This is going to be one of those times when I type and post without a whole lot of “simmering time” in between to let my thoughts settle.

I realized this morning that my election hangover is looking a whole lot like how I remember my last major depressive episodes in New York (and that hangover from those is still ongoing). I keep having to remind myself what day it is, what my life expects me to get done. I’m easily frustrated, especially when I’m in transit. I don’t want to hear the news. I don’t want to talk to people. I want to eat sugar instead of actual nutrition. I fall asleep at 8:00 and wake up at 6:30 and don’t feel like I’ve slept (that might be partly the time change). I have Amazon open in another tab on my browser right now, but I don’t remember why I opened it or what I intended to buy (I totally intended to buy something.) I’m getting caught in little obsessive tasks that I have to get done or everything will suck but it won’t get done and I can’t think clearly enough to problem solve or take perspective so I keep doing and doing and doing while my train of thought unravels further.

So. I guess I’m still a little early in this processing game. I did not think that Trump would win. I didn’t even entertain the possibility. I woke up on Wednesday feeling wrung out and couldn’t remember why for a few seconds; then I remembered that I’d spent a lot of Tuesday night crying. And then I remembered why I was crying, and, well.

I just want to watch Chopped and re-read Harry Potter and cuddle my dog and not a whole lot else. But I’m not sure where the line is between self-care and wallowing. A lot of my friends (on social media and in real life) are gearing up to fight, to protect each other. And I love that. And I want to be that. But I fear that I’m just not a fighter, and never have been. I’ve never been a get-out-and-protest sort. So I’m struggling to find what I can do, without feeling like a cop-out, but I haven’t gotten there. I don’t want to be the lame unhelpful weepy white woman. I don’t want to be the person who agrees in spirit but then doesn’t step up when I’m needed. I want to be there for my friends. The line between self-care and privileged opting-out is a thin one. I’m also walking the line between chaotic over-exposure to news and hurtedness and hiding under my covers. I keep waiting for clarity, for impetus, but my sneaking suspicion is that I’m going to have to find it on my own and I’ve never been good at that.

So I don’t know if I can hit the streets. I can write, and I can talk online, but that feels so small and petty and useless. I don’t want to get used to this new world. I don’t want to keep fighting these fights. I don’t want to keep having the same discussions and arguments about privilege that I was having a month ago. (This is part of my perspective from my own privilege, I guess: I was having these conversations a month ago, and I’m still having them today, even though the world feels different, the world is the same. Nobody is surprised by the racism of white people except white people.)

I kinda like the fighter who’s telling himself to get up off the mat even though his head’s spinning and his vision is black at the edges and he can’t feel his limbs. But I have to get up because behind me are people who are hurting so so so much worse.

Okay. Onward. Might be back with something more coherent and less pathetic later.

Book Review: Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

 

redmoon

This review was first published on my Goodreads account over here.

So I read this a few months ago and my memories are fuzzy, but here goes…

This book was good. Really, really good. On a number of levels. The plot is good, the characters are great, and it brings up a number of themes that are relevant to modern-day America. It’s not a science fiction story that takes place in its own world, it can travel between the boundaries of fiction and real life and make you think about what the hell is going on.

The world in the book posits a world in which werewolves (called lycans in the book) are real and known, and the balance between non-lycan humans and lycan humans is tenuous and marked by violence and fear. The book primarily follows three people: Claire (a teenage lycan), Patrick (a teenage survivor of a lycan terrorist attack) and Chase (a politician who uses people’s fear of lycans to gain power and popularity), along with some other folks connected to the three main ones (Chase’s campaign manager, Claire’s aunt, Patrick’s dad, people like that).

One reason I liked this book is because it doesn’t take so many of the easy outs that a lot of genre fiction takes. The lycans aren’t all bad, but neither are they all good. Same with non-lycan humans. I can’t remember exactly how the book ended anymore, but I remember thinking that Percy had kind of written himself into a corner with his unsolvable primary dilemma.

The book was written in 2013, and I saw some reviews online accusing it of being heavy-handed with the Lycans-as-Muslims metaphor, but I didn’t read it that way. Like the X-Men, lycans can be read for a lot of oppressed people in American history (I remember feeling funny about Percy re-writing events in American Civil Rights history and making them apply to his fictional Lycan Civil Rights movement), from Muslims to African-Americans to LGBTQ folk and people with AIDS.

I also found myself fascinated by Chase Williams, the politician character. The book was published in 2013, and I read it in the fall of 2015, and was forcibly reminded of nobody more than Donald Trump (again, your own casting of Chase-Williams-as-metaphor may vary), currently running for president.

So yeah. Totally worth reading. Takes and re-casts our own world into a different, but still recognizable, setting. Recommended. (I recommend his other novel <i>Dead Lands</i> as well, though for different reasons that I may talk about some other time.)

Book Review: The Walking Dead #1

walkingdeadI first reviewed this book on my Goodreads account over here.

I should probably clarify at the outset that I have never seen a zombie movie in my life. Nor a zombie television episode. Nor read any other zombie novels or graphic novels. I haven’t read Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Needless to say, I am completely unable to place The Walking Dead within a larger zombie context. It is entirely possible that I will say something that someone experienced in zombie culture would not say.

“In a world ruled by the dead, people are forced to finally begin living.”

Days Gone By, compiling issues #1-6 of the Walking Dead graphic novel series, opens and closes with a gun battle, and sandwiched between are a lot of zombies. The apocalypse has happened. Society has crumbled while Rick Grimes, our small-town cop hero protagonist, was in a coma recovering from a gunshot wound. His town has been abandoned, and his family has disappeared. Days Gone By follows Rick as he tries to find his family and learn the basics of whatever it is that’s happening to his world. And, refreshingly, the story doesn’t pause for more than three panels to explain what’s going on, or what caused all the zombies. “All media shut down after a few weeks. I haven’t heard much of anything after that. If they found a way to stop it…they haven’t made it here yet. Those things are everywhere. Before they stopped broadcasting they told us to relocate to the bigger cities. They said they could protect us all there.”

And that’s basically all we know. All Rick knows.

Because it’s a collection of issues, the graphic novel follows Rick trying to achieve specific, smaller goals within the larger overarching story of survival. Finding his family. Working out how to defend himself. Gradually building tensions between the surviving characters. I tend to read graphic novels really quickly (so quickly that sometimes the finer points or moments of emotional impact sail right by me), and some of the character tension stuff I didn’t really care about, but The Walking Dead did have an effect on me by the very end, and I could hear the little boy screaming inside of my head.

The graphic novels and the AMC television adaptation have, as most people know, gotten really popular. If you’re into zombies, I expect you’re way ahead of me and have read all the comics and watched all of the episodes. However, if you’ve been avoiding the series because you’re not a zombie person and don’t like zombies, you might want to give The Walking Dead a shot. I’m not sorry I did (but I still probably won’t watch the TV show anytime soon).