I'm wondering why I feel vaguely queasy after having just spent two hours in front of the TV waiting for the tsunami to hit. It's too easy to chastise CNN, or the Weather Channel, or any other media outlet that wants to hostage our attention. I'm just thinking tonight about the endless human hunger for spectacle, and how many of us organized our afternoons around it, and how we shared in the announcers' disappointment when the water never rose, as expected, over the shrubs, the beach, the parking lots. "It looks like Hawaii dodged a bullet," said the newscaster, but his relief didn't sound quite authentic. It wasn't really what he wanted to report. And maybe I shouldn't blame him, because it's only human to want to be reminded of our deaths, from the safe distance of our living rooms.
Meanwhile, at least 217 people are dead in Chile tonight. The rational part of me thinks there is no cause and effect link between this quake and the Haiti quake, but then there's that over part of me that's been troubled by these tweets I read this morning:
---the world does feel rather out of whack and chaotic
---I am stunned. Another earthquake. There but for the grace of God.
---does anyone else feel like the earth is trying to get our attention?
---The planet is so angry & tsunami warning for Hawaii. This freaks
me out. I adore Hawaii.
---The Chile earthquake was 1,000 x more powerful than Haiti
---Damn. Chile. I hope Neruda’s house came through okay
Hard, then, to write anything that measures up to all that. I am working every day on my new memoir, which inevitably gives one a vehicle for trouble in the world. And we're about to travel; motion will come as a relief after this deeply interior, snowy winter. On Tuesday, Mark and I are headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to read at the Georgia College and State University, the undergraduate alma mater of the wondrous Flannery O'Connor. We're going to be taken on a tour of Andalusia, the O'Connor family farm. Will there be peacocks? Will we see her desk, touch her chair? I'm sure I will have pictures, but in the meantime I thought you'd be interested in this article about Milledgeville from the Boston Globe.
UPDATE: There are peafowl, new peafowl, at Andalusia. Name the Peafowl: A Contest.