When I wrote the poems in The Great Hunger, I was concerned about the state of the world’s food supply. I still am. More than ever. I’m increasingly concerned about the health of our shrinking planet. What can one woman do about the massive insults we have inflicted on the environment and on each other? Writing in a cocoon of comfort is not the answer.
In my writing group on Tuesday, we each spoke with passion about an issue and this piece of writing grew out of that passion.
Things We Cannot Change: The list includes B’s petitions for women’s rights, D’s vegan diet in the face of crap food, my rant against ubiquitous plastic. Maybe we take up such issues in vain, spitting into the wind, finger in the dyke so we don’t have to face the horror of a potential future that guarantees needless suffering, much of it avoidable if we could act in concert.
So many people survive on the edges of consumerism who either cannot act or who choose not to act. The very poor take what they can get. Living in poverty or in a food desert, they buy whatever is near, be it plastic wrapped or empty of calories. Then there are those with huge disposable incomes who prefer to be unaware that multiple cars, houses, jet planes and closets full of shoes cost the rest of us.
Smug in my perhaps ill-informed life, who am I to think I can change anything, armed as I am against an avalanche with a soup spoon. But, selfishly, I don’t want to plow on and not feel that I’ve done what I can to clean up the mess we’ve made. It’s not easy being a pilgrim, leaving the snug plastic world, but neither is it astrophysics. It takes open eyes, a little planning and a bit of courage to say to store managers, “No plastic please.” Maybe someone in line behind me will hear and take a similar approach. Or not. Hopefully, I’ll find a way to escape the plastic trap I’m living in.
Maybe I cling to what often feels like false hope rather than have no hope at all.
3 responses to “Ivory Tower Writers Need Not Apply”
You made my day, Kate, with the image of you standing in the breech with a soup spoon clutched in your hand. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing in delight! Look, you have the material things you do as a result of plastic, not in spite of it. You are a citizen of the Empire, an Empire built on plastic. There are tens of millions across the globe that would trade places with you in a New York second just so they could have access to the ubiquitous plastic that infests our first-world lives. I suggest you rejoice in your good luck to not be forced to suck on dirt clods all day because there isn’t anything else to eat. Frankly, I don’t think you are smug enough given the circumstances.
Always good to hear from you; glad you got a good laugh. In response, yes, I am a citizen of the Empire. I’m also a member of a dying species and I won’t go down without a fight.
In a serious vein, here is a blog you might like as you shovel away at the plastic bags: