The law of unintended consequences: now that the super new website design is up, I feel like my posts need to be somehow worthy of it. This does not, of course, guarantee that they will be. Of course, a bunch of you read me on LiveJournal anyway and do not see the website design — and as of yesterday, you can read me on Facebook too, since I figured out how to import Notes. Or you can sign up for email updates. I know! Enough already, I seem to hear you say.
Gosh, it’s good to be home. Right now I’m listening to a fantastic mix created by signifier. One of the tracks — “Reviewing the Situation” by Sandie Shaw — unexpectedly reminded me of my parents. That phrase was part of our family language. I knew it was from a song, but I’d heard Mom and Dad sing-quote it long before I heard the actual song.
I didn’t write anything on the Katrina anniversary, but New Orleans has been on my mind a lot lately. I just read Heart Like Water: surviving Katrina and life in the disaster zone by Joshua Clark. What’s struck me about the book most are two things: the incredible black humor that many folks used as a survival strategy (I’m very sympathetic to this, as it is one of my strategies of choice in times of devastation as well), and Clark’s willingness to show the ways in which he was an asshole as well as the times when he comes off heroic. Here’s a passage:
The horror that falls through my fingers. The screams a few blocks away you cannot hear. We spend most of our waking hours grasping what is out of reach, on the news, in books, on the phone. Yet it takes an explosion lighting and shaking the night sky to give us a hint of what is happening beside us. But then true fright comes not with explosions and screams but with their silence, when the things and people around us cannot scream, when even the insects do not call, when we must cry into the night instead.
And when civilization returned to our neighborhood, when the insects sang again, I went to those areas that tragedy did not miss, and groped at their experience, wanting to suffer it.
I still think a lot about the time I helped gut a house, when I met Matt. I didn’t write much, I only posted photos. But I remember standing in the back bedroom, where clothes, furniture, and household goods were piled high enough that it was hard to find a steady place to stand, finally getting the closet door open and realizing how much more was there, everything waterlogged, everything ruined. Breathing through the mask we had to wear. Not thinking about what else might be inside until I saw the rat.
How’s your September so far?