Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Compartmentalization Vs. Alienation

with 8 comments

I’m worried about the state of the world. I truly am.

As I write tonight, there are many cities in the United States that have protests — some peaceful, but most not — over the senseless killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. That now-former officer knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for six minutes, and the other three police officers around him did nothing. Mr. Floyd was black; the now-ex officer was white. It was a non-violent crime that Mr. Floyd was alleged to have committed — he may have passed a counterfeit $20 bill — and he was not resisting arrest in any way.

We have every right to be angry over this. It was reprehensible behavior by the now-ex officer. (I will not name him, as per my long-held beliefs that bad actors should not be named.) Mr. Floyd should not be dead.

But watching the protests is deeply disconcerting. People are rioting, and often burning their own neighborhood businesses; that only hurts themselves down the line, along with the innocent business owners. People are letting their anger, their justifiable rage, spill over to the point it almost seems as if the world is on fire.

And that doesn’t even go into half of what’s going on in the world, as Covid-19 is still rampant. In the U.S., we have had over 100,000 deaths, as I’ve said before. In three months! And many people who’ve been changed for the worse for life, who will live with lifelong health ailments…the hospitals in this area continue to be overloaded, the medical professionals are stressed to the max, and everyone’s on edge.

I think these two things are part of why cities are burning tonight. People are alienated, and people are scared. They don’t know what to do. They don’t think anyone cares. They don’t think anyone is listening. And they wonder what in the Hell the point is.

I get it. And I am worried.

“But Barb,” you ask. “You said something about compartmentalization in your blog title. What the Hell is that about?”

Well, I don’t know about you, but I still have to get my day-to-day stuff done despite the background of chaos that seems to be everywhere. That I can’t shut out. That I wish I could help, but for the most part can’t do anything about other than be as upset as everyone else (but hopefully in a more constructive way than burning everything to the ground).

The only way I can get stuff done — whether it’s writing, editing, or anything else — is to compartmentalize my brain. To say, “OK, I’m going to do whatever I can do right now on this one, small thing. I am going to keep trying, and keep my head up, and do positive things, even if they don’t matter to anyone but me.”

I think this is all I, or anyone else, can do right now.

But yes. I remain deeply concerned. And I wish I knew what else to do, as the world — or at least the United States — continues to burn.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 30, 2020 at 8:32 pm

8 Responses

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  1. They torched Uncle Hugo’s and Uncle Edgar’s last night!

    thomas Monaghan

    May 30, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    • Tom, I am so sorry to hear that! That’s terrible! What did those bookstores ever do to anyone, except give some meaning and purpose to those who had the courage to read and stop in there?

      Barb Caffrey

      May 31, 2020 at 5:35 am

  2. Reblogged this on Likamarie's Blog.


    May 30, 2020 at 9:08 pm

  3. In these troubling turbulent times you have the right to voice your concerns and fears Barb.
    With a pandemic and when a nation is polarised and its political class seem unable or unwilling to stem this tide the ordinary folk, the ones who just want to get on with their lives are bound to feel a great unease.
    Thus if someone has the gift to write it is a time when this should be made the most of a place where they can go to seek a constructive outlet.
    Of course the ‘real’ world will intrude, it is only natural to be aware of what is taking place around you. Compartmentalising only works in small doses. (To concentrate on a re-write I have been using Word’s ‘Review & Read Aloud’ feature which picks up not just typos but those clumsy bits of prose which seemed so good at the time of writing)
    Take care


    May 31, 2020 at 3:19 am

    • Roger, reading aloud is the best way to find errors. I truly believe this. Michael is the one who taught me this; at first it sounds silly to read to yourself, but when you read it aloud you can _hear_ what’s there, and you aren’t going to delude yourself (at least, not as much! ;)) and can then fix things accordingly.

      You’re right that compartmentalization works only in small doses. But yesterday I just had to do that. I had a big edit that would not wait and needed to be in right away; my author is putting it up for pre-order and he needs it now. He worked with me and always has; I need to work with him and do whatever I can. Because of the pandemic I need to build more time into my schedule for editing, not less, because I need more breaks than usual due to the additional stress I can’t help but feel. (That’s what I’ve learned so far, for whatever it’s worth.)

      Barb Caffrey

      May 31, 2020 at 5:38 am

      • Funnily enough I am quite at home with the artificial voice which Word produces, an unusual occurance as normally we don’t get on very well. Well, musn’t look the gift horse in the mouth! 😃

        Yes indeed there are times when you just have to fence in time for a project and that is that. It is best to give plenty of time, because there are always little glitches or interruptions which slow the process down and the faster you go, the more likely there will be errors.


        May 31, 2020 at 12:03 pm

      • Agreed. 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        May 31, 2020 at 4:00 pm

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