The wolf at the door


You young people may not believe this, but it's not the first time as a species we've hit hard times.

I know; I'm the grandchild of people who saved balls of rubber bands and squares of aluminum foil not because they were compulsive, aspie types, but because they came of age during the Great Depression, which, from the way they described it, was mainly great in size.

There were...things, though.

Things like my paternal grandparents finally being able to conceive the child they dreamed of in the better years. That times were sucko didn't stop them, and there were lovely stories about envelopes marked "food", "rent" and "fun", with the "fun" envelope always empty, and of a kindly obstetrician at Cedars of Lebanon waiving his fee for the broke-ass young couple, and of neighbors, in Hollywood, no less, pitching in to help with baby-type stuff.

I've avoided talking about all this gloom and doom crashing down around us for a long time both because it depresses me to do so, and because I figure there are enough people talking about it already. In my (self-defined) job as a joyful conduit of Truth, Beauty and Love, I don't have much business mucking about with this doom and gloom shit.

So here's what you'll get from me: things SUCK. And they suck HARD, for a lot of people who've never had to deal with this level of doom and gloom and suckiness ever. (We will all pause the briefest moment to acknowledge that there are some for whom life has sucked since they drew breath, and in ways so horrific that what many people new to the suck cannot begin to fathom. Okay, then.)

There are many things that are good to read and to watch and to listen to and even to talk about in times like these. If you are lucky, like me, you have a nice list of them. If you have been busy with other things, well, I made my little stab at pointing you towards the stuff online, most of which can be enjoyed for free. (And there are things written specifically from and sort of about hard times which may also be worth reading, or re-reading, in a time like this. How to Cook a Wolf, a wonderful true-life story by the brilliant food writer, M.F.K. Fisher, is one of those books, and it is readily available at your public library. Or Amazon, if you're still buying things, or, if you're still buying things used and on the cheap.)

Here is another suggestion I will make, however, which is simultaneously less practical and more expedient, and which I have been practicing vigorously for some time now: make something. Make anything.

Make an outline for a book. Make up a story for your kid. Make a song.

Make a beaded necklace. Make someone smile.

Make art. Make dinner. Make your bed.

Any creative act you can do right now will help. Trust me on this.

And if you are someone in the business of creating any kind of content, do it and do it up big. This is no time to play small or play tired.

Cynics may tag it fiddling while Rome burns, although that's not at all correct, as that analogy is more about assholes willfully ignoring the obvious while doing what pleases them. That is not you and that is not me. Maybe we're like those dudes in the orchestra playing on the Titanic as the mother went down. Not for us to say (and lordy, I hope not) but really, even if we are, what choice do we have?

We can be our best, most gracious and generous and creative and alive selves. Or we can bolt the door and turn on the TV (while there's power...and TV) and zone out.

No, I say! I am going to MAKE STUFF. And plenty of it. And share it with you.

And you are going to MAKE STUFF. And plenty of it. And, I hope, share it with me, and with your loved ones, and especially with that really grumpy person over there who looks like he needs a lollipop and a handshake, bad.

What brought this on? Well, I took the afternoon off, an afternoon I perhaps should not have taken off, that I should perhaps have spent working my network or building my empire or otherwise doing stuff that could put money in my pockets, and I hung out at my old acting class for four hours, and I watched people MAKE STUFF. And open their hearts big and wide to do it.

Then, it was my turn, so I came home and did this.

Now it's yours...right?


Image by neil alejandro via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.