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Nance Crawford

Books - Plays - Words & Music


2017 - The First Surprise

Posted on January 10, 2017 at 3:10 PM

Happy New Year!

All of the things I intended to share with you went out the window, this morning; instead of hearing about my health (always fascinating to no one, including me) and why there's no report on the doings in Denver, I'm sitting here waiting for the phone to ring, sincerely praying I am not in the process of making a fool of myself. Here's the reason:

Just before the holiday, I sat down to write a letter to the President-Elect of these stunned United States.

I'd been putting it off, making notes, hoping to have my thoughts organized (very important, at my age) when I took pen to page. It finally came down to telling myself that if it did not happen by mid-December, I would have to brand myself a coward and live with the fact.

On December 13, first thing, I sat down with pen and pad, looked at my notes, realized there was too much to say, and went numb.

I wasn't intending to lecture, just to share the concerns of the many friends and fans, progressive and conservative, I have had conversations with - both in person and on Facebook, in the past couple of years, and some of the conclusions I have reached during this somewhat adventurous life. I've got six years on him, after all (he's two and a half months younger than Johnny), and I've certainly viewed it all from almost the very opposite end of the economic spectrum.

It wasn't there. All those brilliant things I've said over the years, all those simple solutions, if anyone thought to try them - nope.

Absolute blank. I held the pencil and stared at the lined paper for what seemed like an age.

And then there was a title, The Watchers. When I got to my feet an hour and a half later, there were five pages of scrawl. It was a poem. A serious poem.

I cleaned it up, read it to David. When I finished, I looked up at him; there seemed to be a trace of tears in his eyes.

The next morning, I stopped by Prince of Peace and read it to The Very Reverend Rand, to a similar response. Knowing how tight things are for us, he suggested publishing it. My response was the same one I gave to David, "Nobody pays for poetry." To which Rand replied, "The New Yorker has poems."

I had stopped by on my way to a writers' group meeting. Now, I was late and knew it was too late to sign up to read, so I asked if perhaps people would stay for a few minutes, after, and listen. About eight people stayed, mostly men. The same reaction. I was numbed. Honestly overwhelmed.

The holidays upon us, there was no way to follow through, no energy to spare, at any rate. I tweaked a couple of things in the formatting, once in a while - changed the placement of a line, added a dash or a comma to make it easier to read, that's all. Read it Christmas Night to a few friends gathered in the kitchen. Encouragement, agreement that an attempt be made to reach the Inaugural Committee.

I submitted it, online, to The New Yorker: ". . . Our response time is around six months. We are interested in original, unpublished poetry. We do not consider work that has appeared elsewhere. This includes websites and personal blogs, even if a posting has been removed prior to submission."

The holiday over, everything considered, I have been doing the footwork. Those willing to listen to the work understand why I cannot share a printed copy until there is active interest and a possibility it might be considered for the ceremony.

Online searches have led me to Chiefs of Staff as time is running out. The 2017 Joint Congressional Inaugural Committee members are:

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chairman (202) 224-5721;

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (202) 224-2541;

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (202) 224-6542;

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) 202-225-3031;

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) 202-225-2915;

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 202-225-4965.

Left messages yesterday and this morning. Right now, I'm hoping to hear from someone for Nancy Pelosi.

It can't be that complicated to add 4.5 minutes to the program.

UPDATE: January 17, 2017 @ 5:41 PM PST

It didn't happen. Nobody returned calls, or emailed, not even Kevin McCarthy's Chief of Staff, James Min, who - I was told - is very good about responding to emails. Not last week. Not surprising, really. I was disappointed for about an hour after it became too late. (Would I really want to stand on a cold, windy platform, in front of cold, windy people, looking like Granny Hedgehog in my faux fur and hidden silk long johns? Not really. I'm wondering if that's what killed Robert Frost.)


Did not kick the dog (don't have one) or tackle a cat (remembering from childhood that is an experience to avoid). Cooked dinner, binged LONGMIRE on Netflix until unreasonably late. Got up and returned to repacking Christmas. (Don't laugh. If it weren't all catalogued, I could find nothing. I conduct the longest Christmas in town.) nc


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