This was a wierd week in so many ways, but today I will share one story with you. As I usually only write mornings, I was indulging in watching television in the afternoon with a cup of Earl Grey tea with Almond Milk. I selected an episode of Criminal Minds, one of the better television drama series from Hollywood. The episode was about a serial killer who randomly went to public places and began killing strangers with a large machete. Well, this was a bit too much so I quickly grabbed the remote and switched to CNN news. You wouldn’t believe what happened next!
On CNN, a story was being broadcast of the police stopping a car and the suspicious driver had a large machete!
Well, after my mind stopped spinning, I asked myself which channel was fiction and which was real? I had no answer.
Then I recalled watching a DVD last week of a 2010 British feature starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Charlotte Rampling. The film, based on the amazing Japanese/British novelist, Kazuo Ishguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go, had been brilliantly adapted into a fictional film. Though released as sci-fi fiction, the film seen today in the midst of Pandemic and other totalitarian machinations, seemed potentially real, – and terrifying. As I don’t wish to spoil the haunting experience of watching this story unfold in minimal dialogue leaving the viewer stunned and in awe, I won’t relate the scenario – only the recommendation to find and see this unique film and stunning performances. For days, I felt haunted by what I had seen – and all done without foul language or gratuitous violence. No small feat today.
A day later, I had to drive 40 minutes to the DMV to sort out a missing check I sent to pay for the annual car registration. This turned into Kafkaesque hours at the DMV with seniors wandering from one desk to another with papers in their hand. They more resembled sleepwalkers, eyes wide open, and not having a clue as to what was happening or what was expected of them.
Kafta would have written this better, but observing the wandering white-haired seniors lost in the slow torment of today’s bureaucracy, I experienced a vision of what ‘purgatory’ must be like. One is neither dead nor alive – but in-between – waiting for Godot or heaven or hell. And it all seems so unreal.
Here’s what I am trying to say. These are extraordinary times, and between the daily conflicting news and the reality of what is happening to friends and family and others suffering extreme challenges, it all seems unreal – and sometimes even absurd.
Perhaps the real challenge – apart from sustaining safety and health – is achieving some kind of balance – both mentally and physically. Writing has always been the best therapy I know, but even writers have to walk a daily life causing them to sometimes stop and wonder which is real and which a fiction?
People without hope do not write books. – Margaret Atwood
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