Devon Wilke's writing is focused on the creative arenas - film, theater, fiction, music; art - as well as politics, culture, and human interest. Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for links & details.
[Awarded in Rocky Coast Essay Contest sponsored by The Maine Review]:
Tucked in her lift chair, chilled and uneasy, she waits for tea and dry toast to calm her daily quarrel with queasiness and hunger. With a raised eyebrow and sardonic grin, she remarks, “It ain’t easy gettin’ old.” I commiserate, but she dismisses my empathy; tells me I’m too young to understand. I don’t bother to correct her.
Maybe it’s the God-syndrome; the idea that having the power to create is what life is all about, what ‘godliness’ is all about… or at least closer to that vaunted status than ‘cleanliness,’ for God’s sake, which is what we’ve been told all these years!
In the glory days of good old-timey journalism, the mandate was to report, to chronicle the events of the day, absent of opinion and rife in verifiable fact. Nowadays, as we march onward in our digital revolution to accrue ever-more 24/7 online news/media sources, the sheer demand for content is so relentless that any story, any opinion, any slant or perspective is granted the same status as actual news. Which means much of what we perceive as news is actually an unholy mix of bias, misinformation, rushed reporting, and facts twisted so precipitously as to resemble bias, misinformation, and rushed reporting.
Empathy may sound like one of those idealized concepts that reads well in print but is, in fact, too high-toned and elusive to be effective in changing the true, tangible, earthbound problems of our society, but it's not.
If you read my three-part Huffington Post series of interviews with Regina, this post will not be news. But for those who have not yet caught up with the discussion, or who’d like to read and share it as a compiled piece, I’m posting it here as well.
Because I believe it’s an essential conversation, one desperately needed in our cultural effort to understand why #BlackLivesMatter, why riots happened in Ferguson and elsewhere, and how activists are inspiring people of every race to raise a ruckus—and our consciousness—in hopes of creating true change. I hope you’ll read all three segments; share them, comment on them, pose your own questions…I promise one or both of us will respond!
We are now and forever so connected to the collective noise of the world-at-large that QUIET and SERENITY are almost an unfathomable concepts. We can blame the culture, blame the Internet, blame new technology, but it’s all about us. We have the power to turn it off and go find that lost art. Do. Get it back. It’s essential.
I can’t help but think to myself: why on earth are these accomplished, talented people who have all done stellar work being put in a position where they’re essentially pitted against each other like beauty contestants? All so just one of them gets to feel that “special acknowledgement” while the rest walk away as non-winners. Why do we do that to our most talented performers? Why??
"The person less wise and considerate makes it about them, about less, about what they don’t have that others might; what they don’t wish to celebrate that others do. Let’s not do that. Let’s rise above, let’s exude generosity of spirit; let’s allow that each one of us is having our experience and one does not negate the other."
The Aging Demographic (or “AD”) is loosely comprised of those past their “prime” years, the years when most people look the best they’re ever likely to look, when sex drives every conversation (consciously or unconsciously), when everything seems possible, and when people admire you without the addendum of “for your age.” I knew I was in the demographic when a record producer commented (as he was rejecting me in lieu of a much younger singer), “you’re just not current anymore…though I bet you were hot in the 80s.” Really. He said that. To my face. My old, sagging, AD face.
People love their flags. They love ’em. They love to hang them in doorways, march with them down streets; wave them as symbols of pride, alliance, and attachment. Which brings to mind certain cultural events of late, brouhahas centered around the topic of flags. Interesting that, shortly before our most patriotic and all-American holiday, we’d be widely, and wildly, debating other flags that hold great meaning—good and bad—for our eclectic and often polarized citizenry.
I’m not being facetious; I mean it. Because I LOVE animal videos. They make me happy. They make me laugh. Sometimes they make my day. I’m not shallow, I’m not a crazy cat lady; I’m just an appreciator of our great animal kingdom. And science now proves I’m on the right track.
I have discovered a brilliant assuagement for tree loss, particularly those that have fallen worldwide for one reason or another. There’s a site called StandForTrees.org, where contributing just $10 “keeps one tonne of CO2 from entering the atmosphere by supporting local and indigenous communities protecting forest in developing countries.” That’s right; you get to pick your forest. I love the idea.
When I see people with their cable news on all day, see them spending hours in scream fests on Facebook, immersed in the recyling click-bait of the moment, it’s clear to me that modern society has been fed a bill of goods about the value of “staying informed.” It’s been misled by the way media “illuminates the dark corners of humanity.” Media is doing that, certainly, but why do we think we need that?
...with that legacy as background, my mother never failed to turn even the slightest of holidays into a mad-capped celebration complete with colored streamers, construction paper decorations, and party foods forbidden on most any other day. We even made note of Chisholm Trail Day on October 23rd and I doubt if there are many other families who took partying quite that hearty!
We ARE the government. It often doesn’t feel that way for a whole host of valid reasons, but it is our vote, each and every vote, each and every election, that shifts and changes — albeit ever so slowly — the government, the laws, the leaders, the country. Don’t abdicate the power you have to protest the power you don’t have. VOTE.