As I write this, news is still filtering in from the terrorist attack in Brussels. I haven’t had enough coffee to comprehend what I read on the BBC website, but my gut reaction is my heart is breaking. When I’m upset, I write.
I used to be an intrepid traveler. I’ve been to every continent sans Antarctica, and I hope to remedy that someday. When I travel, my priorities were: museums, good coffee, second hand clothing stores, amazing used book stores and of course, a record store. I’m pretty basic in that regard, no matter where I go. There’s so much knowledge you can gain of the local culture from clothes, books & music-these are universal truths that transcend borders, ages and language.
I’ve been in the airport that was targeted. I’ve walked through the concourse that is now bloodstained rubble. I spent a very brief time in Belgium years ago, and what I remember is a beautiful city straight out a fairy tale, with friendly people. Brussels is very charming, with twisty streets, cafes and that old world elegance. I could imagine Belle from Beauty & the Beast twirling down the streets.
One of my favorite bookstores was in Brussels-Nicola’s Book Shop-but apparently it’s closed since I was there last in the early 90’s. The owner was from either Scotland or Ireland, and had a terrific assortment of books in a variety of languages. I spent a good chunk of an afternoon there. One of my favorite smells in the world are the pages of books, so I was in heaven there.
I also found Doctor Vinyl, which is a pretty rad record store. I don’t remember what (if any) I bought there, but they had a great vibe and staff. I do know at the time that I was exclusively buying CD’s, so I’m sure that I had to have picked something up. I never leave a music store empty handed.
I won’t get into the whole political aspect of terrorism, because frankly, I don’t understand it. I have several Isreali friends, who live under constant threat, and they claim you get used to it. I don’t know if I could, with the constant looking over your shoulder and anxiety. I remember the anxiety and fear I felt living in the NYC metro area after 9/11, but that subsided over time. I hope I never have to find out what that prolonged sense of dread is like.
If we want to stop the hate, we need to learn to love one another and find common ground.
I wrote a haiku as visceral, gut reaction as I woke up to today’s news.
Mourning has come early
Hearts and souls broken into bits
Let love conquer all