Mrs Fringe is not a blog about blogging. It is not a blog about writing. It is not a blog that tells readers how to save the world, raise perfect children, or make the perfect soufflé. Really, it isn’t, check out the “About” page, I claim no expertise and never have.
I touched on this in July, but I’m a little mushy today, so I’m going to write about it again. I began blogging to have a space to be honest and in the hopes of getting myself back into a regular writing schedule–without undue or unrealistic pressure. In navel gazing mode while I grocery shopped this morning, I realized I have achieved these goals, and hope to continue to do so for a long time. The blog isn’t huge, I don’t earn a dollar from it, no agents have sent me sekrit coded messages promising me contracts, but I feel pretty darned good about it.
I get upset by things. I probably shouldn’t because I’m a grown-up and a realist but I do, because I’m a human being with a vivid imagination. Like the complaints going around the building and the neighborhood again, about the local homeless shelters. It’s absolutely true, these buildings, programs, and the people who utilize them are far from ideal neighbors. They need more staffing, support, mental health and drug treatment services. Many of the residents of my building and immediate neighborhood are older people who marched for equal rights, civil rights, against war and nukes and in support of love and peace. Hell, half of them comprised the Occupy Wall Street gatherings. So how come they’re banding together now to close down the local halfway houses, block the homeless shelters? All these years, all this awareness, and still, too few are willing to acknowledge the homeless as more than a nuisance. Definitely not to acknowledge these are human beings, only wanting to hurry up and call them someoneelse’sproblem.
Those pesky homeless guys, the woman staggering down the street? This wasn’t their dream. But this is their neighborhood, and for many it has been since long before Rudy Giuliani cracked down on “quality of life” crimes, Disney took over Broadway and Times Square, and small business owners were squeezed out in favor of 8 gazillion chain drug stores. I’m not glossing over the-way-it-used-to-be; the dirt, the crack vials and shared needles, the squeegee guys hammering on car windows when the bridge and tunnel crowd was trying to get home, the Girls! Girls! Girls! you had to walk through to get to the library.
Yeah, it was dirty, sometimes it was scary. Rents were always crazy here, I remember hearing about 8 girls sharing a 5th floor walk up when I was a kid 40,000 years ago. Now the rents have shot from crazy to obscene. The real estate bubble didn’t actually burst here, just sagged a bit. Firm as ever now.
How can it be that I read posts the other day from more than one privileged young American toting the value of sweat shops as opportunities for poor kids?
So where is the compassion? How does someone reconcile “not in my backyard” liberalism with the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the death of Nelson Mandela? I’ve read many, many lovely quotes from Mandela over the last 18 hours. Read many heart warming tributes about what incredible contributions he made to our world. 95% of those tributes include qualifiers, “he wasn’t perfect.” No shit. He was a human being. An incredibly strong, impassioned, brave, fallible human being. But it seems we shouldn’t be human. Not if we’re living on the streets, not if we’re fighting for social justice, not if we’re regular old gals.
I’m the first to admit, I’m not that brave. Or that motivated. Or that strong or that smart. I am not a revolutionary, don’t feel John Lennon’s “Imagine” is my personal anthem.
Mrs Fringe is, however, my little ragged thread of the world. A thread for patching, a thread for connecting. I received a beautiful message this morning from someone who recently found Fringeland. One of my stories made her happy, she connected with it. Over the time I’ve been blogging, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive quite a few notes along those lines. Recently a friend who is also somewhat of a mentor even said that she believes Mrs Fringe has allowed me to hone my voice in my fiction. Nail it. Well, she didn’t say nail it, because she’s way more elegant and eloquent than I will ever be, but that was the gist. I think she’s right, and I wanted to take today’s post to say thank you to everyone who reads, comments, follows, and encourages.
I haven’t written a bestselling novel that opens my nation’s consciousness. I haven’t ended apartheid or led a nation, I haven’t built a homeless shelter or washed the feet of those who walk the streets without shoes. I haven’t even occupied Wall Street. I’m not likely to do any of those things. I do try to be thought-full, to share a smile with others who are living on the Fringe, offer a voice, and more than anything else, remember that I’m a human being, and so is everyone else around me. Thank you for giving me a space to do this, and responses that let me know we do all affect each other.