You know how two things that are familiar, separately, can suddenly appear totally different when they wind up close together? Especially if you add in an unexpected wild card, or two?
This is what my world feels like just now.
It has a lot to do with stories.
Yesterday, a friend told me that she was spending hours and hours a day worrying about the current occupant of the Oval Office. What, she asked, did she do about that?
Please be clear that the answer was not mine. It came from the uber-wise Dr.Clarissa Pinkola Estes, whose book, Untie the Strong Woman, I’m reading at the moment, inspired by my Pilgrimage into the mythos of the Black Madonnas.
Because of this book, I who have five college degrees, am beginning to learn some crucial things about world history that I somehow managed to escape thus far.
The one that feels most important to me in this moment is that this is not the first time the world has been here. We have a long history of power-hungry dictator-types trying to secure their positions through fear.
It has never been fun. It has often been effective.
Knowing that, we have other choices.
One of those choices is telling the stories of liberation.
I have some friends who are working hard to do just that.
Our book, Breathing Words, is coming out in September. It’s an anthology. A collection of words by a community of writers. Many of them, stories of overcoming oppression and tragedy, lifetimes in the making, and utterly of the moment.
We’re all busy learning new things. Formatting. Websites. Pinterest. Perhaps even Twitter. Meme making. (See above. Thanks, friends!) Being a writer is complicated in our world. And yet, we have stories to tell.
According to author and teacher, Natalie Goldberg, “To write is to continue the human lineage” (The True Secret of Writing, p. 3). The oral traditions count, too!
Then, this morning, a wild card.
We’re still adapting to the blessing of three dogs rather than two.
Recently, Sarah and Luther have developed a new dynamic. Sarah, as she is fond of doing, stares out the front window.
Luther barks his head off, in these days, even when there’s nothing to bark about.
I devoutly wish he’d shut up.
Suddenly, this morning, in the midst of all these perceptions rumbling in me…a new thought.
But, on the way, a hint from Natalie Goldberg’s Old Friend from Far Away, “Write what’s in front of your face”.
Here’s mine… Three minutes. Go.
Luther has eye problems. He can’t see out the window. He can see Sarah, looking out the window. And he assumes that there is something to worry about. So he worries. And barks. Loudly.
It’s a lot like watching the news, especially these days.
The garbage collectors come two times a week. The recycling folks, yet another. The UPS drivers, a whole lot more often than that. It’s the way our world works in this time, no matter how much we might think barking will help.
Politicians worry about polls. And self-image. They look for scary things to distract us from the hunger for power and self-interest. It doesn’t help, any more than barking does.
What will help is hope. Our hope. And the certainty that we will not always be where we are.
Also, paint. And stories.
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