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The Highly Charged Political Environment We Are In

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on January 30, 2017 in Anecdote, Art, Creativity, News, WIP, Writing |

I know I’ve been quiet on the blog lately. In part because I’ve been making it a priority to be noisy in real life and the blog has taken a backseat to that. But it’s not just that.

This blog–my Observation Desk–has always served as a safe space for me to share my thoughts. I’ve pointedly strayed away from highly charged political and controversial topics. Not necessarily censoring myself, but being careful in order to keep this a safe space…for myself and for those of you who actively participate here (and I’m incredibly thankful for all of you who take time out of your day to read my posts). It’s always served as one of my favorite creative spaces, and I’ve protected it to keep it positive because that’s what I’ve needed from it. I’ve needed to feel safe here in order to create.

I’ve seen how people (particularly woman and POC) can be harassed and attacked on the Internet for their thoughts and beliefs. In the past, I’ve protected myself and this space from that. I’ve had that privilege when others haven’t. I recognize that.

But right now, in the U.S.’s current political climate, everything has become political. Literature and art have always been political, but now the very places we shop, the causes we choose to support and donate to, whether or not we speak up..it’s all political. This is new to me, though I know this idea of life in general not being political is not new to others.

So I’m confronting my own decision to keep this a “safe” space. I’m confronting and recognizing my own privilege in ways I never have before. I’m listening and learning from people who do not have the luxury of having a privilege like mine, and I’m believing what they say. I’m challenging the lawmakers from my state and beyond to stand up for what is right by making phone calls, writing emails, standing with others, and voicing my beliefs in a way I never have before.

My perspective has shifted so much in the last year. I see the world in a different, often scarier, light than I used to. But this world that feels so new to me is an old world for many who have been fighting oppression and racism for their whole lives. I don’t always know the best way to act or react, and I have to fight my default to stay quiet and think that this isn’t my fight and to wonder what my voice can possibly bring to the table. I’m not always successful in my attempts, but I’m learning and listening, always listening.

I’m not saying any of this because I’m turning this blog into something new or different. Having a creative space and keeping my sanity enough to be able to create stories for kids is important. It’s always been a political act (as I said earlier, I believe all literature is), and the urgency of its importance is even more evident to me now.

The Observation Desk will still be a place to share creative thoughts and works, but I couldn’t ignore this part of me that was staying quiet here (I get a lot more political on Twitter @KatieLCarroll if you’re interested in checking that out). It felt dishonest, like I was keeping a secret, even though I wasn’t necessarily keeping it a secret (if you know me in real life, my political thoughts are certainly not a secret). So I may delve into that part of myself here more often.

With all that is going on in this country and around the world, it’s still going to be a big year for me personally and as an author. I’ll be sharing more about both of those aspects of my life here on this blog. I’ll continue to bring you guest posts, lots more #InkRipples each month, and pictures of the boys. This blog will continue to focus on creativity and books, no doubt about that. But now you know there’s been a lot more on my mind lately, and I’m happy to share that part of me with you (even though it feels like a messy, unfinished part of myself).

So stay tuned to learn more about my creative works-in-progress and the work-in-progress that is Katie as well!

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20 Comments

  • Donna says:

    Bravo, Katie! I appreciate your thoughtful awareness and honesty.

  • Dianna Gunn says:

    Well said! Once upon a time, I decided not to share politics on my blog because I didn’t want to alienate potential readers. Now, frankly I don’t care about those readers, because my voice is more important in our current political climate than ever before.

    I’m not turning my blog into a political soapbox either, but I’m definitely going to be more political there-and everywhere.

    Now let’s hope I can also be sane.

    • Finding the balance has been so hard lately. My creativity is not flowing at all. I’m not currently drafting anything because I’m working on edits, so at least my productivity hasn’t been totally shot. Staying active in politics and staying sane will continue to be a struggle for the next few years.

  • Thank you for your honesty. It’s very difficult to not express political views nowadays, and I’m confident you can do so in an honest, responsible manner. As I told a (very) vocal friend recently, if you stay silent, you become part of the darkness.

  • Mirka Breen says:

    Unbalanced public figures fan the same flames in us, even as it is in opposition to them. I work hard to not.let.them.
    Even as I didn’t vote for the winning side, I own the results. The mistake is to point the finger a la “it’s not us, it’s them.” It’s always us, too.

    This is why I remain above the fray for now.But I so respect your decision as you feel compelled to dive in. Your blog is where you rule, and get to say what is important to you. I suspect we think alike, but even if we didn’t, you wouldn’t have lost me as a reader. My blogging life is as much about listening as talking.

  • Delia says:

    Nice post. Thank you.

  • Amy Laurel says:

    I’ve started commenting a bit more on my political feelings on my blog as well, although that wasn’t the original intent of it. With how things are going right now in the states it would be hard not to engage in some form or another.

    Sounds like you have put some great thought into how to go about it and how to manage it for you; which I think is very healthy! Good luck!

  • Carolyn Swain says:

    Respect.

  • Meradeth says:

    I’ve debated at length about whether or not to post anything (more) political on my blog, because in real life it’s about all I can think/talk about these days. I’m scared to death, and my blog has always been an outlet for my emotions. I applaud your vocalization of your opinions in this world, and look forward to seeing them more here 🙂 Hugs!

    • It felt like the elephant on the blog since it has been so much a part of my life but I wasn’t talking about it. So I’m glad I mentioned it, though I’m definitely not going to get crazy political here. 🙂

  • Great post, Katie! And I’m glad you mentioned it! It *is* hard to be a woman on the internet with political viewpoints. I totally understand you keeping that to other social networks in order to get a little sanity. But your blog is your space. So please do with it as you will. 🙂 (You know I’m with you. <3)

  • Well said! I’ve tried to keep my political opinions on one social media platform. I’m very vocal on Twitter on whatever topic catches my interest, including politics.

    Although I’ve so far kept my blog mostly politics-free, it does feel as though I’m stifling myself and I hate the very idea of censorship, even self-censorship.

    I follow the blogs of some people whose views differ from mine. As long as they remain thoughtful I’ll read them or, at least, not unfollow them.

    Enjoy your blog and use it however you want, without fear.

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