Maybe I’ll receive answers to my emails today. Even if I do… Today is December 23rd. People around me aren’t exactly in a buying frenzy, gift-wise but they’re weary. Wary, too. Seeking refuge in denial or plain shut-down. Don’t want to hear any more. Playing at being four or five years old and believing in the tinsel and the Disney version of The Snow Queen (nothing like Hans Christian Andersen’s version).
Inducing guilt isn’t the answer either. For some reason guilt is definitely a trickle-down phenomenon – the lower you get on the socio-economic scale, the more guilt accumulates on your head. Part of the luggage that gets pitched out when folks start believing their own Self-Made Myth.
Four young men, among so many others, pitched out on the street and declared illegal*. Plus a family of four, living on the brink. The ones who could help, the ones missioned to help? Busy with the big picture. Ah, the big picture.
In my immediate world, those are the ones I worry about. These days, I smile a lot but I don’t laugh out loud very often.
Read two short stories by Deborah Eisenberg last night, as an antidote. Antidote? Yes, to words drained of their substance and replaced by puffery. The Breakfast of Champions made of air surrounded by remains of whole wheat, or rice phantoms. I live in France, so most of the puffery I hear these days is in French. As a visitor said to me last night: they don’t like you much when you point out their lies. No, because they like to think 1) people are stupid 2) a lie repeated becomes truth 3) if it doesn’t, you can always replace it with another lie.
So: four young men, stranded on shores they imagined as welcoming, far from their native land. Eager to study, eager to work. Eagerness Denied. A family of four, waiting for the powers that be to settle their fate. Chances of helping any of them in solid, practical terms: getting slimmer every day.
Labradorite, they call it. Under the right lighting conditions, the stone reveals stunning inner landscapes. I own a pocket-sized smooth pebble for holding in hand and a larger chunk like a miniature mountain sliced open.
Story: onto revision of Part IV.
*Six, in fact, but two have already drifted off to parts unknown.