“I didn’t want to compromise the anthemic, hymn-like quality.
I didn’t want it to get too punchy. I didn’t want to start a fight in the song.
I wanted a revelation in the heart
rather than a confrontation or a call-to-arms or a defense.”
-Leonard Cohen, from Paul Zorro’s book Songwriters On Songwriting
Nov. 14, 6 days after the election. Last Tuesday seems a million years ago. When you hurt a second feels like an hour. And I’ve grown a pudge about my middle from carbs, my comfort food when stressed. Not endless consumption of Trader Joe’s cheddar rockets and British muffins like earlier this year, but pizza slices, toast slathered with butter, chocolate croissants. I shared this on Facebook, learned many of us have grown new pudges.
I vowed to write and be productive, not to watch election returns, but I found a chart online that updated every 30 seconds. Five hours later I got in bed, a sharp pain in my chest. I knew it’d be close. Knew it could happen. But I guess I didn’t think it would, and my mind tried hard to hold on, not race off into implications for me, mine, the planet, everyone and everything on it. I could fill pages with it, and I’m not a catastrophe thinker. But I learned when my husband was run down by a car & we didn’t know if he’d walk, again or how we’d pay the mortgage, if he’d even have a job when he recovered, and I lost the ideal writer’s life that took seven months to create, that there is only one thing to do: Acknowledge capital F Fear and de-escalate it. Get to work. I rose after little sleep determined. These entries I made on fb say it best:
Nov. 9, day after the election
My father didn’t have formal education past 5th grade, couldn’t spell worth a lick. He didn’t have a full mouth of teeth until he was in his 60s. Most of his back teeth pulled before he was 22. But he was a motivated, self-educated man who cared about people and believed in rehabilitation over punishment.
My grandparents fled genocide in Armenia. Arrived here thru Aleppo with the help of Syrians. They learned English, established a successful shoe factory in MA. My mother was first generation with English as a first language. My grandson is Eurasian.
When I was 13 we lost our home and all our belongings. Our family split for months as my parents found a place for my sister, me, and them in a new state.
All this was my foundation for empathy, caring, understanding, and interest in psychology & sociology. It has sustained me my entire life, despite not having the business head of my grandfather and being far more weird & artistic than anyone in my family. It’s sustained me thru being flat broke on food stamps, to leaving an abusive marriage, to raising a son on my own, thru 5 tries to a college degree, to creating dreams. It is why I have friends of different faiths, colors of skin, countries of origin, and sexual orientation. . .and love them all.
And it is why I’ll never call the folks cheering in the streets today names, tho my heart has bled and bleeds. And why I understand the reasons others do. Why I decided to put good news out as reminders Kindness is not conditional. To remind us that this world is a both/and proposition, the good news with the bad. And despite what I see and understand as good, know in my heart of hearts is right, people see thru different lens and we are here now.
Yes, I am in tears off and on today. And feel fearful because the promised, stated consequences of this election affect me directly in scary ways, + I can see the consequences for our society. But I choose action. And one thing is true whether our definitions of what good is jives or not – I will not tolerate hate, bigotry, or bullying in my backyard. I will face it with respect, and face it down. I am joining others once more to see how we can turn the tide toward a better life for ALL of us. Where all living things can thrive.
Nov. 10, two days after the election
I wrote a blog in the small hours Tues. morning. Got in bed 4:28am after writing it. And somehow, I knew not to post here like I usually do. Knew it was not a day for what I’d experienced the prior week in my journey thru what’s up for me, and the Insights I got. Because it was about the days just passed, as they just were. As we were. As I was, locked away with work on the screen, knowing I was missing fall in NM. Finding luck and traces of beauty, anyway.
And yesterday morning I woke, set to what I do instead of getting locked into spins of fear and projections. Action. Assess what needs doing for me and mine to feel safe. Committing to how I’ll show up in the world as it wobbles. But today it’s tough. I’m responding to privileged bright eyes. And despite being grateful for their positive vibes and good intentions, it’s pushed me to be more open within my bleeding, make the world better for everyone heart as I consider right use of power, what getting things done means, what loving America means.
And I surprised myself. Because tho I align with and believe in the spiritually high vibration of love, the power of it, it’s the love that shows up on the ground I believe is what truly loving America is. In small or large ways. I know I’m privileged, and know this engagement of love on the ground is hard. Because anger spikes inside me. I scream in the car at what I see and hear while I’m driving. The actions of injustice, violence, hatred, disallowing. At what I call willful blindness and myopia. I would never voluntarily get on a plane piloted by someone who’s never flown a plane before, much less a would-be pilot with a documented track record of fraud and lies. Yep, confess. I knew better than to think it would never happen, and now, spinning anyway. Strapped into my seat, decided by those who would, and will fly with that pilot. And it’s brought me to see Love.on.the.ground is the truth of what loving America means to me. I’ve been living with a commitment to Kindness, and now, well, it’s at another level.
I’ll write my book, because I see now it’s actually an act of love. Because it’s a guide that says “I see you. You, the person, are Okay.”
Gads, a hard day today.
Nov. 11, three days after the election
I read a post yesterday about an African-American man who was blocked from leaving the train by two white dudes. They called him nasty racist names, threatened him, and spit on him. Others on the train stood up, offered a hankerchief and solace to the young man after the guys left. The account shot me deep, set me crying all over, again. This morning I woke with the vision of me standing beside that young black man. I saw my face, my stance, fierce. Felt spittle on my face, too. But we stood, together. Am I that brave? I’ve been speaking up for years, but have never had to face a threat to my physical person. Do I hope I never will? Yes. But I guess it may come to this for some of us white folks. And at some level I am that brave, as i saw it, felt it. Committed.
I am not neutral on this.
I cried off and on for days. So much I read on Facebook set tears steaming, I avoided it. But I’ve not stepped away. I am keeping up. Can feel the vibration. And yes, it’s true, part of that vibration is my own vulnerability.
I missed the Super Moon’s big showing last night. But I know, unlike many of us, the moon’s not thrown off its axis. I get another chance tonight.
Another small journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
Tell me. . .your comfort foods, or if you’re celebrating, your happy foods.
I’ll tell you a secret. . .I’ve had that shot of sunflowers for months. It fascinated me when I first saw it, because it looked like people with their backs turned. It still does. Or maybe, they’re looking to the horizon. I still believe in miracles.
I’m writing a book for people living in the real world.
The Writer’s Block Myth
A Guide to Get Past Stuck & Experience Lasting Creative Freedom