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Writing Ruminations

Writing is such an internal process. Why not make those private ruminations public? This is how stories take shape and grow.

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Location: Happy Valley, Oregon, United States

I've been supporting myself as a writer for many years and am watching the changes in the publishing world with fascination. For me, sharing the craft, teaching, is as creatively satisfying as the writing process itself.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Yesterday Sidetrip

I had a Craigslist adventure yesterday. I bought a baby Childrens python, needed a larger tank for a permanent home and found one listed for a good price. Turns out it was over in an apartment complex right behind Reed College. Talk about a trip back in time! They built that complex back when I was going to Reed and the owner torched it for the insurance. I was living a few blocks away and remember the HUGE firestorm vividly. The complex hasn’t changed much…it was rebuilt and is bigger now, the area is more built up. But the inhabitants are the same, mostly students or young couples just post college or having quit college, working mostly service sector jobs. I had the unnerving feeling that I was stepping back through a very thin barrier into the past.

You know something? Things have changed some. I was in this place, at this age, but futures I brushed up against here, the expectations, were different. I guess back then you could do a lot more with a college degree or even some college. It wasn’t a horizon of ‘want fries with that?’ or minimum wage competition with Bangladeshi call center operators. What is your future now if you’re 20 with maybe a BA or a couple of years of community college? Where are we going as a country? These kids aren’t going to be able to buy those development houses they’re putting up all around me. They’re not going to be able to pay for the 2007 version of the American Dream working at MickyD’s, not even if they manage a store and the expectation of what is ‘necessary’ for a good life – the car, big cell phone plan, expensive cable – keeps getting more expensive. I had a Craigslist adventure yesterday. I bought a baby Childrens python, needed a larger tank for a permanent home and found one listed for a good price. Turns out it was over in an apartment complex right behind Reed College. Talk about a trip back in time! They built that complex back when I was going to Reed and the owner torched it for the insurance. I was living a few blocks away and remember the HUGE firestorm vividly. The complex hasn’t changed much…it was rebuilt and is bigger now, the area is more built up. But the inhabitants are the same, mostly students or young couples just post college or having quit college, working mostly service sector jobs. The gal who was selling the tank had just been laid off, was between jobs.

You know something, things have changed some. I was in this place, at this age, but you could do a lot more with a college degree or even some college. It wasn’t a horizon of ‘want fries with that?’ or minimum wage competition with Bangladeshi call center operators. What is your future now if you’re 20 with maybe a BA or a couple of years of community college? Where are we going as a country? These kids aren’t going to be able to buy those development houses they’re putting up all around me. They’re not going to be able to pay for the 2007 version of the American Dream working at MickyD’s, not even if they manage a store and the expectation of what is ‘necessary’ for a good life – the car, big cell phone plan, expensive cable – keeps getting more expensive. The gal who was selling the tank was between waitressing jobs, laid off.

So I paid cash for the tank and took it home and I hope this gal sharing that one bedroom has a future than includes more for her than waiting tables or cashiering at Winco, or maybe sees her future as something other than those over priced development houses with the hummer out front. That would give me hope. We need a new American Dream and we need it really fast. For our sakes and for the planet's sake.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Zeborah said...

I should read your blog more often.
Enjoyed it all.
I'm off to AZ for a couple of weeks. Will call when I return.
Love,
Zeb

10:38 AM  

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