Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Finding my community

Writing alone is perhaps the norm, and I for one never thought of this activity as community work. Discovering that this is false must mean I've taken a giant leap forward, from blogging to visiting another's blog, to sharing my work, to finding a local group to exchange headaches, joys and ideas with, to becoming the reader for another's work. Community.

I'm enlightened this week to recognize several things without too much effort:

Many of us, some who are, hands down, walking away, are incredible writers who don't seem to know it.
Some of us are out there working without a net, sure we're merely roller skating on familiar cement, but are actually walking a tightrope.

A few of us are so sure we must produce perfection right out of the box, and sure we can't, of course, that we teeter constantly on the brink of despair....I'm a lousy writer, no one wants to read me, I have nothing to say, yadayadayada, or we do have something to say that someone else will reject out of hand, responding to his or her own reality, which has happened to me with this blog....and I don't have enough readers to count on one hand. Followers, maybe, but not commenters. Don't misunderstand, if you're reading. I'm thrilled someone wants to take me on about something, anything at all.

Name them and claim them. I remember as a girl, a teenager, William Warfield came to the local teacher's college to sing, among other things, Ol' Man River. Our town had a pretty nice hotel, and he wasn't allowed to take a room there because he was a black man. WHAT???!!! Even as a kid I knew that was wrong. Who could be such an ass? In truth, we lived in a time full of asses. It meant that when Martin came along, I'd march with him. The President of the college took Mr. Warfield home with him and put him in the best bedroom in the house, his own.

Out of this comes a Constitutionalist, a patriot, an American recognizing we have a lot of work to do, a long way to go to perfection, a muddle of leaders who are no longer sure how to get us there. We need all the help we can get and that includes all those who have been wronged, to show us how to continue now to be right. I don't need to defend myself here; I don't need to make excuses, rewrite my own history, pretend the nation, which still is the greatest on the face of the earth, and possibly doomed to be short lived, isn't besmirched with the fact that we are not currently the best generation. And I reject personal guilt out of hand. I have my own injuries. My own detritus to overcome. My own boat to row. So how about we stop complaining about the boat, our seat in it, and its location, and dip an oar into the water to propel it forward.

How about we get to the basic understanding that nothing purports to be fair, that "fair" is not a rung on the ladder and no one gets to determine what's fair. I only know that for most of us, life doesn't seem fair. Well, that's life. I only know that in this country, we all have the same opportunity, sooner or later. For women, it might not always seem so......take memoir: men write memoir. Women? They whine on paper. Who decided that? Fair? Nah. Not. So for some of us it's harder. But it's not impossible. Used to be impossible. Look back and see how far we've come. And kiss the ground. No kidding.

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