#CelebratingOthers with Guest Blogger Linda McLachlan!
Although Linda and I have not met IRL (in real life), we are great friends who write together most mornings of the week (we WILL meet eventually!). She was the one who connected me to her friend, Colette, who lives in Hawaii, and we stayed with her and her family on the island of Oahu.
Bill and I met Linda in Writing in Community in 2020. We were all trying to find our way with each other, our writing, where it all lands, and where we stand in the writing world. Linda is a beautiful writer and so eloquent in articulating her thoughts in nonfiction writing, as well as emotional intelligence in fiction. I love Linda's unique form of writing, like her fiction or personal essays, which requires a deep understanding of human emotions. She can evoke empathy and connect with readers on an emotional level.
When she wrote and posted the following essay, Silence Interrupted, on her Substack on October 20, 2023, I reached out immediately and asked her to be my guest blogger this week. Thankfully, she said, "Yes!"
Silence Interrupted by Linda McClachlan
In my privilege of silence, I think deeply.
I have few ways to communicate my thoughts most days. My tendency is toward long, deep dives into the inky, bottomless depths where all the darkness, depravity, pain and despair reside. When evil is unleashed in the world, I live with it inside. It catches in my throat.
I have no words for the agony. It’s not an excuse, nor is commiseration sought from those ravaged. I pour my heart down the well of hope for humanity in the face of abomination.
My Christian ancestors’ souls are not clear. I cannot stand and shake my head at brutality. I cannot ‘tsk, tsk’ at bloody revenge. I shudder with shameful rage for humanity’s inhumanity. What is allyship — it takes on water that turns to blood.
The binary choices of showing up:
“Shut your mouth.”
Are there any words? Saying something painfully stupid is worse than silence, no? “I’m sorry,” feels bereft and worn thin in the face of catastrophe.
Opinions appropriately choke the speaker. Speaking on behalf of the voiceless, dead and dying assumes a point of view that brings my privilege and ignorance to their mouths, defiling them and drawing blood in an endless cycle—mothers, daughters, sons and fathers slaughtered in memoriam.
An eye, for an eye, for an eye, for an eye until generations are blind. There is justification and no justice.
Foolish still, I try to explain away the dark agony I feel and do not communicate.
I want a silent presence to feel like help. In a world of presentational outrage, memes permit the witless to spew their thoughtlessness on the screen. Silence, too, is interpreted.
My silence reveals my ignorance, sorrow and failing allyship in the face of the unfathomable. My insufficiency and feelings of disgrace are on full display.
For more of Linda's writing, you can find her on her Substack page: https://lindamcl.substack.com/p/silence-interpreted?r=9rz14&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web.
With gratitude and sunshine!