Wednesday, November 20, 2013

RAVINGS and RAVINGS and RANTING of November 2013

Photo courtesy of The Unbounded Spirit

The time between posts is getting shorter. Last one was 7 months between. This is only 6 weeks. Not bad, but certainly not good.

The universe has obviously decided that semi-retirement wasn’t for me yet. I’ve had a windfall of work, and much more on the horizon, with no help from me. It truly all just fell in my lap. Well, to be honest, the lap ‘was’ empty. I just hope that my body, mind, and spirit are up to the challenges. Because right now I’m tired. Of course, that may be due to being two hours early for an hour pre-meeting of a meeting that will last for two hours, resulting in an actual five hour meeting. Blame Chicago traffic for this nightmare. The 5 pm meeting is set right in the middle of downtown. Anyone who has ever driven in Chicago knows that you must be wherever you want to be way before 5 pm or the only place you’ll actually be is stuck in traffic. Hence, the two hour wait at Barnes and Nobles in the DePaul Center with a cup of hot pomegranate tea. I’d love to take it and curl up somewhere but the forces have deemed that impossible.

The first workload ahead is the dissolution of my favorite nonprofit, the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, and my refusal to let it go without a fight. The community workshops that meet around the city are important to a lot of people. The Journal of Ordinary Thought publication that results from these groups is enjoyed, known, and used nationwide. For some of the writers it is the only vehicle for their voices. For many it is a safe and welcoming community within communities that are often unsafe and not at all welcoming.

We are meeting tonight for the official announcement of the end. Then, spearheaded by me, the current workshop leaders and however many writers can make it, will meet afterward to begin the outline of a volunteer writing organization, what that looks like, and what it will entail. It will entail a lot of work and I’m hoping members will step up to plate. But if not, there are a few of us who will push forward – and that will be even more work – important work.

Then, both my daughter Kim and son Lenny have jumped in to help get a burgeoning realty company off the ground. They have a good concept and I’m excited by it. The plan is buying distressed properties in the city’s most underserved neighborhoods and rehabbing. The exciting part is that the rehab is not to then rent or sale at outrageous rates which will gentrify the neighborhoods. The new rehabs are Section 8, thereby providing quality and safe homes to those already in the community. They’re also donating vacant land for community gardens and hoping to partner with community organizations to assist wherever possible. That’s where I come in – the community and marketing outreach. Believe me, convincing people that we’re not there to take their homes away from them is a difficult task. Developers have been making that an empty promise for years. It’s unfortunate that the only choices are fighting the developers who are coming in regardless, or taking a chance with companies like us who want to help. The property is going. The decision is in whose hands do they want that property to go?

Next, I applied, interviewed, and was accepted in a substitute teaching position for Orion’s Mind, which is an after-school alternative teaching program. I have a full day of training Saturday. After marketing all week, and the NWA meetings, and whatever IT work I have on the side from current clients. Substitute meaning “on-call.” So, on those days when I’m sunk in a pan of brownies watching black and white movies, if I get a call I’ll have to somehow superwoman myself out of it. We’ll see how that works.

All this happening while I have no real home. This is the rant – I want to go home. One of my dear friends said, “It’s okay Donna, you’re just floating right now.” At 57 years old, I don’t want to float. I want to go home. It ‘seems’ like I will be moving back to the city, into a neighborhood I’m not crazy about, in a garden apartment which is dangerous for a depressive, in my daughters building. Sounds like a recipe for disaster but it’s far better than the situation I’m in now, which doesn’t say a lot for that. Plus, I’m supposed to be writing for National Novel Writing Month but I have all these excuses, and on the 20th day of the month, maybe 6500 words. Am I a writer or not? I can’t say anymore.

What I can say is I feel I’m going backwards. Backwards in my living arrangements, and backwards in my working arrangements, and just backwards. I wish I would’ve stayed in Georgia, but that’s beside the point, isn’t it? I can only trust that there is a grand plan that I am blind to right now. There’s something ahead, something out there, something I’m meant to do that I’m headed toward. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

The reason is…