Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Call and Response
I don't need any excuses to fear the blank page. I am almost always (mostly at once):
1) Too tired
2) Too distracted
3) Feeling too guilty
5) Having too much going on in my head that I'll eventually (on some perfect day) magically figure out and THEN write
6) Feeling like an imposter
7) Checking people.com and rating celebrity fashion disasters
8) Trying to get the lyrics of a Raffi song about a guy with a ladle out of my head
9) Feeling overwhelmed by the disaster that is my home at the end of a toddler-filled day
10) Just wanting to cuddle up with my hubby and his laptop
11) Overwhelmed by the sorry state of affairs in this world (and especially this country!)
12) Doing NY Times crossword puzzles
Yes, it's the old blank page as an existential mirror routine. I seem to be at once too deep and too shallow for this world to communicate something, anything, of meaning.
Yet it seems like there are always these things-- events. Disasters. Crackpots and the media that stick their proverbial hoses into anything and pump it up like a big old fat bike tire. So many whack-a-doodle (good and bad) things that taunt me into the realm of words.
Of course this Va. Tech shooter thing is just one of them. I am so infuriated about needing to write about this! And about having to read about it everywhere. I guess it's the way I ended up feeling about Columbine, Timothy McVeigh, 9/11... I guess Katrina being the only exception... I don't think there's been enough about the aftermath and the failure upon failure upon failure to do anything right about it. But pretty much this thing ranks with me amongst the rankest moments of recent history, and the beastly media who, as my dad put it today, "Treat it like it's one big reality TV show".
At this point, I should mention that I DON'T EVEN WATCH TV. I never watch the evening news. I haven't since I left this country in 2000, and upon our return, a sage friend of mine said, "You'll be ok going back. Just whatever you do-- DON'T WATCH THE NEWS." And yet I still feel the media spinning and spinning like a Jackson Pollock painting, spewing out details here and there with hopes that one little bitty bit will grab you, shake you. Just for the sake of shaking you, not for some resolution, some better end.
Truth is, at this moment I am irate enough. I wish I could go back in time and BE that idiot kid's creative writing teacher and not only boot him the hell out of my class, but lock him up and throw away the key.
As a mom, I think about how much time and energy people put into their kids. Yes, even the parents who aren't perfect. Most people try and do the best job as parents that they can. They want their kids to be happy and succeed. They want their kids to make the world a better place. They nurture and save and send their kids off into this world with all that. And then this jackass comes in and thinks he can unravel the world... and does a pretty decent job of it.
Except, of course, that no one wants to let him have the last say. The problem is, that in our crazy mourning and disbelief, we start spinning tales around it. He was a sicko. He was mental. The system failed us. Guns are the problem. Someone should have known beforehand and done something. And none of that is enough or is right.
At this moment, the one thing that I can say is that, youth aside, someone should have nailed that kid to the door and not let him go. This kid was mentally aggressive and threatening to others from about as far back as anyone can remember. And somehow it was never enough to get him. We shouldn't have to wait until crackpots physically carry out on their threats. Hatred and intimidation are not tantamount to free speech.
I suppose, if anything, I can hope that what comes out of this is that people (that means me and you!) don't let aggression, be it pubescent, ideological, religious, political or otherwise, go unchecked. If someone is doing something to you personally or to us universally, nail the f*cker to the wall. Don't be afraid to stand up.