The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

In a noisy era, it’s hard to stay the course

News sites and social media are consumed with ISIS, as well they should be, and that makes it difficult for writers (like everyone else, I suppose) to stay focused on their goals.

Perhaps (we might well ask) our goals are small and insignificant in the midst of crisis. The innocent people who died in Paris and elsewhere from terrorist attacks were staying the course of their lives up to the last minute when brutal thugs murdered them. Who are we (we may well wonder) to bury our heads in the sand as though none of that happened?

I’m working on a sequel to Conjure Woman’s Cat, an anti-KKK novella set in the 1950s, and I wonder–after being distracted by arguments on Facebook about the people displaying French flags as opposed to the flags of other nations that suffered recent terrorist attacks–whether a Klan story is relevant as a focus for today’s fiction.

ISIS tells us that Washington, D.C. is on their hit list. One wonders if there’s any way of stopping them. While wondering that, the dueling opinions in the media about “what ISIS wants” and “what we should do about ISIS” somehow seem more urgent than trying to increase sales and publicity for my work.

And yet. . .perhaps the chaos of not staying the course is what ISIS wants. Perhaps you saw French crowd pictures in the news with giant signs saying “We are not afraid.” Personally, I’m not afraid because I don’t think ISIS has ever heard of my small town. My worries are more about what the government will do to limit Freedom at the expense of security. Even when people say they aren’t afraid, it’s easy to justify the kinds of police-state-style abuses of freedom when those abuses are said to be saving lives.

So, I’m finding it hard to focus on another novel about the Klan while all this is going on. It might be easier if I didn’t have a Facebook account, but that account seems to be a necessary evil for a writer.

How about you? Are Paris and ISIS and bombing in Syria pulling you away from the work you intended to do this week? And, if so, should they be?

Or, is our distraction with all this a “victory” for the terrorists? I think maybe it is.

–Malcolm

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6 thoughts on “In a noisy era, it’s hard to stay the course

  1. I think when we run our flag at half mast because of an attack, we are giving the everything they desire. Just my opinion.

  2. Living Learning Adventures on said:

    Hearing that the French were going to cafes, etc., even in the face of this all was a relief… I remember after 9/11 when a group of us were sitting around a table at a professional dinner meeting in a cafe discussing the attacks, an elder of our Jung Institute (nearing 100!) made the comment in reaction to our obvious anxieties: “All over US, people are sitting around tables discussing this, just like we are.” He was so calm in the way he said it, and we knew he had lived through many times of great crisis. I have often contemplated the reduction of anxiety we all experienced at his calm demeanor. It is important we process, but it is also important that we not be cowering, overtaken, by fear and anxiety for the future. Our return to work and play is a vote for the future.

    • Processing what’s happened is vital, I think. I like your idea that returning to work and play is a vote for the future. Nice thought. It probably helped a lot after 9/11 to have a calm person some up to your table and say forward-looking things. Thanks so much for your visit and your comments. Jung, by the way, has had more influence on me than any other person–the next being Joseph Campbell.

      • Living Learning Adventures on said:

        Joseph Henderson is the man who made this statement, one of the founders of our Institute and an analysand of Jung. He was a humble man who loved the moment of life.

  3. Not sure I know the name. Wish I’d known him, though.

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