Leaving Pleasantville

A little over a week ago, my good friend Amy invited me and our photographer friend Lisa to join her on a road trip.  She wanted us to travel with her along the path she drives to work every day.  She wanted to digitally document the people and areas in need along her daily path to help people understand that we have an opportunity to make a difference right here in our own back yard.  Amy took Lisa’s images, compiled them with a collection she already had, and put them to music resulting in a moving slide show.  You can see it at: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/video/video.php?v=1376934218096&ref=mf.

Following our road trip, I was looking for a writing exercise to get me warmed up to blog and good old Fred White, author of  The Daily Writer challenged me to write in haiku form.  Anyone educated past third grade probably knows that haiku is a form of Japanese poetry consisting of three lines with a syllabic pattern of 5-7-5.  I have no experience beyond high school in writing haiku and I’m no poet, but Fred said to do it so here goes.  My haiku attempt based on Amy’s Humanity Road.

Boys stand chest to chest

Building anger in their eyes

Stare and drive on by

Spray paint marks the wall

Tall brown grass and broken glass

Plywood for windows

Dusk falls on fountain

Lonely man sits on park bench

Pretty girls look on

Nightlife is hopping

Man with sign collects their change

Pass without a glance

Becoming aware

Noting the poor feels empty

Time to take next step


The Progress Train has Left the Building

Printing Press

I see it all the time.  A new piece of technology comes along and the doom and gloom people start a ruckus.  The new thing will ruin culture as we know it and mourning for the end of an era ensues. 

 Remember when 8-tracks were replaced by cassette tapes?  I sure do.  I was a teenager asking for a stereo for Christmas.  “Please Mom,” I asked.  “Get me one that will drop at least 3 albums and I want one of those new cassette players because they are going to stop making 8-track tapes.”  My Mom, thinking it was ridiculous that the music people would even consider stopping production on the fabulous 8-track, found a great deal on really nice stereo system.  Fortunately, the price of an 8-track cartridge went down considerably; unfortunately, no new music was released on the device.  I listened to my one 8-track tape, Loverboy – Get Lucky, a lot. Thank goodness I could still play my old Journey, Styx, and Fleetwood Mac albums. 

It happened in the field of photography with the Instamatic camera and now the digital revolution is sending old school photographers screaming and pulling at their hair.  In the beginning when digital was still expensive, I heard friends say,” I’ll never give up film.”  But how can film compete with a camera that gives instant results and if the shot is blurry, you just hit delete and shoot again. 

Now it’s happening in the publishing world.  E-books and the birth of the Kindle and the unfortunately named IPad are sending old school publishers and writers into a tizzy.  Print media is going to disappear!  Anyone can post a blog!  It will be the death of true literature!  Come on people, it’s called progress.  Jump on the train or get left behind. 

I for one still love to hold a book in my hand but have taken to reading the news online. I still love to sit down on a Saturday with the big weekend edition and read the funny papers and I hope that doesn’t go away anytime soon.  But progress is as progress does.  Things change.

Check an example of the Gutenberg Bible in digital splendor at the following link:  http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/permanent/gutenberg/

Hard copy is on display at The Ransom Center, University of Texas

Superman had it easy

Superman probably hated those tights, but at least he didn’t have to grow wings every time a bad guy came around.  In comic books and in life, change often involves pain.  Superman was lucky, all he had to do was change clothes and boom – he could fly.  Others were not so lucky.  Wolverine had to project steel blades through his skin to go into battle, Spiderman got that venomous bite and I’m pretty sure David Banner was in pain every time he transformed into the Hulk. Transitions cause pain and it’s physical if you’re a superhero.  For us, mere mortals, the pain is often the emotional kind.

Change is hard.  I’m not the first to write that sentence but there’s no way around it.  Change is hard.  It’s human nature, it seems, to resist.  Some of us resist quietly, protesting in private while putting on a brave face.  Others take a stand and fight it every step of the way.  Superheroes channel their pain and direct it right back at the story’s villain.  Humans sometimes do that too; we find someone to blame.  Some villains are born for their roles.  They wreak havoc on our lives.  Others are forced into it out of sheer necessity.  But hearing someone say, “No pain, no gain,” doesn’t make it feel any better.

Time after time we all learn to adjust and move forward.  That’s the key.  Move forward.  Moving on just isn’t enough.  One can move on in defeat but moving forward means finding the positive and making the most of it.  Moving forward means growth has occurred and better days lie ahead.  It’s a choice we make, how we deal with change.  Buying into the fear that often accompanies change is a recipe for chaos and despair and there’s not always a hero to save the day.  When the time presents itself for me to deal with a change, no matter how much I want to resist, I hope if it’s inevitable, I find the grace and strength to accept it and move forward.