On Persisting; On Resisting

Women's March on Washington: What to Know


On Persisting; On Resisting

I’ve found it difficult to return to my rhythm, this measure of my day, a regularity of writing, reading, thinking. For the last weeks my hours have been spent focusing on doing what I can (not much) to combat the direction of the president and his minions. I’ve e-mailed, I’ve called, I’ve left voicemail messages. So many topics that to stick to one each day requires throwing a dart and wishing for the best. The issues that are top of mind and top of Facebook, and the issues that sneak by under the radar, just as insidious in their way.

I was with a friend this week, both of us commiserating that we resent having to spend our time, our energies on what should be considered a slam-dunk of agreement, of opposition to policies and actions that any human would consider so odious and wicked that anyone espousing them would be tarred and feathered and sent out of town on a rail.

And then we read of rallies supporting them, and wonder what our country has become, perhaps what it always was.

I found a post I wrote shortly after the election that included a statement that I keep close to my heart, even as the months roll on. It has been shared many times, and I cannot find the author. But did her words resonant, did they ever ring true. And I share them here, once again. Not my words, though I wish they were:
“I want my friends to understand that “staying out of politics” or being “sick of politics” is privilege in action.
Your privilege allows you to live a non-political existence. Your wealth, your race, your abilities, your religion, or your gender allows you to live a life in which you likely will not be a target of bigotry, attacks, deportation, or genocide. You don’t want to get political, you don’t want to fight because your life and safety are not at stake.
It is hard and exhausting to bring up issues of oppression (aka “get political”). The fighting is tiring. I get it. Self-care is essential. But if you find politics annoying and you just want everyone to be nice, please know that people are literally fighting for their lives and safety. You might not see it, but that’s what privilege does.
I also want to say to my friends who are new to this, my friends who have recently become more vocal, my friends who’ve seen the damage #45 has done so far, my friends who went to the women’s march — I am proud of you for getting involved. Don’t stop there. Keep having these discussions, keep talking about politics, stay active.
And when you read the critiques of the march from other progressive women who didn’t feel represented, don’t get defensive or discouraged. Activism needs critique. We need to ask ourselves where we were as Flint’s water has been poisoned, or where we were when Philando Castile was killed, or John Crawford or Eric Garner. If the women who showed up at the march showed up when people of color were murdered, it would stop.
Intersectionality means showing up even when the issues don’t affect us directly. Stay awake and stay active. We need you so much right now.”

And so I continue, every day, as the months and years roll on. I know it is small, but it is something. You know what they say about those snowflakes – alone, one might not mean so much, but just see what they can do when they accumulate.

Resist. Persist. Resist. Remembering that we are not alone.



Despair is Not an Option

Image result for hard working woman image

Despair is NOT an Option

Oh how I wish I had the luxury to be uninvolved, to return to my pre-November 9th days of writing, reading, and thinking that sense and dignity and intelligence would certainly prevail. My life was upended that early morning – and while I long to return to the rhythm of my days, while I long to believe that my calls, emails to our elected representatives will be at least heard if not accepted, I admit to more than one episode of near-despair.

On a state and national level, it feels like events are moving in a helter-skelter, out-of-control battle, Republican officials racing to undo progress made in moving our country toward a forward-looking, accepting society, to institute laws, regulations that they think will make the country “great again,” to accept baseless tweets and opinions as facts. Environmental protections, consumer safeguards, rational gun control laws, healthcare coverage – the rush to decimate, to unravel anything done or espoused by the former President. Yes, hard not to despair of an administration that wants to bring back coal, restrict the rights and privileges of our citizens, build a wall, ban Muslims.  I must ask for what purpose?

Yes, down the list of 45’s platforms are limits of congressional terms and lobbying jobs. I’d like to see some progress on those issues. Instead, he seems to be working hard to take us back to the 1950s, a time that his supporters seem to view through sepia lenses. As far as I know, time-travel only exists in novels.

Preaching to the choir I am most likely. And I promise that this will be my last dirge for a while. My second historic novel, Echoes from the Alum Chine, is close to being born. You’ll hear more-than-you-want-to-hear about that over the next months.

Meanwhile, I won’t despair, and I wish the same for you.

Another Sunday, http://www.cynthiastrauff.com

On Learning (More) From a Lemon Tree


On (More) Learning from a Lemon Tree

I brought my lemon tree inside a few days ago. The temperatures plummeted to the high 20s, and I didn’t think that my covering it up with an afghan would do the job. and yes, it was time to bring it inside for the winter. I did this with much trepidation – between the cats and my brown thumb, I still am nervous. And there it is, with its one lemon – still growing, turning a lighter green (not quite yellow) every day, and getting a little softer to the touch. How will this abrupt change of domicile affect this beloved piece of fruit that I have been tending each day?

I placed it in a bay window, where it gets a bit of, but not enough, sun and am hoping for the best. So far, the cats haven’t noticed it, it has retained all its leaves, and it continues to soften and get more (but not quite) yellow. Maybe it can weather the storm. Maybe with love, it can weather the storm.

And I think, I hope, perhaps I can too, this political and national storm that rages around us. I still cannot bring myself to watch TV news; I still change stations when NPR national news comes on. I do listen to BBC World News, so I am not totally unaware, though most times I would like to be. And I am doing my part, something, however small, but something.

I have subscribed to Wall-of-Us.org, an organization that sends weekly emails with specific actions that can be taken. The founders, two “nasty women,” I think/hope, are doing a tremendous service for those of us who know that we need to move beyond hand-wringing to action. And if we all do one thing, even one small thing, somehow that has to count. At least with us.

And my lemon is hanging on. We must as well.

Another Sunday, A Novel of Historic Baltimore, http://www.cynthiastrauff.com