I don’t usually copy my weekly newsletter into my blog, but this week is different from most weeks, and my email provider doesn’t make copies available for linking. To give you the full newsletter experience, I copied the text in full, including the links at the end. To get my emails every Friday, sign up here.
I smelled gas this morning when I was walking the dog. It was around the same place in the next block over that I thought I’d smelled it last week, but had dismissed it as a false alarm.
I walked back and forth a few times, trying to figure out if my mind was playing tricks on me. I couldn’t figure out where it might be coming from, but I smelled it. I did.
Too big a risk, I forced myself to accept. Too big a risk.
So I phoned the city’s non-emergency line, just in case they have a way to check in on things like this that doesn’t rely on emergency services. They don’t. They told me to call 9-1-1.
Even though I knew it was the right thing to do, even though I had the blessing of the city, I still hesitated for a beat. What if it’s nothing? What if I’ll have wasted the fire department’s time? What if my neighbours feel put out?
Stop. Make the call.
I made the call.
It was the right thing to do. Even if I was mistaken, even if I felt uncomfortable that I wasn’t certain. I did the right thing.
I got a concussion once. I was in college.
It was my first year, I think, and there was an upperclassman who liked to flirt with me. I didn’t reciprocate, but he was harmless.
He was the first (of, astonishingly, several) college men who would, at one point in conversation or another, interrupt to tell me, “Your eyes are green!”
No shit, Sherlock.
I didn’t date much in college.
One day I was walking through the common area of my floor in the dorm, and he was walking by in the other direction. He asked for a hug. I said no.
He demanded a hug. I told him I had somewhere to be. He was in my way.
He said aw, c’mon.
I was like fuck it. Fine.
He swung me around during this hug, and lost his balance. We both went over, him on top. The back of my head smacked the floor and I literally saw stars.
I didn’t get to wherever it was I was headed.
I left the dorm in a neck brace, strapped to a backboard.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that stupid hug these last few weeks. And about the hug a guy at camp forced on me when I was in high school, which I met with a swift and well-aimed kick to his genitals.
I’ve been thinking about what’s benign and what’s malignant. What’s acceptable and what must be met with even uncomfortable intervention.
What’s normal and what’s not normal. And what shouldn’t be normal.
We’re in charge.
We’re the only ones who can force ourselves to do the right, often very uncomfortable thing.
To use our words to assert ourselves. And if our words fail, to use our feet.
To suspect that something’s not right, and to do something about it even if we’re not sure.
We can convince ourselves sometimes that life can be convenient, but this past week became a stark reminder that convenience is an illusion.
Let us all accept the inconvenience, for failing to is simply unacceptable. Let us get our hands dirty in the mess.
It’s the only hope we have of ever cleaning it up.
In my haze of grief and dismay this week, I finally finished my new ebook. It’s a compilation of all the emails I sent to you in 2014, including all the links. That year was a big one for me, and many of the seeds of my whole creative life were planted during those months. Grab a copy now on Amazon or in my online shop!
(Patrons at the $5 and $10+ levels, you should have already heard from me with your download or discount. Let me know if you didn’t get the info!)
Try This Once:
I’m having a hard timing coming up with the fun this week, my friends. I’m going to skip this one, and get myself into better shape to bring it hardcore next week.
Items of Note:
- Let’s begin with this.
- “This week we mourn. Next week we rise”
- Be vigilant.
- “This is why I write.”
- I’d like to make this.
- Making: A linocut.
- Watching: Anything to ease my mind.
- Reading: I’m finishing up the YA drivel, and will soon start The Goldfinch, which I’m confident I’ll either love or hate. With the kid: The Year of Billy Miller, which is just lovely.
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