I come from the land of the ice and snow

IMG_0653

This image is in the window of the Susan Inglett Gallery in Chelsea, which is currently featuring the work of Benjamin Degen. I’ve no connection to either other than proximity, and this caught my eye when I walked by because I am a snowflake.

I feel like I need to take a break from Facebook. I recognize the banality of writing this on a page that will post directly to Facebook, and I know that you know that I won’t be taking this break any time soon. But I will restructure my relationship with it. And by “it” I mean my personal page, not the other one.

The reason is not just that it is a rabbit hole, because many positive things have come of this rabbit hole—friendships, freelance projects, crowd-sourcing to find the best vacuum cleaner for my budget, learning that the color of my shirt + the last thing I ate = my indie band name. (Black Muffuletta). And don’t get me started on birthdays!!!

The more pressing reason is that it has become a repository for our collective gloom and I am an emotional sponge. In person, this doesn’t always mean that I read the emotions I’m perceiving correctly, but on Facebook it is all right there. Or at least a version of it is. And as annoying as this may be, I can’t help but care.

We’re going through stuff on the home front, as you know – the Louie situation would be challenging no matter who were President and no matter what else was going on in my life, and I am not at all sure that those were/was decisions were correct. But the Louie situation is a drop in the ocean of the things people I care about are going through right now.

I have a fairly large bandwidth when it comes to emotional support, I try to have one when it comes to practical support, but I am not always able to. So if we are Facebook or real-life friends and we are in the midst of a conversation, please know that this is not at all about you. But just skimming the site one can’t help but absorb the fact that the world is in pain. The Vague-booking, the Go Fund Me’s, the re-post this if you care about thats, the senior dogs who were abandoned with their favorite toy, I can”t help but latch right on to all of that, as though sadness were iron filings and I a colossal magnet.

I’ve had disturbing dreams the past couple of nights and have woken up feeling gloomy. And that ain’t fun—there is plenty to be gloomy about without this ambiguous, generalized angst. It is CERTAINLY not all because of Facebook – life is a difficult journey (eyeroll) under “perfect” circumstances –  but I can’t help but think that I am absorbing even more than I realize.

like supporting others. I have spent a fair amount of time with depression and uncertainty and grief, and I refuse to believe that this was all in vain; I’ve learned a lot and if my experiences can in any way help anybody who is going through anything, I am honored to be able to share them and offer whatever wisdom I can.

Upshot: Call me if you need me. I’ll see you on Facebook.

 

 

 

Advertisements

You may say I’m a dreamer

img_3531

but I’m not the only one…

I know this to be true because of the incredible number of people I’ve connected with in the aftermath of the recent election. I have not been to this page in quite a while—nor, I’m afraid, have I devoted as much time to my novel as I’d intended to—and that’s because I’ve been spending a lot of time with the group I started, Action and Empathy. I don’t think the link will work if you’re not on Facebook, and for this reason and many more we are building an external site that will hopefully accomplish the same goals as the existing page.

I started the page a few days after the election because I, and most of the people in my life, were angry, disappointed, worried, depressed—all the stages of sudden grief in no particular order—and I wanted to create a space that was about action, not just ranting. There was plenty of ranting going on on Social Media, traditional media, and in person. I wanted a space where we could take action against perceived injustices and conflicts of interest and all the rest AND where we could express our empathy by actively supporting the groups that will need it most under this impending administration: women, immigrants, Muslim-Americans, people of color, the LGBTQ community, tax-paying New Yorkers, people on Medicare, the press, and on and on and on.

And I’m thrilled that the small part I am taking in all of this is having any impact at all. What began as a group of about 7 of us has grown to over 900 members, most of whom I don’t know. I’ve gotten letters of appreciation from people I’ve never met and that is enormously validating.

I have been complacent for most of my life, and this time around I had no choice but to change that. In a strange way I feel as though I am finally finding my purpose in life. I know my strengths and talents, but purpose is an entirely different thing. My other purpose, at present, is to finish my novel, and that I will do. Creating this network has taken priority.

This will be a long road and will begin in earnest after January 20. And while it’s been argued that these forms of silent and vocal protests won’t change things, in fact they will. They will prove to the world that not all Americans accept what this administration intends for this country. This will get many of us involved on the smallest, most local levels such that we can change the course of things from the bottom up. We will all pay a lot of attention to the 2018 elections. And we will support one another, we will do everything  we can to maintain the things that make this country beautiful, and those include its ethnic , religious, and cultural diversity. Those include freedoms that are now being directly threatened.

I’ve been accused of co-opting other people’s causes. I am not doing this. I am simply doing my best to do my part, and I mean it when I say that I am learning on the spot. I will make mistakes and I will seek the knowledge of others, as I’ve been doing all along.

Today is Christmas and I am with family and loved ones in Paris. Despite all that this city and country have been through in recent years and despite its current political strife, Paris still offers me the timeless beauty and romance that claimed me the first time I visited.

The Seine still flows, the Eiffel Tower still sparkles at night, the gryphons and gargoyles still guard Notre Dame. The sights and sounds and smells and tastes that I associate with this city remain, and this is very comforting.

Peace on earth is a tall order these days. So instead I will strive for as much inner-peace as I can, and though there will be slip-ups along the way, I will remain on an upward swing. I wish the same for all of you, wherever you are, whatever you celebrate and, whatever ideals you most value.

On the topic of tranquility, which is one of my favorite words, the British philosopher James Allen said,

Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.

Whatever calmness of mind means for you, I urge you to practice it in the coming year. My goal for the new year is to become stronger and wiser.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan, Diwali, Kwanzaa, none of the above, all of the above, I wish you peace and joy.

Until soon, my friends.