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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Something For Nothing

The air is heavy lately -- thick and weighted with a sense of doom. The economy here seems particularly bad. The majority of my neighbors are now unemployed. The mom & pop shops close one right after the other -- strip malls left with nothing but The Good Will. The college degrees now work the check out line and the drive thru. Shirts and ties outweigh the usual down trodden look at the bus stop. My own company goes into its third wave of layoffs, and everyone I know wonders when it will be safe to breathe again.

Ah... America... dare I say something stupid like how the mighty have fallen?

I am no stranger to this heavy feeling, this ominous weight that impedes forward motion. I have learned, in years gone by, to create a light in the darkness to stay alive; I have clung to the promise of light to find peace in the midst of struggle. But this time is different. This time the darkness lies in the world around me, an external darkness, one in which I feel the lost dreams of others, the fear of others, the sorrow, the depression, and it lingers in the air we are all breathing.

How can one take a cleansing breath if the air is toxic?

People count on me to stay positive, to tell a story, to make them smile. How do I explain to them that even I sometimes hold a pen between my teeth to dupe my brain into happiness? How do I explain to them that they, the people, are the source of my stories and my sense of humor? How do I tell them that I can't laugh when I feel like crying alongside them? To them I am The Smiling Lady with a sense of faith and a bit of insight -- a Dear Abby with a little more style. But lately, I have wanted to stay in my bed and not move just like everyone else. Who am I, really?

Even the man in the White House.. King Of Hope... Prince Of Change... hmm... the best he can do is offer more government which, to me, does little more than add to the depressed state of the union. "The United States are destined either to surmount the gorgeous history of feudalism, or else prove the most tremendous failure of time"(Democratic Vistas: Walt Whitman! Where are you when we need you?).

The best stories I have, as of late, are all past tense: stories I should've written months ago. Now I work to revive them. I burn the midnight oil and pray that Blake was right, that Jesus is the imagination, The Great Creator, and He will come to save our souls through inspiration. Yet, I stare at the blank page and this is what I come up with.

"Few are aware how the great literature penetrates all, gives hue to all, shapes aggregates and individuals, and, after subtle ways, with the irresistible power, constructs, sustains, demolishes at will" (Democratic Vistas, Whitman).

What happens when the light has lost its luster and the remaining salt adds no flavor? People go blind and the palate grows dull.

I am sorry. I am, tonight anyway, at a loss.

For everything there is a season, and for the majority of us, this may very well be our time to mourn.

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