“I am not afraid . . . I was born for this.” ~Joan of Arc

On a Sunday morning news program, I watched a teen-age girl from Sweden shame her elders, and this is anyone of legal age in the industrial nations. We are the parties responsible for bringing the world to the precipice. One might ask which precipice? Does it matter? But her concern is environmental catastrophe on account of climate change, largely caused by cavalier attitudes and refusal to engage by entire groups of persons.

A Scottish friend recently told me the world needs a Joan of Arc. World, meet Greta Thunberg. The standard she flies is her eloquence; her armor is science and bravery; her white steed is the media; her inspiring voices are those of her not-yet-born children and grandchildren. Her trial will be the nay-sayers and mocking multitudes that deny and ridicule her premise and mission.

Greta, trading the stake, has pledged to stop being a consumer; she has given up meat and dairy, and has turned away from air travel—all plainly stated, without defending her choices. It seems the world is past the argument. All three of her personal solutions and, I might add, proposals, are grounded in scientific studies and have been hashed out since Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, in 1962. Our penchant for continual gratification (read: consuming and acquiring more and more) contributes to green-house gasses. Certain beef raising practices queer the balance of sustainable agriculture, and air travel accounts for “four to nine percent of the total climate change impact of human activity,” according to the David Suzuki Foundation.

I stand in awe of this child. We all should, but more important, we must begin to begin. Now. Eleven years, 2030, is the projected point of no return, we are warned. It is still possible to effect a change. If we begin. Now. We know what to do.

It’s Feedback, Not Failure

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A few months ago I was figuratively balancing on the edge of a writer’s deep cauldron. Dramatic, I know, but it serves. The reason centered on my work, and whether I was paying due diligence regarding drafts, revisions, et cetera, after having received several dozens rejections to queries for my first novel, The Riven Country of Senga Munro. Yes, yes, the question answered itself, but not before I considered drowning myself in said cauldron.

Diagon Alley metal art hangs by my writing cabin door, of a pointy-hatted witch stirring  her pot–a useful metaphor for the creative impulse; writing as magical endeavor, except, it’s not. Still, I always touch the cauldron before entering my space to work. Ritual as necessary ingredient.  

A writing friend asked me one day last winter how the revision was going. I mumbled something vague, or likely incoherent, but her pointed question (like the hat) niggled, and I set about finally getting down to it, seriously (read scraping the bottom of the cauldron for baked-on, or half-baked phrasing), and, in the end, cut 16,000 words from the first novel. I swear I hear heavy sighing from the overwrought file. Failure, in the form of declines (my preferred word), together with my friend’s gentle nudge, serve as feedback.

Coming up for air (clinging to our working image of a cauldron/caldera) and seeing what’s out there can be helpful, even refreshing. (Ah, a breeze! Gentle rainfall! The sounds of birds and children’s laughter!) And I took some writerly advice (from Poets and Writers Magazine) to engage with a social media platform, hitherto ignored, except for this outlet. I have now a Twitter presence, to help keep up with literary and musical worlds. @reneecarrier12

I wanted to invite you into my writing cabin. Now go; I have to get back to work.