Lord Chesterton said, “Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf; is better than a whole loaf.”
It’s funny as I start to really move forward with several projects how I seem to be turning backward for advice rather then looking around me for help. Everything around me seems to be in either a state of denial, a state of chosen ignorance, or a kind of foaming, rabid state that prevents any type of thought, action or reason.
I look backward and I find things like Eisenhower’s draft for his farewell speech, GK Chesterton, Tolstoi, Day and on and on. The same 60 year period of thinkers who not only thought, but acted and tried to warn about what would come should certain things either be left unattended or, taken further down the road they had begun. And lo! They would appear to be right.
For a writer, I have spent an extraordinary amount of time crunching numbers of late. Statistics, budgets, forecasts – all related to that article I did on homelessness and all for the continued series of articles that are coming out of it called “The School for Shelter.”
Which circles me right back to Chesterton and his comment that we, as a society, make the same mistake that doctors make. We start trying to treat symptoms with a hope that later, we will understand what the healthy life looks like. He suggests that we would be better off approaching illness, social or physical, by looking at what we need to do to return it to a wholeness of life, rather than treating each symptom like it was its own little world. In number speak that is called learning to read statistics organically rather then institutionally. Which was another thing he hammered on, that our increasing “specialization” was going to be our undoing – it would leave us without anyone capable of understanding the “big picture” and what we all had to do to get there. That was a sensical theory to me, but now that I have been reviewing budgets and ten year plans and so on – I realize how right that theory is. We have specialized ourselves out of any practical concept of what needs to be done to resolve our ills. We see things in terms of compartments and institutions and have few thinkers or analysts that understand that no matter what section of society you are talking about it is not separated from effecting the whole and to form effective policy means to think in terms of wholeness, not small bits.
Today was writer’s group day. 8:30am on a Saturday. I managed to spill coffee on myself, repeatedly, for the entire mile long walk there. We wound up getting permission to use an university building and got our act together enough to know that we can’t do everybody’s piece each time. For me, because the city of love was one of the ones being critiqued, it started to really come together and be of help.
Before, I think, because people were trying get a grip on how to critique the poem there was not much really being said but just being in the environment was spurring me on. Now, people are getting comfortable and starting to be able to say things specifically about lines and so on and it was just…amazing to be able to get that feedback.
However, the damn thing is getting so long I am going to have to start numbering the lines and recording the sections to help people along. 20 pages and counting, I haven’t even gotten her to the city yet.
MK is deliriously happy. It has been warm enough for me to open the door and let her run in and out and in and out and in and out for several hours. She’s regressed though, to climbing up my body and hanging off my side while I try to do things and that ain’t no kitten weight anymore.
I am also deliriously happy, for a lot of reasons but one I can share. I am removing the Internet from my house. Yay! That does mean that I have to go elsewhere during the day to work but that is not such a bad thing. Lord knows I drink enough coffee anyway. But when I come home, no temptation and no distraction. The city is getting too large and I have another project going that needs a house where they may sit alone.
c.2010 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.