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Life On The Precipice (Gonzo Notes)

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… Or Kit’s 39th Birthday As A Metaphor

Here I am, writing to you from the edge. From many edges, really.

By the time you read this, I’ll have turned 39 years old. I’m on the edge of 40, on the edge, I guess, of middle age.

I recently found out that I have glaucoma in my right eye, meaning that I’ll spend the rest of my life on the verge of losing my vision, as long as the eyedrops keep working.

Right now, it also feels like the country and the world are on the precipice, too. The Oval Office is occupied by a giant crybaby seemingly intent on baiting foreign powers into nuclear war via Twitter.

Each day, we hear about the next incoming attack on our rights or our safety net, and wonder if we can hold back even a little of it, this time.

Nazis are organizing in our cities with a brazenness not seen for decades, and any attempts to stop them are criticized by voices from both the right and the self-identified left.

We may already be past the point of no return when it comes to climate change, but whether we’re still approaching that cliff or are already over it, we seem determined to crash as hard and as fast as we possibly can.

There’s been justifiable criticism of those among who us are only just now awakening to the current state of emergency, from those who have been fighting the horrors of war, inequality, white supremacy, and climate change for decades — or had their whole lives shaped or upended by them.

So while it’s important to acknowledge that many people have been living on the precipice their whole lives, it’s hard to entirely dismiss the feeling that our collective hold is slipping.

The human experiment is about making meaning out of nothing, and putting a narrative shape to a brief expanse of experience carved out of an endless void. We’re all, always, mortal, and living on the edge of the abyss, and trying to carve some tiny shred of meaning out of it.

Being an activist, being a radical, is in some ways about living a life that denies, in small ways, these massive systems that govern our lives, from capitalism to mortality itself. We seek to make change that lasts.

And so I look to acts of defiance, big and small, to inspire me to keep living. Just as we create meaning out of the ephemerality of life, in this state of emergency I believe we must find meaning in defiance itself.

Even when our efforts are crushed, even if we’re hurled into the depths, we must cling to that simple act of saying NO to the powerful, and NO to those who would destroy our planet.

It can seem like lonely work right now, but I also cling to the belief that a righteous anger still burns in the people around me, and that the many tiny twigs we each throw in the machine will all combine to someday bring it down, even if I’m not here to see when it happens.

Solidarity, forever, in life and beyond.

p.s. There’s one other way I’m close to the edge, though I hesitate to mention it. I’m struggling to fund the work I do, and the projects I want to do in the future. If my journalism matters to you, please join my Patreon, or make a one-time donation on Paypal. Even a small donation would make a lovely birthday present.

“In a way, writing was like healing: a cure for the loneliness he felt.” — LIBBA BRAY, “THE DIVINERS

Read the full issue: “Gonzo Notes 08

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Life on the precipice (Gonzo Notes 08)

join my Patreon, or make a one-time donation on Paypal. Even a small donation would make a lovely birthday present.

 

Life on the precipice (Gonzo Notes 08) by Kit O’Connell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at
http://bit.ly/GonzoNotes08.

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