Against climate defeatism. And while we’re on the subject, this story of the fight for fossil fuel divestment at Harvard reminds me how divestment became a lever in the fight against South African apartheid.
Who in 2014 sustains a level of ignorance compatible with the Army’s latest missive restricting black women’s hairstyles? (Anyone still want to claim we live in a post-racial society? Anyone?)
The world is wearying. What would we do without art?
It’s an odd time here, giddy with our new home (which in a way is our original home). But I’m running on fumes, after the move and in the midst still of grieving and of work on behalf of a lost friend. Simple, ordinary things like a root canal completely pull my plug. Then I resurface to a morning like this, with that specific light of the New England coast opening the vast soft sky and the shiver of tender-yellow-green leaves on the trees along the curb.
I admit, loving Ohio was like loving someone you’re living with for a couple decades while quietly pining for the love you left behind. Arranged marriages can work–but that’s another conversation. In this case we admitted at last that our hearts remained back here, on the right coast, where they were born, and now we walk our new neighborhood wide-eyed in disbelief at our massive good fortune. For which we traded mere money, in what for us is vast quantity, because we finally had to concede that Home meant more than Money.
The newspapers here are full of news about the real estate market, which has always been pricey and lately is also extremely tight, many more people looking for homes than selling. Our realtor here has a client who bid on eight homes in a row and is still searching. This is normal right now, with no inventory and lots of hungry buyers, and everything turns into a bidding war. What shocks me is that what we did five months ago to secure the house we now inhabit would be completely inadequate today–the market has downshifted that rapidly. Today, we’d have to bid probably 20% above asking price, and the rest of what I privately referred to as our marketing campaign to be selected among three or four bidders–stuff that every single buyer does now–would get no traction in this market where sellers are faced with 20 or more competing bids.
The market’s moving so fast that, had we waited till spring to seek a new home (which was the plan before this place cropped up) we’d likely have been priced out.
I lived in NYC at a time when I almost gave up my $235/month loft to seek cheaper housing–a friend had found a small apartment for $165 and I was pinching pennies. We were all working low-wage jobs to survive, but the point is, we could survive on those wages in NYC, without sleeping 6 to a studio apartment. My friend and I had painting studios, in our twenties, in the heart of the downtown arts district that was still mostly factories and warehouses.
What happens to a city like NYC, if young rising artists and actors and writers and musicians can’t live any closer than a small town an hour up the Hudson River?
It’s the synergy, the energy and creativity of precisely these people which built NYC into the vibrant and wonderful city it is. The same shift is on in San Francisco and other creative hotspots, it’s an old sad story.
In our area, new multi-family units must by law include housing affordable to middle income families. This is a very good thing, but it’s neither a high enough proportion (1 in 5 units) nor a low enough income bracket–there is no similar provision for working class or poor families to be integrated to all the newly rehabbed properties like ours.
This is what government is for. Yes, the influx of money is good for the community, it ushers in small businesses, restaurants, a more robust local economy in its wake. But if development does not occur in balance with other social values, the very forces which created these qualities of a desirable neighborhood are lost in transition.
One of the things we love about Provincetown is the zoning. No tall buildings, no big box stores. Every single shop along Commercial Street is local. Hard to imagine these days, and remarkably refreshing to experience. You can still be surprised in Provincetown. Not everything (or everyone) looks the same. And you can still feel the sky overhead everywhere, not carved up by steel and concrete but lit by that amazing silvered light, 50 miles out in the Atlantic.
Our new burg has some of those same charms. It would all have been plowed under for upscale housing by now, as Boston’s immediate neighbor community, if not for the political advocacy of people who prize the arts and local community, more than wealth per se.
Yes, sure, I know that saying Home means more than Money is drastically oversimplified. Sometimes there is no choice at all, or the choice is layered. Hence our sense of extreme good fortune. I’m just saying, this world weary writer is relieved and a little amazed to recall what it does for the soul, to call home a physical place more syntonic with one’s spirit.
So if you try to reach the publisher here at the wompus, and find her less quick to respond than usual, assume it is because art is calling. The trees are calling, the wild dreamy New England skies are calling. With luck she is holed up somewhere nearby with her laptop, or squirreled away in a corner with nose in book. She hasn’t forgotten the wompus, and all its amazing authors.
She’s just reconvening with what brought her to publishing in the first place.