Ivory Tower Writers Need Not Apply

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.


Light & Tunnel