Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Support Group

Last night I went to the Raleigh Arts Commission's awards ceremony for the annual Medal of the Arts and came away inspired to do things! make art! persevere!

I also heard about an informal campaign group I was initially asked to join: a bunch of women getting together to ponder how to support Obama. At the time I said: I'm already doing all I have time to do; in truth I could have made time for more.

Last night, I heard about how, after two meetings, this group has evolved. It went from a few women to 60-some between meetings one and two. The name is: GASP. Girlfriends Appalled by Sarah Palin. And as my friend at the party told me, "we aren't just bitchin'." They're all taking assignments to register, drive voters, take food to volunteers, etc. It's impressive.

Which brings me to my point: the support of the group. My campaign efforts have faltered, I think, because I feel like a solitary clipboard wandering the streets. No fault of the campaign's; I just haven't attended the get-togethers that I could have.

Whereas, for my writing I've always had the support of various groups. From parents and teachers in my childhood, to my writer-buddies and my weekly writing group now.

It makes a huge difference. So, if you find your bold creative efforts faltering, if your commitment seems to be fraying, try getting a few kindred spirits to cheer you on. It's amazing what booster rockets a few knowledgeable buddies can be.

If you like this post, please bookmark it on, share it on StumbleUpon, vote for it on Digg. Thanks so much.


mamie said...

Peggy, thanks for putting the information on GASP in your post today. I haven't had time to go myself (I have a standing meeting on Wed nights right now) but I hear they are making a difference. To themselves AND the campaign. Please visit my blog--there's a note of appreciation there for you. :)

Anonymous said...

Does GASP have a web presence yet, do you know? Inquiring minds want to support!

Your blog is what came up when I googled "Girlfriends Appalled By Sarah Palin". :)

Palin is soooo embarrassing. I'm an American currently on a round the world jaunt, trying to figure out my own version of the global citizen. Europeans are baffled as to why on earth she appeals to Americans, and news of American Palin support tends to only reinforce their stereotypes of Americans as being gun-crazy, fundamentalist, militaristic yo-yos who'll believe anything a politician tells them no matter how obvious the lies are.

On the other hand, Tina Fey would probably become a millionairess if Palin got into office, so perhaps it wouldn't be all bad. (I'm kidding.)

Peggy Payne said...

Hi Anon, I don't find a web presence for GASP but I just got a long email about it, and I've asked the sender if I could post it. This little informal group has already kicked in $3,000 and 200 hours of volunteer work in three weeks.

Tell us more about your version of the global citizen and your round-the-world jaunt. What are you finding out?

Anonymous said...

Peggy, I'd love to see the email, so I hope that turns up. :)

Well, just as there's a different country for every person in it, I think each global citizen has a different idea of where they're a citizen of. So my round the trip tour, undertaken after a divorce and a conscious decision to change my work life yet again (I've owned my own company, designing Irish stepdancing costumes, for a while), was mostly to open my own horizons up, not only to places and people, but to myself.

What have I discovered so far? As I suspected, people are more the same than they are different. I've been observing how people like to make differences between themselves and The Other. It seems to make them feel better, but only if they don't realize they're doing it.

I've learned that the US is a very comfy, roomy, and clean place to live, and that we're some of the spoiled brats of the world; however, we're not the only spoiled brats of the world.

I've learned to identify some of my own bigotries and watched other people display theirs.

I've learned that politicians all across the world, while they may be smart and they may be ambitious, are not necessarily intelligent. (Palin's trained dog performances during the campaign, Boris Johnson firing his police chief, and Iran's President Ahmadinejad saying that he's proud of his ignorance of economics all leap to mind.) And that women still haven't identified what "feminist" means to them.

Oh, and I'm learning why it's easier to fall in love with someone from your own country. Otherwise you find yourself in the unenviable position of having to consider marrying in order to figure out whether you should stay together.

Sometimes I think all of the things I'm learning probably won't sink it for a few years. :)

Peggy Payne said...

Hi Anon, I posted yesterday a letter from GASP that gives email addresses, etc. There doesn't seem to be website. I hope this is helpful.

And you've amassed quite an interesting and diverse set of lessons from your travels so far. The one about possibly getting married is particularly eye-catching. What country are you in now? Do the laws of traveling and living in a place make it necessary to marry?

Anonymous said...

Hi Peggy:

Thanks for posting the email -- wow, I'm so impressed by their initiative and drive!

I am currently in the UK, and my partner is a UK citizen. I'm from the US. The UK and the US are two of the toughest and most expensive nations in the world to which you can try to immigrate. The UK has a generous visitor's visa length of six months. The US visitor's visa, like most, is 90 days. Neither of us, as visitors, have the right to work in the other's country.

The visa requirements for either are Byzantine, confusing, and cost thousands of dollars.

Weirdly, if I marry him, we can live anywhere in the EU and I will have, as the non-EU spouse of an EU citizen, the right to work and live in the same country as he does. But since he's a UK citizen, I may NOT have the right to work and live with him i the UK without going through the visa process, unless we have been married for four years outside of the UK -- and I'm not sure that I wouldn't still then have to apply and pay a fee for the right to reside.

We are thinking of marrying, then moving to an EU country such as Ireland, and file at a US embassy for his visa work to the US. It'll depend on how the economy works out the kinks in the next six months or so, I'm guessing.

It's a whole world of which I previously had no realization of at all. Most people don't really know anything about the immigration laws and ridiculousnesses of their own countries, and I wasn't any different. I've been really shocked at how hard it is on people!

Peggy Payne said...

What a catch-22 dilemma. And I'm one who had no idea.

I did run into trouble though when Bob and I tried to go to another country to get married. The laws in Mexico, France, and Greece all made it too difficult. We'd have been highly likely to have come home from a frustrating bureaucratic honeymoon still single.

I do wish you well with this choice. And Ireland's a plus as far as I'm concerned.

I've always felt that I was part Irish, with no basis (other than my appearance.) Recently I discovered I do have an Irish forebear. It was a great moment.

Anonymous said...

I think you DO look like you have Irish ancestry, at least if your pic is any indication. I spend a fair amount of time around Irish people (Irish-Irish people, I mean, not American Irish people), and while I joke that there's really only about 10 genome types in the place, it's not really that far off a joke!

Peggy Payne said...

Thanks. I take that as a compliment. My Irish office partner said there was never any doubt of my ancestry. She said she felt completely at home the first time she ever got off a plane in Ireland and took a look around.

I'm working on a biography of an artist who felt she was made contact with a number of the dead. So I decided to see if a channeler could put me in touch with her. (She died two years before I was born.) The woman I saw said my subject had one message for me: go to Derry.

I've never been to Ireland, but I do mean to get there, and to Derry, eventually.

Anonymous said...

There's certain parts of England that are almost all Irish families -- usually from the same villages and counties in Ireland, because they tended to go where they had contacts. My partner is one of them, and their village in Yorkshire was a smaller version of Connaught. :)

I've never been to Derry, but I understand it's beautiful. I wonder what you're supposed to do in Derry?

Peggy Payne said...

Fascinating about those Irish areas. I wasn't aware of that history. I think subcultures tucked into a place are intriguing for some reason, don't know why.

and about my mission in Derry: I don't yet know.

Anonymous said...

It's true of the US, too, for many of the same reasons. People came to find work, so they tended to go to where they had family and friends in place - it's the natural tendency. I guess that sort of brings us back to the actual subject of a support group! :)

It's funny that there's been so much anti-immigrant sentiment in Ireland as people came in from throughout the EU while the Celtic Tiger was still roaring, or perhaps what I really mean is that it's ironic. Many people (including Irish folks, fair play to them) have pointed out that it takes a lot of nerve for the Irish to complain about immigrants to their country coming in and taking all the jobs. :)

Peggy Payne said...

I didn't know that there was anti-immigrant feeling in Ireland. I had read that they have a lovely tax structure for all kinds of artists there; no tax on what you make from your art. I don't know if that's still true--but what a nice idea.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's true any longer, or at least true to the same extent, unfortunately. But with the economy tanking, who knows what's going to happen next?