Archive | Past Matters

Lost…and Found?

For the first time since September 13, 2001–two days after New York City and I changed forever–I lost my wallet today. The circumstances of the two disappearances were so similar: The losses (or thefts, I’m not sure which) both took place on the L Train between 1st Ave and Williamsburg when I was already emotionally devastated; I even reported them at the same MTA police station. What’s weirder is I’d just replaced my wallet for the first time since I’d replaced the one lost in 2001. Not to mention that my car–which I got on September 6, 2001–has been dying this month and I’ve been gathering the resources to buy a new one.

I’m trying to sort out the significance of these events because I know there’s lemonade in this story, and I’m determined to drink it. (All insights welcome.) For one thing, I tend to view lost possessions as the equivalent of the “death” card in the tarot deck–symbols of upheaval, harbingers of life-defining shifts. So these losses feels especially meaningful, as if I’m shedding a host of identities that no longer apply. For the love of Pete, I literally lost my identity cards. All this jibes with the enormous changes I’ve been courting since my back injury impelled me to seek new levels of healing, communion, insight. Certainly it’s true that, unlike the helpless girl I was 14 years ago, today I played Damsel in Distress to no one–didn’t cry or alert loved ones until I’d cancelled cards, called the bank, gathered my composure. I even had a backup driver’s license and bank card at the ready in my home office. Also new: The cops were much, much hotter than I remembered them.

Our Country Needs Family Therapy

Usually my prayers are personal petitions–peace and happiness and guidance and health for myself and loved ones; sunshine on the weekend; that sort of thing. Last night I prayed for the lost souls of South Carolina and for our country’s long-delayed evolution. We think we can ignore our racial wounds. Yet if Freud has taught us anything it’s that what happens in a family affects every generation to come until deep-level healing takes place. On a cultural scale, this is what we are dealing with when it comes to our shameful history of slavery. The terrorism of this week reminds us once again that a profound national self-reckoning is required if black Americans are ever to live safely on any level in this country. I send love to every one of us because that’s the only place to start.

Silver Spoons and Fighting Seasons: Ricky Schroder and Me

Ricky Schroder may be the best pop culture indicator of whether a person was born before or after 1985. Mention his name to those born after that year, and chances are good they’ll smile blankly. But someone born before that year will light up. They’ll yammer about how heartbreaking he was in 1979’s “The Champ,” and how funny he was in the 1980s sitcom “Silver Spoons” with Jason Bateman. If these don’t resonate, they’ll recall his work in the 1990s series “NYPD Blue.” And they’ll invariably tell you: “You know, he prefers to be called Rick now.”

These days, Rick Schroder goes by “Ricky” again, and he’s been busy behind the camera instead of in front of it. He’s the producer and creator of “The Fighting Season,” a six-episode DirecTV docu-series about 100 days in the run-up to last year’s Afghan presidential elections. No matter how you feel about U.S. involvement in that part of the world, the show offers a fascinating glimpse into how our military wages contemporary battles, with the sort of footage that used to proliferate the nightly news in the Vietnam War era but is increasingly rare these days.

For AOL Build, I got a chance to talk with Ricky about “The Fighting Season” as well as his feelings about being a longtime show-biz veteran. (Spoiler: He’s pretty over the Hollywood scene, and only stays in touch with Robert Duvall and Jon Voight.) Easygoing and generous of spirit, Ricky is that rare star who is as pleasant in person as he seems on screen.

Here’s our full conversation:

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy