Jane Stillwater’s Wild, Mraztastic Ride

Jane¬†StillwaterBack in April, I wrote about my friend and former copywriting co-worker who went to Iraq. She wasn’t deployed there, she chose to go, footing the bill for her own ticket and expenses. Crazy? A little, but determined, inquisitive, and seriously pissed off at Bush and Friends as well.

Ms. Jane Stillwater is 65, a mother and grandmother, and one tough old broad. A syndicated advice columnist recently asked whether women found that term offensive, and heaps of people wrote in talking about the women in their families who wore the title with pride, who earned it through years of struggle and standing up for others.

Jane is no exception. You can call her a hippie, an activist, or just a woman full of the kind of common sense I wish more politicians had; no matter what title you give her, she’s an inspiration.

As I sit at my desk each day thinking that someone really should do something about global warming and public education and rude people on cell phones and health care and traffic and war and stuff, Jane is doing it. Given the chance to take off to Iraq right now and send home stories about what’s really going on, I don’t know if I would. It sounds a little scary, even though at 30 I should feel invincible. To be doing it at more than twice my age, without complaining about uncomfortable living quarters or extreme heat or cold or bugs or having to bathe out of a bucket, I think Jane is remarkable. I hope to have a little of her moxie someday.

If I could give Jane just one Jason Mraz song to carry around with her, it would have to be 10,000 Motherfuckers. It’s always sounded like a political song to me, a call to action, whether or not our Curbside Prophet meant for it to be. And I think that Jane’s doing exactly what it asks for, to stand up and sing out loud, and maybe a few of us will listen.

Read her entry from Sunday, September 30, 2007, “Farewell to Africa, good morning Iraq!” where she got a prophecy of her own (in a church in Africa that was not, as far as I can tell, anywhere near a curb).

Go make your life, not a living,

Jane Online:
jpstillwater.blogspot.com – Jane’s Blog
www.timesonline.co.uk – The Times Online’s feature on Jane’s first trip to Iraq (That’s their photo of Jane, up above.)
www.contracostatimes.com – Our local paper reports on Jane’s preparations for her Oct. 6, 2007 departure to Iraq


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