I am working on a book about inner-city poverty in the US, with a historical perspective dating back to the Great Migration. It's enthralling to me, and I WILL get back to it. The working title is "The Hood", and it looks at the layered patterns and outcomes of what has variously, over time, been referred to the ghetto, the slums, the projects, and of course, the hood.
What started happening a couple of years ago was my inability to stay mute about pressing political issues of the day. Obama was elected, and he and his supporters brought the explicitly liberal approach to government back into the light. The backlash, in the form of the Tea Party, was extreme. I developed a coterie of facebook friends to discuss and debate the heated social and economic issues brewing in the country, but that outlet was so limited, and I was desperate to get down some thoughts and start a dialogue with thinking people.
So I created Maslow's Peak, and it's allowed me to do smaller, more immediate pieces; articles, profiles, and blog posts. Even little hot-off-the-press updates on the home page. It's been so gratifying.
And I do still step back sometimes, to calm down, and to remind myself that contention in the country has been happening for years and we will survive. So I still take time to disappear into my book and gain perspective.
But even when I am feeling energized by current events and ready to take on the fight, there is just so much to look at and respond to that I get scatterbrained and can't figure out what to write about first. It's nerve-wracking!
Right now I am juggling three topics.
- My desk is covered with research on the Voting Rights Act of 65, The Help America Vote Act of 2003, and guides to the Voter ID laws in each state.
- My most recent bookmarks are of online resources about civil discourse - speeches, grassroots efforts, and blog posts. I have a couple of half-written pieces looking at this intensely important topic, and can't figure out which way to go.
- Meanwhile, for several days I have had three tabs open on my computer pertaining to George Zimmerman: the transcript and recording of his 911 call, the video reenactment he did for the detectives the day after the shooting, and the videotapes of the police interviews - there are several hour's worth available now. I've also opened a google map of the town home community where everything happened - it's all fascinating, and I feel like I am getting at somethings I haven't been able to gather from the news. But it's time consuming, and meanwhile the world is spinning...