Artist: Mary Fortuna
Location: Toast (Ferndale)
MF – Coffee (lots of cream, Sugar in the Raw), Mushroom omelet with cheese, homefries, cherry walnut toast (she ate about 1/3 of this)
SRS – Coffee (little bit of cream), Berry French Toast
I am pretty sure that our server at Toast is going to turn up at the upcoming Hands On Hatch event that Mary is co-curating on Monday, August 24 (there are still four spots left, last I heard…):
That’s because we had cute little handmade bugs on our table, but also because Mary Fortuna is one of the most engaging people you will meet. Her outward-reach is instinctive, and her energy is formidable. The hustle is strong, with this one. She’s also mega-brassy and calls things like she sees them. We make a lively party of two.
I think often when we look at other people, what we’re seeing is aspects of ourselves. Sometimes I try to practice turning the statements that I am directing toward others in my head back at myself, to see if that’s actually the place they apply (almost 100% of the time, with the exception of, “You should try bangs!”) But in Mary’s case, I think I see a lot of myself because we are a lot alike. Specifically, we don’t give ourselves credit for the hard work he do, we have trouble taking a break, and we are always trying to help other people…even when sometimes our focus needs to be on helping ourselves. Mary described it beautifully–she thinks in images, basically, so a lot our conversation is her describing the pictures that pop into her mind while we talk–as two people drowning reaching for each other (here she spreads her arms to mimic the way people grasp hands when they sky-dive together, spread apart but joined together) it creates greater surface tension. Maybe it will keep them afloat. Such a perfect encapsulation of what longtime Detroiters have been doing for so long, they don’t know any other way. And while part of me knows that there’s a chance a drowning person will grab onto you more like a bear hug than a sky-dive, I can’t bring myself to disagree with her theory.
We also talked a bit about abortion, which is a hot subject these days. I really think it’s a reflection of my wisdom in choosing no-bullshit friends that our conversations on matters like these spend almost no time in the realm of the abstract political, and get right to the personal viscera–or maybe that’s because, as this article points out, women already know and deal with their reproductive fallout (we are not the ones in denial of how our bodies work. Men are). Mary said something on this subject that was so legit and striking to me, I have to share it here. She said, on the subject of people who keep babies in spite of being ill-equipped to raise them, that it is a cruelty, “To bring a child into this world under the weight of your need for it.”
I think a lot about this, when I think about people having children (I do not have children, by choice). That merely wanting to have a child–while a clearly fundamental urge–is perhaps not sufficient justification, at this point, for bringing more people into an increasingly overburdened world. But it occurs to me that this is exactly the kind of reaching-toward another person that Mary was talking about…trying to leverage those powerful bonds of parenthood, that obligation to protect someone weaker or more in need than yourself, into a kind of surface tension that lifts you above your life. It’s a beautiful thought…but supported far more by heart than airtight logic.