Saturday, June 12, 2010

One-of-a-kind in Berkeley

One-of-a-kind in Berkeley
Beautiful new listing in the Berkeley/Highlands, one of Denver's hippest neighborhoods.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Morality of a Short Sale

Is walking away from a home when you're upside-down immoral or simply a financial deal that didn't work out? This question was put to the group of real estate professionals recently and the discussion, especially when it came to the million dollar market, exploded.

For many low-to-mid-range homeowners the scenario goes like this: buyer purchased a home when the market was high, with an adjustable rate mortgage and bought at the top of their game. Time goes by and the ARM resets, doubles the mortgage and blows the family out of their budgetary waters. Add a major life change; wage cut, job loss, illness with or without health insurance and our humbled buyer, sinking deeper into debt drifts closer to the mouth of foreclosure. But should a higher price point or a higher income stream make a difference?
Consider the family who buys a $1.5 million hilltop home in 2006 with the Denver market at its peak. Using a stated income loan and 5% down, they move in and comfortably pay the monthly mortgage. Over the next few years home prices decline and their $1.5M home has depreciated by $250k of its former value. In the midst of an historical banking crisis, recession hits, banks stop lending leaving the homeowner unable to make his employee payroll. He puts his home on the market, jumbo loans have all but dried up and his neighborhood's filled with vacant spec homes selling at deep discounts or falling into foreclosure like a McMansion of cards.
There has been a lot of criticism lately of the high-end buyer, yet it may not be as cavalier as it may seem. The tricky part with a high-end short sale is that though the seller can prove hardship, they may have assets which don't allow for bank approval. Like homeowners across the income spectrum, many of them in the million dollar range, they burn through much or all of what they've got, waiting for the market to turn around, in an attempt to save their FICO score and face. Is there any difference between homeowners who look at their balance sheet and realize they've got a liability on their hands or the option of starting over? We understand the relief for the homeowner put into an adjustable rate mortgage at 8% interest, who now has no job and no ability to refinance. But should our empathy be limited to those who purchased homes under $200,000?

Most of us begin with integrity and every intention of repaying our loan. Inherent to the process is the understanding that at its heart, buying a home is a business deal. You loan me the money, I pay you under the agreed upon terms and interest rate, if I default you have the right to redeem your secured asset, my home.

I've seen short sales where I've walked away empty-handed, scratching my head in wonder...A seller in an under $100k price point submits a short sale offer to the bank, and after waiting seven months for approval he's denied under FHA guidelines for having too much income. In the meantime, he moved with his family to a larger home in a nicer neighborhood, courtesy of his mother-in-law. A mid-priced listing went under contract with a buyer on a VA loan and got approval from the lender on the first mortgage. The second agreed to settle, provided the seller could make one payment of $400 to keep the loan from hitting 180 days late. Though this payment was feasible for the seller, she decided against making it; she is set to file bankruptcy anyway. These are good people, making bad decisions under awful circumstances and there will always be those who try to skirt the system. But the system is set up to protect us equally and it is up to the bank to approve or deny the short sale on a case-by-case basis.
In an effort to let more Americans stay in their homes, this month the government put a new program into effect. With sellers waiting far too long before applying, loan modification under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) has done little to stem the tidal wave of foreclosures. The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) attempts to go further, offering financial incentives. Currently the seller is not allowed to take a penny from the closing table, but HAFA allows $3000 for borrower's relocation assistance, $1500 to cover servicing costs and up to $2,000 for investors who allow a total of up to $6,000 in short sale proceeds to be distributed to subordinate lien holders, on a one-for-three matching basis. Will this help? Only time will tell, but borrowers may now receive pre-approved short sale terms before listing the property and that should help expedite the process.

So... is the short-sale-as-business-deal much different morally than an off-shore account to lower one's taxes? Or cheating on them? I don't know. But with tax day just behind us, it looks like we'll all have to belly up. Equally.

Create Denver Week 2010

I'm always a bit leery of special events called "Expo" "Convention" or "Rally." The names conjure birds of a feather picking through rows of vendor tables, snagging pens and key chains for their swag bags, and popping from workshop to seminar in search of the The Next Big Thing. Perhaps it's my fear of living in a corporate structure, or the year I spent on the road riding up a hotel elevator filled with drunken conventioneers, but "Create Denver Week," kicked off by tomorrow's all day "Create Denver Expo," has me in paradoxical state of intrigue and trepidation.

As a founder of the Thriving Artist Alliance and Create Denver Week exhibitor/participant/presenter, I'll be actively engaged with my swag squad and workshop poppers. There's no easy exit. But a little voice inside - or is it wishful thinking? - tells me this Expo will be different, special.

For the last four years, the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs has brought together the creative community and the local businesses that support them for a group think about the Petri dish that is Denver's cultural scene. And getting everyone, including some very heavy hitters, into the same room to talk strategy, policy, programming initiatives, technical assistance, and arts advocacy seems to be working. Colorado creatives are large drivers of Denver's economy, and so it makes good sense for the city to invest its time and focus here. But often cities don't make sense.

Mayor Hickenlooper calls this year "splashy," and with multiple mingling ops, he might just be right. On top of the all-day info-slam of the Expo, events are planned throughout the city, throughout the week .

Saturday's workshop topics include Turn Your Passion for the Arts into a Thriving Business, Arts-to-Business Marketing, Building Wealth with Real Estate, Performance on the Fringe. The one that hits all my buzz words is Time Management; the Artist and the Internet presented by MakeBigArt. Experts are on hand to review portfolios, as well as attorneys to answer copyright questions. There are presentations on the subjects of health insurance options for creatives, financial assistance, and business start-up, and an exhibition hall where you can find an expert to scratch whatever your itch.

I'll be there too, wandering the aisles, collecting pens and key chains, working the booth, handing out pens and pamphlets, my Expo aversion only mildly concealed behind a smile.
(I trust you will find me smiling.)

As the week unfolds, there'll be more skills and thrills, with events such as Yoga & Hoop Dance, Denver Kids Create, with the folk, a Pop-up Market, a Thriving Artist Alliance panel From Survival to Success to Significance, and of course the Launch Party.

Sounds like there's plenty here to stimulate thought and the senses, but one dark thought plagues: Do we have a week's worth of attention span? Hope so. Part think-tank, part talent show, part party, Denver should be alive with the buzz and frolic of the Creative Class. I for one am eager to see what programs are in place now that have come out of the Create Denver initiative and what will grow out of the week ahead.

What do I want out of all the activity? I'm hopeful about new connections made, old ties strengthened, and ideas - perhaps The Next Big Thing or two - generated. Our mayor seems to have a clear vision about his desired outcome: Hick's office is looking to position Denver as "The Creative Capitol of the Rocky Mountain West." But that sounds so yesterday to me. Aren't we that already? I mean, what are we up against: Laramie?

NY, LA, Amsterdam... Denver?

I wouldn't say I've lived a Big Life, but decidedly larger than medium. Call it medium well.

I spent my childhood on beaches, in swimming pools, and racing around the back lot of MGM Studios. Flying on my purple Stingray through the streets of long-abandoned sets, in-between sound stages, chasing seagulls and stars. There were few signs of the straight line, the bumpy road and circuitous route that would lead me to a bike path in the Colorado Rockies.

Along that road I worked as an actress in New York, Hollywood and theatres around the country. I traveled the world and met legends: movie stars, rock stars, art stars, captains of industry and heirs to a throne. My familiars included Tony winners, Grammy winners, Oscar and Emmy winners, Pulitzer Prize candidates, Smithsonian inductees, who taught me, shaped and mentored me. There was the invitation to lunch at the White House, an accidental dinner with Warhol: my life, medium well. Meeting billboard-size people seems to be in my cards.

When we moved to Denver Fall was in the air. As the movers were unloading the truck, we plugged in the TV at the exact moment the verdict was being read in a murder trial involving of our former neighbor, Nicole Brown Simpson. I was glad I'd left LA. Unpacking myself and my young family, I settled into a town full of strangers, snow, and a "Plan B" I was none too thrilled with: a toddler, a television and Oprah were my only friends that winter... until she turned on me. We were sitting in my living room. I was on my couch bandaging my foot from yet another casualty caused by an unseen Lego. She was she in Chicago on her couch. The cast of an upcoming movie sauntered out on to the stage, gracefully plopping themselves down on in the hot seat. Staring blankly at the screen, wrapping gauze around and around and around my tiny wound, I realized I'd worked with the people behind the smiles, the bitches who had stolen my life. In a flash, it hit me.

I'd gone from Hollywood and Vine to dying on a vine, from playing on the streets of Oz to a cow town close to Kansas. Like Dorothy, if I told anybody where I'd been and who was there with me, they'd cluck in disbelief. Cary Grant and Ava Gardner, Billy Barty, and a Beatle.
How's a girl gonna keep that inside forever?

That cold winter's truth delivered the promised bulbs, as I began to trade the holler and congestion of L.A. for an open space where I could hear my thoughts. Manhat-tenacity morphed into a soft determination and my gloom gave way to creativity I'd never known before. Preferring not to spin my wheels I took a spin around this hood and what I found delighted me: smiling people, art galleries springing up, theatres, museums, one of them growing a brand new wing. All those things one takes for granted in a larger city were springing to life here in living color, and everything was a whole lot more accessible. Just like that I fell in love with my new home and got busy intersecting the roles of mother/actress/playwright/REALTOR® to create a vortex called the Thriving Artist Alliance.
Oh... and I am still meeting some amazing people.

Lodo's Culinary Wonderland.

Spring fever hit Colorado, creating the perfect opportunity to stroll away a sunny afternoon with virtuoso chef and Foodswings owner, Brian T. Jacobson. First stop, coffee at Paris on the Platte; Brian swinging in with his energy as fresh and delicious as the food he cooks. Dipping biscotti into double espresso, we talk food, spices and the five essentials I must have in my kitchen. Brian leads me down the spice trade routes and into my very own culinary Age of Discovery. We speak of Dutch West Indies Trading Company, talk of blends, balance and the culture of cardamom. Trading the secrets of pepper and hanging on his every word, and armed with my vintage parasol, I’m restless to sojourn in the sunshine. Under the umbrella of a turquoise floral print, I link my arm in Brian’s and saunter up Little Raven to the Savory Spice Shop.

Savory is the love child of Mike and Janet Johnston, who in 2004, opened their hearts and their spice cabinet to bring some big flavor to downtown Denver. More than 140 original recipe seasonings, small-batch-blended on-site, bear names like Pikes Peak Lemon Pepper and Lodo Red Adobo. Sidled up next to the blends are rows of exotic and common (like me) spices from around the world. Freshly ground and sold in large or small amounts, you can buy just what you need or as much as you like. Brian’s current favs are Berbere Ethiopian Style Seasoning and an Italian Black Truffle Sea Salt that smells of an earthy heaven. Whispering together about the mixes and the meats to rub them on, Brian leads me to a wall of infused sugars in flavors like lavender and vanilla bean. My mind was racing with my taste buds chasing after in a flush of excitement I rarely feel… the urge to cook. Following that urge just got easier as Savory premieres their new Food Network TV show, “Spice & Easy” this month.

On advice from the chef, which is close to doctor’s orders, I throw some Herbs de Provence Sea Salt, Bohemian Forest European Style Rub and Cherry Creek Seafood Seasoning into my canvas bag, pay the winsome clerk and we breeze out the door. Heading south on 15th Street toward Market, and feeling oh so European, Brian stops mid-step in a brain-storm, cooking up ideas for the Biennial of the Americas. Heading up the cuisine committee for the July event, he’s alive with ideas on whom and what should be included in month long celebration.

When Telluride Inside... and Out editor Susan Viebrock told me about Evoo Marketplace I didn’t get it. A store that only sells oil and vinegar? I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea… until I walked through the door. Located in one of Denver’s oldest buildings at 15th & Market, light streams in the high, arched windows, bouncing off the polished steel canisters called “fusti.” These rows of fusti hold some of the finest extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from across America and around the world. The concept is try before you buy. We made our way around the shop mixing flavor infused oils with complementary vinegars and dipping delicious bits of bread from The Denver Bread Company to taste our creations. Each combo delivers excitement, both in flavor and the things you choose to blend. I particularly liked the Roasted Garlic oil with a Meyer Lemon balsamic, and the Blood Orange oil with Dark Chocolate vinegar. EVOO owner, Mick, is very customer-centered, sharing his passion and hospitality with ease. I think the only words that came out of my mouth that half hour were “OMG”.

The perfect finish to our lovely day was a stop at Tag Restaurant on Larimer Square for “Social Hour”, with Baja Tacos, Da Bomb Sliders and the Mojito of the Day.

With the grill heating up and the fresh summer produce headed your way, I’m thinking a trip around our Culinary Wonderland makes parking in Lodo worth it!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Different, not less"

What a wonderful morning! One of those where it’s a bit overcast and you’re wishing you’d never scheduled those outside meetings on a Friday because you’re so content to work from home. That is how the silvery light in my golden room looked today as I roused myself and vowed to keep my commitment. I’d set up coffee and an interview with Brooke Young, Autism Specialist with the Colorado Department of Education to discuss autism; not something I normally bounce out of bed for. I headed downtown to one of fifteen Starbucks in a five block radius, ordered my Joe and asked around to see if any of the blondes in line was Brooke. Feeling luckily out of luck, I sat to write and enjoy my overpriced java, secretly hoping I was at the wrong Starbucks and guiltily scrolling the Blackberry to find her number. A minute later in walked Brooke, apologetic for having gone to the wrong Starbucks, along with Gina Quintana, Significant Support Needs Specialist, also with the CDE. And the next two hours of conversation were amazing!
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a cognitive disability identified by a triangle of attributes within target areas of brain; communication, social relatedness and repetitive behaviors. Many of us function well in the world with slight variations in these areas of neurological development, but when added together they prevent social adaptation for the person with ASD. There is no known cause and no cure. What we do know is that the numbers of children being identified is growing globally at a staggering rate, each one exhibiting the disorder individually. As Gina put it, “To know a child with autism is just that”, the philosophy being person first, disorder second.
The movie “Rain Man” is to autism what Helen Keller is to the deaf/blind community. They were both anomalies that brought mass attention to our brothers and sisters living with these disabilities but to Brooke and Gina they are sweeping generalities. No one knows what it’s like to live with autism except for those who have it, it’s hard to even imagine. The hearing/sighted world can establish empathy with the deaf/blind experience through sensory deprivation, but it’s impossible to wrap your head around the autistic experience. And though we see commonalities within families of children with autism, even their experiences are singular because autism presents in such a wide variety of ways. Television shows are on the bandwagon now with the introduction of characters with autism, most recently “Parenthood”. So far, it is the HBO special on CSU Professor, Dr. Temple Grandin which presents the most practical, pragmatic look at autism. Temple's mother, Eustacia reframed the challenge: "Different Not Less," with the banner that she waved to threads.
Ms. Young is headed to the Southwest Region this week to implement a model program of training and dialogue between educators, families and students in the Telluride, Ouray, Ridgway, Norwood and the West End. Having spent my Friday morning in the inspirational and compassionate company of these two, I can’t help but think how lucky the families and students they so fervently serve are.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Post-GRADUATE: what I got back by putting out

After a prolonged ‘heartbreak hiatus’ from theatre, I really felt no need to step back onto the stage. The slow slide of a dramatic divorce, sudden shock of single motherhood, and a stairway fall that took my brother’s life were enough to send me to my room and though life was good, I was not ready to come that far out. Long before the sideways years I’d fallen out of love… or so I thought. Twenty- five years of acting had left its mark. I was tired of having to be given ‘permission’ by the casting process in order to create. I loved the times when I was ‘first’ but exhausted by the times being ‘second’. “Lift yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again” sounded like heavy lifting where acting was concerned so I chose to let this deeply defining part of me go.
And I’d been writing plays: loving the lines that I wrote, accepting of the ones on my face. There is great freedom as writing comes in its own time, in yoga clothes and goes public when I’m damn good and ready. My plays got produced, my sons got to soccer and life was good. Even in its painful chaos, the writing (and the boys) made it good.
When “The Graduate” came along I had a twinge and I ignored it. Having started a business and ended an affair I was pretty sure I was not game for risk.
But I have this friend… And this friend bought me wine. And after a glass or two and veiled threats of retracting the friendship I was told of time and place of the auditions. Drunk on candlelight and viognoire I proposed the idea that “Maybe I’m not good at love or acting.” My friend, who sees me better than I see my naked self, kicked my ass in the audition door.
I’m not sure what I expected form Mrs. Robinson, but I did know this: I would strive to play her complexity simply. I would reconnect with the broader theatre community. One way or another, I would have to be naked.
What I didn’t know was how embraced I would feel, how at home. People showed up, not in audience numbers, but in the waves of friends and friends of friends who came: Realtor friends and soccer moms and high school friends and newer friends and theatre people, some I known and some I’d always heard of, bearing messages of good will pre and post show. Family and friends flew into town and out again, crossing mid-air paths with another jet, another friend flying in. My life in circles came together, welcoming me back from my seclusion and I was joyfully overwhelmed.
Actors working show to show may take all this for granted. There are always shows that are more fun than others, casts we hate to say good bye to, and shows which can’t close soon enough. There is bitching and laughing and sometimes it’s just a job. I’ve been there. But what I learned in my post-Graduate studies is a great deal of gratitude. When you’re willing to put yourself out there, to take the naked risk, the rewards far exceed the expectations.
"Here’s to you Mrs. Robinson."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DEATH, FACEBOOK & THE NTC: close one door, open another

I have a feeling that except for my inner circle, most of the people who know me will learn of my death on Facebook. I’ve heard of two such loses this week as the Denver theatre community bids farewell to two beloveds. First it was Renye, a much loved artist who fell to cancer and days later the death knell of the National Theatre Conservatory. The one is inexplicable, the other begs for answers and I, the optimist, believe there is re-birth at hand.
The NTC was former Denver Center Artistic Director Donovan Marley’s baby; his vision for sustaining the future of the American Theatre through the impeccable training of the actor. It brought much to the then fledgling Theatre Company and far more through the years. Having bright young talent in our midst has kept us young and connected to why we began our own journeys in this profession. The impact the alumni have had on the world of and beyond Denver is impressive; I’m blessed to have known so many of them.
From the outside this feels like a drastic step. But in the post 911 years I’ve watched the adjustments made to production budgets, the job cuts and their duties consolidated in an effort to keep the Conservatory alive within a difficult economic climate. Though I cannot explain their decision, I am certain that the “Powers That Be” within the DCPA considered the options carefully before slashing this jewel. Like many have noted and all of us hope, perhaps with the National Charter, it may find rebirth.
As a Realtor in this market, I know that change is constant and things in the Denver theatre community have changed. Under the vision of Artistic Director Kent Thompson a new nurturance of artistic talent is taking place at the DCTC as the New Play Summit bears witness. I am not sure it’s fair to say that the future of the American Theatre is enriched more by investing in acting talent than in writing talent, for the nurturance of artistic voice and vision further our society regardless of the medium. God knows I’m not in favor of closing the NTC, but let’s not take our eyes off of the good that IS happening here. A fearless and risky commitment to the development of new plays is nothing to sniff at. In fact, finding new stories and discovering new ways to tell them is surely the best way to ensure the health of the theatre and the employment of all of its artists.
For years I heard an endless drone of white noise grousing about how the Denver Center was hermetically sealed to local talent, but that too has changed. Through the efforts of Mr. Thompson, Bruce Sevy and former DCTC casting director Sylvia Gregory among others, many talented Denver actors have been seen in plays and employed by the Center in the past few years. A great deal more interest has been paid to our talent pool and I believe that we’ll see more.
So rather than seeing only loss and feeling anger, perhaps we should stay focused on the gifts we’ve been given and the rebirth ahead; for Renye, and for the NTC. And if you hear of my untimely demise via Facebook, keep the wise cracks to a minimum. Or better yet, keep ‘em comin’.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Naked Truth

Regarding the nudity, or lack of it, in the Aurora Fox's production of "The Graduate", John Moore's mention of it in the Sunday Denver Post and the current dialogue... The decision about the nudity was made before I signed on to do the show. I was aware that the script called for it when I auditioned and as a professional actress and playwright, I would have bucked up (or should I say 'buffed up'?) and done it. Frankly, I am not a fan of alterations to theatre (that's for you John) scripts, and I'm not sure of a playwright who is. I find additions, subtractions and 'improvements' to plays by other theatre artists disrespectful at the least, hubris if I'm being dramatic. As an actress/playwright I must remember which hat is on my head to avoid conflict, though we writers actually have unions and guilds to prevent these decisions from being made and recourse for them when they are. But that's a discussion for another column, another blog.
Basically, disregarding the author's intent is equal to the actor not honoring the director's directorial notes, or the costume designer blowing off the agreed upon color palette, you get the idea. It says that you may have your job, but I know better. What if, for example, playing Mrs. Robinson I chose to take the same liberty and come out one evening stark naked? The hierarchy of theatre has always been skewed. We claim to serve the play and mouth that the playwright is king or queen, then make changes as suits our needs. Happens in film, happens in TV... where there's a writer, there's an editor. The line of demarcation here is in intent. Does deleting the stage direction of her nudity alter the action of the scene or the impact on the characters? Does it make my Mrs. Robinson more or less seductive, powerful or desperate? I don't think so. Would it be more shocking and intimate if I were standing naked in front of Jack Wefso as my Benjamin? Yes. But the real vulnerability would have happened between us, in rehearsal, long before the audience filed in. I'm sure there are many theaters in Aurora and in Glendale for that matter, where the nudity of the woman on stage would be critical to the quality of the show. I don't think that would apply in this case. Theatre ethics and theatrical risk aside, the real and most important question here is this: would the show receive more stars if I showed my tits?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I’m in rehearsal, which is usually no big thing, but this time it’s for the iconic role of Mrs. Robinson in the upcoming production of The Graduate. When the thirty-six year old Anne Bancroft signed on to play the role, I doubt she knew she’d let the cougar off the leash, but standing, silhouetted in the threshold of Benjamin’s doorway that’s exactly what she did. Like the ‘door slam heard round the world’, as Nora walked out of A Doll’s House, Mrs. Robinson flung open wide ‘the bedroom door that would not close’. Both characters changed the world’s perception of women but Bancroft’s portrait of female sexual power post-40 is a tall pair of stockings to fill.
The play blends the biting, beautiful humor of the Buck Henry screenplay and story elements from the original Charles Webb novel. These changes affect Mrs. Robinson most directly, and bring a keen balance of hope and bitterness to her character. Societal views have changed a lot since 1964, especially toward women. How will these script and perspective changes affect an audience so familiar with the only Mrs. R they’ve ever known? Is it possible for me to create an original performance from such an original character? We shall see… As I pack my script and notebook, heading east toward the theatre; I recall a fitting quote from Ms. Bancroft herself. "I am what I am because of what I am and if you like me I'm grateful, and if you don't, what am I going to do about it?"
---Here’s to you Mrs. Robinson.

THE GRADUATE February 12- March 14, 2010
Aurora Fox Theatre 9900 E Colfax Ave
6 miles east of the State Capitol in Aurora, Colorado.

Fri & Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2:00
For tickets call 303 739-1972 or visit

Friday, January 15, 2010

Catastrophic Dreaming...

I don’t sleep well when there is a global catastrophe. It’s as if my psyche were in silent vigil for the living and dying who are struggling to find their way within the grip of nature’s fury. Images of bodies lying in the twisted rebar or washed up on broken, angry beaches, families standing on rain-soaked rooftops, children searching solo for anything familiar: they trouble me. They flood over airwaves as I sit, comfortably and uncomfortably, transfixed before my cable news network. I don’t want to watch. I don’t want to know, but my soul does. It does not forget for a second. My ventures into social media provide distraction; Amy’s daughter lost a tooth, Jeff got a job, theatre openings/closings, and plenty of go-team-go. Then there are the postings, the pleas for $10 worth of help, which makes me feel more helpless. All I can do is send a paltry sum? Will that get the planes there faster? Will that stop the voices crying out from inside the concrete rubble? The answer is yes. And…yes. That may be all I can do from the comfort of my uncomforted zone, but deep within my sleepless psyche there is work to be done.
I am heartened by the massive funds collected click-by-ten-buck-click, enraged by the perspicacious insights of the religiously insane. Treaties with France and pacts with Satan aside, the world is harsh and cruel and that will never change. When I see the film of Haitian people, who have never had much but have lost it all, grateful to be alive to live another day in poverty, I am brought to my knees, careful not to rip my jeans. (They cost me over half the yearly wages of the average Haitian.)
The problems of Haiti are long-standing and legendary. They will not be reversed in a day, or in a generation. The road of reconstruction is long and hard, the path of re-invention, harder. Like our native sons and daughters of New Orleans, the spotlight of their plight will shift, cameras turning toward the next true or false calamity, and they will be left alone together. What is left is the opportunity to rebuild, the responsibility to recreate, and that is to be shared by all with equal measure. We can send our money and our troops; we can send our prayers and some well-meaning group will be collecting teddy bears, for that is what we’re made of.
I lose sleep hoping that our fruitful steps in times of overwhelming crisis will not melt into meaningless gestures of remembrance once the parade has passed. While we commit to fund and rebuild Haiti, let us also fund the bank account of our humanity. Let’s call on it daily, putting forth our best before disaster strikes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010