Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A word of thanks...

Thanks so much to all of you who write to me and encourage me to write more. I have a blog in the works even now. I saw Savion Glover perform tonight, and it blew me away. I've gotta write about dancing. Please keep coming back. Please keep writing. And don't be nervous about coming out of the woods of anonymity. I promise I won't bite. In any case, I wanted to respond to a comment I received tonight.

As for my book group's take on Nickel and Dimed: there was a fair amount of criticism of the style of the book, but not as much discussion on the content as I would have liked. We are a group of very wealthy women by all the world's standards, so it seemed hard to criticize ourselves. It's hard to admit that we too look at people at WalMart or the people who clean houses and make hotel beds with some disdain. I admitted freely that I have prejudices and struggle with biases. I know I have a lot to work on, but I look at it this way: anytime that I read a book or have a conversation or write a blog that motivates good introspection and self-examination is a blessed time. As long as folks are reading, thinking, asking about change, then there is hope for positive change. Even - or perhaps especially - when people disagree with me, there is so much to be learned. To be considered. To be reconsidered.

As for what you can do to make a difference, talk about injustice with your friends. Speak up when you see an employee somewhere doing a great job. Speak to the person, and write a note to the manager. Acknowledge the presence of working people when you see them. Whenever you have the chance, be sure that you pay and treat people fairly. Write letters to influential people you know. Advise them to read this book. Seek justice and right and fairness in all your dealings with people. If you have children or are around children, teach them about fairness and justice. Help them to see that the world isn't always fair, but they can each make a difference in someone's life. Just today, I saw many good bumper stickers. One that struck me a lot was simple: "Praying for peace." Another recent one was: "America, Bless God." And I thought: Yes, we must keep hope alive. In big ways and in small ways - like blogging. Like bumper stickers. Like questions that rock the boat a little. Even when it's the boat we are sailing in at the moment.

If we each make a determined effort to keep hope alive, to speak peace, to be peace, to seek peace and pursue it in all the areas and relationships in our lives, then there is a chance. If we speak up and stand up for the oppressed, for the disabled, for the lonely, and for the depressed - in other words, if we notice the people around us in the world and choose to involve ourselves in their lives and in their pain, then we will each be alleviating injustice.

As for me, I simply refuse to give up hope. That's why I write. I write to recover my lost and damaged dreams, to keep myself aware of my life and alive in the world. I write to analyze, criticize, and synthesize my thoughts in such a way that I can motivate others to do the same. I share it because if I didn't I'd be standing on a corner somewhere with a sandwich board around me shouting at passersby. I can reach a lot more people on the information superhighway. And I don't have to SHOUT! I write because you read and write back. But mostly I write because not writing is no longer an option for me.

Kinda like Savion Glover tonight: that is a man who simply cannot NOT dance. What joy. What energy. He is a tap-dancing, sweating, smiling, singing, force of nature. Imagine how much difference we could make in the world if we each found and honored that one thing in our lives that makes us sweat, smile, sing, and dance - and we did it with gusto? What if we did it until we soaked through our clothes, drew crowds, and launched each other out into the night with renewed strength and joy? Imagine what kind of world we would have. I can only imagine...

Thanks again for your kind words and gentleness of spirit. It means more to me than you know.

Peace, Gail

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