Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Okay, I haven't blogged in more than a week, I know, thank you CB for pointing it out.

I did a long, humorous, slightly snippy blog in here about two weeks ago and hurt someone's feelings. Badly. In turn they hurt my feelings. I've been licking my scratches and assessing my personal responsibility. Actually, more to the point, I've been moping.

I can be a smart-ass but then when I actually offend someone it knocks the wind out of me. So painful. At the same time, I stand by my observations and comments.

What was ironic about all this was that just the night before, I had taught a Personal essay class in which the subject came up--as it always does--What do you do about writing about living people who may read what you write and take offense.

Well, I said, there's not one right answer to that, just a bunch of different strategies. Change identifying characteristics as much as you can if at all possible. If it's not possible, consider publishing somewhere where this person is not likely to see it. If you are really really afraid, consider publishing under a pseudonym.

One woman raised her hand. "What about not writing it at all?" she asked. This is what some people would want from me. Unfortunately it's not possible. I was put here on earth to communicate, often about uncomfortable things, to be a dispatcher from the front lines of my particular tiny tadpole pool. That's the only thing I'm really good at.

There are things I haven't published, haven't put out there because they would be too painful to my family. I try to be careful, I try very hard. And I don't always succeed. Sometimes someone reads somthing I never thought they would, sometimes someone takes offense at something I said in a way I hadn't expected. I hate it that that happens, but what am I going to do? I'm not Mary Oliver, who writes about snakes and bears and fish. I usually write about opinionated volatile people, not unlike myself.

Okay, back to daily life. The Great Move-In continues. The Great Grunt is on. Today I found an electronics recycling place in Berkeley, and hand-delivered a carload full of dead and defunct appliances, computers, etc there. the sad thing is there are still more in the basement; computers and dead TVs too heavy for me to lift, left behind by generations of housemates passing through.

I also bought some vegetable starts, finally, two months after returning from Malawi. I planted four kales and six little broccoli starts. The broccoli looked feeble, I wonder if it will make it. But the kale looks pretty hardy. C and I eat so much salad, I want to plant lettuce as well, I just know the snails will get at it. I'm going to ask him to help me figure out a solution for that, maybe make me an indoor planter, or some kind of wire mesh arrangement. I'd like to grow expensive wonderful salad stuff like endive, and frise, which costs a fortune in the grocery store.

I also stopped off at the Berkeley Ecology Center and found a place--two places--where I could work on my goal of planting fifty trees in this next year, my jubilee year. There's an organization called Urban Releaf, www.urbanreleaf.org here in Oakland, and there's a San Francisco organization called Friends of the Urban Forest at www.fuf.net.

Got home and actually spaded up the wet clay-ey soil and put the little kale suckers and broccoli starts in the ground--ouf! Okay, gardening is work.

I feel better now that I have actually gotten underway with some of the things I declared I wanted to do. I'd been sitting on that energy and it was getting stagnant and uncomfortable. I also feel a little lonely now, too. I have plenty of friends, I'm just not staying in very good touch. This moving in business is momentous and I guesws I'm "processing" it by isolating (not the best strategy, let me be the first to admit.)

Also, I've been hurling myself at new poems, which has been good (I think) but gets me caught up in a vortex of personal ambition. Hopefully that energy too is shifting. Everything always is.

No comments: