My Disastrous Life

December 1, 2013 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

If you follow my book commentary tag, you’ll notice that I read a lot of depressing (quasi-realistic) fiction – mysteries, dystopias and apocalypses pepper through the books I read.

I am old (oldish, middle-aged if I reach my death goal). Thus, I’ve seen a lot of disasters occur around me and occasionally impact my everyday, work-a-day life.

These disasters/tragedies in my life coupled with fear and tension and the worry over the possibility of apocalypses or struggling to live in a dystopian world leaves me too often fearful. I’m tired of living with fear.

The older I get, the more it seems as if disasters are over-running our media sources. It took weeks for everyone to know the Titanic had sunk; it took mere hours for everyone to know about what had happened at the Boston Marathon.

I was a teenager in the 1970s and it seems that the 1950s were the last idealized time to grow up. It’s all about perception.

Jeff Guinn, in his book Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson (N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 2013) writes:

“There was a lot going on in America and the world, much of it tragic on a larger scale, that was featured on front pages and broadcasts. News of wars …. there seemed to be no end to those stories. The root causes were complex, and people were sick of thinking about them.” (p. 333)

As a child of the 70s, Manson was the first bogey man to worm his way into my frontal lobe. I have vague recollections about Vietnam and Kent State but Helter Skelter was the first book that made me think that the world might not be safe. If a famous actress (Sharon Tate) wasn’t safe, how could I be safe?

Then the Patty Hearst (she was rich) kidnapping happened and the world shifted just a little bit more into bad and evil.

I went to university for the first time and concentrated on sunshine and puppies (like Terry Fox) instead of world politics and fear. I buried my head in the sand. It was very warming sand.

Things were looking up – the Berlin Wall came down and it looked like maybe all of us (human beans, inhabitants of planet Earth) would choose hope over fear.

The day that a Korean airplane supposedly invaded Russian air space I was a nanny for a sweet baby girl and the worry penetrating from the news drove us out of the house to take a calming walk and to rationalize all the reasons war was not imminent.

Then the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up, Columbine happened, women were massacred at the Ecole Polytechnique; what purpose is there to remembering only the disasters circling my life.

When 9/11 happened I was working in a school library where the news was on all day which only feed the young students’ worries. How could I tell them that their world would always be safe when I knew otherwise?

How many disasters (man made and otherwise – Katrina, Sandy) can one expect to impact her life span?

I read, write and think too much (or so everyone keeps telling me!).

What do I learn reading about such historical crimes as the Shell Lake Massacre or the Black Donnellys?

What do I learn reading dystopias, apocalyptic scenarios and mysteries.

I learn how to survive.

I learn how to fight.

I learn that we are more the same than different.

I learn to have hope because every mystery is solved, the apocalypse rarely happens and if it does we learn how to get beyond it and I know how to recognize the signs of a world becoming a dystopia and can thus do something before it is too late.

What do I learn when I read, write and think?

I learn that hope is stronger than fear.


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