“Writers are tortured souls.” Someone spoke those words to me about two-and-a half years ago, and they still ring true—at least for the American writer. I wonder why that’s so, and I realize it’s the reality we create.
When I arrived in Tucson, I had two ideas in mind, go hiking and write a book. Upon joining a popular hiking group, one person told me that she faces harassment from that group at times, and she sings on hikes to lighten the dark hearts of the gossipers and players. I sang with her a few times. Pretty soon I started seeing the harassment she mentioned—it was a known thing in Tucson among the other smaller hiking groups—but there seemed to be this idea that no one was supposed to talk about it.
The book I had in mind for Tucson was titled Thunderbird Talking. The idea grew out of a complete lack of intelligent discussion about my first novel, which got treated like reality TV. I thought of creating a book about all those things that go unsaid—the love and hurt in our hearts that we don’t give a voice. I came up with the idea of names for characters that played off of words having to do with speech and oration…talking. So I find this group of people—some who fit the description given by our outgoing president—clinging to their guns and religion. I tried to open a discussion about the harassment, only to be stonewalled and then harassed myself. One of the members even had a name synonymous with talking.
It’s like I precogged the whole thing.
The purposeful harassment against me started two years to the day before the 2016 presidential election. The lies about me became so thick that the people I counted as my two best friends accused me of being a criminal and disowned me. I tried to invoke ideas of community, appealing to the better nature of people. I witnessed sexual harassment, and women told me stories of sexual harassment while in that hiking group. Many women, especially career professionals, dropped out never to return. I eventually found out that a psychology student and one or two fatties devised a plan to harass other women by lying about my sexuality and making vulgar claims.
Five letters to the hiking group leader trying to open a discussion went ignored. A Facebook writeup got mocked and ridiculed. The vilification of me as a means to harass non-whites increased. Millennials kept repeating their favorite mantra, “I don’t want to get in the middle of it.” A knife was pulled near me at one point. There were veiled threats of gun violence and ultimatums about who I could hang out with and what I needed to do to maintain my valuable friendships with members of that hiking group.
“Go big or go home.” A phrase once fun and light-hearted got turned on its head. (No pun intended.)
Being alone is the best way to be.
If writers are tortured souls, it’s because people who don’t know themselves torture us. The American has learned to project their dark sides on the writers and thinkers (or whoever) and torture them like they torture their inner free spirit. I tried to speak up for the repressed spirit inside—the singers and artists—only to be treated like a mirror held up to damaged inner psyches.
So who really is the tortured soul?
Today’s the day we get a new president. Anyone who says we don’t deserve him as a leader doesn’t see America clearly. We’ve got things to work on.
January 20, 2017