Not Much Good News Friday Round-Up

I hardly ever pull the window shades down because I want to see outside. But I realize, then, that people can see me sitting here typing this sentence. At night, I pull the curtains closed while we get ready for bed but then I open them so I can see the light shining on the neighbor’s across the street and puzzle over why they’ve decided to shine a spotlight their house. We are over here in the dark, I want to say, but your house is a beacon.

The news in our city is uniformly bad. Our young, earnest acting mayor (our former mayor jumped at the chance to be the Ambassador to Luxembourg, which may not be a fulltime job but has great accommodations and terrific food), anyway, our young, earnest acting mayor had to once again go on the airwaves and say that Milwaukee has had ENOUGH of gun violence which apparently isn’t true because there’s plenty more of it every day. This time it was an off-duty police detective getting shot trying to interrupt a robbery in a busy downtown area that involved a carjacking with three kids in the car! Yes, I have definitely had ENOUGH.

In the never-ending project that is sorting through our lives with the hopes of throwing most of its artifacts in the trash, I happened upon a journal I kept when my daughter was a baby. What struck me was how much I loved her, how perfect I thought she was, and how deeply frustrated I was with my role as her mother. The journal describes a marriage and a family that were well and happy until suddenly they weren’t. The pages are blank after that point, an unrecorded tragedy. I am glad I kept this journal, but it was sad reading.

I met a young woman when she was a sophomore at Central Michigan University and now she is a very intense legal aid attorney going after landlords in Detroit and miraculously I can follow her exploits on Twitter and it’s about as delicious as a thing can be. She found me because of a piece I’d written about abortion and invited me to come to CMU to speak to the campus Planned Parenthood chapter which I did. It was transformative in a couple hundred ways, that story having been told countless times in other venues. I love social media for this gift – to see people grow into their own, so they’re not frozen in the time that you first met them. It’s kind of a lovely thing.

Last night, we watched The Thin Red Line. I am a fan of war movies, as is my husband. There are never any women in most serious war movies which can get to be grating on me, but I appreciate a good story about good vs. evil which often just involves men fighting with each other. This movie depicted the battle of Guadalcanal. It is a terrible and incredibly bloody fight but what is different about this movie is that it is true and also very many of the characters are afraid. Their fear is enormous, writ in their faces and in their inability to move so that, watching the movie, I could feel in my bones their unwillingness to go forward but having no choice. It was hugely uncomfortable but useful to watch.

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