Donald Trump is ruining my fiction-writing career.
As if it had ever really gotten started. I retired two years ago to exchange my journalism credentials for a license “to make it all up.” Then came Trump.
Every time I got cranked up on a great American short story, or got another personal essay out of the way to clear the decks for “real writing,” another plot would thicken in Washington.
Real news trumped my imagination. “Making it all up” became a bitter accusation. I have been glued to CNN for the better part of my golden years, muttering cliches; my dog, Cowboy, puzzled by my frequent outburst: “You CAN’T make this up.”
Currently, I am on the edge of my seat waiting for former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. I know it probably will be like a popular TV series finale: Comey will suddenly stop volunteering information and clam up, capping a roller a blockbuster run with a redacted end.
It would be funny if it weren’t so scary. A smoochy-mouthed Trump, intent on embarrassing Comey by calling him out of the drapes and forcing him to cross the Blue Room of the White House for a public hug, was a scene worthy of Mel Brooks and “Blazing Saddles.” All that was missing was Trump wearing a gold-flocked bathrobe, emblazoned with the word “Prez.”
I don’t know. Maybe Tom Clancy could have done something with it. But the high-tech weaponry that provided so much of the spice in Clancy’s novels has turned into world of bloodthirsty partisanship, subversive hacking skills and “alternative facts.” And, between bad guys overseas and amateurs in the White House, the stories keep coming.
To me, it seems there is little, if any, time for literary recovery.
So, as the Trump administration continues to thwart my plot development, I am reduced to being an occasional Tweet stormer and armchair critic of TV pundits.
And when I’m not thinking about my inability to write about a viler version of Eddie Haskell becoming president, international money laundering or promises of more sympathetic policies in exchange for stolen digital dirt on a campaign opponent, my friends know all too well that I have succumbed to iPhoneitis and inundated them with pictures of dogs, flowers and sunsets.