Day One: A Habit of Resistance

This past Saturday was Trump’s 100th day in office. Today is May Day, 2017 (or it was when I began writing). For the next hundred days, I’ll be writing about resistance, mine and others’. More properly, I will be writing resistance.

In the past, I haven’t been good at daily. But I’m making a public commitment.

And I’m making another one: if Trump is still in office in one year, on May Day, 2018, there will be a massive protest, and I will help organize it.

I thought there should be one this year — and there was, the Day without Immigrants. Also, the Democratic Socialists organized traditional May Day workers’ rallies. But, in a year — if it’s necessary, which I think it will be, since solutions to this emergency move slowly — I envision something much different: I envision all of America pouring into the streets, and life coming to a standstill, and the entire country saying with one voice that must be obeyed, NO.

But before then, much work.

I’m not a memoirist. Definitely not a regular blogger. I’m a novelist and poet and occasional tortured essayist — writing that is nonlinear and/or capacious comes most easily to me. My hundred days here will be a hodgepodge. I might shift into free verse, for instance, because

the internal rhythm of sentences
is sometimes holy,
the intimation of order
a balm.

Being consciously disjointed here. Appreciating a different kind of order.

Because one of my barriers, always, is fear of imperfection. So it will be a discipline to leave this imperfect (although of course that’s actually the case with everything). I’m gonna get this on the page and online.

I should include a stroke of red to remind us all of the inevitability of imperfection.

Imperfection will be one aspect of my resistance.

I just read a piece by historian Timothy Snyder and among several dozen extraordinary and galvanizing things, he said this about living in the midst of an authoritarian regime change: “You have to change your protocol of daily behavior now. Don’t obey in advance because you have to start orienting yourself against the general drift of things….You have to set your own habits now.” He is talking about developing a habit of resistance.

Remarkably — to me — he is also describing the life of the artist. An artist, by definition, orders herself against the general drift of things, because an artist’s primary duty and skill is to see clearly, which can only be done from a position — even if it’s just a mental one — outside the mainstream.

Our national crisis was obviously not designed by God for my personal growth. And yet. This habit of resistance is something I’ve been striving toward (artist, pilgrim) and yet shrinking from (female, good little girl, ordinary human) my whole life. Could this, all of this this, be a path to real courage?

(For those of us who are just now woke. For those of us who have been trying and trying to see, but have had the good fortune to not be forced into vision until now.)

My sister-in-law said I should keep a journal. I always have, but sort of consciously avoided it being too daily, mostly because I couldn’t maintain my own attention recording things that way. But this is different, a different kind of obligation. It’s for myself, my children, my grandchildren, and for whoever else, in this age of sharing, wants to read it. Because none of this is believable, and all of it should be remembered.

Children, grandchildren, greats and great-greats, I’m sorry for my language here, but there exists, in this moment, a website called, and we need it.

On this latest day of Trump:

On his day 100, Trump talked to President Duterte of the Phillippines and invited him to the White House. Duterte is an authoritarian criminal.

Yesterday he said Andrew Jackson was very upset about the Civil War and could have stopped it. Andrew Jackson died in 1845. He also said, re the Civil War, “Why could that one not have been worked out?” Why indeed?

Today he said he’d be delighted to meet with the North Korean dictator.

I sense a shift in the country, a slight one. Maybe the 100 days are important, psychologically, in more ways than one. People are beginning to realize they’re not dreaming. People are beginning — -very, very slowly — -to realize the shit is not going to stop, that it’s not their imaginations, that they’re not overreacting.

That’s no kind of ending, but nevertheless enough for now. Stroke of red. Day One.