I read Simone Weil every day, to keep me open-eyed to my complacency (read: evil). I read Weil to remind me that I swallow injustice daily, that I assimilate it, that evil has become normalized not just in abstract society, but in the particularities of my very own life.
I can do nothing about the fact that the U.S. President is coolly immune to morality. I can do nothing about the gross injustice of his very presidency, or that he is recklessly provoking war in the Middle East (and here I think of my close friend who lives in Iran with his family, all these precious ordinaries who are pawns in these politicians' games).
What I can do is _________.
Like a writing prompt, I let the spaces lengthen accusingly. What can I do?
My geography traps me. I live in a suburb, within walking distance of almost nothing, and I have no car (actually, I can't even drive, which is almost unheard-of in America). I work from home in the mornings, and then stay home all day with my toddler. I have no connections and friends around me. I am trapped. I could mobilize online, you may say, but I am trapped by my commitments too. I have a manuscript to finish editing, and maybe a dozen other projects.
Is this an excuse? The question always plagues me. But I try to redirect my energy over and over again (to causes, to research, to anything but creative writing) and I find myself fleeing always back to the page, not as an escape, but as the only option after all, as the task which names every other activity as an escape.
Is this an excuse? People die of injustices all over the world. People suffer with mental illness. People suffer in poverty.
What can I do?
The helplessness, as well as my sickness, sleepens me. I want the whole world to retreat from me. I want to sleep a century in my bed. Maybe then I will arise with enough fire to fight the beast.