Jenny Forrester

Social Media and Revolution

A man broke into the garage and came running out of it just as I got home.

Our eyes met as he ran so fast – away, around the block. And gone with my bike and some things.

I froze.

Was he alone? Was there someone else left behind – maybe in the house?

My socially conscious programming said Don’t call the cops. He left behind a knife – a hunting knife, fake bone hunting knife handle, fake hunting knife swirls on the sharp-enough metal, fake Celtic symbolism, but the sharp point and bloodying hunting knife edge are real.

It’s symbolic – his breaking in that night. Another man stealing what wasn’t his because he wanted and believed he should have it. The knife freaked me out and the man who broke in was white so I called the cops, too late, they said but they took away the knife. Not very revolutionary of me. But I can breathe because that knife is gone.

I’ve heard that if you’re NOT on social media, you will miss the revolution. I’ve heard worse, too. If I don’t retweet this message or repost that, I’ll be just as responsible as they are. Log off and I’ll be complicit.

I’m new to particular battles. I was born at the right wing of the war bird, to the philosophy of judgment, to the AUTHORITY of a Jesus who required more love for himself than a man could have for his children. I’m from the Second Amendment Constitution and the Edicts of my Father and the Waving of a Particular Kind of Flag. I lived where running under the trailer were skunks and cats and raccoons and a dog sometimes. A coyote or three. Terrifying sounds from last cat fights. Smells we covered our mouths for. If something befell us, it was god’s plan and if something good came, it was his blessing.

My mother’s mixed messages in quotes raised me.

I may not agree with what you say but I fight to the death your right to say it but Don’t argue, it isn’t politeJudge not lest ye be judged but Your reputation is the most important thing. My mother’s salve after bullies was ever Think about what they’re going through, minding their tears as much as mine – a message of injustice I despised.

My mother could wring a chicken’s neck and render deer and sew a hem and plant a garden. She whispered to me separate things from my brother because I needed separate things for this world. She said Don’t give in to hate and she said Words have power. She used soap to wash out my brother’s mouth but never had to wash out mine. She raised me to become a city girl so I could find my people – my true kin.

I am trying to connect all these threads to create something to catch up all these wrong things, to have a flag to weave, to wave, to wield.

There’s revolution here right now with these threads my mother saved for me with this voice my yelling father gave to me with this temper my brother stirred up in me and with the wildness the animals breathed into me.

I offer up these threads, the power of rage and the trajectory of this particular flight not to Facebook or Twitter but hand to hand to ear to heart and mind to protect those more vulnerable, minding NOT the tears of bullies.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that battles for justice can be contained in a series of tweets or an insightful post but having been born before the information highway was installed, I know that The Revolution, the one this generation didn’t start, the one my ancestors didn’t start but were the cause of, the Revolution that’s so close to being won for all time: that’s the one - THE Revolution is bigger than that.


Jenny Forrester has been published in a number of print and online publications including Seattle’s City Arts Magazine, Gobshite Quarterly, Nailed Magazine, Hip Mama, The Literary Kitchen, Indiana Review, and Columbia Journal. Her work is included in the Listen to Your Mother anthology, published by Putnam. She curates the Unchaste Readers Series. Her debut memoir Narrow River, Wide Sky is forthcoming from Hawthorne Books and launches at Powell’s on Burnside on  May 5th, 2017.