The written word introduces a certain level of authority to language. It’s why we sign written contracts and read the fine print. I think it’s also why we write down to-do lists and resolutions; not just to help us remember, but also to make us, somehow, a little more accountable. This is why I always finish everything on my to-do list and stick to all my New Years’, Lenten, and summertime resolutions.
Ok, but seriously, I think I do better when I write things down. When I write in this blog about things that I want to do, I feel that y’all become my accountability accomplices. Sure, I bothered to blog about it because it is something I really want to do, but now I’ve told other people that I want to do these things. I know that y’all don’t really care if I follow through. I know that I’m only disappointing myself, but the extra motivation from imagining that I might leave someone else disappointed in me is what just might keep me going. I feel like I’ve been making some promises to us in recent posts and I think it’s time for an accountability check.
Taking better care of myself. Eating healthier, exercising more – I’m at a total failure point on this one right now. I need to right the ship, set some concrete action plans, and refocus. And to be honest with us, I’m not ready to make that happen just now. I know from past attempts that if I try when my mind is not in the right place, there will be no success.
Hurricane season preparation. The emergency food and water has been purchased and set aside. I do still need to go thru the important papers cache. And I promise us that I will pay attention and act accordingly if there is a legitimate hurricane threat.
Reading challenge. I have not abandoned the reading challenge that you gave me. I am currently reading Silas Marner, by George Eliot who is the pen name of Mary Ann Evans. She had a successful career as a literary editor and critic, but chose a male pen name for her own fiction so that her novels might be taken more seriously, both because male writers were taken more seriously in the 1860’s and because her personal lifestyle choice of living openly with a married man raised a lot of eyebrows.
The politics of gun control. I’ve ranted a bit about politics and policy, and last week I promised to write to my elected officials. Usually, I am not the person that does that, but the Orlando shooting really shook me up (again.) I had jotted down a couple of possible letters and was investigating whether email or snail mail would be better when I heard about the Chris Murphy filibuster. With C-span on in the background, I fired off short emails to Sen. Cruz, Sen. Cornyn, and Rep. Culberson. I just wanted to make sure that if they were doing any sort of counting of constituent opinions that they would count me as in favor of some gun control regulations. As I listened to more of the filibuster and the legislation that Murphy was supporting, I wrote a second, longer email to Cornyn about how I supported the specific measures being “debated.” (I knew there was no further point in writing to Cruz.) I was surprised and pleased to receive a thoughtful response from Cornyn’s office. I’m sure it was written by a staffer, but it felt personal and not just a form letter reply. He, of course, disagreed with me, but he thanked me for writing and being engaged in the political process and then he told me what he was doing that he felt would be effective in combating gun violence, legislatively addressing the problem from the mental health side and encouraging enforcement of existing laws. I wasn’t quite ready to just agree to disagree so I wrote back to acknowledge that gun violence is a big, multi-faceted problem, but that to ignore that the weapons themselves are a part of the problem is short-sighted. I still need to send a letter or email to my elected officials in Austin. It’s so little, and it likely accomplishes nothing, but it is a small something. And I do still believe that if enough small steps are taken, there might one day be some big movement in the right direction.
Thanks for reading along. Feel free to call my bluff on anything I write about in Thoughts From The Back. Also, feel free to tackle anything on my to-do list, I’m happy to out-source the actions as well as the accountability.