mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF this and that

Gel Pen Day

I'm not good at sitting around listening to others work — especially when they make big pounding and drilling noises.

Yesterday our guys sawed out and replaced chunks of bad plywood underflooring. Sawed out and replaced a bathtub-size chunk of bad ceiling. Drilled out holes for small ceiling lights. Laughed hilariously at one another's jokes. Played blues on their boom box.

I sat at my desk — gel pens arrayed before me — waiting for the creativity to pour out. Scratched a few colorful lines in my notebook. I'd like to do an ongoing 4-panel cartoon but what's my character?

Then I decided to rearrange my iTunes playlists. Ray Charles and BB King don't belong in my Soul list — too downbeat. Moved to my Blues list. Added some Catholic chants to my Hindu-Buddhist-Islamic-African-Native-American Chant list.

Cleaning off my desk I surfaced an annoying article by the editor of the Rochester "alternative" newspaper. It was whining about the city curfew for teenagers (must be indoors between 11 PMand 5 AM to get down our horrible teen murder rate) and about the lack of charisma now that the superintendant of schools is leaving town. I snapped off an email to her:

Re: Towler's "Rochester and murder: content to contain it" (12/6/06) Rochester's children should not fall victim to a local charisma deficit. Who's JOB is it to plan and execute the policies that will create safety for children in our urban community? The assignment is too broad for either police or school system to take responsibility for. The City and County governments need to decide who's got the money and put someone in charge of this initiative full-time -- whether they call it the Children's Zone or something else. No one is standing by to "pick up the leadership" -- leaders are searched out, assigned, paid for, and held accountable for getting the job done. Curfews are the last gasp of an exhausted system.

The editor responded almost immediately: "Terrific letter; do we have your permission to publish it? Thanks so much for writing!" Citizen Price rides again.

(Letter was published in City, Dec 20-26 edition)


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