Black Lives Matter 

 “Your opening line should involve sex or death to entice people to read on.”

This was the advice from a Webinar on Creative Writing for NaNoWriMo  participants.  About a month ago, Chris and I both swallowed hard about taking the NaNoWriMo challenge.  This is a national event to encourage folk to write 50,000 words towards a novel during the month of November.   Hmm!  For someone who writes slowly and deliberately, this really is out of my comfort zone.  And, even in Covid times, the rest of life doesn’t grind to a complete halt.  There was the “little” matter of the election that, of course, was of  “great” matter to most of us, and the celebration of  a very different Thanksgiving.

The month of hunching over the computer, cramping, back, neck and shoulders, came to an end, – and we did it!  Chris can easily get lost in his writing, (a dystopian novel, set in the near future), and so he reached the total well in advance.   I scraped past the finishing post with only twenty-four extra words and twenty-four extra hours!  (A story of a family exploring their identity).    As I downed my  electronic quill, and felt very grateful for it, I listened to a meditation by a local pastor.  She reminded us that there has been progress during this terrible year, and specifically that the protests after George Floyd’s murder confronted people with the fact that racism is a real and deep-rooted problem.

And so to my arresting title.

There are many issues that I care deeply about and yet feel that the little I can do is puny.  Most of my life I have cared about our environment, even in the days when pollution seemed to be the awful specter. You may remember a blog post from last year when Chris and I took part in a demonstration to raise awareness about the climate crisis.  In the context of the scale of the problem, our activity seemed a pathetic gesture. Similarly with social justice issues.  I was naïve enough to think that when Trayvon Martin was murdered early in 2012, things would change and people of color would be treated more justly.  As we know, the killings didn’t stop, nor have minorities been afforded the same opportunities as most white members of the community.  When people poured on to the streets after the murder of George Floyd and the others who died subsequently, I knew that kind of protest wasn’t for me for numerous reasons.  What can one person do in the light of all this injustice? I found one answer recently that I’d like to share with you.

When Andrew Harris, a young man from my former church, accidentally discovered his talent for photography, he didn’t realize how it could change his life and impact the lives of others.  The photos accompanying this blog are from a project he is undertaking to support the Black Lives Matter Movement.  They present people of color from his school and life in perceptive and striking ways. Visit his site to see more, several of them are award winners; from any purchases will be donated to the movement.  Andrew will most likely always be passionate in his pursuit of social justice and creative in the ways he furthers it.  His future plans are to pursue a joint degree in photography and computer science.  Perhaps you will be moved to support his efforts.

Black Lives Matter Girl sitting in the sea
Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter Andrew Harris

Andrew Harris self portrait

Photographs courtesy of Andrew Harris

End Notes


The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondatje


Sunset by Kate Bush

Little Something by Melody Gardot and Sting


Last month we introduced a short poem by Robert Hayden. Now we suggest his “Middle Passage” as the subject matter complements this month’s post

A Lighter Note – the antidote to Covid.

I Ain’t Going Nowhere by Chris Mead

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