by Kathryn Wadsworth
Joining the creative resistance – what does that mean? I can only answer this question for myself, as I know my own journey here, and why I needed to join this effort.
I am an author. I write books that explore the magnificent celebration of nature; the ways in which we interact with the biosphere, and how we can become better stewards of our home and its inhabitants.
I grew up in Washington, DC, the daughter of progressive parents who believed in egalitarian principles, inclusiveness, and equal opportunities. My school-mates were sons and daughters of prominent people in government – vice-president’s daughters, the president’s nephews, cabinet secretaries, senators, and congressmen. Thus, I grew up believing in government as service to the people of this country.
In college I studied the philosophical, political, scientific, and mathematical underpinnings of western civilization, and this classical education further informed my understanding of democratic principles. In my twenties and thirties, I became an activist who worked within the political system at a state level. “Politics” is not a dirty word in my lexicon, and during this period, I learned the difference between politics and governance. My friends and colleagues became governors, cabinet members, and congress-people. All of them progressives who believed that government exists to help people. They understood the mechanisms of representative democracy, and believed in its foundation: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
With age and growing cynicism we watched as the practice of “politics-as-usual” undermined our basic democratic principles and we became a nation of government of the people, by business, for profit. I became disillusioned, left government service, and began to explore this wonderful world through travel and leading eco-tours around the world. I also began to write. And so, through these activities, I began to participate in the regenerative, creative energy that is our biosphere.
After the November, 2016 elections, like so many others I fell into deep despair. Because there is no one in my life who would even think of supporting this administration, nor any of its inchoate, but certainly regressive “ideas,” I consider myself fortunate that I do not have to reach out to or reason with those determined to destroy our democracy. Yet many of my friends do face this painful situation. Was there any way I could help? I thought not. Instead I began to entertain ideas of leaving the country, of running away from home. But where would I go? How would I manage to see my aging mother, my grandchildren, and my vast community of loving friends? I recognized the impulse to run as a child-like urge that was, nevertheless, a valid form of self-protection. But the potential consequences were too great.
The flip side of running away was to reengage in the world of politics – to march in protest, to call or write my representatives or even the representatives of the “opposition,” to support a new crop of younger, more progressive candidates. It is appealing. In thought, but not so much in deed. But with each horrifying act of the new president and his cronies, my despair deepened. And I found myself withdrawing. I could not return to the activism of my youth that had once filled me with hope. I reconsidered my “run away from home” scenario.
Then serendipity intervened. I saw Kelli Stanley’s Facebook post about her idea to initiate creative resistance. She presented a way; an artist’s way. An opportunity to use my creative work, my ability to write, to raise money for organizations that have the political will and ability to come to the rescue of democracy in America, to help those who will be most threatened by the rise of oppressive thinking, policies, and practices. Her proposal gives us an opportunity to do this in a way that entertains and buoys the spirits of everyone who works tirelessly to resist further descent into totalitarian rule in our nation.
I am extraordinarily grateful for this opportunity. I urge anyone and everyone to join us in this endeavor; to step into the stream of creative energy, to clasp each others’ hands, and keep our heads above water. I encourage everyone to celebrate this magnificent biosphere and our nation’s commitment to nurture each other.
Since joining Nasty Woman Press, my first mindful act of creative resistance came as a poem I wrote in reaction to a painting my husband, David Deardorff, – the artist Kawika – created. And Still She Persisted is his interpretation of the struggle in which we are all currently engaged. It was my first glimmer of hope.
And still she persisted
– painting by kawika
– poem by Kathryn Wadsworth
Waking from her long sleep
She feels the first stirrings
Quiet as the wing beats of an owl
She lifts her head
A hint of breeze
Stirs the leaves covering her body
Stretching, her arms and legs
Disturb the debris that surrounds her
Leaves and twigs
Home to millions of creatures of
The forest blanket her
They’d toiled for millennia
While she slept
Now she stirs
What awakens her?
Feeling the earth beneath her
Planting her feet in fecund ground
“We is woke”
Breezes carry faint sound
“We is woke”
Whispers the wind