I am the president of her fan club.
She is my patron saint.
But, right now, right this moment of November 9, 2016, Donald Trump has been elected president of my country and Pollyanna is nowhere to be found.
I have lost my inner Pollyanna.
In fact, if I’m looking for a literary fellow traveler this morning, it’s Alice—I awoke to find I had fallen down a rabbit hole into a world I don’t recognize and cannot make sense of, peopled by megalomaniacs and Mad Hatters.
There will be those who say I’m a sore loser or a drama queen. I’ve considered those possibilities and I don’t think it’s either. Many times in my life, I have voted for others who have come up short in elections and I have accepted the outcome and moved on.
This is about being terrified.
If Trump-the-president is the same person as Trump-the-candidate then a lot of Americans are justifiably terrified right now.
I acknowledge that I have far less reason to be afraid than many Americans. I am as white as white can be—to find an immigrant in my family, you’d have to go back to the Mayflower.
I was raised Christian and could still pass for one if I felt pressure to. I am straight and married to a white guy who was raised a Christian, too. We don’t have small children to whom we need to try and explain all this. We are fairly well off and retired so our jobs and wellbeing are not at much jeopardy. And so on.
I’m still terrified and, if I am, I cannot imagine how the non-white, non-Christian, non-straight, non-Trump “Others” in the country are feeling right now. I am terrified for you.
You can understand, perhaps, why I can’t settle to anything today. I just took a long walk to try to blow away these feelings of dread. Cold drizzle stung my face and I was pushed around by strong winds. The weather brought to mind all kinds of tired clichés and banal metaphors about our country. I’ll spare you.
Let’s just say, the day suits my mood.
I will try to make something, to turn my hands to some creative task, even though all I want to do right now is rip and tear and burn, even though making pretty little doodads feels trivial and purposeless.
I’ll make things because I find comfort in the act of making and comfort is what I crave.
One thing I can’t bring myself to work on is my women’s suffrage quilt. The piece I showed you yesterday is one of a number of embroidered quotes about women’s rights I have been working on, to make a quilt.
In fact, I was stitching a quote from Hillary Rodham Clinton last night, as I watched the returns—“Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” Right now, that all feels a little bit like a cruel joke . . .
I’m sure I’ll get back to this project someday; I’ll probably decide it’s more important than ever. Just not right now . . .
I’ll probably weave, maybe a complicated pattern that takes all my attention.
And speaking of weaving, I have not forgotten about my promise to choose one of you to receive a handwoven kitchen towel. I have the list of people who will be in the drawing and will get to this soon.
It’s just that I am going to make a towel for one of you, one of my favorite people, and I don’t want the process of making or the product to be associated in my mind with this moment in time, with the way I feel right now. In a few days, I think, I hope, I’ll brighten up and feel like myself again.
Pollyanna, won’t you please come home?