"The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something--because it is always before one's eyes." -- Ludwig Wittgenstein
Check out this Chicago Tribune article about "biracial pride." I was most struck by this statement:
Like Obama, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, 35, a former professor of political science at the University of Chicago who now teaches at Princeton University, identifies herself as black, although her mother is white and her father is African-American. "I was raised to be a black woman with a white mother, like a tall person with a short mother," she says.
It's an interesting analogy but not a completely accurate one. I can't explain why in words. Thoughts?
This is the time of year I usually start a good old-fashioned game of Dysfunctional Family Bingo to get through the holidays sanely. But today I'm not feeling so stressed by the family gatherings (oh, to be sure there will be dysfunction, but I feel like I don't have to be anxious about it--it is what it is). And really I'm just feeling so thankful for my family, by birth and by marriage. I am thankful for my husband and friends. I am thankful for mostly being free from fear and being able to do what I love. I am thankful for my health and the good health for those I love. I am thankful for each new day, but in particular this one, this day, here, now.
"I am suggesting . . . that you see your pain with its integrity. I am not saying that you should accept it, or dwell or indulge in it; I am saying you should see it, just as you can see the sunrise or the sunset. Your pain can be a source, like the color blue, or orange for that matter. It can be one of your colors; it can be a tool." Anna Deveare Smith, from Letters to a Young Artist
Back home at last and I have in my hot little hands my editor's notes on the revision. I have some serious work to do in the next two weeks! But I can do it. I can do it. I keep telling myself that. And I know I am boring you all terrifically with these little angst-filled posts about the writing process. But that's all I've got right now. Just me and the words. A deadline and a healthy little feeling of can-do panic.
We've been wandering through a very red state. I have been on my ps & qs for fear of running into something I didn't want to run into. Note: I did not go to the rope museum in Sheridan; the history of black people and ropes is not one I would like to re-live. And I did not go to the Mint Bar, or to the bluegrass music bar--not knowing whether something (a word, a look, an anything) could disturb my peace and throw me off my game as I wrote. I did return to the Silver Spur this week with my "white gang" as Kate called it--and found it a very different place than just a month ago. I wasn't the one who integrated it. There were some other colored folks (one and a half) in attendance that day. How surprised was I? And then yesterday, on the border of Wyoming and Idaho, we stopped for gas and a big soft drink with ice (for me it is always Diet Pepsi). We commented on how cheap the gas was ($2.15/gallon--) and a woman behind us in line said: "It's great. I hope my man Obama keeps the prices coming down." Now, I understand this could have been patronizing. But I didn't take it that way because she kept talking to us--chit chat--but she continued the conversation. It was a really cool moment for me because I thought: now (white) folks have a way to connect with black people with whom they may not know how to connect. Okay, yeah, this is naive. And maybe she was making fun. Even at the integrated Silver Spur there hung on the bulletin board a large facsimile of a $50 bill with a Sambo face instead of a president's. But I liked being naive today. I liked to know that I didn't have to be on edge.
Yesterday was a great transition day -- stayed inside, got a massage, played Scrabble drinking a kir royal (and won!), took a nap and ate a delicious dinner in front of the fireplace. And all day enjoyed the view. On to Salt Lake City today.
I have gone from a glorious situation--a month for privacy to write--to Heaven. (That's a photo of the gang at the Silver Spur before I had to go. Not pictured are Chris, Caroline, Scott and Rebecca.) It was a difficult good-bye. Got a little verklempt about the whole thing.
But there was a wonderful hello to look forward to. I met husband at the airport and we drove from Sheridan to Jackson yesterday--a long beautiful drive through the Big Horn mountains and then mile after mile of beautiful landscape. We had dinner by the fireplace--we're the only guests in the whole hotel with some 40 rooms. It's amazing. We arrived in the dark but woke to the view of the Grand Tetons. Today is just a time to relax and reconnect and then back on the road again.