbreak in San Quentin that yet again emphasizes the need to abolish not only the police but prisons as well. The confluence of the criminalization of black and brown people and a global pandemic with little to no health services offered behind bars has created a death sentence for the already marginalized.
  12. This really intense fear that in November, nothing will change. That either a) Trmep will be re-elected or b) he’ll simply stay in office or c) even if Bliden wins, we’ll still be stuck with yet another wealthy white man.

In general, I am overwhelmed by this and so much more. And at the same time feeling this really odd sensation of being entirely crazy because I just moved from Oakland to Moscow, Idaho where it feels like things are just normal. People are just walking down the streets, going into restaurants.

I heard a party happening last night. Not a virtual party, an actual in-person party. Complete, I’m sure with the standard amount of sexual assault.

And yes, I know I sound pretty salty right now. And I am.

I am angry.

I promise at some point I will come up with some constructive thoughts for the future. I am working to imagine what the world could look like. One with community self-determinism and an end to capitalism. I am working very hard to create that in my mind and with my actions.

But for right now, I just need to be angry. And I don’t want to have to justify myself to anyone or sugar-coat it. I am just overwhelmingly angry.

Much love to you all,

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