where the writers are
"You've Got To Give Them Hope."

I keep on getting e-mails saying that today for the publishing industry it's Black Wedneday. People are getting laid off, imprints are folding, and some publishers are not taking any more manuscripts, period. End of report. Which is a bit scary for a aspiring novelist/essayist like moi.

Then there was a Yahoo headline today about soap operas that soap stars are taking paycuts to keep the show on the air. The sub headline said: "Soaps are in trouble." Whoa! Really? So didn't know that, Yahoo! Thanks for telling us!

Yet I'm still positive. Soaps can come back somehow, someway. It might be in the way of Internet radio, it might be people will have to write their own. With books/publishing, they've been saying it's dying for years, yet it has always bounced back.

The thing is, you have to have hope. I was reminded of this Monday afternoon. I had it off, so I went into SF to see Milk.  I knew I had to see it in the City, plus I definitely wanted to see it in the Castro theater.  I figured it would just be me and five other people. There were fifty people in line when I got there. A hundred more came after they opened the doors.

I had popcorn and green tea, so I was very much the happy clam. I truly love old movie theaters. Multiplexes don't have the history a old movie theater has. I love the smell of popcorn, the theater dimmed dark. I settled in my seat.

The movie explained how Milk (Sean Penn) went to SF with his lover (James Franco) and started to turn things around in the Castro. If anyone saw a gay person get attacked, they would blow a whistle. The camera shop he owned started to become a hangout, and people started to get involved, changed things for the better. Soon Milk is not only a supervisor, he helped defeat Prop 4, which would've fired gay teachers and people who supported them.

Of course we know the ending, although it's still a shock when Dan White (in a fantastic performance by Josh Brolin) crawls in the City Hall Window with a gun under his arm. I started crying when the shots were heard when White killed Mayor Moscone (Victor Garber) I cried for Mayor Moscone, Harvey Milk, Gina Moscone and her children, Harvey Milk's staff and friends,  and oddly enough, Mary Ann White and her children.  All were victims here. So many lives changed that day.

And yet at the end, Cleve Jones (Emile Hirsch) picks up Milk's mantle, leading a candlelight vigil across the city, then later formed the NAMES project which produced the AIDS quilt. The last words Penn as Milk says is "You've got to give them hope."

It's too easy to be pessmistic. It's too easy to give up. God knows there are times I want to. Yet you have to keep on, to not go gently in the good night.  You have to make something out of the bad stuff-be it Susan Browne's poem to the idiot who gave her a lame ass review on Amazon, Isabel Allende's memoir of her daughter who died too soon, or Jennifer Weiner turning a bad experience with a boyfriend into the now classic Good in Bed.

On this Black Wednesday, remember Harvey's words. Give someone hope.