the worst of times

BW: Hi, I’m Barbara Walters, and today, we’re at the pied-à-terre of world-famous procrastinating writer Suzie Lightning. She’s going to take us through her day and show us how she, a sporadically employed writer and even more sporadically employed bartender, gets it all done. 

SL: Thanks for coming over, Babs. So, typically every day starts with a fresh-brewed cup of kona, and while I drink it, I doomscroll Twitter and a series of online news publications, getting caught up on any currently unfolding geopolitical crises, ongoing federal malfeasance, or newly uncovered administrative derelictions of duty. Given our current news cycle, that usually takes me about seven to ten hours to wade through. I flag anything that bears deeper investigation or further reading for my next life. 

Then I hop over to the Johns Hopkins, WHO and CDC websites, to get a read on just how extensively our national and local governments have fucked the dog on this Novel Deathfluenza Crisis; this is chased with a few dozen articles on how various municipalities aren’t properly reporting their data, along with various charts and graphs from exhausted and traumatized physicians that make it plain just how fucked we are.

Sometimes I’ll add in a firsthand account or two from people whose lives have been ruined by this pandemic—either by the disease itself or by its associated economic devastation—to really remind myself how much it completely sucks that this preventable chaos was not, in fact, prevented. 

By this point, it’s suppertime, and I’m usually amped as fuck with progressive anticapitalist rage and vicarious trauma, and ready to lay down in front of a city bus, so I take a few moments, slam a protein shake (haven’t had an appetite since Inauguration Day 2017) and see if I can afford to donate to any area COVID-19 and legal relief funds, throw whatever’s left at the few remaining grassroots congressional campaigns that haven’t been totally suppressed by super PACs or smear PR, and then I sit down at my laptop and write some angry letters to various local, state, and federal officials decrying their failed leadership.

I brew a little more kona to get all this done.

After a concentrated stretch of authoring my screeds, I need a break from all that screen time, so I get up, stretch, and throw my cup of coffee directly against the wall. Sometimes there’s screaming. Not all the time. 

I typically spend an hour or two doing my transcendental meditation after that. I light some incense, rub my crystals, and invoke the goddess within.

This takes us to about midnight, which is when various unknown persons across my city begin detonating a slew of incredibly loud and terrifying fireworks. This goes on for hours. Every twenty or thirty minutes a bored middle schooler pops an M80 so close to my building it sounds like it’s going off inside my refrigerator, and that makes both me and my dog shit ourselves. I don’t call it in because FUCK THE POLICE

While all this is going down, I take a moment to rub some crushed vitamins into my gums (digesting them with food takes too long), do a few heroic bong rips, and try to catch up on research for my manuscript or watch a film. But invariably, I end up back on Twitter, where all the other news junkies who are also being kept awake by prolonged fireworks displays are busy tagging evil Republican senators to account for why Trump still hasn’t been briefed on that Russians-paying-the-Taliban-to-kill-US-soldiers thing, or laying out detailed explications of why various DOJ actions and staffing choices amount to a criminal conspiracy that Nancy Pelosi will never grow the spine to investigate. 

So now it’s basically the witching hour, which is when the caffeine and vitamins wear off simultaneously and my heart stops completely. My dog brings me a baby aspirin to regulate my tachycardia, and I strap a defibrillator to my chest that’s synced to Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. His Hannity-fueled manic tweetstorms typically trigger my systolic rhythms enough times to avoid accidental brain death while I sleep, so I take the opportunity to get some Z’s.

I get a good eight, nine minutes of sleep, which is really all anyone can hope for these days. The defibrillator wakes me up shortly before dawn (typically when Trump starts bloviating about his poll numbers), and I’m back at it again. 

BW: Wow. What a day! This all seems very involved. When you do get your art made?

SL: When our 78 year old Democratic last resort gets elected. 

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