Big City Blues

I remember when my ex and I split up, I was in a divorce recovery support group, the therapist said he enjoyed working with people in pain because they were motivated. Hell, yes. That is me and my country. We are in pain and we are motivated to make some positive change.

Make some good use of our righteous anger. Besides feeling down by the state of our beloved union, yesterday, I was downhearted by the neurologist’s appointment. It’s not that anything has changed in Chris’s Parkinson’s status. But that’s just it. There’s never really a positive change either.

Still, I will not let my rage silence me. I will not let doubt rob my optimism.

These are my thoughts from the jury waiting room, snuggled in beside a couple hundred of my fellow citizens. As I look around this room, I notice we are way more beautifully diverse than our congress, our judges, our corporate leaders.

New York City uplifts me. There is something beautiful about the diversity of the people in today’s jury pool. My fellow jurors and travelers do not look like the creepy elders from any dystopian movie (think, Hunger Games) you know, those octogenarians who make up the justice committee confirming the Supreme Court nominees. New Yorkers are not creepers like that.

Sure, we have some older folks here, in a walker or wearing a suit and tie. But the people around me are also young, female, many shades of brown and beige and pink. Many hair styles and many fashion icons among us. This is the freakin’ melting pot — or better yet, the beautiful mosaic, as my pal (and former mayor) David Dinkins said.

So, yes, we get down but beautiful New Yorkers keeps us afloat.

At lunch time, I swung by the City Clerk’s office to pick up my application to be a marriage officiant. Don’t ask me why. I have no good reason. And we all must do those things for which there is no good reason.

Here are a few pics of today’s happy newlyweds and families. Feeling down? Notice all the happy couples. And if you’re still down, let that pain motivate you — to serve on a jury or to do something for which there is no good reason.

PS I was excused from jury duty service today and for the next six years. When so many of us show up, not all of us are needed.

Writing in a Community

I started a lunchtime writing group. The last time we met we wrote poems on fragments of Anne Sexton’s poetry. (Brilliant assignment, Tiffany!)

I cried a little as I wrote my piece. When it came my turn to read the poem out loud, I alerted the group, “I may cry when I read this. Don’t worry about me. Don’t hand me tissues. I am okay. I’m just having feelings.”

I read my piece out loud and two-thirds of the way in, I began sobbing. Literally sobbing, sniveling, gasping-for-breath crying. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to sob — especially in the middle of the workday and in front of coworkers. That is the time I like to joke around about Toddlers & Tiaras or take a walk in Riverside Park.

But there were things bubbling up in me. A sadness around the shifts and losses in my marriage, due to my husband’s Parkinson’s Disease.

Here’s the story: I cope really well. I work out. I write. I share my feelings. I lean on my friends. I feel alone. I love my kids. I love my job. I love my communities. But, at times, I feel and I am alone. And I am sad.

There was something healing about writing about and reading this piece to a writing group — a community of real people in real time and in a real place. We wrote together and then we listened to one another read.

Our meeting is simple. We rotate leaders. The leader picks a topic and then we write for 20 minutes. Then we go around and read what we’ve written. We have written about other things too — our childhoods and our rituals.

There is an alchemy to being a part of a community of real writers. The other day I wrote on my other blog What is Community?

It is hard work, passion and diversity. This lunch time writing group has and is all that. We meet again tomorrow at 12:30. Join us.