I didn’t write anything in November.
That’s not entirely true (I have been working on some poetry and fiction, and I did publish two blog posts mid-November that you may have read here and here), but based on my regular posting schedule (and in light of what is going on in the world today), I haven’t really written much of anything in the past few weeks. At least that is how I feel. This definitely was not by design. In fact, I had a much different vision for how November would turn out and how I wanted to wrap up the year. I even had a few blog posts sketched out in advance.
I could probably find a few plausible excuses to share. For one, I recently started a new job and prior to that point, I was primarily focusing on the interview process. A better excuse would be that I allowed procrastination and doubt to cripple my creative efforts during the first half of November (and creeping into December now . . .). It seems that the more I write, the harsher of a critic I become. And my goal is to produce the best work possible so that I continually grow and improve, so I’d rather wait than post something shallow and trite.
Moreover, I know that I want to write (or rather, share) more essays and fiction and poetry in the future (like a Baldwin mixed with a Morrison dipped in some Hughes), so I have been grappling with how that fits into the kind of writing I typically do on this blog. In other words, should I even continue to prioritize this kind of writing?
Even still, notwithstanding the excuses, I had big plans to publish two blog posts during the week of Thanksgiving – one about an amazing book I recently read (Mastery, by Robert Greene) and another about the value of gratitude. But then Robert P. McCulloch, the Prosecuting Attorney for St. Louis County, Missouri, announced that a grand jury had decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting and killing of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown in August of this year. And I thought, damn, why would anyone want to read about charting your career like a “craftsman,” or about the value of gratitude when young black kids are getting shot in the street?
Then I figured, okay, I will wait a few days and then publish my blog post. After all, I haven’t been writing about political issues. Better to “stay in my lane” and focus on the safer topics – creativity, habits, writing, personal development, entrepreneurship. Better to do what I do best and read (finished like 7 books in November like a champ . . . I should be proud, right?). That’s what everyone else is doing, it seems. Staying in their lane. Observing and commenting here and there on social media.
But then a grand jury in New York decided not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo, an officer who was recorded on camera killing an unarmed black man named Eric Garner with an illegal choke-hold as the man breathlessly repeated in faint whispers ‘I can’t breathe’ . . . a black man who was suspected at the time, of all things, of illegally selling cigarellos on the street.
That is when things began to fall apart.