is there time to do the things i want to do? is there time before the world changes to see my children grow to men? will there be time for joy? time for peace? i exist under the weight of uncertainty and anxiety. i fear the pressing in of global change, of the world reduced from this mess to nearly nothing. i hear the reports - that the eleventh hour is upon us, yet see no decisive action really taken. i stand with many in my dissent, but many more are silent. there are moments in my day when excitement and ideas reach me, when i think of things that i might do. then trouble clenches tight my heart, and i grow silent and still, melancholic inaction taken its hold around me. all happiness is strangled out. my throat tightens in mid-sentence, the ideas stalled by dread. is there time yet to put into action what good i want to do? is it useless to sit troubling over whether i am good enough or not, when the world i seek to create for may soon not exist? my hands do not write, do not paint, do not stitch. my hopes that i have, the visions of my future and the future of my sons and family seem so improbable. what use is it to try? i am weighed down by my own negativity. i cannot escape the crushing fear that before me is nothing.


last night jon and i went to see death at a funeral on our date. i was at cedar/lee on thursday for becoming jane, but missed the previews. last night, we saw the previews. i was bawling at the 11th hour preview, despite the constant leo dicaprio narrative. i just can't take it. even before the previews, jon was telling me all about the book i bought him, the world without us, and what i've always worried about, the chapter, "polymers are forever," as it turns out, is the least of it. the depleted uranium situation is much, much worse because the half-life is as long as it will take for the sun to expand and engulf the earth. can you even imagine? and here i've been freaked about the damn ocean full of plastics, which is apparently just passive toxicity in comparison. this is my lead-up to the dark comedy - my husband detailing all the horrible things i dare not even dream, if i can help it, followed by a thirty-second montage of every horrible thing i can ever imagine.

and the war - the war! i grew up with that word that all the grown-ups i knew used with so many deeper connotations, "vietnam," and here are my children and this war and my heart breaks and breaks and breaks every day just worried about it. how i can even live this life, with such struggle and daily worry over clean clothes and credit card bills, when the ap changes the photo of each different poor family as it is ripped apart each moment, half a world away? How can i sit in movie theaters sobbing? how can i continue to attempt joy for these children that mean everything to me? so many problems, mounted so, so high. these trillions spent are our future as well as the past. these trillions are no health care, no safety-net, no clean air, no electric car, no social security, overcrowded classrooms, more wal-marts, less ingenuity, less pay, less food, less earth free of plastic, free for walking, for breathing and sensing what it means to stand in a meadow at dusk...

somehow, aleks and i started talking about the war in iraq this morning. i'm not sure how it happened. first we were saying the new bird-feeder needs to be filled up and put out, but in a different place than the homemade bird-feeders that the birds aren't eating out of. then he started asking about the dead cardinal we saw at aullwood farm in dayton this past may and insisted that i brainstorm ways that the bird might have died. he decided that it was a cat that stuck its claw into the bird, even though i figured the cat might have tried to eat it and there would have been less bird for us to see. then somehow, in all that talk about death, he started talking about army men and how they die and i said that they tend to kill one another in the war. all the while, there's this new poster in our kitchen glaring down at me:

so i tell him about the war in iraq - vaguely - and how the soldiers are there fighting, but that the army men aren't the ones dying the most, though they certainly are dying and it's all very sad. it goes on and on and he tells me how he hates army men, which i try to insist is not the way to go about it because they're just doing what they're told, but it would be nice if it would all just stop. he starts talking again about hating army men - says that he hates all army men in dayton. i tell him his babysitter, nick, in dayton, was an army man and was in iraq for a year and it made him really sad and he'll never be the same again.

then he mentions that 6 army men died today. i think back to the top headline on the ap - 7 dead in a bomb explosion, dozens wounded, but not soldiers, just people. i tell him there was a bomb, but that i didn't think they were army men - which is worse to say because i'm haunted by the image on the ap of what looks like a kid all bandaged and bleeding, hand outstretched and i feel sorry for myself about my stupid hand! - though some of them might have been and there were maybe other army men killed today because that seems to happen every day too. he says that they were killed in friendly fire and suddenly i remember when we were listening to npr in the car yesterday and that yes indeed, some british soldiers were killed in a friendly fire incident and then i have to try to explain what that means, and the best i can come up with is that they killed their friends, which sucks to have to say. i go back to making toast in the other room.

he comes in with is teddy bear, todd, and says that todd hates army men. i ask why and he says because army men kill people. i try to reiterate that we shouldn't hate them, but it would be good if they would stop killing people and come home. he leaves, comes back with his giant evil lego robot with one arm that's a gun and the other that's a spinning wheel of death or something and says that his robot, slammy, killed lots of army men. i ask why, get out of him that he kills them because they kill people, which i try to show the hypocrisy and convince him to just capture them. so slammy is going 'round the world spreading peace by using his special laser that puts army men in jail. sigh. eat your toast.


the final countdown is upon us. i am nearly through the summer. jon finishes his job in three days time, at which point the boys and i will flee to my mother's home for two weeks to allow him to write the first chapter of his dissertation. we are nearing the end of this long schooling process, even. and yet we are not near enough.

the boys just now are sick, both sleeping with fevers in this awful heat. i am fearful of contracting my own version of the illness, lest i feel unable to function more than i already feel unable, or unwilling, to do so.

the relationship issues have been looking up. we began to talk to someone else, which has greatly aided our emotional miscommunication that has followed us about, slowly torturing me, the last nine years. that, at least, is getting better.

i began my work serving on the board of directors of the cleveland food co-op, in addition to my duties as editor and writer of the monthly newsletter, which i've been doing since january. we shall see where that takes me. it feels good to have something to be truly responsible to outside the home, and i like that i have finally taken on the activist mantle of my family, at least now in a legitimized sense.

i also joined a consciousness raising group, which is proving wonderful, so far, and which will hopefully really serve those needs in me to feel a part of something larger than myself, as well as help to process the issues surrounding all that i am active in. i would like to spend more time thinking on things. more time, once again, spent exploring the conceptual in relation to the real, rather than simply utilizing my mental capabilities to create new modes of efficiency on the domestic front, that very, unnervingly real aspect of myself. though, at times, the domestic front seems indeed the only real thing in a world full of bullshit, of rationalizations of duty to the varying modes of capitalistic endeavor. it seems the only real doing thing left in this world. everything else is reduced to institution and limited by its legitimacy.

in some ways, my domesticity leaves me free to be who i am, accountable to no one but the society that raised me, echoing in my head. any guilt gained from my occupation is cultural conditioning, filtered through my familial upbringing, speaking in the sound of my own voice to me. this is still clearly entrenched in institution, but less so than everyone with a paying job who is actually held accountable to those systems in an overwhelmingly daily manner.

i am an artist who sells no art, a writer that hardly ever writes, and a mother, isolated by my culture, as well as from it. society will only ask me to report should a helpful citizen decide i have stepped too far outside cultural norms and notify children's services. i hardly exist outside of statistics, used so often as fodder from both leftist and rightist talking heads making points about what it is that we americans do or need and why.

i am only referred to, never engaged beyond the survey. in this way, i remain an outlaw, just beyond the reach of the hum of order, civilization, progress. in no way is it acknowledged that this work - this unending, arduous, deeply fulfilling, biologically impertinent work - which i do for free, is in fact the basis, the foundation, on which western civilization - nay, all civilization - rests. and i, as a middle-class white woman, am even less depended upon in this sense than the poor and mothers (and mother-figures) of color, because i am a member of a market, the only thing more "legitimate" in this capitalist state than being a worker-slave integrated into an institution body, mind, and soul. the fact that the economy rests on the bone-cruishingly unpaid work of women is thus ignored and the work itself relegated to the lofty fields of pricelessness and personal sacrifice. why not martyrdom as well, while we're at it?