We have now been publishing every day for ten days. TEN days in a row! In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if we could do it. But I’m so glad that we are making it happen–that you, the readers and the writers of these columns, are making it happen.
I have felt a kaleidoscope of emotions this week: fear, pride, and epiphany. I’ve been afraid to wake up to the news of an unhinged president, and that fear has triggered a terror deep inside me from my long abuse history. This coming week, two different essayists will speak to the fear that many of us are feeling. On Tuesday, Mischa Haider writes about fear and violence that trans women experience particularly in this climate, and Meredith Broome’s essay on Thursday speaks to the kind of fear that emerges after being abused by a narcissist. I’ve been proud to have my name on a magazine that is doing the hard work of speaking out, of holding space to say the things that terrify us. We must keep speaking. We must keep writing, and calling, and saying: no, not us, not this time.
I have also felt pride as I’ve listened to my students talking about stories this week–their own, each other’s, from published authors. They are learning to read mindfully–to slow down, to pay attention. And really, what more could I ask from them in this political climate then to slow down, pay attention, and then formulate their own action plan? I know that literature and writing alone cannot save us, but reading and writing mindfully enacts a deep-rooted empathy, and listening to that empathy as it sparks inside, as it becomes a blazing fire–that might save us.
This week, my nephew was looking at his course calendar in his college english class. He saw that they were to discuss “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised ,” by Gil Scott-Heron. His professor, a friend of mine, was borrowing this idea from me as I’ve taught this particular text for many years. Every semester I give the backstory of the time period (which seems so long ago to 18-year-olds), and talk about race riots, and the Vietnam war, and we unpack and unpack and unpack. My chalkboards become filled with rhetorical purposes and audiences and we pinpoint language and techniques. When my nephew was 12, he came to my class to observe, and it was the day I taught this piece. He told his professor he has never forgotten that day, that class, the power of the words. My epiphany came not in his generous remembering of my lecture, but rather in the idea that this is the first time that most of my students will be able to relate to “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Instead of talking about the times “then,” we must say, the times NOW. We can say, then, people were marching in the streets, arm in arm, fighting for their lives, and we can say, just weeks ago, people were marching in the streets, fighting for their lives.
The time is now. The Revolution will not be televised. The Revolution will be live.