Saturday, January 19, 2019

Onward we march (updates)


Despite the ginned-up controversy surrounding its leaders, I'm here for the intersectional Women's March all day long. As I write this, crowds are gathering at Freedom Plaza in Washington DC to march for your rights and mine. I truly believe the same forces of division that gave us Trump are now endeavoring to drive a wedge between women in an effort to splinter our mass uprising. Don't fall for the hype. I can share so many articles on the fake outrage, which has sadly sparked legitimate concerns on the part of those who aren't looking behind the screen. The hate mongers refuse to acknowledge the multiple instances in which the four co-chairs of the march have unequivocally disavowed the anti Semitism of which they have been accused. The agents of the carefully orchestrated defamation campaign refuse to acknowledge the numerous Jewish groups supporting the march, or the contingent of rabbis who stood up to endorse its leaders after meeting with them to discuss the ugly smears. I could link all those pieces, which somehow don't show up in a routine Google search (what's up with that?), however, I'm only going to link one piece, which appeared in The Nation yesterday, written from the perspective of a Black Jewish writer, Nylah Burton. There is more real humanity and questioning in this piece than in all the hyped up front page articles and click bait stories in the weeks leading up to this day. You may not agree with this perspective, but I'd like to suggest that this writer offers a frame for deeper conversations to be had, interrogations designed to heal rather than inflame.

A Vital, Vulnerable Conversation With the Leaders of the Women's March


I wish everyone could appreciate the intersectional beauty of this diverse group of organizers who after the debacle election of 2016 were asked to bring their respective marginalized communities into the tent so that women everywhere could be represented in the first Women's March on Washington.

I also want to share this, by crowd-funded artist and musician Amanda Palmer, who I think gets it exactly right.


And this photo, taken by my niece and goddaughter, student journalist Danielle Lee, who covered this year's Women's March for her college news site. As the sign says in clever iconography, Hope trumps Hate. That Cat-in-the-Hat riff is rich, too.



Thursday, January 17, 2019

Dreaming as therapy

I am fantasizing this morning about going away for a week to Treasure Beach, Jamaica with my children and their loves, to a place where we can just be, with the sea at our front door and island vegetation kissing the wraparound front porch, where we would lounge and read and talk and laugh and eat, in between mornings at the beach, the exploration of nearby wonders of nature, and twilight dips in the pool. The house comes with a housekeeper and a chef, who will apparently arrange a bonfire on the beach and other delightful excursions. While Rome (America) burns, one can dream.

While I daydream, let me just say I applaud Nancy Pelosi for cancelling the State of the Union address, for boldly exercising her power to do so. How ludicrous it would have been for Agent Orange to sit pompously in the House and pretend the state of the union is anything but catastrophic disarray.

Some people have already received eviction notices because their paychecks have been halted by the longest government shutdown in history. Medications cannot be purchased. The president claims to be invested in border security, yet with this ongoing shutdown, in which he is holding one million American workers hostage, our borders have never been more insecure. A man waltzed onto a flight with a gun in his hand luggage this week, because TSA workers are calling in sick at the job where they are being asked to work without pay. Instead, some are driving for Uber and other car share services to make ends meet, to feed their families. Meanwhile Mitch McConnell hides out in his hideaway office (yes, that's a real thing) and refuses to call a vote in the Senate that will certainly pass with enough of a bipartisan majority to not only reopen the government, but also to override any veto the president might make. 

I have never witnessed such moral cowardice as is on display in the current Republican party. I do have some excitement about some of the newly elected Democrats though, and how about 29-year-old Alexandria Osario-Cortez, the congresswoman from New York with massive social media clapback skills, whom the far right loves to hate. In her, and in Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Agent Orange has met his match. Thank God the Dems knew better than to put a newbie in Pelosi's place. These are serious times, and she knows what's what.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Love lives here



My beloveds are all with people who we have come to love dearly, and how wonderful that is. The first and last pictures here are from my niece's engagement photos. It's apparently a thing—you have to document your couple hood before you say your "I do's." This is the year!


Friday, January 11, 2019

The man and the boy

This photo was two and a half decades ago, on our son's first birthday. Our friends in Ft. Lauderdale, our son's godparents, unearthed this slice of history when we visited them last week. I love this photo, my son's intense curiosity for the world, and the pure love and joy on my husband's face, the protective way he holds our child. This boy is a man now. He's going through a lot at this moment, but he's standing firm. May he know his true path and be guided by his angels in its unfolding. Amen.




Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Big exhale

My editor at the publishing house said I did "a terrific job" on the book collaboration I just finished. Her edits are very light, she said, the manuscript "very clean." Her main issue is the title, which will need to change, but I already knew that. I had turned in the manuscript with the title my subject wanted—Unapologetic. It's her story after all, even though I suspected it would not be the final choice, because there's another book in the activism arena with the same title. I did like the title—Love Is Not Done—initially coined way back in May when I turned in the first chapter and chapter summaries, but my subject wondered if it might be a little "soft" for her public messaging.

This woman gets so much hate in the mainstream press and on social media, though she gets fierce love, too. She fights for all of us, she doesn't back down. She is indeed tough-minded and unapologetic, but when you get to know her more, you discover that while she is a loud voice and raised fist at the center of the resistance, away from the glare she is a pure loving heart. It's her cross to bear: She feels injustices against others so keenly. She is righteous and activated. It's why she fights. It's why despite the right wing smear campaigns and lies told about her, she doesn't quit. No matter what you might read about her online, we are better for her commitment.

I won't say her name here, of course. Not yet. But it looks as if we'll have a book! Can I tell you how hard this was to write? At the end of it, I wondered why I would ever choose to do this again, and maybe I just needed to go get a job in what I imagine is the serene atmosphere of a flower shop. In truth, this manuscript felt like the hardest one yet, for any multitude of reasons, including the fact that the story felt so critically important to me, and it was continuing to unfold in real time. But now it has been delivered and accepted, and my relief feels like a wave of something I can only understand as exhilaration. This feeling, right now, is why I do this work.




Monday, January 7, 2019

We flew South for a few days

And it was divine. We stayed with dear friends in Ft. Lauderdale, and as we told them, five-star hotels have nothing on their hospitality. They are the warmest, kindest, most generous souls, this lovely couple whom we have known since before we had children, who broke our hearts by moving away from New York. Twenty-seven years ago when I was pregnant with my son, they painted and decorated our entire nursery as a shower gift. They have impeccable taste, are in the real estate business, and their home is gorgeous and elegant yet every corner is welcoming and comfortable. My cousin from Virginia was also there with her family, and the first day, we all went to the beach. The last day, our friends held a "fish fry" around the pool, with fish soup, blue crab, pepper shrimp, escovitch fish, festival (a kind of biscuit we make in Jamaica) and the most delicious jerk pork I have ever tasted. They knew we have relatives in the area, and wanted us to have an occasion to gather with them—that's how thoughtful they are. My love and I relaxed completely in their company, and in the company of my cousin and her family, and it was wonderful. Now there's a plan afoot for our three families to rent a sprawling house in Martha's Vineyard for a week this summer, a reprise of the group trip we took to my cousin's husband's reservation in Montana when our kids were small. The kids are all grown up now, and some are with fairly serious significant others. The plan is for us all to gather, and bask in love. I hope we really do it. Stay tuned.


Soulmates on Hollywood Beach


Walkingeagle clan


Not a care in the wind


Stay salty, my friends


Never underestimate a Jamaican at the domino table!


Our younger hosts, so grown up


The feast


He made some bangin' fish soup and pepper shrimp


My nephew serenaded us


The view each night as I turned in


One more, our lovely hosts twenty-six years ago when they still lived in New York, with my son, their godson, who was then one year old. He adored them then, and does so still. 



Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Mood



Here's a piece by by an artist, Blu Smith, whose work entrances me. I'm over here pretending to be a grown up. The truth is too tiresome to tell. But the man is here, and his gentle company makes me smile. And we're going out to dinner with friends, fellow empty nesters as it happens. If we do it right, the baby birds do fly.