Writer's Rehab #26: The Return

The words came easier now, though what words she wanted to write was still a mystery to her. She knew she would find herself out here, among her friends with grammar and paragraph, sentence and stanza, and the gentle or focused flow of one word placed after another to build something bigger than just what was being described or happening.

She would find her place, but she had to keep writing to find it.

So in her book began a journey, for both the characters on the pages and the writer behind them, and also in a way for the reader who enjoyed her particular frame of mind and richly tarnished yet darkly sensual outlook upon this world we find ourselves in together for this brief moment in time.

Passengers together, fellow travelers, those stuck together for picking a particular route through this thing we call life. A task and journey she finds most take way too seriously, like every battle is the last, every bit of hyperbole is the most dramatic, and there is no time to reflect and take in the joys of the moment and the wondrous thing we have in this time and place we have together, now, right here, as eyes read words and brains process the thoughts sent along the wire and glowing screen of which we share ideas and feelings.

Though the scars of darkness still have not healed from her body.

Words as weapons. Memes as daggers. News as propaganda. Power as celebrity, both on the side of those who have power and those who resist with every heated word wasted on manufactured anger and artificial positioning not to help anyone but appease some false god of appearances.

The idolatry of the social age, where we worship more what was said than what was done. Where one's outrage mattered more than one's deeds. Where the silly and stupid game of baiting each other meant more than actual change or advancing a better place for us all. Where it was okay to lie and cheat as long as your side won.

Charlatans all. She stopped caring and listening to them a while ago and has been healing since.

The lies they live shall catch up to them some day. She was no better person nor does she claim to be, but still she wondered...what has happened to us?

Her greatest freedom came from deletion. Deleting all of those sites. Knowing how to spot the spread of infection where even reviews of technology became political tirades. Delete those sites and find another source. She knows manipulation when she sees it, comment boards and hack writers of the things which she pays them attention to spend her time with, yet they disrespect her so much as not to even care to keep an article on topic without shoving their politics in her face.

There is a time and a place, and please respect the time she wishes to share with you.

And this applies to both sides of anything.

If she wants politics, she knows where to go, and that is typically a better site than this one turned out to be. She will go straight to the source and make up her own mind.

Everything seemed touched by this dark power. Polluted by anger and rage, as if great smokestacks of hate spewed the hateful soot and toxic ash of discord across the land, poisoning everything downwind. The places we go. The things we do. It is almost as if the pollution touches everything we bring into our worlds, and she must cut off the bad parts of a piece of information before she synthesizes it into her mind, as if there were a rotten part of a fruit she did not want to eat so she removes it from her food.

And we have those who spread toxic hate everywhere these days, and then she suffers in silence as her friends on social media share the poison with her and ask her to share it to others. How can she? If someone dumps garbage in her yard, she is not going to dump it in the yard of someone else. Even if she agrees with what is in the post, she respects others have their own views of things and they would probably appreciate her keeping her own silly views of the world to herself.

She does not care. She is not going to change this world. She is her own person and if people agree or disagree with her, that is fine. That is fine. Part of growing up is learning to accept you are not perfect, nor the most popular person on the planet, two things social media drills into your head to keep you using the service.

She is not your platform social media, you are hers.

The more important part of her recovery was purging the venom collected from the past few years and learning to deal with it. To minimize it. To contain it. To learn, just like learning to live with an acute illness, how to care for herself and not let any more venom in. To find ways to deal with the pain that the news and social media caused, and find ways to use it for rehabilitation.

There is a lesson here.

This was not a recovery of stopping writing.

This was the road back, a rehabilitation after having anger and hate consume so much of her life she spent her days addicted to the news and message boards. An acceptance that she was vulnerable to these stimuli, the same as an alcoholic and the shot glass containing an innocent social drink can lead one down the road to ruin. On its face, there is nothing to that shot of gin. But it holds power in our moments of weakness.

The same with a hateful social media post or obviously biased news report.

She watches those still infected with hate stumble over each other in a vain attempt to destroy the other side. If only this would go viral...then what? You would need a stronger shot of gin or another dose of hate, and where would that lead you? To a better life? Honestly? Or do ratings and money only lie in spreading division? She knows their game too well.

The game is called destroying each other.

And it is a tired and worn out waste of time.

She respects those who can put things aside, agree to disagree, and find ways to build a better place together. People who find things to agree upon, even in these dark days, earn her respect.

Somewhere, at some moment, those who spread hate forgot about the idea of us.

The holidays. Memories from this time of year echo through her thoughts. She grew up in a time where her naked Barbies of all races and nationalities slept with each other...and one very lucky Ken; but that is another story for another time. Those are times past for her and the silly things she thought she knew about love.

She also had a brother who played with GI Joe toys, setting them up on their living room floor to wage the eternal war of good versus evil. And her mother, a wise goddess looking over this panorama of death and destruction, with plastic trucks and tanks flipped to simulate burning wrecks, and soldiers hiding behind tree-like couch legs and giant sleeping cats, once said...

"Do you think if a really brave GI Joe could find it in himself to go and speak to the Cobras, and find a way to live together in peace on things they agree on, that somehow that wouldn't be a victory for everybody?"

Some of her precious memories. The wisdom only a mother could share.

The reply was inevitably, "But Mom! Stop ruining it!"

But some things, once we are brave enough to give them up, can lead us to a better world.