Today I made the mistake of Googling myself for the first time in years. And there is was, right at the top of the search results in a larger-then-average font that apparently correlates to the number of people who have met me through that link.
Proof-positive that I’m a crazy woman. And as far as I know, unlike a tattoo, there’s no way to get rid of it.
It’s a recording I made for the local This I Believe series on WVXU ten years ago that got picked up by the national NPR program and re-released last year. The title they gave my essay is “There Is a Plan.” I didn’t think much about it at the time I dashed off a draft in the middle of a non-profit adventure I started in Over-the-Rhine in the wake of the riots, but it has apparently turned into who I am.
Once upon a time, I had a normal life and I was a normal person who followed the rules, graduated from Walnut Hills High School, earned a degree in medieval history, married, had 2 children and was a Vice President with Merrill Lynch. People used to stop me on street corners and say weird stuff like, “My daughter doesn’t have her life together like you do.”
And then my perfect life fell apart. I mean completely and totally, lying-broken-on-the-kitchen-floor apart, reading-the-Book-of-Job-for-the-fifth-time-just-in-case-I-missed-something apart. So the old rules didn’t work anymore and I had to start over. Which for me meant getting really quiet and listening to whatever it was inside that I’d been trying to drown out with as many distractions as possible over the years.
I never wanted to start that non-profit, never, not from the very beginning. I kept asking myself, “Why me? Who do I think I am to try to do anything about Timothy Thomas’ death?”
But it wasn’t my choice. I had to start InkTank. For three years I woke up in the middle of the night totally obsessed with the writing center that brought playwrights and poets, prostitutes and crackheads together through words. It changed my life. It changed me. And if the articles in Cincinnati Magazine, a documentary, radio shows and countless newspaper articles are any measure, that little non-profit helped heal a city.
This is my way of telling you that it’s not my choice to write Cincyopolis. I’m waking up in the middle of the night again, obsessed with the injustice of the legal transfer of the hard-earned money of the middle class to the wealthiest among us through real estate policy and all I know to do is put one foot in front of the other and keep going.
In the interests of full disclosure, I might as well share it all. This is what I believe: