Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fear is a Hunter

I just finished reading an ARC of Ruta Sepetys's new novel Salt to the Sea. It is the story of WWII refugees aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff. The story is told in four voices, with the first four chapters introducing each of the four characters.

Sepetys begins these four chapters with "_____ is a hunter." Each character is given an emotion: Guilt is a hunter. Fate is a hunter. Shame is a hunter. And finally, the last character: Fear is a hunter.  I'm not doing justice to this wonderful and heartbreaking story, but I'm stuck right now on Fear is a hunter.

The emotion of fear is assigned to the despised character. I don't want to be like the despised character.

And yet, I'm fearful.

The fear of my inadequacies drives me to all kinds of activities other than what I should be doing (writing), what I want to be doing (writing).

So I turn around and face the hunter. I'm not perfect, I say. I'm not invincible, I say. You can't hurt me, I say. I have things to do, I say.

I refuse to be hunted today.

Friday, January 22, 2016

On Being a Luddite

Until yesterday at 12:57 pm, my cell phone was a Nokia pay-as-you-go. It didn't take pictures. It barely sent texts. It occasionally picked up a signal if I placed it upright against the right-hand window of the family room. Well, at least it did in winter when all the leaves were down. Not so much at other times of the year.

But it was a phone--good for emergencies and cheap. Simple.

Yesterday, I joined the ranks of iPhone zombies. It's a business expense.

I am overwhelmed by bells and whistles. It reads my thumbprint. It tracks my footsteps. It talks to me in a British accent. It tells me that the Starbucks stock is up two points. I don't even drink Starbucks.

Help.