Cockpit of N278CA, the Cessna 172 I fly most often. The Wordpress dashboard is only slightly less complicated.
Photo Rainier Flight Service
And we have liftoff.
It’s been a long three years since I set down my keyboard and wandered off the blogrolls. The lost time was, on balance, the wander that I’ve needed, taking me on new adventures that led to new interests and perspectives — and new things to say to the world. My husband Evan retired. We did a lot of traveling. I learned to fly small planes, and became a thing with wings. And I became involved in climate issues and then, through them, reproductive rights, and then last year joined the NARAL Pro-Choice America national board.
Writers write about their passions, and I have finally reached the point where these new passions have driven me back to writing.
This blog also marks the first time in ten years of blogging I’ve ever written under my own banner. Always before, I was in other people’s spaces, with a responsibility to other people’s agendas. Some of them were massively generous about letting me write whatever I pleased, but there was always the need to be respectful of their purposes and audiences. It’s like living in your parents’ house as an adult: it’s home, but not your home. Looking at this shiny new space, painted and furnished to suit me, feels very much like moving into my first apartment, and this post is your invitation to my housewarming.
Why Future Imperfect? It’s a tense that doesn’t even really exist in English — a grammarian’s Zen koan, if you will. The name conveys one of my great frustrations with pop futurism, which its facile reliance on utopias and dystopias — things going perfectly right, or perfectly wrong. Realistically, the future’s not like that. Our foreknowledge about the future is notoriously imperfect; and no matter what we do, time eventually brings us to futures that are imperfect, too. And our choices about how we frame and respond to those imperfections drive us to narratives of either despair or hope — the optimism and pessimism that drive much of our political debate.
Longtime readers will find me chewing on some new and possibly surprising topics. I expect the menu to be long and varied:
— The rise in terrorism in recent months was one big shove that got me back here — it turns out that I still have some useful things to say about those topics, and this blog happened because I needed a place to say them.
— I’ve also stepped back from progressivism-writ-large in a big way, and am wrestling with some deep uneasiness about the direction the movement is taking. You may see some of that demon-wrestling here.
— I’m beginning research on a book on the future of reproductive rights, much of which will also get worked out on these pages.
— Aviation has always been a common companion to the writing life, so the aviation writing will be frequent, but I’ll endeavor to keep the prose from becoming too horrid a shade of violet. (I do not always promise to succeed, only to try.) I began life as a travel writer, too, so there will be some of that as well.
— Those among my progressive friends who are deeply invested in gun control politics may find that I’m writing here about my more nuanced views on that, too, and (fair warning!) will probably find the results dismaying.
But mostly, I want this blog to focus on what’s real, what’s happy, and what’s working in the world. We live in a time of uncertainty and fear, and there’s no shortage of people who are eager to provoke our doubts for their own ends. I think it’s time to change that conversation by taking stock of the things that still work, the strength we still have, and the deep resources we can still tap into and build on.
Unitarian Rev. Forrest Church, son of Idaho Senator Frank Church, gives us our benediction: “We must first let go of the things that will not save us. Then we must reach out for the things that can.” If this blog has a mission, it’s to become a place where we embrace the task of figuring out what we need to let go of, and what what might bring us to slightly less imperfect future.
If you’re up for the journey, please sign up for the weekly newsletter.
And here we go.