I'm writing to you again to keep up promoting letter writing (beyond e-mails of "How's it going? Same here") and putting more time into our thoughts and interactions, celebrating the word and to discuss to some current events on my mind.
I've been thinking about this New York Times article on Facebook taking the personal touch out of birthday well wishes.
"People feel so good about themselves for acknowledging you with a token 'happy birthday,' but it's part of the world's great migration away from true connection. And then the birthday person writes back, 'Thanks so much for remembering.' But I didn't remember.'"
The migration away from true connection, yes, that is exactly what is plaguing our nation socially! How little valuable time do we make for each other? Is social connectivity about a numbers game or limiting our time we invest in one another? I hope not.
Are there any articles on your mind? A few weeks ago, I read this article about how solar panels are popping up in neighborhoods in New Jersey (there's a state mandate that by 2021 power providers get 23 percent of their electricity from renewable sources.) I was extremely excited when I spotted them in my neighborhood. Well as it turns out, the American vanity obsession extends to our telephone poles. Some New Jerseyans are annoyed and see them as an eye sore and want them removed. Well, Owen Meany – THE VOICE! – would have something to say about that. "JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN'T SEE POLLUTION DOESN'T MEAN IT DOESN'T EXIST. PEOPLE BELIEVE IN GOD BUT THEY CAN'T SEE HIM. WHY DON'T PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THE POLLUTION TO GOD'S GREEN EARTH? WOULD YOU RATHER SEE THE PANELS, OR HAVE THE INVISIBLE POLLUTION?"
I read that Kindle eBooks are now outselling printed books on Amazon. What do you make of this? Don't think publishers aren't glad you can't pass on a favorite book.
A town in New Jersey by me, Northvale, will see the shuttering of its 54 year old library since voters didn't want to increase property taxes to fund it. The VOICE says, "WELL THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE, BECAUSE YOUR PROPERTY VALUES WILL DROP WITH NO LIBRARY IN TOWN, PROBABLY MORE THAN THE COST OF WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE HAD TO PAY!" I wouldn't move to a town with no library, would you?
I need to turn to books to escape this madness. Are you reading anything wonderful? A book group I belong to at work just read "Let the Great World Spin" by Column McCann, which was a recommendation from Cate at Liberal Simplicity.
Some of the passages still sit with me...
"Let this be a lesson to us all...You will be walking someday in the dark and the truth will come shining through, and behind you will be a life that you never want to see again."
"The only thing worth grieving over...was that sometimes there was more beauty in this life than the world can bear."
And this passage on New York City:
"It was a city uninterested in history. Strange things occurred precisely because there was no necessary regard for the past. The city lived in a sort of everyday present. It had no need to believe in itself as a London, or Athens, or even a signifier of the New World, like a Sydney, or a Los Angeles. No, the city couldn't care less about where it stood. He [a judge] had seen a T-shirt once that said: NEW YORK F*CKIN' City. As if it were the only place that ever existed and the only one that ever would."
Thinking of the solar panel objectors, I considered how some fellow Americans act just as New York City is described with regard to our impact on the environment, animals and our fellow citizen. Not caring on the ground where we stand. Because we have little regard for the past. Like we're the only people that exist or matter.
As for those who don't use the library who voted against it: What about the children who went there for homework or to find life-forming books, job seekers, seniors, weary workers seeking refuge? I don't like high taxes either, but some things are worth paying for.
Next we're reading The Paris Wife by Paula McClain, but I've got another book I'm reading and can't wait to share with you, but it's worthy of its own letter.
There is so much beauty in this world – which I'm glad didn't end May 21st! True story: I wanted to take the family dog to the park around 5:15 (the world was supposed to end around 6) and my sister and mother both protested, "NO! Just in case!" Two hours later, Scotty and I were enjoying a sunset stroll in the park. Besides, I think the animal kingdom, in their own way somewhat smarter than us, would have sensed any disaster more than some false prophet.
On that note, hope you are enjoying spring, and are connecting with those whom you love and value: family, friends, sweethearts, pets.
PS: I'm holding off on doing any more Mad Men Mondays columns for now. I may discuss the series and themes in less frequent posts, but have many other things I want to share, and too little time.