For Tom

I wrote this on Facebook this morning in memory of Tom Petty and the victims of the Las Vegas massacre. I feel strongly enough about this thought to take a break from my promotion of Movie Magic to share it here, too.

God bless.

I keep thinking about Tom Petty this morning, not just because of his death but because his songs always had a ring of truth to them. My favorite was always “I Won’t Back Down”.

This morning my heart aches not just because the man who helped write the words “I know what’s right, I got just one life” is gone from our lives—out into the great wide open—but also because the interpretation of his words is so highly subjective.

How we choose to spend our one life is up to each individual, and that’s terrifying when you think of the Stephen Paddocks in the world.

You see, I have an idea of what Paddock’s motivations were. I believe he seethed at the news and hated the people who put us here. I believe he sometimes wanted to scream in frustration at the way our country’s liberties and laws were being twisted and skewed. I am fairly certain he felt like I have over the past eleven months. Unlike me, however, I believe he sort of liked feeling that way. Like the old Native American legend says, the wolf you feed is the one that’s strongest. Paddock fed the wolf of hate and he enjoyed seeing it tear the flesh he threw it.

And that’s what has happened to America this year. So many of us (on all sides, to quote our president) have fed the wolf of hate and now we’re spewing pus out over the world. Blame whoever you want—politicians, media, the system that has failed us—but it’s us that the blame lands on in the end.

Face it. We’re all free falling through this world together, and our choices make the world what it is, so be careful what the choices you make are. I’m choosing to love as best I can. I’m choosing to accept that I can’t change what’s happened and not even most of what will happen. But I can choose what I put into the world. I can choose to feed the wolf of love, even if it won’t always be easy. After all, we all know there ain’t no easy way out.

I guess, like Tom Petty says in another of my favorites, “I’ve started out for God knows where, I guess I’ll know when I get there.” If anyone wants to join me, my hand is held out to you.

RIP Tom Petty
Las Vegas

Colorblinded in troubled times

My last post was a political one. This post is not. At least it is not intended to be, though race relations have been politicized to the point where it is difficult to separate the two. Over the past few days I have seen so many tragedies in the news, however, useless killing on the streets of my country. These killings deeply wounded the black community and the blue community. My heart goes out to both, along with my fear and worry for the future of our world and our country if we can’t find a way to mend attitudes and live together. When I tried to put my feelings into words, this is what came out. I don’t write poetry very often but this feels like poetry to me.



By Michelle Garren Flye

I am not colorblind.

I see you. I see your differences. When I pass you on the street, I see you aren’t the same as me. Your skin, your attitude, your music, your life. You are different. I see you, and I don’t know you.

You are a mystery.

I am colorblinded.

Do you see me? Do you see the mother, the artist, the poet, the person who is me? Can you see past my skin, or does it blind you? Do you see only a white, privileged, raised-in-the-South woman who doesn’t understand?

I don’t think you see me.

I think you are colorblinded, too.

Tell me what would happen if I reached out to you. Tell me what would happen if white skin touched black…and black touched back. If hand held hand in a long, long line of red and yellow, black and white…

Could we be colorblind together?

The End of the World? Don’t Hide. Live Better.

Today I’m not going to write about the news stories that are terrifying and saddening the entire world. I’m not going to talk about the innocent victims or possible solutions or call for gun control or better care for the mentally ill, although I think those things are well worth discussing. I’m writing because it seems the world has gone mad, and I feel a need to ask you all not to let the end of the world become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This is what has haunted me ever since I heard about the end of the Mayan calendar and how many millions of people actually harbor some belief that Friday will be the end of the world: What if it’s not? What if God has no intention of ending the world on Friday, but as the “end” that we have prophesied for ourselves approaches, people go mad and society destroys itself? What if we ruin our world and kill each other and those who survive have a world no longer worth living in?

The holiday season always brings out the madness in people. It enhances the divide between those who have so much and those who have nothing. I believe this holiday will be even worse than usual and that’s why I’m writing. This holiday, I’d like to encourage everyone to think a little bit about your neighbors. Do they have enough to make their Christmas merry? Do they have someone in their lives to love or are they alone? Reach out and shake someone’s hand or leave a small gift for someone you think might not get something this season. If you’re not comfortable with that personal approach, give something to your local Food Bank or other charity.

I plan to do some soul-searching today to think about what I can do this season. I want to go a little beyond what I usually do. I want to try to make a real difference this year. I don’t know if the Mayan calendar means anything or not. I don’t honestly think we can predict the end of the world. What I do know is that nobody’s tomorrow is ever guaranteed, and if we don’t try to make a difference today, we may never get a chance. After all, where would you rather be if God comes down to judge us? Helping someone in need or hiding in a Doomsday bunker?