Posted by Susie, this morning
People are losing their jobs, still, in the continuing firestorm of Recession. I heard today from yet another friend disclosing her Husband's loss, just 5 days ago. They - we all - will recover, but it takes time, and these folks are only now starting their process. I heard the weariness in her wavering phone voice. Knowing that her Husband was sitting next to her in the car, I realized her message was tactfully edited. But what I heard was all too familiar, it was the weariness of knowing what this process was going to require from her. Despite the fact that the fall was taken by him.
A woman's resume' will never reflect the job she really does. I'm not talking about the child-bearing, or child-rearing, or home-management or man-management, the jobs that defy articulation even if they were deemed resume' worthy. Job characteristics for a Partner in the New Now is inclusive of all these characteristics - and more. Now you're a crisis manager, rational thinker extraordinaire. You manage up, down and sideways, you keep the peace. And your forte' is finding and coaxing the humor back into the team. For a woman knows that without humor at home, we're sunk.
I am encouraged by how much Girl Power is coming to the fore in the New Now. Women are finding their way, doing jobs for free, all in the name of creating a ground swell. Outside of the home and even their partnership, women are collaborating, being cheerleaders for other women. I know the weariness, but like a strong cup of joe, the Will in us is rising up.
Tomorrow may be "a king-sized drag", but sister, look what kind of ground swell we got behind us. Girl power!
Posted by Susie, yesterday
But there are still trenches, and here in the trenches, we're just hanging on. We wonder why the Financiers get to report the uptick and cash the bonus checks, when that's where all the trouble started in the first place. Shouldn't recovery start where the hurt is actually being felt?
The surge is actually happening down here in the trenches, and we're not doing it alone. In this astounding time of change and redefinition, momentum is building almost like a chain reaction. This is a time for seeking and nurturing Mentors. And for Mentors to revel in the power of their role modeling.
Creativity is not just discovering the novel in you, or uncovering your latent talent to put on sale on Etsy. You may be a painter or a poet, a soloist or a sculptor, and though as powerful an outlet as that may be, it is just a small part of building the momentum we need to survive in the New Now. Creativity is watching, listening, and invoking, in order to capitalize and build on the wave already in motion.
In my quotidian blog, The Daily Now, I grab onto an image or a message that cracks open the world of opportunity on a given day. Could be some one's face or a tune they've sung. Could be a panting pinnacled for posterity, or a line drawing spotted on a square of pavement. Nothing on the Daily Now is mine, it is borrowed, it is riding a wave already in motion.
Who is a role model? Is she such today and for always? Is she such for a moment, a second, someone with bright red lipstick and shiny gold hoops who tells you she loves what you've got going on? Is she famous, or regular? Is she prolific or a one-off? She's all those things. Collect role models.
We have a choice. We can do this in fear, we can throw balls in the air and hurl ourselves around trying to catch them. Or we can watch, listen, and learn. Your role models are going to keep you company.
Photograph of Sylvia Weinstock, "Leonardo DaVinci of Cakes", by Thayer Gowdy, 2009
I learned yesterday that an old friend lost his job with a wind energy company, he'd been setting up green across the Plain States. Wasn't GREEN going to be the great white way, the savior of jobs, the new New Deal?
Unemployment creeps toward 10%. Folks, that means 1 of every 10 human beings you see on your daily circuit will be feeling just what we're feeling. 1 of every 10 will sit before her computer wondering who to shout out to today. 1 of every 10 counts the coins from the couch pillows to pay for the coffee he'll drink as he meets with whoever'll have him at Starbucks on any given morning.
It is "all outta kilter" alright, but the Universe will correct itself. We need to be clear and focused about how we'll contribute.
The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron's incredible road map for creativity, has introduced me to the Morning Pages. She says by way of challenge that "in order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it... (you) do this by an apparently pointless process I call the morning pages."
It is a method for clearing your head and finding your way through the New Now, for getting to your resources, for navigating the day. Morning Pages are "three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages-- they are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind-- and they are for your eyes only."
Morning Pages are my regimen. I write them on the back of a paper towel, on the Business section when I can't take what it's saying, or in an empty Word doc I recycle daily, hitting "no" when it asks me to save changes. I have no idea what I've written in my Morning Pages, often it's just a list of curse words strung together to make a paragraph. Well-placed curse words are not gibberish, especially if they wing their way harmlessly back into the Universe that holds us in her sway.
Without the Morning Pages I'd have very little sense of humor. I'd cry when I listen to things like Grant Rogers' "When a Fellow is Out of a Job".
Try writing Morning Pages, do it without judgement or structure. It's an easy diet, it isn't detox or deprivation. The results are sure and the outcome is wealth.
Wealth is Creativity in the New Now.
We need nuptial inspiration only a time (or two) in our life. Gourmet, though? Gourmet encourages not just creativity, but it challenged us to take risks, in the kitchen and on the road. The passing of Gourmet may be an indicator of what's not possible anymore. Might some call it entitled, this glossy reflection of the Good Life as embodied in fancy ingredients and far away climes? Perhaps, but the dedicated Gourmet reader wasn't necessarily interested in the Joneses, they might never find a star anise nor even go looking for one. Their Gourmet was about possibility. Glossy, beautifully captured possibility.
I've wondered with frequency if we'll ever be the same after all of this. I've wondered if I'll ever get to Morocco, or if my children will see Venice before it sinks. I've wondered if we'll have another chance to say "What the hell, let's do it" - or if frugality and worry are what our Great Recession will leave, indelibly, in its wake. Somehow, the passing of Gourmet answers that query. It will never be the same.
BROILED STEAK WITH HORSERADISH CREAM
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons drained bottled horseradish
Preheat broiler. Oil rack of a broiler pan.
We put one foot in front of the other, we remind ourselves of what we have. And despite what seems like a snail's pace, we list what we have accomplished. 20 moving, productive digits. Kids and partners who laugh at stupid jokes. We have dogs and fish who have no clue what we're talking about when we throw around new paradigms, like The New Now. Challenges for dogs and fish don't change, start to finish. It's a fight for the basics. How refreshing. We have a home, we've made hard choices.
And yes, the pitfalls are many, turmoil is rife around us -- there is a colossal conflict of anger and new life raging this minute. Is this how creativity is distilled? Must we fight and spew in order to reach a good place?
In his New York Times column yesterday, "Where Did 'We' Go?", Thomas Friedman called out this anger; madness that has erupted, bizarrely, around our attempts to birth a healthcare system in this country. HEALTH CARE, which should be an overarching blanket that systematically cares for our babies. A compassionate effort by definition, how does this garner so much vitriol?
And then, on a local level. 3 drivers in the past 36 hours have lost their self control because of the way I, random 45-year old station wagon driver, shared the road with them. An elderly woman shot me the bird with a silent scream after I pulled out, admittedly hastily, before her in a parking lot. A middle aged man rolled down his side window and shrieked " YOU F&*%ing A@#&%*+&!!!!!" when I moved to the right by a sports field to let my daughter out for practice. I do not proclaim to be perfect behind the wheel or elsewhere, but I know one thing. My activity on the road, nobody's activity on the road, warrants self-righteous fury about the state of the Universe.
I tack it up to the sheer scope of change taking place around us. Change hurts, it makes us feel helpless, and we have to wait it out - practicing our own growth and creativity all the while. That often means we're forced to be creative when we do not know what we're making. We're forced to take on a new mantle when we were sure our work had been done.
Around here, creative growth and development translates to big things and small, but it is often embodied in food. I have a seven year old. She's creating and growing all day; it's a jungle, 2nd grade. What she wants at home is a plateful of nuggets. And yet we're pushing Creative, and serving up what she doesn't think she' s ready for. Tonight, on the home front:
MARCELLA HAZAN'S SQUID SAUTE'
As described in loving detail by Julia Davis at a creative summit yesterday
1.5 lbs Squid, cleaned, sliced into rings
1 1/2 tbsp onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 tsp garlic, chopped fine
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 cup canned tomatoes with their juice
1/2 cup red wine
salt, black pepper, oregano
2 lbs frozen or fresh (but shelled) English peas
1 cup Polenta (quick cooking), prepared as instructed
Saute the onion in olive oil until golden, add the garlic. When garlic is lightly colored, add parsley then tomato and wine. Add the squid to the pot, a pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or so. Remove lid and continue to simmer cooking off some of the water to concentrate flavours and thicken the sauce a bit. In another 15 minutes, check that the squid is tender-- and when it is-- add the peas and stir them. Cook just long enough to warm the peas. Correct salt and pepper and serve over whatever fits your fancy. Serve with Polenta.