Once in a while I revisit two of my lengthiest personal essays, each of which were originally conceived in early 2013 — I Am Not An Evangelist, and Emancipation. The latter begins with the discovery of my very first “grown-up” reading experience, Gone With The Wind. I was eleven and wanted to impress people with finishing a hefty novel during summer break. Had no idea what the thing was about, and didn’t care. It was HUGE in my eyes at the time, and that was enough. That novel so affected me over the next two decades (and several more readings), that I still keep a copy in the house.
I revisit these essays … as you might guess … because I have never felt they were complete, and never attempted to publish either in spite of one writing professor’s high praise for Emancipation. She noted that the expression of my perspective on the novel (and other literature and pop culture referenced) presents a brand of southern feminism, love for history, exasperation with politics,”religion”, and (mostly lousy but sometimes inspiring) human behavior worth sharing with others. Like I said, high praise. The fact that this amazing, respected teacher honed in on exactly what I hoped would come of writing such a piece was enough to soothe my raging heart for a while. I settled into doing research and trying to polish the essay a bit. And then I spent a year or so blaming its dust gathering on work and life and blah blah blah.
The other essay, I Am Not An Evangelist, is quite a bit more rambly than Emancipation. Which is astonishing. Reading through this one truly illustrates why I may never complete or publish either essay — the content is all so intensely personal that achieving the polish I desire might be impossible. Writing lessons, in general, encourage us to narrow the scope of our topics. Even braided essays, in the end, give a sense of being tautly focused. How can a feminist southern Christian with scholarly hopes longing for common sense leadership to save humanity manage to create taut, focused personal essays? All I know is that they beg to be written, but I may never discover how to bring them to an appropriate end.
You may ask at this point, Why bring up these failed attempts of personal essay writing?
Well, there is a presidential race underway, and it seems that every candidate on the block offends my feminist southern Christian sensibilities and hopes for common sense leadership fully aware of the importance of this nation’s history and constitutional principles. Not to mention the real meaning, and intent, of faith.
I want to finish my essays now more than ever before.
Faith isn’t meant to be the rock in a mud ball to sling at opponents. I know, I know … this nation’s political campaigns turned dirty long before even old Bernie was a spark in his daddy’s eye. It’s a thing, mudslinging. Have I mentioned my exasperation with politics?
I take issue with one person tearing another down in order to make themselves appear to be the better option. I take issue with melodramatic ploys to distract citizens from problems inhibiting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that could be (legally) dealt with the stroke of a presidential pen. I take issue with the definition of words like “socialist”, “liberal”, “evangelical”, “republican”, and “civil servant” being reinvented (or applied willy nilly).
Oh. Wait. “Civil servant” hasn’t really come up that much, has it?
The great leaders can’t all be gone. Can they? No, I don’t think so. They’re out there somewhere being smothered out by our nation’s modern campaign criteria — one must have two hundred gozillion dollars, half of which gained by questionable means that we will ignore, in order to afford televised clowning and fibbing exhibitions. Yay, America.