SHOW YOUR WORK: Even If You Can’t See It

Today I am sad.

Everywhere I turn there is righteous anger and unspeakable injustice and unfair generalizations and misinformed assumptions and I hurt.

Hurt. Hurt. Hurt.

This hurt loaded on top of the fear and uncertainty that has become a part of our days. My right shoulder, that always lets me know when my load is too large, is burning. My stomach, which recoils at conflict, sadness or frustration is churning.

I’m craving quiet but living in a house full of young people who are busy and dogs that need me.

I’m not in the mood to promote myself or my book and, to be honest, it feels wildly inappropriate to do so.

So this morning I spent an hour writing through my thoughts on race and my own history of growing up during desegregation. I searched for my part in all this. It didn’t make me feel any better. It did make me wonder how we got from there to here.

I read this great post about ‘Writing in a World on Fire,’ that for a moment made me feel not quite so alone.

I sat down to work and made a few half-hearted attempts to find reviewers on Instagram, but I was distracted by post after post filled with poignant, articulate comments on the current situation in this country.

And I wondered why I don’t have anything to say. Why my words are simply choked by sadness.

So, I don’t have any real work to show today.

But maybe that’s the work—my heart and my mind were stuck, frozen, unable to process anything more, much like my laptop is when I spend too much time on google collecting all those cookies.

Maybe the only work I have to show today is internal— a necessary re-boot that is still in process.

I talked to two good friends about a little of it. I had a way-too-heated ‘discussion’ with my passionately involved child. I read a few blogs and one long article that only made me wonder more. I walked the dogs and thought. I cooked and thought. And now I’ve decided what I need to do is go clean out some spaces in this house. Take this anxious energy that is preventing me from accomplishing anything concrete today and fling it upon the piles in the basement or the mess in my closet.

I’d like to hide from the others in this house and blast Melissa Etheridge (because her music is so raw and honest and almost always helps me have a good cry) and sift through papers and books and clothes and so much stuff that doesn’t matter. Put something in order in this world that feels so incredibly out of order.

And then tomorrow, my friends, I’ll be back to the positive, I-got-this person you know me to be.

I hope.

How are you doing? Is it getting to you, too? What do you do about it?

Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.


Cara Sue Achterberg with pupCara

If you’re curious about what I’m up to, check out my website,

If you’d like to subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly e-newsletter, click here.

And If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog. And if you want to know what is really happening in the animal shelters in this county, visit, Who Will Let the Dogs Out.

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, and I’m thrilled to get email from readers (and writers), you can reach me at

COMING JULY 2020 from Pegasus books (available for preorder):

100 dogs cover

Available now:

Another Good Dog cover

Find out more about fostering dogs at!

Author: Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and dog rescuer. I live in the darling town of Woodstock, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley with my husband and three rescue dogs (who rescue me on a daily basis). Find more information about my books, my dogs, and all my writing adventures at

2 thoughts on “SHOW YOUR WORK: Even If You Can’t See It”

  1. I understand what you’re feeling. I cannot even attempt to take up work on my WIPs. But, I have been inspired to create new poetry speaking to the turmoil of 2020. Writer-activism helps my troubled heart. I want to paint, but I’m out of paints and canvases and cannot afford more. So, I paint with words and know it is something… but still, it is not enough.


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