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Letters: Downward Mobility, 'Crazy Brave'


It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments. Our conversation about downward mobility in the millions of Americans forced to adjust their ambitions and career goals due to the bad economy, brought this email from Steve Krute(ph) in Valley Village, California: I moved back to the San Fernando Valley from Oregon, hoping for a job. My handyman business died in 2008, but I haven't found anything that pays a liveable wage. And I arrived back in August of last year. I'm healthy and strong with many skills. But out of a pile of applications, who will pick a 50-year-old when there are so many younger people applying for the same position?

He writes: I find it very depressing, and it's hard to stay motivated and positive. It's an employer's market. And without the old-school face-to-face of the past, it's very difficult to just get in the door.

Diane in New Jersey was also listening, and she wrote: When my husband lost his job of 20 years, three and a half years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom with our four, school-age children. After ups and downs of all sorts, and a stint on food stamps, I'm now working and my husband is the stay-at-home parent. He earns a little bit with an eBay business and a too-early pension payment. After 11 years at home, I couldn't get back into my previous profession. We're now at about 50 to 60 percent of what we made four years ago, but we're on our own two feet again. For that, I am thankful.

We spoke with Native American poet Joy Harjo about her new memoir, "Crazy Brave," and Regina Gomez in San Francisco sent this email: I just wanted to comment how much I relate to all that Joy is sharing. I found my voice when I was 16 years old - and suicidal at that time. I had nowhere to go, and no one to go to. I wrote so much poetry. I was influenced by hip-hop music, jazz, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni and Malcolm X. Writing healed me.

Finally, several of you wrote to comment on our use of the term "Obamacare" in reference to the Affordable Care Act. Ismael Abdul Kareem(ph) wrote from Raymore, Missouri, to say: Knowing that Obamacare has some negative connotations, and the Republicans use that phrase intentionally, why can't the media call it what it is supposed to be called, and be neutral? And James Phelan(ph) adds: Whether intentional or not, it gives the impression of political bias.

As always, if we say something that irks you; or if you have a correction, comments or questions for us, the best way to reach us is by email. Our address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from, and give us some help on how to pronounce your name. And if you're on Twitter, you can follow us there, @totn. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.