In My Ohio

On Tending

Darren C. Demaree
​I am fat right now. Fat with love. Fat with gifts. Fat with time and afternoon naps. I am fat with holiday text messages from friends, family, and co-workers. I am fat with actual food. I am eating a fat piece of chocolate cream pie as I type this. I am as full as a man can be, and anytime you get a chance to reach a point as decadent as this one you must turn (slowly) towards others.
I think we should spend most of our time thinking about other people anyway, but when you find yourself in one of these rare joyful moments you must use that beautiful stasis as a chance to game plan for those outside of your immediate sphere of influence. Who can I help? What cause can I lend my whole shoulder to? Here’s the three I’ve been thinking about getting more involved with in 2016.

Planned Parenthood

​Attacking women, their health and help, is despicable. Lately, however, Planned Parenthood has come under fire nationally and in Ohio. Since they help women stay healthy, stay safe, and ultimately stay alive longer, I will write to Governor Kasich and other politicians to remind them that they have wives, mothers, and daughters as well. One of the threads of a book of mine (The Pony Governor) was a direct assault on Kasich and his punishing treatment of women, but maybe if I open with “Dear Governor Kasich” instead of some of the profanity I chose to use in the book, maybe he will be more amenable to what I have to say. If you assume, as I do, that politicians ignore all letters from their constituents, then I will find a way to set some money aside to donate to help the cause.

Pets Without Parents

​I love my pets. We got one of our dogs from Pets Without Parents, and I think they do great work. They’re a no-kill shelter, and they operate on a pretty tight budget. Our children collected donations for them instead of getting birthday presents at their party. When we took it all over to give them they were so happy they let the kids play upstairs in the cat room. Yep, they have a cat room. Anyway, they work hard to take care of as many pets as possible, and they do heroic work on that front.

​Artists I Don’t Know

​There’s been a small movement in the arts community to donate to artists that are just starting out. I’ve been incredibly lucky in my own career thus far, but if I only extended myself to those that knew me it would start to feel like I’m helping out only those that can put my name in some glowing light. Now, when I see someone is collecting money to apply to residency or a writing program somewhere I want to get involved. If someone is raising funds to try and grow as an artist, then they have my backing. Most of the time it will be only hope and good vibrations sent their way, but occasionally if I can find a way to get some money in the hands of those taking their first or second steps to joining our community then that is worth it. 
​I really hope you’re feeling as wonderfully full as I am right now. I hope you find a few moments to revel in this thick moment. After that, I can wait to join you on the field of empathy and good work. See you there.