Hi there, Internets. Remember me?
Sorry I haven't written. This social movement/political/apolitical/cultural/activism whatsit came along, I got all curious and decided to go to a meeting, and...the next thing you know, it's six weeks later and I've been interviewed by Forbes, the New York Times, the BBC, some radio station in Berkeley I can't remember, several local TV stations, and WRFG. It's quite startling to be a middle-aged college professor with some poetry and fiction publications whose last TV appearance may well have been appearing on the Scholar's Bowl show "Toss Up" in high school, and suddenly finding yourself in the middle of some international news. Bracing, one might say. I should also point out that, of the Media Committee, I am the most camera shy and tend to avoid interviews unless there's nobody else available quickly enough. This compared with the list I just reeled off should tell you something.
I do like radio shows where I can show my extensive nerdy side though, and was on Just Peace yesterday, in fact. I appear to have interested the host, Heather Gray, greatly, at least she put up a good front, and when she found out I was a writer she said, "You're writing about this, right?" I demurred and got all shifty-eyed. I mean, yes, I'm a writer. I write. That is what I do, my raison d'etre you might say. But I've been mostly writing press releases, statements and website copy. I've been so busy...
She admonished me that I should be writing about all this, and so I am. Better late than never, right?
Well. Um. Lots of stuff has happened. For example, I know now that you should write your lawyer's phone number on your arm if you expect to get arrested, because they take all of your things away from you in jail. I also know that Sharpie tends to not wash off very easily. You have to body scrub that stuff.
Also, pro tip: Don't wear contacts around tear gas. They absorb it and funnel that crap right to your eyes. Glasses are the best look for the nerdcore protester. (THAT WOULD BE ME).
I've not only met State Sen. Vincent Fort, I tend to make a beeline for him whenever he shows up because he's smart and observant and has smart, observant things to say on all topics. I've met a lot of interesting people...this movement is full of smart, passionate, opinionated, talented individuals. It's a joy to spend time with them, whenever I'm not wanting to strangle them. (Love y'all. Really. Pay no attention to the duct tape. It's for a, uh, art project.)
I now think it's normal to keep my sleeping bag in my trunk because I might decide to Occupy something on the spur of the moment, and my friends regularly greet me with "Did you get arrested yet?" The mayor of Atlanta appears to know who I am now, in a "dang, here she comes again" kind of way. I feel proud. I don't know how visible I am really. It's like living in a fishbowl with a bunch of very opinionated fish.
I feel a sense of accomplishment, and urgency. Every day is like a year, and if I'm away for 24 hours I call up all my Occupy friends because I miss them. There's a community forming, the seeds of something genuinely new; it's more than a social movement or a protest, though it is also that, it's a cultural phenomenon which can hopefully grow stronger and get better and thrive and spread. Things are shifting. There's a change in the wind. Look up and see the sky.