Author Francesca Lia Block on Occupy Wall Street: Meditations in the Dark
When I was in college at UC Berkeley I slept out on the steps of Sproul Hall in protest of Apartheid and as part of the disinvestment campaign. There was something about the simple act of changing my routine to meditate in the dark on injustice with like-minded people that made me feel a part of something. While I can no longer easily participate in political protest of social injustice due to various circumstances of my life, I am grateful there are people who are able to do so.
The feminist manifesto that the personal is political has always made a lot of sense to me.
The best way I can address this movement and the injustices I see around me is through my own experience. I bought my home in 2007. Two years ago, when my mom got cancer and I permanently lost most of the vision in one eye due to a perforated retina, I made less money than the cost of my mortgage.
I'm not sure how we made it through.
Finally after my mom died, I reached out to the bank to request a modification. After nine months of repeatedly sending the same documents again and again, I was informed that I was not qualified to apply for this type of modification. Even now I have not officially received word that I've been rejected, so I cannot move forward with another approach.
This leaves me with an underwater mortgage, a ridiculously high interest rate and no recourse except to keep coming up with thousands and thousands of dollars each month from a single income if I don't want to lose my home.
The other day I was leaving the market (blessed with bags full of groceries in my cart) when a woman came up to me. "Do you know of a church nearby?" She was missing teeth and her eyes were red-glazed. I gave her the cash I had and told her about a local church.
It seemed to be so insignificant.
I cried on the drive home to my lovely house and healthy children.
My high mortgage, health problems and anxiety suddenly seemed like small problems.
There is so much suffering around us.
Homelessness, hopelessness, poverty, unemployment, crime, the vets coming back from these seemingly endless wars.
My own struggles are so much less than what many people are experiencing. I wish I could do more to be of help. I am grateful to Occupy Wall Streetfor their own lights in the darkness and for trying to make a difference.
Francesca Lia Block is the author of many books, most famously the Weetzie Bat series. She is known for her use of imagery, especially in describing the city of Los Angeles. One New York Times Book Review critic said, "Block writes about the real Los Angeles better than anyone since Raymond Chandler." She is the recipient of the 2005 Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Library Association. Block's work has been translated into seven different languages and is published around the world. She is writing this post as part of thegroup, Occupy Writers, an eclectic assembly of more than 1300 writers including Jennifer Egan, Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Lethem, Francine Prose, Salman Rushdie, Lemony Snicket, Alice Walker, and others, who have come together to salute the imagination and creative element of Occupy Wall Street and the global Occupy Movement. Utilizing their web site Occupy Writers intends to publish narratives of those writers who have visited Occupy sites throughout the globe. By gathering stories and personal accounts, Occupy Writers aims to harness the power of literary America to create a counter media where people can find documentation about the movement.