When the News is so Bad it’s Impossible to Concentrate on Your Creative Work

Jun 20, 2018

was doing pretty good limiting my news intake. Just enough to be informed on what to call my representatives about. Just enough to know where to give money this month.

Then the zero tolerance border policy in my country took effect.


I was back to obsessively reading the various new sites, crying, bullying one of my Senators on Twitter and calling his various offices, giving money, and then crying some more.

My last thought before I sat down to write this was, “Bob and I should quit and spend the rest of this administration protesting wherever and however we can.”

This is not a bad plan, but it’s also a very black-and-white idea which always indicates to me there might be a middle way.

That’s my small suggestion for you today: if the state of the world sits too heavy on your chest, try to find the middle way.

Whatever that is for you.

We can’t turn away from the suffering. We can’t not take action. But we must be careful we don’t use the world’s horrors as an excuse to not do the difficult work of expressing and sharing our creative voice.

Full confession: it’s far easier to tweet my senator than write my book.

What is one action you can take in your corner of the world to ease the biggest ache in your heart?

Take it.

If the ache is not sufficiently eased for today, then take another action.

Then step back from the edge of “I should do more, it’s not enough” and go do a little writing. Or paint a few backgrounds. Or practice the ukulele.

Sometimes when I sit down to write, I dedicate my time to everyone who wants to write but can’t because they don’t have the time or the energy or even a quiet place to think. Try dedicating your creative time.

Allow creating to give your nervous system a much needed break, and you might also find yourself remembering why it’s worth making those phone calls, attending those marches and donating twenty bucks… so everybody has the safety and freedom to make the life they want. So everybody has the opportunity to have a voice.

May we continue to care through action and through creating.

Both matter.



P.S. Wall of Us does a great job offering simple actions to take in the U.S. every week

The Today Show published places to learn about the crisis and where to give money

Texas Monthly did a good on the ground piece

Reporters have been playing this recording made by ProPublica of children wailing inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility as an agent jokes, “We have an orchestra here” during press conferences. Consider sharing on with your Republican representatives.

To my international readers, I apologize for sharing our national scandal, but my heart was too full.

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