A Life Reflection — Back by Popular Request (the Obama Campaign and a Voluntaryism-ist)

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Apparently I am more enjoyable when writing about myself than anything else. Awesome. So I can just be a huge narcissist and people will read it up. (Get it? Like, instead of “eat it up?” Ha…ha…ha…).

Ok. There are so many things I could write about. Like, I worked for the Obama campaign in Colorado. I could write about that. Except I can’t really remember what happened. It’s just a blur of 90-or-so-hour weeks filled with calling people I didn’t know on the phone and having the same conversations over and over again. Not to suggest that I didn’t enjoy the repetition of conversations about whether Obama was ahead or behind in the polls, except, well, I didn’t.

I ate a lot of ramen. And a weird assortment of vegetables and one or two homemade pies provided by volunteers (no, I was not in the routine of baking anything given that I basically fell into bed every night). I lived with people who were wonderful Democratic supporters and we were all communal and familial and it was nice, if exhausting.

And about halfway through, they even gave me my own office — cool, right? My red county voted 40% for Obama, which was significantly better than predicted. Oh, rural folk, you are close to my heart.

In any case, it was an exciting deal. I like organizing things and having precise instructions. But it makes me wonder if I will ever have a long-term position in my life. Because most of what I’ve done thus far (professionally or in volunteer work) is bit-sized, small chunks of bigger projects.

Just now I was trying to think of the right parallel word for professionally in terms of volunteer work and it reminded me of a strange anarchist type person that I met in a pizza shop while I was registering voters. Of course, he and his brethren insisted they were voting for Gary Johnson, and by the end of the conversation he ended up sending me a link to the definition of the philosophy of “voluntaryism” that suggests all forms of human association in groups should be voluntary. It’s not a concept I’m completely at odds with, but then I also sort of think it’s a child’s philosophy (i.e. we should never have to do anything we don’t want to do), and I think there are real benefits to growing up (i.e. responsibility for one’s actions, making contributions to public goods even when we don’t really want to, etc). Granted, I have not read extensively about voluntaryism. But Wikipedia offers a offers a peak at it that only too clearly suggests it’s not much for social welfare. I’m pretty big on social welfare, social responsibility, that sort of thing.

What I’m really trying to show you is what my job was like, every day. When you start walking up to random people, registering them to vote, or trying to get them to actually follow through and vote, you open yourself up to all sorts of exposure to their ideas and world view. Sometimes they’re nice/thoughtful/grateful. Sometimes they’re opinionated/angry/confused. Almost always, if they open the door to having a conversation with you (literally or figuratively), people want to tell you what they think. And that is both interesting and occasionally mind-numbing.

If nothing else, I learned a great deal about things like voluntaryism, and I heard a great many personal stories about felons voting rights, veterans’ disabilities, shut-ins’ lives, oxygen tanks, illegal immigration, health care reform, Obama’s desire to alter the American flag, adoption, and religion.

So maybe I remember a few things.

Memories Forgot

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Piled under blankets,
pigment greased thick
under fingernails – scrubbed once
or twice – her breath falls soft.

Fast as Nike, she slept.
Night crept darker still;
under what pretense
would light appear but dawn?

An hour forgotten, a day forgotten.
The memories fade and no witness
to bear this breath in or out.
Snow drifts. One hurricane
follows another, falls dark.

Quiet

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the un-decibel.
so silent it hums.
what isn’t.
right before the storm.
that falling, grasping, shhh.
when the mind has slowed.
the breath has caught.
a glacier melting not groaning yet.
not fracturing or breaking.
or crashing.
not sighing or even exhaling.
yet.
what lands between two beats.
goes undetected.
disappears when the foot falls.

Flash Fiction is Back: “Victorious” (100)

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The photo inspiration for Friday Fictioneers

The photo inspiration for Friday Fictioneers

For what it was worth, she had won. As if siphoning life through competition, breathing in victory like oxygen, and being the one who stood at the regal apex were enough to justify any means. Of course, having passed the figurative tortoise, she was now standing cold on the pavement, watching her brother cross a different sort of finish line, family in tow.

The thought was commonplace; a holiday reflection prompted by a chance sighting. Laughter. What it would mean to have lost the salary and gained something else – something normal, unquantifiable.

And yet, she had no time for nonsense.

For more flashes prompted by this image, and to learn more about flash fiction, visit Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple and explore the Friday Fictioneers.

To Dream of Jungles

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I am one of those people who likes to talk about dreams. Although I don’t tend to weight them too heavily in making life decisions, I like thinking about what they mean — I like the idea that dream interpretation could have significance, that our inner lives might actually be reflected there with some relevance to our conscious lives.

Recently, I’ve been unpacking and sorting through the stuff/clothes/junk I’ve accumulated over the six years since I graduated from high school. A couple of nights ago, I had a dream among the tins of old broken jewelry and perfume samples, I found a stash of green onions and broccoli, which was obviously of some concern given that these things have been packed away for a good amount of time. My interpretation? It’s time to use the green onions in the refrigerator that I bought for making peanut sauce about a week ago. It’s time. And I might be craving and increased broccoli intake.

Then last night, I stayed out late with old friends and when I got home, I almost fell asleep before falling into bed, which is definitely dangerous. Sleeping standing up is uncommonly difficult and I’m pretty sure the dangers are similar to those of having seizures or fainting suddenly.

This morning I woke up dreaming that I had been employed to design jungles — yes, like the Amazonian things in the arena of the equator where it is hot and sweaty. My job was to create jungle space everywhere. (An overwhelming task given my complete lack of jungle-building knowledge and also, in my dream, the apparent resistance of most communities to the artificial creation of jungles in their neighborhoods.) I think this might be a sign that I’m concerned about global warming. In addition, it might be related to some job search anxiety and my sense that I am underqualified for a variety of the jobs to which I’m currently applying.

Either way, I’m enjoying the dreams. Keep ’em coming, subconscious. And I will draw a picture of a jungle for the twins.