Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Prayers for Anderson Cooper

It all began with Oprah Winfrey. First, however, I must admit to not being a historic fan of her television show, but I am an insomniac and her show re-airs latenights, here where I live, and there has been more than one occasion where I've found myself switching channels and pausing on her show. Recently, I've noticed the show has become more socially responsible, with topics that are actually relevant and considerable. Perhaps the Oprahshow has always been devoted to public service, with myself unaware? In my defense, whenever I had seen the show in times past, episode subjects were generally fashion trends, makeover shows, or celebrity interviews. But again, lately I've notice a trend towards episodes that matter and so, I can no longer absolutely declare myself, 'not a fan' of the show.

With that said, let me start over. It all began with Oprah. And insomnia. It began with another one of my many late nights, incessantly channel switching. On this night, when I switched past Oprah, I quickly switched back to make sure I saw what I thought I had seen: Anderson Cooper. Anderson Cooper on Oprah? Anderson Cooper onOprah! Considering Anderson Cooper is a journalist whom I greatly respect and admire, I was both immediately surprised and extremely pleased. Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival had just been released and Anderson was on the show to discuss the powerful book with Oprah Winfrey. His mother, designer Gloria Vanderbilt, was also on the show to lend support and briefly discuss a terribly tragic family event that is embedded within Anderson's deeply personal story, which underscores the overall theme of the book.

Like so many others, I also identified with Anderson's personal losses. Myself having been on a sort of auto-pilot-course since last spring, when my father died following a brief, unexpected illness, I was only partially coherent during 2005 and for much of this year as well. Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival reminded me of how universally tragic the year 2005 really was and how geographically far reaching suffering and loss really is. Human suffering is global: while there are obvious measures, not a single human has ever, nor will ever escape a personal time of suffering. Pain is ubiquitous.

Having been abruptly reawakened from my adopted routine of mechanical-sleepwalk, my own personal coping defensive, by this powerful book, I, like so many others, felt immense sadness, a certain guilt, and an overwhelming sense of helplessness for those thousands and thousands victims of war, natural disaster, and unfortunate circumstance, as I read page after page of such painful suffering and struggle (the struggle often concluding in vain). I also shared the heavy grief, anger, and urgency that Anderson carried through these pages. And so, I despaired and my despair resulted in an identity crisis of sorts for The Suburban Apron Company.

This identity crisis has resulted in less frequent posts and an unclear sense of direction. While I have no plans to suspend The Suburban Apron Company, I do plan to alter my posts to reflect a more socially responsible blog. However, I am not changing the blog's theme; it will continue as a food blog. I apologize for any seeming alienation of my readers--it is not intentional. I simply need to find a courageous voice to pursue more purposeful writing. I need to make a difference, no matter how insignificant. I also apologize if this seems somewhat narcissistic--again, it is not intentional. After reading Anderson Cooper's sincerely honest memoir, I can no longer personally justify the irrelevance of writing solely about cooking and baking, without meaningful contribution. I can't seem to justify so much writing about savory dishes and comfort food, when war, famine, tsunamis, and hurricanes have destroyed so incredibly many lives. Human destruction, whether manmade or natural disaster, is still life destroyed. I can't seem to defend so much time spent writing about decadent desserts, when there are so incredibly many people dying horrifically slow, tortured deaths due to starvation and disease. I cannot defend a primary activity of leisurely writing about cooking and baking, when so incredibly many people are without basic amenities, including shelter, hot or cold running water, clothes, or in some cases, life itself.

What is going to be the revised, relevant direction of this food blog? I'm not sure. I simply plan to continue cooking, baking, and writing about food, in a manner that will lend some support to readers seeking to nourish body and soul. Perhaps writing about comfort food can be made relevant, by providing brief distraction from the heavy weight of incessant, current news events. Again, I'm not sure.

And so, I will simply cook, bake, volunteer, and pray. Prayers for guidance to be of help and for graceful mercy to be shown toward those in need. And prayers for Anderson Cooper, who has undoubtedly influenced many more than just myself to awaken from their protective, yet vacant, mechanical motion and actively seek ways, however small, to offer help. To simply help.

Until we meet for coffee,


  1. That's interesting, thanks a lot for the great update and hope everything goes to plan!
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  2. What a deep article, I couldn't agree with you more though!
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