Sunday, July 16, 2006

Lately, it's felt as if the whole world is ready to burst into flame. I look outside and see clouds bulging over the desert, the mountains, full of smoke. I think of all that's happening in Israel and Lebanon and India and North Korea and Iraq and Iran--so much potential combustion. So much potential flame and smoke and ash.

Closer to home, I am grateful that so far one of my favorite places in the desert has been spared. Last time we were in Pioneertown, I had recently been cast as Annie Oakley. We stayed in the room at the Pioneertown Motel where Barbara Stanwyck lived while she was filming her Annie Oakley movie, and walked down the street where Gail Davis played Annie Oakley in the eponymous tv series, and my daughter and I sang the songs that were still new to us then at the top of our lungs, trying to soak in all the residual Annie Oakley energy in the air. I think it helped. And now it makes me so sad to think of those historic streets in danger. It makes me sad to think of so much of our planet in danger. I feel so helpless in the face of all this fire.

The makers of a film centered around Arundhati Roy recently sent me one of her quotes, and that quote is giving me some sustenance now:

To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.


Rachel said...

I know that hopeless feeling. I'm in Yucca Valley during the weekdays, and the smoke now completely covers the town's sky.

And it's even more disgusting that Newt Gingrich has proudly declared the Israel-Lebanon conflict as the beginning of World War III. I've never seen a more bloodthirsty bunch than the Christo-fascist bunch who are in power in our nation right now. Needless to say, I left Christianity last year, and have been looking for a spirituality more in tune with the Gaia/Mother Earth concept.

I'm starting to feel that my work at Democracy Cell Project (and yours at Code Pink) are too little, too late, since the progressives let the conservative steamroll them over for too long...

gayle said...

Yes, it's all so troubling. I hate feeling so discouraged by the happenings in the world. So powerless. But I do think that groups like CODEPINK are making their mark, and I want to keep doing my own small part to make a difference, even if it seems inconsequential in the face of bombs and fire and conservative might. Because there is still some part of me that believes peace will prevail, and I have to keep nudging and nurturing that part of myself, or else I will just fall into despair. The main thing that's keeping me going, like Arundhati Roy's quote references, is remembering to be grateful for all the beauty in the world, because it's all around us, even when the sky is filled with smoke. There is so much on this planet to love and appreciate even (maybe especially) when it seems like the world is about to spin off its axis. That's what gives me the most hope, I think.


angel said...

It is all so deeply frightening, so unnerving, and at times it makes me feel like there's nothing I can do to stop this madness. And yet in those moments I find myself led to places like your blog and others filled with simple words of encouragement like Arundhati's quote. We must remember - do our best to not be so distracted by the issues of the day that we forget the work that we can do and are doing. Through writing. Through art. Through the simple act of perpetuating the peace we want to see in the world. Sometimes it is just by saying good morning to someone or by holding open the door for another, that we are able to perpetuate peace. That one act may be enough to keep someone from committing suicide that day. Who knows?

I am grateful for your books, Gayle, especially Fruitflesh which has helped me to embrace my life as a writer in a deeper, more personal way. And I am thank you deeply for sharing that quote.

Peace to you,


gayle said...

Angel, thank you so much for your beautiful words. I am very moved to hear that Fruitflesh has helped deepen your writing. And yes, it's those simple daily acts of peace and art that I do believe can make a difference.

I wish you all the best with your writing and beyond...