"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou
This town has produced famous artists and film makers, actors and musical performers, a world famous ballerina and brainy medical researchers, our most important asset is the commonality of making this place home.
I love to read and having our very own hometown bookstore with Chapters makes it easy to find the next page-turner. We have a budding fiction novelist Vanessa Lillie. But who will be writing the next Tom's River or Coal River or even Radium Girls? What will ours be called? Slow Death by Drowning? The Lake That Swallowed Us?
Who is going to write the best selling mystery of how the whole town was slowly killed not by a person but an entity. One with the power to slowly kill a town by drowning it, bit by bit, home sweet homes -properties, lands taken out of production, crops and cattle lost. Wild-lives lost.
Will the central characters be the cast of mayors and their efforts first to sit down with the killer and try to make friends? Or the lawyers who work to stop the evil act? It could be a love story. I think it is a love story. About people who loved each other and longed to keep close by.
Will the writer weave in the tribal story? We have several that ought to be part of the Grand epic story you are living. Tribes forced from their homelands only to have their treaty-ed land be too soggy to use, perhaps unless they learn to grow rice in the often flooded fields they now have. Or the whole contaminated mess on tribal lands that bleeds down Tar Creek into your yards and shows up in the fish in that lake.
What about the Grand way people help each other when the flood waters are coming? The acts of kindness and strength used to save the heirlooms or the new refrigerator?
Maybe there could be some mention of the act of filling sandbags and the first time those become a thing in a person's life?
Inventory of losses, now that would be a chapter, but what about those Baptist Men and the sudden wave of them making mountains of sheetrock appear in your neighborhood and then that quickly gone to their next town in yet another flooded community.
But what if we had a spy who went to the yachts and the fancy dinners and got to sit next to people in power and heard them laugh when we are struggling to move grandma again. Or someone who knew the someones in power and through the decades tried to convince them we matter and our pitiful lives count.
Who is that?
Our main characters: come on forward, do the interviews and get this blockbuster to the printers while there is still some life left in this town. YOU are the main characters. Your lives matter. If your town was on fire what would you do?
What can you do now? You can start writing your own story. In the old days you might get your Big Chief Tablet and get started, now, use your I-pad, your computer, your old fashion pen and paper. Write like your life and property depended on it.
Tell your grief, your harrowing story of loss. Put the details in. Make a copy. You will keep one for the family bible for your ancestors to read and the other, bit by bit of your story we are going to send to the only entity that can save this place. We are going to send your story, actually YOU are going to send your story to not a person but an agency you are going to send it to FERC because while you were sleeping the creepy part of this story has been daily edging closer to you. The real threat that our Grand Lake will swallow your town is closer to becoming your new reality.
We put up that billboard on Main Street. Where are the next ones? This whole town has numerous billboards, everyone of them should be saying we matter and deserve to exist. Get with it. Find the fight, be part of it. And while you are getting your gumptions up, remember to vote and vote for people who will fight for you.
Lots of time you are yelled at, I am asking you all to yell. Don't just complain. Gather your wits and fight. You have the best team of lawyers doing their part. Tell your part. What do you give up each flood? How much does it cost you?
LEAD will be knocking on doors soon, or you may find us calling you, you may get our survey in the mail, take some time with us and answer these questions, they may wet your whistle and help you get your story ready.
Words are our weapons. Right can win. You must not be silent. Do not suffer in silence. Write like it matters. And then look around and see who is going to write the best-selling novel?
I think it lives in one of you.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim