And then it hit a snag. The snag came from being in the Pacific Northwest and, after living there permanently for about seven months, coming across the reality that a) my living situation in Pacific Northwest paradise was terrible, my landlords being unresponsive liars, b) my fellow Evergreen students in my program were mostly microcephalic morons who didn't do any of their work, yet acted self righteous to the core when it came to their own causes, c) many of the teachers at Evergreen didn't really give a damn about having their students actually get anything out of the programs, instead letting the above mentioned folks rule the seminars and class rooms, in the interest of 'democracy', instead of reigning them in so that actual learning--and teaching--could happen.
My romanticized notion of the Northwest came under heavy fire, shaking my political faith and the sense of moral certainty that fueled my writing. The writing itself lost focus, then eventually declined in quality as well.
But, it wasn't all bad forever. It recovered somewhat in late 2005 and early 2006 before facing another crisis of faith via the flakiness of Northwest activists in Olympia, one that took a lot longer to overcome.
Perhaps my writing shouldn't be affected so much by the attitudes of the folks around me, yet the way I saw it was that the Northwest was supposed to be a Progressive's paradise, a place where the really awesome people lived. If the folks I actually encountered ran the gamut from interesting, yet flawed, to raging idiots destructive to all norms of a sane society, then what did that say about me? Was I somehow wrong? Were these folks were actually the cream of the crop of left politics? It took a long time to realize that I stand on my own, and that what happens in Olympia or in any town in the Northwest does not define the Ur-meaning of Progressive or Leftist culture as it really is.
*on edit* I should add that a lot of this all or nothing thinking was made possible because like Cortez in Mexico, I burned my ships, my passport home. There was no going back to Florida, or to Michigan. The reality of it is difficult to explain in a short space and quite personal, but getting out of Florida was an imperative. I did it to prevent going to rot.