Saturday, July 12, 2008

Para sobrevivir

Thursday morning I was at my parents house to help my mom with some errands, and (remarkably) saw something wonderful on TV (it might be more remarkable that I saw something uplifting on the news). While I was eating my Raisin Bran, Matt Lauer introduced an interview with Ingrid Betancourt. It caught my attention, since I'd been following her release in the news.

(If you didn't know about it, Betancourt is a French-Colombian who'd been involved in Colombian politics until she was taken hostage by FARC rebels (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) six years ago. Obviously she was tortured, etc. She was released in an unexpectedly non-violent and sucessful airlift by the French last week).

It was an impressive interview.

Ann Curry did the interview, and she asked her questions with the requisite saccharine journalistic tone, and asked Betancourt what they did to her. She simply said she wasn't ready to talk about it.

When asked "What kept you alive?", she had a beautiful, perfect, one-word response:


The way she said it, there was no doubt she meant it.

Curry asked her if she felt "anger, hate, vengeance" toward FARC, and Betancourt responded with a quiet but firm "no, no, no. . .Vengeance is a chain. I don't want to be chained to that jungle. . .There's no room for hate or revenge. I could have compassion for them. . .for me it's very important to forgive. I think it's something makes you more human, makes you a better person.

Wow. I'm impressed. Impressed, touched, inspired. How different things would be if all our world leaders could harbor such sentiments.

If you'd like to watch the whole interview, the link is below. I highly recommend it. Add something edifying to your day.


And Jane, I haven't forgotten you. In response: I'm not letting out a peep about what I'm writing, other that to say that it will likely take shape as a novel. I've become a bit paranoid about my intellectual property of late. Don't worry, I'll let you know (if) when I get a publication contract.

Additionally, you're right about the lyrics to the anthem, and for the record I know it has three verses (thank you, hymnal!). It's just that we usually only sing/hear the first verse. And you're also right about the only way to get there.


My final word: watch the Betancourt interview. If you get choked up I'll take the blame. Lola has a new name on the Heroes list.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


This small Wyoming town is a good place and bad place to spend the 4th. First of all, there's nightly rodeo. On the one hand, it's refreshing to witness people exhibiting a true love for their country. On the other, the traffic is awful with all the tourists quadrupling the population for a few days, it's more than a little frustrating to hear the blind sentimental drivel of people who still believe that there's nothing wrong with this country except those damned godless liberals who insist on voting and those immigrants who refuse to act like good 'mercans. Mostly though, the patriotic expressions have been pretty grounded and pleasant.

We went to the rodeo a couple of nights ago. I like rodeo, especially the bull and bronc riding. And yes, I am one of those awful people who thinks animals aren't the same as people and dreams of seeing a really, really good bullfight before I die. But I digress. Because this is Wyoming, the rodeo opens with a prayer to protect all the cowboys. Then we get the national anthem.

I like our national anthem. I like it because I'm a bit of a pessimist, and I appreciate that it's not just a rah-rah-we're-better-than-everyone-else chant. Francis Scott Key, God bless him, knew how to make us feel proud and prick our collective conscience at the same time. If you can remember the lyrics, you'll note that the anthem ends with a question: "does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?" Well, does it? Here in the U.S. we certainly enjoy more liberties than many people in the world, overall. We need to be a little more conscientious about making sure that everyone here gets an equal distribution of those same liberties. Home of the brave? I know an whole slew of iron-spined U.S. citizens, and I'm proud of them. I hope I'm one of them, some days I wonder. I think that in general it's part of the national character, but I worry that it's changing.

So, humor me and ponder Key's question for a moment. What are you to help us all answer it with a resounding yes?

Lola's done preaching for the time being.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


This writer's block is killing me. I feel like a have zillions of wonderful ideas knocking around in my head, but then I sit down to write and end up staring at a blank page. Or screen, as the case may be.

Mostly I'm whining. I'm in rural Wyoming visiting my husband's family for the 4th. Don't feel sorry for me, it's actually a very nice part of Wyoming, that rare bit with some trees. I'm blessed enough to have great wireless access at his uncle's house, but my cell reception is dismal. There are a couple of spots right in town where I've got it, but mostly I'm isolated, phone-wise. Maybe I should be spending more energy hanging with the in-laws, and they're really fun, but I can't shut off. I feel like I need to be working, but I'm too distracted and blank-minded to get anything done.

Lola needs a vacation by herself where she knows very few people and can sit and write all day.