It’s been a little while since I’ve posted. I’ve been busy with my newest project, Staunton Insider. So far, a little over a month in, it’s been exciting, informative, and inspiring. I fall more in love with Staunton each day.
So here is what I’ve been up to the past month or so:
- The above photo is a glimpse into my every day. It’s a trip to the grocery store to pick up a few things. That’s my 8 year old off to the side, waiting to jump in and help if he can. That’s my two year old on the floor. Can you tell he’s two? Please note, he’s not crying or throwing a fit. No. Just laying down. Because sometimes, floor happens.
- I think what annoys me most at times like this is that it is OK for him to lay on the floor in the middle of the grocery store. At worst, he might get an exasperated stare from a cranky old lady. At best though, and much more likely, he’ll get a kindly glance, a soft chuckle, and I’ll probably hear a remark as the shopper passes. Something along the lines of “My daughter used to do the same thing” or “I remember those days” or “He must be 2.” However, it is not socially acceptable for me to lay in the middle of the grocery store floor. I can’t quit life for a moment to feel the cool tiles against my cheek and the soft hum from some behind the scenes ventilation system that can only be heard in the minuscule space between one’s ear and the hard floor of the cleaning aisle of my local grocery store. I admit, I’m weirdly jealous of his careless abandon.
- That is exactly what I felt like doing when I heard that Robin Williams killed himself. I am not one to go to pieces when famous people die. I express remorse and feel sympathy for his/her family. But typically, the death of someone I don’t know is merely sad in a periphery way. Death is sad, no matter what. Death that is at least six degrees of Kevin Bacon away from me is not something that starts me crying. When it really started to sink in that this man killed himself, it felt like the time my brother and I were playing on the see saw at our local park and he decided to go play on the slide, without telling me, and his weight had been the only thing suspending me in mid-air. He jumped up and ran away and I dropped from my great height and did not have the presence of mind to stop my own fall with my feet so I came down hard on the concrete. (Yes kids, back when I was growing up we played on concrete.) It is as if the wind was sucked out of my lungs by some invisible, heavy duty wet-vac, my mouth left opening and shutting with nothing but dry, limp balloons for lungs that had no energy left to power my voice. It is scary to think that a man who could have received help from the best of the best in medical treatment, couldn’t hold on any longer.
- A lot of people have expressed that they are shocked someone who made so many people laugh must have been so sad to commit such a desperate, pained act. That’s not the part that upset me. I get that comedians can’t always be funny and that the joy they bring to others can be a source of torture for them. The part that scares me is seeing someone who had access to the kind of help that the rest of us only dream about and say “If I had a bit more money . . .” or “If my health insurance were better . . . ” When Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper died, the date was dubbed “the day the music died.” When Robin Williams couldn’t hold on any longer, it felt like the day hope died. I’m so sad for both him and his family and everyone who suffers in silence.
- On a more political note, but not any less depressing (wow, sorry about being such a downer!) my heart broke to hear that Dominion Gas has proposed a pipeline to be installed right through the George Washington National Forest and this beautiful Shenandoah Valley. I can’t understand how anyone could be in favor of potentially ruining, forever ruining, this amazing land. The pipeline, allegedly, will be for transporting fracked natural gas to our shore line, but Dominion is claiming they will not be shipping it over seas. They don’t plan on shipping it overseas, but they claim it is very beneficial for our country to do so, so I imagine it won’t be long before they do it as well. The pipeline is creating zero jobs in the area, according to Dominion, because they contract its construction out to out-of-state workers. Plus they are taking landowners’ rights away through the use of eminent domain, which means they can just take land for the pipeline against the will of the landowner, but the landowner has to continue to pay taxes on it. I could go on and on forever about all the reasons why this is disturbing and scary but for now I will leave with you with this image of the two proposed routes (they have abandoned the initial route for the more northern one closer to the city of Staunton). You can also view images of what happened when a pipeline failed and exploded in Virginia in 2008, another reason why the community is so concerned about ANOTHER pipeline. And if you’re in the mood for a sardonic laugh, read here the details of a lawsuit filed by Exxon Mobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson, who is strongly in favor of fracking . . . except when it’s anywhere near HIS property. Ready to voice your opposition? Please sign this petition.
- On a happier note, I am back at school hoping to finally finish my degree in Creative Writing, with a focus on non-fiction writing. One of the benefits of making a
metric shit-tonLOT less money than I did when I had a 9 to 5 job, is that I qualified for some financial aid to finish up my college education. So far it’s been inspiring and eye-opening and everything I hoped for in my quest to focus more on my writing career. If you’re in the mood, you can click here to read a memoir piece I had to write for an assignment.
That’s all for now. I hope to keep more on top of writing here and continuing to use this space as a creative outlet and place to share. XO