Posts filed under ‘Neither Here nor There…’

Déconfinement continued…

I could start by saying I’ve found it hard to know what to say about anything recently. The words of the poet W. B. Yeats come frequently to my mind about “the center not holding…” It does feel like the world as we have known it is coming apart at the seams, which is unsettling…

Continue Reading June 25, 2020 at 9:33 am 1 comment

Minneapolis, City of Lakes…and Police Brutality

Minneapolis, Minnesota. My hometown.

I am from a city in Minnesota called Minneapolis.

It is a place that, until recently, was not very well known outside of the United States, and even, to some degree, within the United States.

Minneapolis is a beautiful city of lakes and parks. It is a city that is rich in cultural activities and the arts. It is very cold there in the winter, and the winter is long. And it is my beloved hometown. That is how I have always thought of it, until now.

But now everyone in the world knows that Minneapolis is also the place where last week a horrific act of murder was committed, by a police officer, as three other police officers stood by and did nothing, or actively aided and abetted the murderer.

And that the outrage over that murder–combined with the cumulative weight of so many many many terrible murders before it–has rocked our nation and spread a cry of fury, anguish, and vigorous protest around the world.

It’s about time.

I am filled with both grief and shame over the treatment of this man, George Floyd. I grieve for his family, and for the families of so many other African Americans, and others, who have suffered for not just decades but centuries from this horrific kind of hatred, this unspeakable, unfathomable, unforgivable violence.

I don’t, and can’t, understand it. It sickens me. And I don’t really know what to say about it except that this murder–captured on camera so that anyone who can bear to watch can see it–does seem to perhaps be the last straw.

I hope it is.

Yesterday I saw a news clip of George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, whose mother has not yet told her exactly what happened to him. All she knows is that her father is gone, that he died “because he couldn’t breathe,” and that huge crowds of people are calling out his name. “My Daddy changed the world,” this innocent child has said. It is heartbreaking.

Will his unnecessary, terrible death change the world?

Right now, nothing is certain, and things are not good in the not-very-United States of America. In many cities, the police are acting out violently, out of control. The president is completely incompetent (to say the least). The Republican leadership (still, unbelievably) stands by and does nothing.

It’s hard not to despair.

But that is not a choice. It’s not a choice.

Americans tend to feel that “failure is not an option.” But when it comes to humane treatment of our black brothers and sisters, the truth is, we’ve been failing for far too long. Failing, and failing, and failing again.

Our president promised to bring “winning” back to our nation. Somehow I don’t think he defines winning in the same way I do.

But I trust–and fervently hope–that we can start winning the only game that counts.

That we can find a way to love, and support, and help each other through this terrible terrible mess we’re in.

Janet Hulstrand
 is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher of writing and of literature who divides her time between the U.S. and France. She is the author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You, and is currently working on her next book, a literary memoir entitled “
A Long Way from Iowa.”

June 4, 2020 at 5:52 pm 1 comment

Back Home in Essoyes…

Well, after six weeks away–nearly a week in Paris in February, followed by five weeks in Washington–I am back home in Essoyes….

Continue Reading March 26, 2019 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

An interview with Lin Wenjie, recipient of the Bourse Renoir

An interview with artist Lin Wenjie, recipient of the 2016 Bourse Renoir….(in English and in French)

Continue Reading October 26, 2018 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

Here comes autumn…

Almost immediately after the big trucks hauling grapes had stopped making their several-times-a-day runs from the vineyards to the pressoir in Essoyes during the vendange, they were replaced by big trucks hauling loads of wood out of the forest…

Continue Reading October 1, 2018 at 6:50 am Leave a comment

A Peek into the Heartland (Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, 2018)

“Can you pick up some drums on your way out here?” my cousin emailed me. “I was planning to do a quick run in and out to get them, but since you’re coming this way anyway…”

Continue Reading July 11, 2018 at 12:55 pm Leave a comment

Riverdog: A Rural Retreat in Ohio

An interview with the artist/host-proprietors of Riverdog, a delightful rural retreat center in northern Ohio…

Continue Reading June 28, 2017 at 6:25 pm Leave a comment

The Women’s March: A Rare (and Wonderful!) Display of Unity Around the World

…I want to say how grateful I am to the many French women, Frenchmen (and other men), and children who joined us in marching through the streets of Paris to express our solidarity
with those who have already felt slighted, threatened, or otherwise badly treated by the new president of the United States…

Continue Reading January 23, 2017 at 5:29 pm 2 comments

Interview with Siffy and Tor Torkildson, editors of “The Walkabout Chronicles”

“The Walkabout Chronicles: Epic Journeys By Foot” is an illustrated collection of 35 essays about walking. The writers include scientists and archeologists, artists, explorers, and “ordinary people who do extraordinary things…”

Continue Reading November 29, 2016 at 11:01 am 2 comments

Storing Up Wood for the Winter–in Champagne

The first problem was that I knew basically none of the things one would need to know in order to get wood for the winter. Here is an almost verbatim transcript of the first conversation I had with a friend who was trying to help me figure it out…

Continue Reading October 14, 2016 at 7:28 pm 4 comments

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