Brain Babies, Head Spinning Edition
Content warning: left-leaning politics (though I try to stay polite and stick to facts, my views color the following narrative; I make no apologies, but thought it prudent to mention it).
I’m not actually going to pull a Regan and rotate my head around completely, freaking out the priest in the room (though you know I totally would if I could). This is more of a metaphor thing.
It’s 2021. First of all, as a person born in 1966—you know: well into last century—this is freaky enough all by itself. Secondly, what the hell is going on!? It seems like the entire planet is falling apart around our ears!
A Global Pandemic
The United States rent in two by raging sociopolitical factions
Leadership riddled with incompetence and staggering selfishness
So much anger, and pain, and frustration. It’s all rising to the top and boiling over. And, naturally, everyone around is getting scalded, burnt, killed.
It’s overwhelming. It’s frightening. It’s appalling. It’s hard to know how to cope with So Much Stuff! I’m sure many of you, like me, wonder if, the next time you step outside, will some maniac run me down with their car? Will I lose my job? Be homeless? Will a disease-carrying person breathe tiny vapors in my face, passing Death to me, maybe without even knowing they’re doing it? Will they do it on purpose, just for kicks? Will I go to pay the property taxes on my house and happen to be at City Hall the same day some asshole decides to shoot up the place? Will I catch a few rounds to the chest, clutching the envelope with the check in it, wheezing out my last breaths as some deluded psychopath cries “Freedom!” and runs away? Will my children be orphaned? Will I lose the woman I love? Hope not. You don’t really get over that shit.
Deep breath. Okay. So, there’s all of that worry. That fear. And it’s justified. The world is scary right now. But it’s easy to focus on the negative, right? We’re conditioned to it, aren’t we? I think a big reason for this is that bad news sells. It draws people in like a car accident, a train wreck. We, as bystanders, are certainly horrified by the blood in the streets, by the limb sticking out of the train window, barely visible through the smoke (is it attached?). We feel horrified by the events at hand, but we also think “Oh thank god it’s not me!”
But! It’s not all bad news, folks. It’s really not. There are good people out there, doing good things. Sometimes, in the face of the horrors too. Nurses, EMTs, doctors…wow, you guys! I cannot imagine how difficult this has been for you. My deepest respect goes to you all.
Teachers who dove right in to remote learning, figuring out how to teach, how to connect with, their students when everything went topsy-turvy. And they did it with a smile and for not nearly enough pay, just like they always do. Huge props to you as well.
Journalists, risking so much to be in the thick of all this chaos, to ensure that we the people are well-informed. Putting their careers (and sometimes their lives) on the line to expose corruption and lawlessness all the way to the top. Mad respect.
I see artists, who are nearly universally struggling to make ends meet, find new ways to reach their audiences. Painters doing murals, musicians and actors live-streaming, and writers… well, frankly, what we do hasn’t changed that much, except no one’s going to cons.
I see ordinary people shouldering the burdens of caring for those who are suffering. I see kindness again and again, manifesting in ways both small and large. I see humans being compassionate, kind, and thoughtful. I see hope, blazing brightly in the depths of this fog of despair.
I am inspired by this. I am awed by the goodness in people. I aspire to be among those who are doing things to make a positive difference. And, I’m trying to be proactive, in small ways, in ways I can. Also, trying hard not to make things worse, not to perpetuate the atmosphere of dread that surrounds so many of us now. I have no idea if I’m doing well at this. Much like when you try to edit your own work, you miss glaring errors. But I’m trying. I think that counts for a lot. And, like self-editing, we get better at it the more we do it, so I’m going to keep trying.
I sincerely hope those of you reading this find something positive in your lives, some bit of hope on which you can focus, some spark to keep the darkness at bay. If you don’t, maybe you can be that for someone else. We’re all in this together, folks, and no one gets out alive, so we should try to make it as pleasant as we can while we’re here.
As always, thanks for listening.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Ken MacGregor writes stuff. Sometimes, he edits stuff too.
He has two story collections: AN ABERRANT MIND, and SEX, GORE & MILLIPEDES, a young adult novella: DEVIL’S BANE (YA winner of the 23rd annual Critters Readers Poll), a co-written (with Kerry Lipp) novel: HEADCASE (available in serialized form), and is a member of the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers (GLAHW). He is a somewhat regular contributor to HorrorTree with his column Brain Babies. He has also written TV commercials, sketch comedy, a music video, some mediocre poetry, and a zombie movie. Ken is the Managing Editor of Collections and Anthologies for LVP Publications. He’s curated two anthologies: BURNT FUR for Blood Bound Books, and STITCHED LIPS for Dragon Roost Press..
When not writing, Ken drives the bookmobile for his local library. He lives with his kids, two cats, and the ashes of his wife.
Ken can be found at the staggeringly egocentric-named website kenmacgregor.com.