Look who’s talking now
In which I awkwardly but sincerely introduce myself to you.
If you think about it, with seven-and-a-half billion other personal stories to follow on the planet, it’s pretty audacious to say on a blog platform, “Hey! Look at me! Look at what I wrote!”
But that’s what writers do these days, and now I’m doing it, too, dammit, because I’ve been talking and writing to myself for a fuckzillion years, and I badly need to articulate some things outside of my own head.
Because I have heard some things.
Listening is my superpower.
It’s true. People tell me things. Friends, total strangers, people I’ve just met tell me all kinds of weird crap. At length, and with no encouragement. In business meetings, or classes, or seminars, nine times out of ten, the speaker ends up addressing me, directly. With eye contact. It’s as if I become the Designated Listener in the room. People look at me, and give their whole presentation sometimes, right at me. There’s nothing I can do about it, either; if I’m attentive, they lock in like a laser. If I try to look away, they try even harder to engage my eye.
And sometimes, one on one, people will act as if they have known me forever, and they will tell me everything. Depending on what role I have with them, I offer perspective, or I write it down, or I follow up, or I just listen.
Now, though — here I am, after all those years of listening, finally telling you… things. Things about myself, so that you’ll know me, and trust me, and become my fast ally. I’m telling you things so that you’ll listen, and talk back, and I’ll listen, and we can grow truth, and multiply it, and feed it back into the discourse.
Sometimes I try to interpret what I am hearing, in discussion with the other. And sometimes, I lecture; I preach; I orate; I sing; I joke; I beguile. But mostly, I listen to the world and the people around me, and to the messages above and below the voice. I listen to the words chosen as well as the words discarded, and I hear the interval between the two like the interval between two musical tones. That’s what I do, and then I write, because you are listening, too, for some fresh insight and power and courage.
Rev. Dr. Sparky is an alias. But I’m real.
So Rev. Dr. Sparky is of course a pseudonym, which I use to shelter my employer from my resistance views, and vice versa. It’s a fake name, but I really have earned the titles, and I include them so you know how I spent many of my adult years — e.g., studying, teaching, and preaching, in the humanities, religion, spirituality and the improbable places those studies lead to. And I’ve had time for other mischief along the way, for I’m a member of the boom generation that moved through the U.S. economy like an elephant through a boa constrictor. And yes, I will reluctantly join the chorus of those who castigate that generation for creating the crisis we are in now.
Membership in that largest-ever generation marks out one leg of the intersection from which I speak, which is complex but not inscrutable, as I am middle class, white, cisgender, non-neurotypical, and female. What also defines me is a desire to be better than I am and a capacity for compassion that skewers me to the heart at odd moments but then may just as unpredictably run out.
Firefly soul with a temporary flesh address
I’ve fought the ego battle all my life; now I just want to turn Emily Dickinson’s poem your way, saying, “I’m Nobody — who are you?” In the grandeur of the universe, a little humility is in order.
However, this historical moment, on this little planet, presents to us a spectacle of destruction that demands we be badass nobodies right now. With infinite arrogance, a handful of self-anointed bosses, owners, and corporate thugs are planning to rip the last carbon fuels out of the rock and burn them into the air. They don’t hear the warnings, and they are flooding the airwaves with noise so that we don’t hear them, either. But I do hear the warnings, and I am passing them along. Because there are billions of us nobodies, and I truly believe we have the power to reclaim and protect the future of the air and the oceans and the croplands and the natural seasons of the earth.
What if we are wrong about the end of the world and we make the whole planet better for no good reason?
Well, that would be fine, now, wouldn’t it? But we all know that the earth is changing and becoming more inhospitable to humans. We know we are facing an existential event. (And you thought nothing important was ever going to happen to you. ) There really is no choice but to fix it, and there really is no sitting this one out.
I’m listening. I hear things.
So that’s me; now it’s your turn. Please do the heart thing, and the recommend thing, and the follow thing, and then, above all, the comment thing, so we can keep the conversation going and we can say, “Look who ELSE is talking now.”