Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Unsettling Times

with 8 comments

Folks, I wanted to write a blog today about editing, but instead I’m writing this.

Why? Well, in Racine County yesterday morning, a man went up to another man outside a gas station and shot him to death at point-blank range. There appeared to be no connection between them whatsoever.

This definitely made me uneasy.

That the shooter then went to a different gas station, where he in turn was shot to death by a police officer (the shooter shot at the unmarked police car, and at the officer who was in plain clothes at the time), just underscores how random life can sometimes be.

If that shooter had gone somewhere else, the policeman who stopped him wouldn’t have been there. So in that much, I suppose I can see the hand of divine providence. (I’d like to think so, anyway. Surely the police officer saved much more strife by killing the shooter.)

In my area of Southeastern Wisconsin, we’ve had various protests over the past four or five years in Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Racine. Most have been peaceful. Some have been socially distant, as has been needed since the pandemic of Covid-19 broke out. But some, unfortunately, have brought bloodshed and tears.

I don’t know what the answers are for this mindless violence. I don’t know why yesterday was the day the shooter decided — apparently — to flip out and murder someone in cold blood for no damned good reason whatsoever.

So, even though I know — as a good friend told me earlier tonight — that nothing has changed for me, it feels like everything has changed.

To be honest, living my best life during the pandemic has been extremely difficult. Add the summer into the mix, where I observe not one, not two, but three sad anniversaries, and that ups the difficulty factor considerably. I also do not have the consolation of playing music right now, as I took a leave of absence from the Racine Concert Band. (This was necessary, but it’s a necessity I still regret.)

Then, add in the problem of yesterday, with the Kenosha riots of 2020, and the Milwaukee issues in the last five years, and it seems like Southeastern Wisconsin is a hotbed of chaos.

That, I know, is an illusion. But it feels real.

So, what is reality in this situation?

According to a good friend, I may as well try to predict where lightning will strike next as to worry about some random thug somewhere putting a bullet where it doesn’t need to be. So that means that all I can do is the same thing I do every single day.

What’s that, you ask?

Simple. I choose to write. I choose to edit. I choose to write music, and to practice it when able. I choose to help. I choose to keep going. I choose to fight chaos, even if all I can do is fight the despair in my head. I choose to remember better days, and I most of all choose to be the same person my late husband knew and loved so well.

Even on a day like this one — a day after a previously unimaginable tragedy in an extremely rural area with a bunch of farms, cows, haystacks, and not much else — I choose to live.

This is a candle flame against the darkness, but it’s all I’ve got.

8 Responses

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  1. Dear Barb.
    I believe there is a saying which goes along the lines of ‘It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness’ so you have the right approach; the best approach.
    Although a brit (for 70 years now) for 60 of those I’ve looked to the USA for my music, humour, most of my TV shows and films and fell out with fellow left-wingers (very far left) over their en bloc condemnations of the USA. Something of an affinity then.
    Whereas all nations have the times of tragedy, violence and reprehensible behaviour which they would rather not be reminded of It has been a great sadness to have witnessed my semi-adopted country descend into the place where it now is. The reasons are easy to track, social and political. In the History of Humanity this is nothing new, but that is of no comfort to those who are living through it.
    It shows for all of us how conditional our circumstances can be; we in the UK have Brexit and a wave of intolerance (fed by extreme wings of both sides) disturbing our lives, though of course the pace and repercussions are of a lower level.
    I think a great deal about my various friends in the USA and the concerns which weight heavy on you in these times; I hope these times will pass and wish you, personally, all the very best.


    July 14, 2021 at 3:05 am

    • Thanks, Roger. I appreciate that.

      All I can say, else, is that I will keep doing everything I can to keep the faith, and hold up my candle to the darkness at ever opportunity.

      Barb Caffrey

      July 14, 2021 at 4:20 am

      • It is the most positive and hopeful thing anyone can do in these days Barb.
        Keep on keeping on.


        July 15, 2021 at 1:58 am

      • 🙂 I will keep doing what I can. (Today I finished the second intensive edit in less than a week. These are tough, draining, but ultimately rewarding edits with a short time-frame. They kind of knock me on my behind for a few days, but it’s usually worth it. My problem is, I have to figure out how to squeeze in some writing time despite all this editing. Still working on that one.)

        Barb Caffrey

        July 19, 2021 at 11:40 pm

      • Heat-spikes certainly don’t help, though we all still battle on, and we always feel its worth it, which makes us ‘Writers’ (yea Team!)
        The past few months have been all about editing my precious Magnum Opus, and the final work on the trilogy might be all wrapped up by September and ‘Kindled’ (Parts I & II) are already out there. It’s a bit of haul checking punctuation, continuity, spelling and thinking ‘That don’ work!’ , but I wouldn’t miss it.
        Take care Barb and best wishes.


        July 21, 2021 at 3:11 am

      • I’m glad to hear that you’re getting stuff done. 🙂 😀

        Barb Caffrey

        July 21, 2021 at 4:27 am

      • 👍😀👍


        July 22, 2021 at 2:33 am

  2. 😦

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    July 14, 2021 at 9:25 am

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