Thursday, August 21, 2003

Bombs, Blackouts and Computer Viruses

Sorry, but the mind is a bit numbed and the spirit just a tad low today as I try to take stock of all these converging disasters befalling us, here and overseas. Many if not most find their common thread in bad, even arrogant, leadership marked by a stubborn failure to do the hard but necessary things. And viruses wouldn't ordinarily mean much in that context, but for the fact that it largely killed a day's work for my best pal, John Westropp, who's a web editor at the Cleveland Clinic (which got hit). Pound for pound, he's one of the greatest men and most sublimely gifted writers I'll ever know, so I hate for him to lose even a moment, and for no reason but the savage arrogance of virtual terrorists. That of course can't compare with the feelings in the hearts of those who mourn for the dead U.N. workers who've given their lives to peace-making, only to have met with a cruelly violent end in that region that keeps breaking hearts with no end in sight.

But here's the good news: as compensation, my spirit was also buoyed by last night's too-quick (cause of kids' schedules) visit to Joseph-Beth bookstore, to drink in the spectacle of Kristin Ohlson's new book and the loving spirit that surrounded her. She's an acquaintance and colleague from the late, great Cleveland Edition (and here). And it was nicely fitting that the splendid little article written about her in yesterday's PD, was authored by yet another former Edition scribe, the gentle, book-loving teacher and writer Kathy Ewing. I couldn't stay long enough to negotiate the snaking line to wish her the best, but I did get to witness the good turnout and see her beaming pride in the moment, a coming-out party for her local admirers, some of whom might recall her role in a splendid community-building vehicle. Armed at the time with little but grit and perseverance, she and her pal Mary Grimm co-founded the newsletter Ohio Writer, which lives on under the sustaining and better-funded embrace of the Poets' and Writers' League.

Please know that her book, Stalking the Divine, isn't just any book (as our colleague Barb Payne, who tells me she has a review in the pipeline, can surely attest). It's a wonderfully written and deeply felt story that will resonate with anyone who's taking stock in their life and in their faith, whatever that faith may be (plus it's set in Cleveland, in the most unexpected places). And after the events of the last few days, well, you'd have to say that faith is all the more important. In fact, it's about all we've got...


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