Without people you’re nothing

joe strummer quote

So.

It looks like Patreon turned itself around and said ‘we done fucked up’, and decided not to follow through with the fee changes.  Which is a good thing.

Doug Jones barely eked by with a win in Alabama, and won it fair and square with just enough that an automatic recount won’t happen…and Roy Moore refuses to concede.

Now we have the FCC voting among party lines yesterday to kill Net Neutrality.

It’s been that sort of week.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the Republicans have been voting in lockstep for nearly all the least wanted, horribly written, barely thought out bills and resolutions.  I start wondering if they have an endgame here, if there’s some Big Reveal that’s going to happen in Act III that’s going to explain just what the flying fuck they’re attempting to do.  Or is it just going to stop mid-sentence with no resolution?  Have they even made an outline to this book of theirs?

[Don’t get me wrong — it’s not that I hate the party.  If they want to have an intelligent conversation and work in tandem with (if not alongside) the Democrats, then I have no problem with that.  But this past year has been one incompetent shitshow after another from them, and they’re really not selling me on their brand of governing.  Especially when they’re literally targeting my parents, my family, my neighbors, and my friends with their unabashed hatefulness and ignorance.  And me, with the Net Neutrality repeal bullshit.  And being pretty fucking brazen about it at that.]

But what I’ve also been thinking about, a lot, has been community.

I’ve already tweeted and blogged about that Jane Jacobs book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, but more to the point I’ve been thinking a lot about community in general.  I used to think of community service (I’m talking here about donating your time and services because you want to, not the court-assigned version) as a good thing to do, though for years I thought it really wasn’t my bag.  Let’s face it, at the time I was either lazy or selfish, both, felt it was expected of me or that I was guilted into it; it was rarely of my own volition.

The idea of community ties in with my new novel project; in fact, the idea of community service is a subplot for a few of the characters.  Not to worry, I’m not planning on doing any soapboxing here.  It’s just part of the overall story.  In fact, it’s more about embracing the fact that there are other people out there in one’s immediate vicinity than your family or significant other.  Acknowledging that they’re there, that they may be different from you in some ways, but just the same in others.

Community can’t happen if you choose to ignore or exclude people.  Sure, you can paint it in patriotic colors and all, but those colors are going to fade if all you want in your community is People Just Like You, and leave out the Other.  Even and especially if you try to paint it as ‘personal freedom’.  Community doesn’t work that way.

So what does this have to do with writing, anyway?  Why am I bloviating about this here?  Well, a) because it’s my blog and I can do so if I want (neener neener pthththbbt!), and b) the public’s reaction to these hateful shenanigans has been absolutely amazing.  The overwhelming response has been one of true community — bringing all kinds of people together, often in breathtakingly high numbers, to counteract the hate and the ignorance.  I see amazing numbers fighting back.  And even winning.  I join in when I can and how I can, and in the process I realize I’ve not been reacting as with feelings of doom and sorrow as much as I used to.  It’s more irritation and annoyance now, and I can work better with those.  Because that feeling of community.

And in the process it’s given me a clearer way to get through my day, to get through my creative endeavors without feeling useless.  And it’s inspired me to think more about how I create my characters; who I base them on, where they come from, who they are, what they do.  A vibrant community of all different kinds opens up not just different cultural ideas but different points of view.  And that’s what a good novel always needs.

 

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