Time flies when you're in the shit. It's been almost two weeks since my last blog update, because I've been dealing with some horrors of my own.
Work horror, for starters, which can really eat me up. I'm always amazed at how quickly, how completely, work situations can consume me, body, mind and soul. It's a wonder more writers don't set horror stories in offices. Perhaps it's just too close for comfort, and editors, upon seeing a submission with that setting, would simply consider it a "dog bites man" story and consign it to the dustbin. Still, I think there's rich ground there for the right person at the right time, which would be me now.
Then there's weather horror, for that extra miserable flavor. Have you heard how cold it is here in Chicago? And snowy? This kind of deep-freeze always seems to set in some time after the holidays, a meteorological reminder that the fun is officially over and it's going to be a few months before anything changes for the better. If it's the least bit warm, you can bet the skies will be low and gray. If the sun is shining, it only heralds the arrival of a brilliant, biting cold. I've lived my entire life in the Midwest, and I'm used to this, but every year it seems a little bit worse, a tiny bit longer.
The steady drum beat of economic horror from every news source is also ratcheting up the tension. I think we're all wondering how long this will last, how bad it will get, how much more we can take, and how in the world we got here in the first place. Rightly or not, I blame a large, mostly faceless group of bankers and executives, and I carry a generalized but seething pot of anger with their name on it everywhere I go. For the first time in my life I understand what those bumper stickers that say "Eat the rich" are talking about.
Which leads me back to my work horror.
A good example of the national mood came as an aside during this morning's CNN broadcast. They'd just finished an update on the USAir crash into the Hudson River. The anchors were remarking once again -- and deservedly so -- on Captain Sullenberger's heroism and what a miracle it is that all 155 passengers and crew survived. Then, just before going to a commercial break, one anchor said to the other, "It's something, isn't it, when a plane crash can brighten the nation's spirit?"
It sure is.