Today is the first Monday following the last New Moon of this Summer 2011. We’ll have the Autumn Equinox before the next new moon, and for anybody who puts store in that sort of thing, you probably get why I’m breathing a sigh of relief. I’m ready for summer to be over. I promised my friend James earlier today that Autumn is coming. He and his family live down in Mississippi, so I’m sure he’s counting the days and the degrees and the dew points even more than I. But seasons change. It’s a sure thing. Sure as Dick Cheney’s pomposity; sure as the power of Mother Nature over almost anything we build; sure as the forward motion of this planet as it turns inexorably on. Of course, “inexorably” can sound a bit depressing, but I prefer to see it as comfort. I see it as certainty in an increasingly uncertain world. Because really, pardon the phrase, the crap’s hitting the fan all over the place.
Earthquakes, hurricanes, post-hurricane floods, the struggles of rebellions, the destruction of a poor girl’s reputation for the sake of a businessman’s reputations…. The missing mothers and the friends who search for them, the innocent bystanders caught in crossfire and left bleeding on pavement…. Those are just the tips of icebergs worth of depressing stuff. But, if we can acknowledge those things we can also acknowledge what seems a stalemate still holds energy for movement. Standing still requires as much effort, often times, as taking a step forward or back. Potential = effort = movement. The trick is to make the most of whatever happens.
I mentioned in a FaceBook post a few minutes ago this link I got from The Writer’s Center over in Maryland (http://www.writer.org/) about the collapse of the megalith bookstore: http://thewriterscenter.blogspot.com/2011/08/why-collapse-of-chain-bookstores-is.html. It’s a multi-parter, so you should check back over the course of the week to see where Mr. Gifford’s goes next. My pal Branka responded to the post by pointing out the problem that indie bookstores have been disappearing all over, too. I hate that she’s right, all at a time when public libraries struggle for funding and recognized relevance in communities all over the country. Meanwhile, shopping for books online just isn’t the same as getting lost in the stacks…surrounded by that smell of paper and ink and the happy mustiness that comes from a lot of reading potential piled all around you, just waiting to be selected. You can look at an earlier blog of mine to see more of my blustery thoughts about the corporations vs. independents: The Tenacity of The Little Guy. 3/21/11. Odds are you’ll agree with me.
I digress. My point is this is a perfect example of change = potential = movement. The chain stores are collapsing. This leaves room for the indie stores to come back, I think, if folks can harness a little capital and a lot of gumption. There’s no shortage of books out there to be read, that’s absolutely certain. Even lousy writers need a place to sell their wares. Even lazy readers need a place to peruse and stacks to get lost in. Certainly, if the populace has ever needed a distraction from the nonsense on television it’s now. I mean, really. The real housewives of Anywhere, U.S.A., ain’t got nothin’ on Catherine and Heathcliff. And I’ll take the foibles of Professor Higgins and Eliza and Freddy any day over whatever ridiculous dramedy is manufactured for those tedious New Jersey stereotypes. I won’t even bring up the faux-news programs. I don’t mean to sound elitist, but it’s all “entertainment news” nowadays. This coming from a girl who once had a chinchilla named Edward R. Murrow. Nowadays it’s the shameful nonsense that sells. But again, I digress….
I think we can all agree the crap is hitting the fan. Personally, professionally, or both. It’s happening for all of us–on some level–pretty much all the time. That’s not going to change. How we deal with it can change. We have that potential. We can focus on the fact that everything equals movement. We can realize frustration is a fantastic instigator. Standing still still requires effort. And that is exciting. It means time marches on. We’re still in the game. We all still have potential to move ourselves, our lives, our health. Inexorable or in a flash, Autumn is still coming. Seasons still change.
Call me a naive optimist, but I’m clinging to my comfort. Comfort that like the planet, like the all the crises, all the turmoil, all the bad television…we still have forward motion. We just have to make the most of it, whatever happens next, however hard it gets. Comfort in forward motion.