Since I retired in July 2015, I have been kind of at a loss to say what it is I’m doing. I am a freelance writer and a novelist, but neither of those provide me with any concrete justification for my existence, especially the latter. My reviews for Chapter 16 are the sole exception. People can click on a link and see my name at the top of something, and then they can read that and muse to themselves, “so, Lyda wrote that. She actually does exist.”
But since Trump’s election my life has taken on more substance, more structure, at least in my own mind. People ask me what I’ve been up to and I can say, “I’ve been protesting a lot.” They nod, they smile, they get it. I could say just as truly, “I’ve been curled up in bed re-reading OZ books.”
But protesting is not just a way to vent the existential fear this administration has awakened in me, it gets me out of the house. Out with people, basking in the sun and wind, exercising my lungs, with other people but not in a way that is any real pressure socially. We are all just together, feeling the same outrage and fear, and we yell about it together, sometimes in unison. I see dear friends who I wouldn’t otherwise see so often. I have reconnected with freinds I haven’t seen in decades. I have met people whom I should have known years ago. I have met people I never have dreamed of knowing.
I can protest at a moment’s notice. I have a collection of signs in the back of Junior, my little Kia Soul. I can choose from among No Climate Deniers in the Cabinet (so much for that), Save our Healthcare (eeekkk), or an all-purpose Dissent is Patriotic sign from the ACLU. I huddle online with other activists; I am doing some media outreach; I am addicted to social media.
I have blown out my knee somehow with all this stomping around, but yet I persist.
This is what Democracy looks like.
And I have concluded that Democracy does not have orange hair and no clue about history or governing or diplomacy or intelligence gathering or good taste in home decorating or how to secure a tie or grace under pressure or protecting the vulnerable or …
2017 Reading List:
18. Our Dark Duet, Victoria Schwab
12. Dark Money, Jane Mayer
11. The Girl in the Metropol Hotel, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
8-10. Natchez Burning, The Bone Tree, Mississippi Blood, Greg Iles
7. Pistaco, Lynn Monahan
6. To the Bright Edge of the World, Eowyn Ivey
5. A Conjuring of Light, V.E. Schwab
2-4.. Natchez Burning, The Bone Tree, Mississippi Blood, Greg Iles
1. All the Things I Never Told You, Celeste Ng