A writer risks losing friends and, dare I say, admirers, when she tiptoes into political speech. I’m taking that risk here because I’m committed to honesty in what I choose to express on this platform. As my recent work suggests, I do not live or work in a vacuum; I cannot help but be affected by the state of the nation I live in and was born into. I cannot write “pretty” when I don’t feel that way. Writers are expected to offer hope; that’s part of the aesthetic bargain. And sometimes I do. But not always. And isn’t that just like life? Up, down, sideways — we respond to whatever comes our way.