Hello Shitstorm, Hello Meatgrinder: Installment #3, Love Trumps President’s Day

By Adam Gnade

It’s President’s Day and I’m listening to a Chad Valley 12" and chilling the fuck out because life is terrifying. Plan lately has been to spend time with the things I love in order to ward off the Great Shitty Evil Eye that is Trump’s America. It’s almost too obvious to say that if you do nothing but fight you’ll burn out, and we all know that healing up in the downtime means you’ll fight harder next round. Regardless, a lot of people I know don’t hit Pause enough. (Maybe they think it’s lazy or indulgent. Sometimes I want to grab my friends by the collar and yell, “READ A FUCKING NOVEL! GO SEE A DUMB SCI-FI MOVIE! YOU KNOW YOU NEED IT!”) I feel like we should make a list of the things we love and stick it on the ‘fridge as a reminder. I’m not talking about loving friends and family. What I mean is all the various and disparate elements of our lives that give us identity and shore us up against the wind. You lose track of those things and you lose track of yourself. You have to assemble them around you like a safety ring you can step inside when you need a break.

My list would have homemade breaded cauliflower tacos, X songs, Vicente Fernandez, John Steinbeck, old country records, a good fire outside, pozole. It would have sturdy cowboy boots, Louise Erdrich, the Paris Review, Three One G vinyl, La Bamba, Roberto Bolaño. You’d see horses in fields, García Márquez, refried beans from Rudy’s refritos recipe, wide open spaces, Big Diamond zines, big western skies. Add all that up and you would have a strand of my DNA, frayed but strong enough to clone.

Life in America can be utter dogshit. Worry comes down like a great rotting bird, undead and fire-eyed, blotting out the light and all the things you believe in and hold true. The state of the world will scare you and you’ll want to fight it (and you should) but we’re not ourselves without enjoyment. Don’t lose sight of that. Fight but stick close to the things you love. So, happy President’s Day. Tear it all down.

ADAM GNADE is the author of three books of fiction, Hymn California, Caveworld, and, most recently, Locust House. His series of novels and connected “talking records” are released by Pioneers Press and Three One G. He is also the author of a work of nonfiction, The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin‘ Sad. Born and raised in San Diego, CA, he now lives and writes on the Hard Fifty Farm situated in the hilly countryside between Kansas City, MO, and Lawrence, KS. He is currently working on a “large and substantial novel about Americans at home and away” with a late-2017 release. His work is available at http://www.pioneerspress.com