Sunday, January 22, 2017

Woke AF

There were 637 marches in solidarity with women's rights and human rights around the globe. All were peaceful, and all exceeded expectations in terms of numbers. So many people marched that I feel no need to try and evoke the experience here. Everyone has their own memory of it, either from standing shoulder to shoulder in the crowd or hearing tell of it from one who did. Perhaps the energy of the inauguration day was so heavy and murky, that to balance it, the world spontaneously chose brilliance, chose hope and optimism, chose to harness the energy of the divine feminine and all those who stand easily in its light. So many people decided only on the night before the march, after feeling the gloom of the inauguration, to go out and join the protest. Everyone was searching for a way to turn their dismay at the tone of the new administration into something positive and powerful. That's my niece in the photo above, after she marched in Washington, D.C. I sense that, having staked out the high ground, people are feeling a lot less depressed about the political reality in which we find ourselves today. The mood now is more like: Woke AF so bring it on!

We the People Are Greater Than Fear

Yesterday at the Women's March in D.C., Gloria Steinem said, "The constitution doesn't begin with 'I the president, it begins with 'We the people,' so don't try to divide us!'"

I love these posters by Shepard Fairey, the artist who did the famous Obama "Hope" poster in 2008. I want to frame these powerful women and hang them on my wall, along with the Obama "Hope" image.

I told my husband, "We're going to be the new version of those old people who had portraits of JFK, MLK and RFK painted on black velvet and hanging in their homes." He shrugged and said, "So be it."

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March, NYC

My loved ones marched for our rights today. So many people turned out in New York City that the Women's March route was jammed packed from one end to the other, with crowds spilling into side streets and adjacent avenues, and for hours no one could move. I was so proud of my husband and daughter, and my daughter's boyfriend, turning out for the cause. I watched the mammoth marches all over the country, and the world, from home. I could not march, as I have pain and mobility issues, and this is part of the reason my husband decided to march, for me. But as day turned to night, and the marchers kept going, no one dispersing, I wanted so much to be a part of this massive movement. I felt lonely and left out. I know it is not the way I am supposed to be feeling on a day when the forces of resistance have been so thrillingly mobilized.

What I meant to do when I sat down here was to write about these two days in which the world changed. Yesterday, as the Obamas flew off in a green military helicopter, my heart was heavy and tears flowed. I changed the channel after that. I only watched the inauguration to bid farewell to the Obamas. I had no stomach for the spectacle of the new president, a man of stunning dishonesty, moving into the White House. And now on TV,  press secretary Sean Spicer has just taken the podium in the White House briefing room to berate the press for reporting that Trump's inauguration crowds were sparse compared to Obama's. WTF? He was clearly sent out there by his boss, who earlier had tweeted out a photo of Obama's crowds in 2009, pretending they were his. The press corrected him, and Trump is apparently apoplectic. Well, he achieved one thing: The stunned newscasters are now dissecting Spicer's angry, petulant statement, and are no longer covering the marchers. I think I should stop writing now.

My husband just texted that he is on his way home.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thank you, President Obama

This is the final day of the presidency of Barack Obama, the finest president of my lifetime. I have no adequate words to express just how dignified this president has been in the face of, let's just say, opposition. He has managed to keep his empathy and humor through it all, which I think is evidence of his fierce intelligence, bedrock goodness, and ability to take the long view. Plus, let's just face it, the man is cooler than just about anybody else on the planet. I think I'll just mark this day with photographs of our president with children over the course of the past eight years, because he has been a powerful role model for young people of all backgrounds. Look at the joy. Children know.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hey there

There's stuff happening behind this screen, and under normal circumstances I'd be posting about it all, but I'm so immersed in this chapter I'm writing, I seem to have no brain cells left over to compose my thoughts here. A few notes:

1. My son and his girlfriend are looking for an apartment. They put in an application for a garden apartment that they quickly realized was nicer than anything else they were seeing, but the owner seems reluctant to rent to them because they are not married. In 2017! She is afraid if they break up she will be left holding the bag financially. Isn't this why they ask for guarantors? I am philosophical. If it works out, cool, if not, they'll find something else. They already saw another place they like, though the second one is much further away from us, just across the bridge in another borough, so my son wouldn't be able to stop by and borrow the car as easily as if he lived just a few blocks away. There are certainly worse things.

2. My husband sliced off the top of his index finger with the fancy dancy chef knife our daughter gave him for Christmas. He and I were a comedy routine, both of us bent over the bathroom sink trying to stop the bleeding. We managed to wrap the finger with about a hundred band aids. Fortunately, our son, who is an EMT, came home from work soon after and treated and bandaged the wound very professionally. It was a bad cut, but a clean one, taking part of the nail bed. My man seems to be a good healer because it's sealing over very nicely. The man tried to be all blustery and macho and to tell our boy he was fine and didn't need his ministrations. My son wasn't having it. I was rather impressed with how he strong-armed his dad into just sitting there and letting him take care of him. I told him as much. He chuckled. "I don't take that mess from difficult patients who don't know what's best for them," he said. Good man.

3. My girl will be flying off to the other side of the world in March, meeting up with one of her friends in China and going on to Thailand with her. Right as news of the shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport was coming across the airwaves, she called to tell me she had booked her flights to Shanghai and Bangkok. "Wonderful," I told her. "You'll have fun." I got off the line and sent up a quick prayer for her safety.

4. My kids' significant others have been here a lot lately, and I enjoy their company. My kids are so happy around them, and the six of us laugh and talk and have a generally good time. The other day, we all watched the Ben Affleck movie The Accountant, which I would recommend. It was one of those rare psychological thrillers that answered every question I had by the end. And it kept us riveted. At one point I looked around the living room at everyone, their eyes glued to the screen, and I thought, This is a very fine gathering.

Okay, back to work. Please know I'm reading your blogs, but mostly on my phone late at night, and tapping out comments are a challenge. I'll be back to my regularly scheduled programming soon. Wish me luck on this thing I'm doing! I'm a little in the weeds.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Birthday girl

My friend Leslie had a birthday this week. A few of us women got together for a late brunch this afternoon, because when we go too long without checking in with one another, we start to swirl off into space. As the saying goes, women give each other back to themselves. Or something like that. Happy Birthday, Leslie, my ace running buddy, my lovely friend.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Figuring it out

That's my daughter sitting in my work space; her expression captures my mood. I'm working on a book proposal. Everyone in the nonfiction book business will tell you proposals are the worst—way harder than writing a book. You have to wear so many different hats at once, and be dashing in all of them, killing it on the sample chapter, the overview (which is like another sample chapter, plus the why of it all), the chapter abstracts (meaning you have to have the entire story arc already in view), the marketing and promotion section (ugh—publishers are all about platforms these days), the competitive analysis (double ugh), not to mention random bells and whistles like evocative photographs sprinkled in just so and superlative quotes about the author from high profile influencers who will catch an acquiring editor's eye.

So that's why I've been a little scarce in these woods. And while I don't want to bore you with the details, sometimes it helps to just process, to say out loud, I wrote one thousand words of the sample chapter today only to realize it wasn't working, and I needed to stop wrestling with it, needed not just to throw it out, but to rethink my whole idea about what the sample chapter should be.

I need to remind myself that this was not time wasted.

Tomorrow, I will begin again.

Class Act

At first, I wasn't going to watch Obama's farewell address last night. I'm just so jaded lately, though I do love my president. But then I ran across this clip of the Hamilton cast singing "One Last Time" to the Obamas, and it put such a lump in my throat, I decided I had to tune in one last time. 

I'm so glad I did. Everyone in my house gathered to watch the closing chapter of this president's extraordinary dance with history. No one made a sound. It was a powerful speech, but we have come to expect that from this gracious and brilliant man. At one point, he urged us all to get out of our silos, log off social media, and truly speak to one another, find common ground. He was, as always, a statesman, that intellect and wit peeking through, that bedrock belief in our innate goodness, still not extinguished, despite all he has been put through.

It was only when he thanked his wife for her support these past eight years, that raw emotion broke through. He teared up, as Michelle mouthed "I love you" and his daughter Malia cried at her side. Sasha was apparently at home studying for an exam. What a fantastic family they are, and how privileged we have all been to have Barack and Michelle as our President and First Lady. Truly, he will be remembered as one of the great ones, just a completely superior human being in every way. Was he perfect? No. Did he wake up every single day with the intention to do his absolute best for this nation? Yes, I believe with all my heart he did. 

Some have said that America didn't deserve President Obama, but he gave us his all anyway. Maybe that's why he feels like family. I am going to miss him the way you miss family who always wanted the best for you, who saw your promise, who worked tirelessly to make your life, and your children's life, good.

 Plus, isn't Michelle's husband just the coolest?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Thou mammering plume-plucked fustiliarian

Too good not to share! We'll need these in the days ahead. Just for fun and practice, think of the qualling boil-brained puttock about to become president and leave me a description in comments!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The freelancer's petition

“It's a little frightening to pray for today's bread. That means I must pray again for tomorrow and believe again for tomorrow. My greedy heart is willing to be corrupted by a little bit of riches so that I see my warehouse full of loaves. I can make a good argument about how God won’t have to be bothered with me every day if he would only advance me about ten years worth of bread.” 

― Gayle D. Erwin

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