Can’t Fix Wonder

Can’t Fix Wonder

I’m invited to a lot of interviews. I think I cooperate with the interviewers. It’s an honour to be asked. I try to be a good guest. I find that even the confrontations seem to go fairly well. I’m a fan of mystery, which keeps me saying yes.

The last one was uncommon, though. It led me again to wonder about the wisdom of wondering aloud. I don’t have a programme of sorts for ‘change’. I’m no more an agent of change than you are. I have answers to go along with the questions. I have responses. But I don’t have solutions. I don’t know how to fix it all. That doesn’t make me good interview material. I’ve a vision of what we’re up against, but it doesn’t seem to include or reward or affirm ‘agency’. That frustrated the interviewer I think.

The background of ‘agency’: there’s a cabal of bad guys of my demographic, and they’re selling us down the river, one piece of personal information at a time, exerting world domination as they go. The foreground: you know who the bad guys are, you take back your power, you feel yourself at the wheel, you have some working assurance that your ongoing anger has merit, that there has to be a solution, that the reward for seeking it is finding it. You get to be hopeful and you get to be sure about the outcome of that solution at the same time. Who doesn’t want a fix? Completely understandable in a time when the problems are complex and a feeling of personal impotence is ever-rising. And not very likely. You have to simplify things almost to unrecognizability to satisfy that wish list.


1. You can find that kind of affirmation in a lot of ‘here’s how’ sites and books. It isn’t scarce. No sense in me pretending.
2. Hoping there’s a scheme to undo world domination could be a bit world-dominating.
3. I don’t think you do get to be hopeful and sure about the outcome at the same time. Not in a time of trouble like this one. I could be wrong, but that’s how it seems.

And that’s why I favour reckoning over reward and redemption and reconciliation. I recognize the troubles of the times in ‘reckoning’. Reckoning’s not for everybody. Reckoning is a lot like grieving that way. It’s not trying to turn the page. It’s trying to read the page. There is some grief in reckoning. These are grief-etched times.

That’s why I’m going out on the road with Kimberly Johnson in the next couple of months. It’s a year since we first spoke, six months since writing a book, and we’ve found the thread of reckoning together, and we’ve pulled on it. And the rough Gods are on main street. It’s not hopeful, what happens when we do. It’s better. It isn’t tough love. It’s tough magic. It isn’t for everybody. It is for now, though. That’s pretty clear. It’s for those who might fail at the ‘big picture’ stuff, the one fix that fits every misfortune. It’s for those who want to make a life’s work worthy of being inherited by those to come. Minus the agency, more often than not.

You may have tried hope by now. You may have tried hopeless, too, especially over the last three years. So, maybe try reckoning.

Stephen Jenkinson
Founder of Orphan Wisdom