jeudi, juillet 04, 2013

If you are Washington

You seem
Straight lined
Sans ellipse
Scheming aside
Plein air
The complicated life too luxurious 
For your workman's hands.
Window flung open to let in the winds that 
Toss life around like leaves skittering down sidewalks
Truth only currency on this table it is
Should I then blame myself for what I cannot
Did not
See behind corners, under beds, in your closet
The hand you did not play
When I trusted
A few laps ahead
I watch incredulous
Not clever enough or uncaring enough
To hide your hand
Knowing I only see in part
Still I see enough
If  you are Washington
I choose New Hampshire
To live not among your baroque confections
But among the truthtellers
Even if I stand there
Without you

mardi, juillet 02, 2013

My terrible, horrible, very bad week online (and heck yeah, I exaggerate, it's social media)

What's the toll this week, I wondered as I drove home from an emergency therapy hour at the mall (which followed a real counseling session with my daughter's father and a team about, say, some family issues).

Let me count the bodies (the book I'm reviewing specializes in body parts and entrails, but I'll spare you the gore).

One debate I left in mid-thought, as it were, because not only was it going nowhere, but it never should have begun.

A messaging conversation that ended without resolution when a friend wandered into another rather fraught discussion on Facebook.  Was he joking? Was he being judgmental? Was I being extremely oversensitive? All of these things can be true at once, by the way.

A misunderstanding on a sensitive subject (which I had posted, by the way) that took multiple responses by various friends to figure out.

Something posted by another friend that made me see past events in a completely different light, and doubt what I thought I knew -- setting off a bout of speculation that wasn't, if I may say, remotely flattering to me or the other party.

Then there was the encounter with an author whose book I had reviewed -- or had I? When I asked her online, and she didn't respond, I figured after several hours that I had performed some horrible social solecism...and erased my comment.

And that was just the count of vaguely upsetting, frustrating and flat out weird incidents accounts for Monday and Tuesday.

There are times when I find my online persona hard to manage. It is so easy to be misunderstood or to misunderstand, and it takes so long, relatively speaking, to clear up the misunderstandings.

There are probably times when I hurt someone else's feelings with a glib comment, and I'm am not even aware of it.

In the "real world" , if one encountered the same people one "sees" so often on Facebook, an apology, or a joke, or a context would heal the awkwardness: here, it lingers like the smell of smoke or coffee in one's clothes.

As someone who tries to be careful and honorable in my personal dealings, I still find myself sneaking out the back door, taking the easy out of some difficult situations. Pretend you didn't see what saw, the argument didn't happen, the cutting comment never was posted.

 Know what I mean? I don't know about you, and your social media commerce. But I sometimes end up feeling cheap, careless, and a little (no a lot) conflicted.

I know that many people handle their virtual lives with a lot more care. Just this week I spoke to two guys who are hardly ever online -- and had great reasons for staying off.

More of a social whirl, a few more dinners out with friends, movies and discussions and work outside the home might go some way to helping me balanced my virtual persona with my real one.

I need a  life, ladies and gents.

Want to lend me yours?

dimanche, juin 30, 2013

"All heroes have clay feet": a conversation about Nelson Mandela

Like many of you in the States, and like many around this globalized world,  I have been watching, waiting and praying this week, as former South African president Nelson Mandela lay in critical condition in his hospital room.

How strange that Barack Obama should visit this week.

I'm sure that to Obama, as to those of us who pushed for divestment from the apartheid government, Madiba, his tribal name, is loved with (to misquote the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning) the "love we seemed to love with our lost saints."

Mandela, was, and is, a man, not a superman -- but he was a person capable of what seems to be superhuman integrity, forgiveness, and compassion.

And when we mourn him, when he eventually moves on to that greater realm of love and peace, we will be weeping for the element of our best selves that our heroes incarnate.

In this column you will find perspectives from a scholar and a clergyman -- who look at Mandela's legacy rather differently. Feel free to add your own ideas.