Stretcher asks: “How do you imagine your life might change if the United States attacks Iraq?”
Mary Hull Webster: At the worst, I imagine that nuclear, chemical and biological devices will explode in New York and that I might lose my sister Diane and her family who live in White Plains. I imagine an eventual aftermath such as I’ve read about in a Paul Auster novel in which there are no cars and no gasoline and not much left at all regarding the way we are accustomed to living. I also imagine that our shining and spectacular city of San Francisco will be a target. My partner and I would, if we were lucky, get to his off-the-grid property in the mountains of Northern California, where we probably would be joined by his son’s family; we would not hear from his other son who lives near Boston, nor from my brother in Atlanta or my other sister in Washington, DC. My old father in a small town in NC would be entirely cut-off from his four children; not knowing whether we were dead or alive would probably hasten his demise, even if the lack of his medications didn’t do him in. In the country, we would shoot the wild turkeys and deer that we used to love, and try to grow vegetables and hope that the spring water was still clean. We would hoard bullets, since they would be needed for meat and to fend off anyone who tried to displace us or take our food. The new grandchild would not be vaccinated or have pediatric visits. Depending on the timing, I might have to figure out how to deliver that baby. Our contact with the outside world would be through radios, as long as the batteries lasted or we could replenish them in a country where battery manufacturers and radio stations may no longer be in business. The good that might come of this has to do with not being able to do my electronic art and returning to the simplest forms of drawing, writing, and family performances. Everything I’ve learned as an artist would become life-like art, and I think life would be about feeling among a very small number of people who are trying to survive together, and that there would be good lessons for me in that. At the least, I will carry the guilt of having my country responsible in my name for the worst-case scenario above enacted on the people of Iraq

- Meredith Tromble [Sunday, October 20th, 2002]



From the editors