Completed the 4-piece series ...
on African-Americans in the Second World War and the Richmond Centennial Year, to begin running next week in the Post Newspapers and The Globe. Most of it was posted here -- and then allowed to grow into whatever it wanted to be. I believe it was fairly informative yet uncompromising, though I suppose the readers will make that judgement.
A kind of soft quiet has set in now that I've acknowledged Rick's death and (again) made my peace with it. Usually I begin to feel his recurring presence in late August and September. This time the insistent awareness waited until October to reappear. Either I've begun to let him go, or, the hyper-sensitivity to his persistent presence in my life has been replaced with something different. Perhaps it is he who has let me go. For whatever reason, life is settling down again, and sleep comes more easily.
Strange that my parents and the others whom I've loved and lost have left no such searing sense of desolation. It just may be that with Mel and Bill and my parents I had no sense of guilt, or, the sense that in some way I'd contributed to the loss of this interrupted life. Maybe that's it. Perhaps that's what's being worked through ... maybe.
But to return to my articles:
You've read most of my notes here. I'll combine those notes with materials upon which the articles are based, and deliver one each to the director of the Richmond Art Center, one to the head of the Richmond Main Street Initiative, and will drop a binder off at the History Museum in old downtown. I'm hoping to engender some excitement around the Centennial in each of these places so that the ideas will begin to grow organically from several places simultaneously so that they will soon begin to move out into mainstream thought without any feeling of where it all started or who is responsible. Learned long ago that -- if you don't care about who gets the credit, much can be accomplished.
Sent an email to the National Park Service office last night, so that -- should there be any discomfort over my writings -- they're prepared. I could write more freely as a private citizen than if I'd stayed on after my 60 day stint. Though I'm not particularly concerned that I've crossed any lines of propriety. My views were always direct and clearly stated while I was under contract to them. There are no surprises in the essays.
Besides, the writing helped me to work through much of the leftover pain of those times, and allowed it to be transformed into something usable. I can only hope that in doing so, I will have stirred the ashes of longheld frustrations of others and cleared the way for peace.
There has been little response from the managing editor, but since the essays were written with the understanding that they would be carried locally in The Globe, and that I've since learned that they will be carried in three Post Newspapers (Berkeley, Oakland, and Richmond) as the front page feature over the next few weeks, it's pretty exciting. These papers are distributed principally to an African-American readership.
I seem to be slipping into a kind of summation period. Signs of the aging process? Maybe that's how it will be in this decade. In the next (if I'm still around) I'll probably be writing recommendations!
Spare us, O Lord... . (grin)