Blow Back

P eople say that writer’s block is when you
R un out of ideas. Don’t believe them. It’s when a thousand thoughts
O verflow and jam
T he
E xcessively narrow
S traw they’ve stuck in the
T urbulent milkshake of your mind.

I wrote this acrostic poem in response to yesterday’s Daily Prompt Protest but didn’t post it because it seemed, well, just too damn odd! Looking at it again, though, it does seem to summarise the way I feel at the moment about broadcasting my viewpoint to the world. So I thought I’d try to work out what’s happened. I don’t feel up to stringing a logical argument together, so here are a few random bullet-points in no particular order:

  • the political situation in post-Brexit Britain and pre-Trump America is an airless vacuum as if everyone has taken a deep breath at the same moment
  • facts are stranger than fiction, as always, but in shorter supply than usual
  • any attempt to be satirical is bound to fall short of the weirdness that calls itself reality
  • writing about yourself feels like changing the subject
  • anything you say about what’s going on in the world could become irrelevant before you finish the sentence
  • being controversial may alienate some and frighten off others
  • trying to be funny feels like whistling in a graveyard
  • whistling in a graveyard makes you look stupid
  • every word you utter reveals how you voted, which defeats the object of a secret ballot
  • when did words ever change anything anyway?

Is this just me, I wonder, or is any one else struggling with this stuff too?Image result for whistling in a graveyard





26 thoughts on “Blow Back

  1. I don’t know, I still thing we need voices of reason, and I refuse to apologize for supporting rational and civilized behavior. I WANT people to know I did not vote for Trump. And there are more of us than them, anyway, despite what Republicans would like you to believe.
    The NY Times op ed writers are managing truth, satire, and food for thought:

    1. Wow, thanks for linking to that article – it’s cheered me up no end! The news it brings is irredeemably bleak, of course, but the tone is curiously cheerful – there’s a dogged quality that reminds me of the British satirical magazine ‘Private Eye’, which combines forensic fact-checking with knockabout humour and ridicule. Do you have anything similar where you come from? As you so rightly say, reason coupled with perspective is the way to go. When the going gets tough, as they say, the tough get going … and you’ve put some gas (unleaded!) in my tank!

      1. I’m glad it gave you a reason for optimism! We don’t have any one magazine that I know of with that perspective, but there are still many people writing for various publications that can combine those qualities. They always give me a boost too.

        1. I suppose Jon Stewart’s ‘Daily News’ (?) was a kind of TV equivalent. It’s always good to know other people are in the same boat as oneself … if one can say that after watching the tragedy of boats sinking in the Mediterranean.

  2. Dave do not despair – as memadtwo says we still need voices of reason. The big problem with the votes for Brexit and for Trump is that they seem to show a 50/50 split in the popular vote. Only in my deepest gloom do I think that people are really so polarised – in each election the opposing camps resorted to violently biased and often untrue statements (frequently of the popular “motherhood and apple pie” kind) to curry favour with their supporters. Truth and rational debate was not in evidence. My hope is that real people have a variety of thoughts and opinions which actually overlap with each other rather than being diametrically opposite.
    Perhaps proportional representation would help describe the real opinions in the population, rather than a yes/no voting situation?
    In the meantime, Dave, please continue whistling in the graveyard – it does me, at least, the world of good😃

    1. I am grateful for your measured comments, Mike, following the encouraging replies from memadtwo and Opher … it’s easy to feel paranoia when national debates have, as you say, been so misinformed. Your point about proportional representation hits the nail on the head – it’s an idea whose time has surely come. I know the British Greens and Lib Dems are in favour and perhaps the Labour Party can be brought round in the face of the Tory-proposed constituency boundary changes. It strikes me that we have to get serious about democracy and its current failure to involve citizens (not subjects bound by the whim of royal prerogatives!) in the decision-making process … half-baked yes/no votes out of the blue are no substitute!

      Just caught myself whistling …

  3. I was reminded this weekend that we are in exciting times to be young, it’s time to agitate, protest and use the power of facts, although the opposition seems to believe that facts are not absolutes. Of course I am older now and thought my days of protest had ended with the death of Thatcher but there is always a new adversary.

    Now trying to come to terms with what to write of relevance that’s another thing.

    Fight the good fight.

    1. Yes, Neil, the dragon takes many forms and the fight continues. As you say, the search for facts is the real quest. Been reading about post-truth and retro-truth, the first where emotion trumps facts and the second where something that could become true is accepted as fact … weird scenes inside the goldmine, indeed! Perhaps the young can read this stuff better than us old codgers … all power to them, of course, but we must play our part too !

  4. It always seems to me to be rather odd that so many people think an election changes everything. Are things different after the Brexit vote? Not really. Did Obama change America? No. Is the vote for Trump the end of the world? Doubt it. The Korean President is about to be impeached, is that related to Brexit? Nah! Are we fed up about hearing the word Brexit? Er, yes, actually!

    1. You’re right to say that it’s business as usual, Steve, with the rhetoric of politicians misleading everyone into thinking real change is gonna come. Wearing my glass-half-full hat – doncha love a mixed metaphor? – I reckon the outcomes on both sides of the Pond are really a rejection of globalisation in disguise, with the unfortunate migrant worker the whipping boy. How it all turns out is anyone’s guess, but I bet the rich hang on to their tax havens while convincing the poor their struggle is with other poor people. Fed up … yeah, you could say that. Giving up … ha, I’ve not started yet! Thanks for your stimulating comment.

  5. At the dinner table, I started to mention a recent Trump news item and my wife quickly said isn’t there other news. I continued, pointing out I was reading online entertainment news and even there the lead article is about Trump ( Apprentice TV show ). Even when you try to escape to some “safe” topic or category he has his dirty little hands in it. Broadway, science, technology, weather, escapist entertainment – there is no getting a way from the Trump shadow. The only response is to shine a bright light on the shadow and reveal the ton of dirt under his tiny finger nails.

    As to voting choice, I have felt that the American system, which puts so much emphasis on two choices creates a huge problem. The voters for either choice must cover a very wide continuum of beliefs, expectations, hopes and fears. There must have been a lot of desperate people who voted for Trump in spite of unease, just as there were many voters who sat it out instead of voting for either.

    1. I’m sure you’re right. We don’t often get such a binary choice in the UK but the referendum has certainly given us one this time. The campaign on both sides was shambolic, no better than the Trump-Clinton circus, and any nuances were lost in the shouting match. Mind you, it’s not much different in our House of Commons, where yah-boo schoolkid slanging matches drown out the slow, steady consideration of facts and opinions in select committees which is the grown-up way to govern a country. Instead we have soundbite insanity which just fuels hysteria. If we need a slogan, how about Keep Calm And Go Back To First Principles … or am I just whistling in the wind?

  6. You’ve just described my state of mind! I can’t focus and it just bogles my mind that anyone could fall for Trump. We’re the mice and he’s the cat. He’s playing with all os us and at the same time adding to his back account.

    1. What heartens me in the response to my post and in reading other posts is the extent to which so many of us are feeling exactly the same thing. And I suspect many more are feeling uneasy or even guilty about the way they voted. Our new identity as mice could bring about a new feeling of solidarity …

  7. I expected to be past this by now, to have accepted the grim, ludicrous fact of Trump and moved on. But the reality is worse than I ever imagined. The dude is so shady and so unstable it’s possible he’ll be impeached or quit before taking office. Keep your fingers crossed.

  8. Wow, you sum it up so perfectly and I agree with every point… so obviously you know how I voted. Oh boy. It is like whistling in a graveyard. Moments of happiness do feel bizarre – a serious case of cognitive dissonance. Who smiles when facing their own advancing extinction?

  9. So, i just wrote a comment about this, and then my internet crashed before i could hit send :/
    Without repeating what most of your readers have already said, i will say that i completely relate. All the awful political crap. Ugh. How to talk about it? I’m pretty much openly lefty, but i still do worry about online harrassment and the like. Plus, i’m very much an escapist.
    As for the creative block, and the very cool poem about it- again; i completely relate. Major mental constipation! Too much mental traffic…creating a bottleneck! Please post more “odd”poems.

    1. I reckon I’m pretty good at “odd” so no problem there! I know what you mean about online harassment – the forces of reaction have nasty elements in their ranks – but we must keep the flag of decent values flying no matter what. Escapism is good because it keeps things fun and can deepen responses. All good. Thanks for your feedback, helps with the whistling …

      1. Agreed; gotta keep the decency flag flying at all costs!
        No worries; hope any creative blockage is replaced by creative flow. For you, and for myself…and all others feeling the same.

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