I have not yet uploaded photos even from the last day in London when the two rabbits appeared in my back garden, so will end this post with a photo essay of sorts showing rabbits, friends, Occupy Wall Street and Inwood.
Just went to make coffee and put on Vivaldi - yes Vivaldi, don't judge me - it's a rainy day and it's kind of nice - reminds me of peace.
And why I'm - finally - staying in tonight. To just breathe, be with myself and take naps. While taking afternoon nap number one, I remembered: oh, I haven't given myself time in ages to simply feel in to what I want to write/do/create. I've been so crazed with decisions about where/how/what that the simplest but Most Important artistic/creative time has been ignored.
Part of this is external events and part of it is social networking stuff. I'm not on Facebook but I'm pseudonymously on Twitter - my excuse being that I can get news feeds from there - which is true, but it also can be a 140 character time waster and gets me all engaged with What's Going On - as if that is What's Important - when sometimes it just well isn't - at least not important enough to Know the Absolute Second It Happens or What Someone Thinks The Moment They Think It...it creates a false sense of urgency and has added to the many externalized forms of ADD in my life...many people's lives.
And yes, yes, yes I know there are good sides, too, but as I am an addict by nature, these things can easily play into my internal adrenalizable-hyper vigilance button. That's also part of growing up surrounded by addiction. Must be on Alert At All Times for Anything That Might Be a Threat...etc. And these social networky things plug right into that. I think in the end I'm just too much of a control freak for Facebook - aside from all the obvious stuff about corporate control and blah blah, I don't want to be 'poked', 'friended' or - dread - 'unfriended' etc...it all just seems too creepy to me, and well invasive - and perhaps we can pathologize that too if we want to due to certain childhood abuse, etc. But for now, we'll go with: I'm not on Facebook because I'm not on Facebook.
Which, I find greeted with levels of hostility and dismay by some people (not dissimilar to reactions in British pubs I've received for not drinking alcohol), who when hearing I am not on Facebook will sigh, shrug, roll their eyes and signal disapproval in many ways to indicate that I am being a Pain in the Ass.
Oh well, that's a shocker.
On the other hand, do I mind regaling you all with these thoughts, ideas and such on my 21st century commonplace? No. Please don't diagnose me. I do it myself.
I realized yesterday, on a slightly less gazing at my own navel kind of note, that my teaching the kids at BCC is important. That no, it's not Writing My Big Book, but it's important. A woman at a writer's meeting last night said something important about her book - that in it a boy showed up - he wasn't meant to be the main character, but he became that because she started following him - she was led to do that.
And I realized, not only does this impulse lead to good writing - it leads to good living. This teaching is here - it's in my life - it is Not My Plan - but, as with good writing, I need to follow it, live it, do it to the best of my ability and be grateful it is here - that it is not some mind numbing chore of a job, and see where it leads...
As one of my best friends never tires of reminding me: Your life is none of your business. I may have already blogged that pearl, but it bears repeating - for me anyway. And as someone who really should be dead by now (and that is not an exaggeration - some of the people I idolized/envied most with whom I went to school are dead from ODs and/or alcohol-related disease), this is particularly true. By grace, I am alive - have been offered a new life - was offered this many years ago - and am still, by continuing grace, living it. All I have to do is show up, pass it along when I can and do the next right thing to the best of my ability. And as someone said in a meeting of BW's friends recently: if Steve Jobs could have cured pancreatic cancer by showing up to a free meeting an hour a day, don't you think he would have done so?
And I want to follow a little plan? Dear god/dess...who do I think I am??
Steve Jobs, by the way, being a human being (no more or less significant than anyone else except for his death is so Known right now), which I think is easier for people who don't invest in the stock market to understand as we do not have to see his life or death as a matter for our portfolios...I'm just sayin...
Which of course leads on as night follows day to the most cheerful thing in the news: Occupy Wall Street and all of its little babies throughout the world...isn't it just the best? I think it is. I know there was some endless anonymous snarky comment on one of my posts about it, but I just ignored it, because what's the point? It's amazing to me, - as someone who started being politically active when I was 16 and Jimmy Carter was President (!) (after writing a paper for American History about the 1953 CIA undercover overthrow of the Mossadegh regime in Iran at the time of the 1979 US hostage crisis) - that this movement is happening.
I wrote, gave speeches, organized and marched along with so many other people, but we were basically ignored - starting with the Solidarity March on DC in the early 80s, which coincided with Simon & Garfunkle playing in Central Park - guess where all the boomers (aka 1960s radicals) were? Right, Central Park. A handful of college students and a lot of union members were in DC (1981). Then Reagan busted up the unions and everyone Got Happy or Got Really Poor.
So for years, this was the trend...and only now is it - hopefully - shifting...most likely because a lot of well-educated upper middle class white college kids can't find work either - but hey, whatever it takes.
I have a lot of hope for this movement - and was moved to tears when I read the Guardian article about statement of support from the Tahir Square protestors to the Occupy movement. It really is worldwide and it is being pushed ahead by young and Committed people - whose response to police violence is not withdrawal but to show up the next day in larger droves. This is amazing, this is the best thing I think I have ever seen politically, like, ever. And it includes people from every walk of life in the US and has a 54% approval rating in the U.S.A. Not just NYC and LA, the whole damn country - this is breathtaking.
Because of my teaching up here in the Bronx via upstate Manhattan and concurrent exhaustion, I can't make it down there as much as I'd like, but I have been to some marches and sent my bilingual, uptown students down there as part of an 'intercultural' experience. And you know what, it worked! They wrote amazing things about interviewing people in Zuccotti Park and discovering they weren't all lazy, smelly people, but were just like them in many ways. Most of my students now identify as part of the 99%, especially as a group went down from the Bronx and there's an uptown Occupy movement as well.
This is very exciting.
And I am gradually - each day - feeling a little more at home. Also finding ways of buying food I like and working out how to live in a studio, glad that - knock wood - noisy upstair neighbors seem to have chilled out.
And gradually, tiny bit by tiny bit a sense of growing confidence in myself...something that feels rooted somehow, not a fake thing to spur me on by the use of affirmations or whatever...something real...
I have a Rumi poem above my computer now - a new-old-new one.
Will quote a little of it here and then go to some photos...
This being human is a guest
house. Every morning
a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and attend them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture, still,
treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
- Rumi (trans: C. Barks)
|Inwood Park: only old growth forest in Manhattan - legend has it, this is where first NYC real estate deal happened (European guys bought the island with trinkets - Native Americans 'sold' land that wasn't theirs to sell - perfect!)|
|Inwood - 207th Street|
|tidal basin/wetland - check out egret and jigsaw puzzle type view - this is 3 minutes from my apartment.|
|No. 1 subway platform.|
|Occupy Wall Street occupies Times Square - my favorite sign so far above.|
|guy on wrong side of the divide and I think he knows it|
|my favorite protestor - my GBF Christian - we've been marching together since 1986 - he gave me a crown too which is on my desk - we save and wear when needed - easier than signs plus people take our photos.|
|Fabulous friend Julie aka Upper West Sider since 1970s stunned by Inwood trees - she'd never seen them|
|London: wonderful friend/artist Catherine who babysat me All Day while waiting for movers|
|Transcontinental friend Louise helping out and 2 rabbits (white one appeared on moving day) in my old back garden|
|subway tracks leading to The Bronx - I love these views - really, really Love them|