I was writing this super heady crazy thing about how I was in New York and I woke up in this hotel room that I never intended to be in (with friends, not strangers, uh, to be clear), with all of these fuzzy feelings from nowhere because wine and meatballs are weird and kind of awesome in that way. And Occupy Wall Street was all over the television that I never turn on in the morning because I hate noise in the morning, but the person left with me in that room needs noise in the morning, because we're all so different, right?
And it reminded me that the previous day, before I beautifully ran into Diane, and then Neil and Amy, in the lobby , I had entirely intended to take myself down to the protest to shoot pictures of it for...some reason. Posterity? Documentation of something actually happening in a mostly reactive, crazed society? Yes, I guess. I mean, I live in the D.C. area. I've seen the Occupy D.C. site (the one before it moved, anyway.) I could shoot that. But New York, where Wall Street is, seemed a more important site to document.
Except then after a period of traveling I saw friends I never see, whose powerful words reach me through a medium that didn't exist until I was an adult, who matter to me in a distinct and powerful way that I don't always remember until I see their faces and bodies and hear their voices again. So I decided it was more important to stay in a hotel bar and talk to them about writing and their lives and what they wanted from tomorrow and whenever.
I was correct. It was, and they were, more important. It really was. I have not one regret.
But what was funny was when I ended up in that room the next day, with that news story playing, I muttered "civil disobedience" aloud when I heard it. I've always liked the concept, and how the phrase sounds. There's probably not enough of it. And I wasn't sure what it meant that I'd skipped observing a powerful display of it in action for a conference about how to write better, about how to put my voice into the world in some kind of constructive way, but I knew that that was all there was for me to do, for a number of reasons.
None of this is easy, really. This world, this country, our states and counties and on down to our individual lives. We do the best we can, for the most part.
I just know I woke up in that room happy, oddly comforted, and then someone turned on the television. There is a lot of noise.
We have to find our friends -- the people and spaces who and that will take care of our hearts and needs. We need to find the places where we can best spend our gifts, contribute whatever it is we're capable of and willing to give away. We have to find our refuge, no matter what anyone thinks, no matter what we thought it would look like before. I believe that now more than ever, even the parts that scare me.
I thought this was a midlife crisis, I really did. But what I think it is now is waking up. It's as harsh as every morning. It's as challenging as unfailingly fucking up my coffee beans to water ratio. It's the most essential thing, I think, that I've ever done.
I hate it and I love it. I don't know if you or anyone will like me on the other side, and the most perfect thing is that while I do still care about that, that I don't care about it the most. That's a big deal. Not to demean anyone who is sitting in a specific place to advance a much larger cause, but I think that's an occupation of something.