Day 25: The Children of Fatima

Jacinta, Lucia and Francisco.

Recently two of the children of Fatima were canonized by Pope Francis, and since I’d never known their story I dug in a bit. I found it unexpectedly generative, a word I once heard used in a writing workshop, and which has remained so useful to me. Finding a pocket of generativity (a word? it is now) is a gift.

Very briefly: in 1917, three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, aged 11, nine and seven, experienced multiple apparitions of Mary. During one, they were given “three secrets” about world events yet to come. Two of the children died shortly thereafter in the influenza epidemic; the third lived to the age of 97, and is expected to be canonized herself soon.

I’m not Catholic, nor a venerator of saints or of Mary. I don’t know how to explain the children’s (and the bystanders’) visions, or to vouch for their veracity or lack thereof. What’s generative to me here are the layers of hope and bravery and poverty and powerlessness, of personality and doggedness and culture and openness; and the similarities and differences between, and intersections of, faith and truth.

What does that have to do with politics? Nothing and everything.

The Children of Fatima

When you returned from the brown fields
with dust in your hair and your child hands grimy
from sheep and from play
and told your story, they laughed.

You told it again and they sighed.
You told it again and they screamed.
You told it again — out came the rod.

When you told it again, they called the priest;
then you told it again and they called the mayor;
then you told it again and they kidnapped you
and said they would boil you in oil
and carried you off one by one.

You told it again and they bombed you
you told it again and they gassed you
you told it again and they disappeared you
you told it again and the assassin raised his rifle

you told it again and you died alone

and as you told it again
the people crept close
mutely raising their sick, their dying
the sun was dancing
you told it again

I’m writing 100 days of resistance. Posts begin here.

Day 10: The tools to speak

In a bit of serendipity — or whatever we’re calling it nowadays — an editorial about impeachment I’d composed several days ago ran in our town paper today. The text is below.

Any citizen, including you, can start the resolution process in your city or town: here is a guide. 

Today, added obstruction of justice to its resolution text. Read about it here, then please sign the petition (currently at over 900K signatures. We’d like to get a million).

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The dinner party

I’ve been wondering all day what I would write about here. Several ideas. None worked. Too dark, too unresolved, too personal.

Then an unexpected and amazing dinner with two newish friends–or, rather, people I’ve known for a long time, but only recently discovered. We were on the same wavelength in every way–political, philosophical, ontological. We understood each other; one person’s idea sparked another’s. It was a balm. Continue reading

Forever young


Today is my birthday. I’m fifty-one years old. That’s the kind of age that sounds really, really old when you’re young.

Of course I don’t feel old, and especially not lately, when I’m on such a steep learning curve. I’m a baby organizer, an infant activist. Recently, I discovered Marshall Ganz, an iconic longtime organizer (first through this excellent interview and then this one and then Resistance School). He makes extraordinarily exciting (to me) connections between narrative, faith, and politics–basically, my sweet spot. Continue reading

Day One: A Habit of Resistance

This past Saturday was Trump’s 100th day in office. Today is May Day, 2017 (or it was when I began writing). For the next hundred days, I’ll be writing about resistance, mine and others’. More properly, I will be writing resistance.

In the past, I haven’t been good at daily. But I’m making a public commitment.

And I’m making another one: if Trump is still in office in one year, on May Day, 2018, there will be a massive protest, and I will help organize it.

I thought there should be one this year — and there was, the Day without Immigrants. Also, the Democratic Socialists organized traditional May Day workers’ rallies. But, in a year — if it’s necessary, which I think it will be, since solutions to this emergency move slowly — I envision something much different: I envision all of America pouring into the streets, and life coming to a standstill, and the entire country saying with one voice that must be obeyed, NO.

But before then, much work.

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