When Words Fail Me
Tuesday at 2:33 pm
1,584,862. That is the number of words the Grammarly online grammar and spell checking program has reviewed for me over the past 3 years. Most of those 1,584,862 words have been used in writing the blog, then rewriting it, and editing it. Words are not what I do for a living, I don’t have that ability, but they are what I do for pleasure, writing them down here, reading them in books and magazines, spelling them out in Scrabble and Words for Friends.
I used to be able to write with some objectivity, even in the face of what I feared could be a natural tragedy. I could write about the wonders of my profession and the weirdness that sometimes was associated with it. I have praised valuable tests and bashed the useless ones. I used to be able to write with some humor–Barb was rolling on the floor reading this old post that came up Sunday on her Facebook memories page.
But words have deserted me in the past month or so. Every time I sit down to write a blog post I am stymied. COVID has worn me down, even while it has been a topic for some of my most popular posts. The state of the democracy is so nightmarish I have given up trying to write about it, at times turning to pictures to tell the story.
And the tragedy of the past week, the death of George Floyd, the responses, the responses-to-the-responses, has left me numb and once again wordless. I start to contrast the knee of Colin Kaepernick to the knee of Derek Chauvin but what more is there to say about that? If we had listened better to the former, we would not be suffering the repercussions of the latter? That type of writing is facile and easy, it is just a juxtaposition of two symbols.
When I will again find joy in writing, feel pleasure in adding to my 1.5 million words. Maybe when our country has refound its mission and its humanity. Maybe when we have all been inspired. Maybe when we are post-pandemic and putting our best effort at solving the other plagues we face–poverty, inequality, and environmental catastrophe are but the first three that come to mind.
I know I won’t stop writing the blog, not as long as ChicagoNow allows me to continue. I just long for the time when it will be fun again, for you, and for me.
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