Monday, July 30, 2007

What a day. I came home crabby and with one of those nasty headaches that I get behind my eyes. Playing a tape in my head of my cynicism. Some semi-influential wheel squeaking individuals in my community want to cut all city contracts that exist with my agency. I find that while most in my community support the work my agency does, few will openly say they do. And so, I told one of my colleagues today that as far as I was concerned, if the community didn't speak out in support of us and relented to fear and apathy, then they got what they deserved! The problem when I make these statements is that I get myself on some negative tangent that is hard to let go of. It took coming home and finding the book below to arrive in the mail for my mood to change.

This book and the fact that I decided to turn on the radio and listen to our local community station only to discover that there is actually an amazingly cool latino show on Monday nights were what turned my mood around. When they played Silvio Rodriguez' Sueno con los Serpientes, I finally overcame my own leaden and cynical thought bolted apathy to call the hosts and thank them. I hadn't heard Spanish in so long. Oh, how I love the sound of it.

And then I started cutting and pasting.

The postcard trend continues.

I made this one yesterday while attempting to respond to a poem for my class. Inspired by VIEWFINDER with layers and an attempt at color. Obviously, I still like to limit my palette no matter how hard I consciously try. It's based on a Vasco Popa poem.

Last News About the Little Box

The little box which contains the world
Fell in love with herself
And conceived
Still another little box

The little box of the little box
Also fell in love with herself
And conceived
Still another little box

And so it went on forever

The world from the little box
Ought to be inside
The last offspring of the little box

But not one of the little boxes
Inside the little box in love with herself
Is the last one

Let’s see you find the world now

-Vasco Popa

And then tonight, I made two more. Lenore Tawney didn't consider her postcards complete until they were mailed and stamped. The stamps became part of the piece and so they are incomplete but the first you see will go to E. This is the first time I have started to compose on both sides.
Women from the Middle East and Guatemala on one side. Guatemalan police officers and a young Lebanese boy leaving his mark with a sign that says, "I want a doll," on the other.

I handwrote a quote by the delectable Audre Lorde on the front:
For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
-Audre Lorde

I also made this one on the left for my friend Loona. It is mainly from a birthday card that she sent me a few years ago. Both have paper that I made and hilo/thread that I brought back from Guatemala with the intention of crocheting another bag besides the one on the sidebar that says "Paz."
We have a staff meeting tomorrow and I still haven't made the hummus that I said that I would make. Plus, I am facilitating a game in the afternoon and the prizes are not prepared. And I and W are coming over for dinner. I decided that I would make them my favorite dish, black beans using my friend B.'s recipe. Simple and just plain yum.

E. was right. My low period is being followed by a super productive time.
Goodnight, I am thinking of all of my dear readers and wishing you a wonderful day wherever you may be on our dear mother Earth.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

procrastinating again

Yes, I am procrastinating again. I have managed to read all of my assignments for my online up to a year to complete creative writing class. But the writing part? I all of a sudden want to read and make collages of poems that I have been reading, or explore new blogs. Anything but.

So what has been inspiring me and helping me this weekend besides Audre Lorde? Well, through frida I discovered mahima's blog VIEWFINDER. She makes collages and altered books that are so beautiful and fun! I found "Stop Shaving, Start Living" especially inspiring as I cannot stand to shave, and don't often.

I read some poetry by Pablo Neruda for my class and liked this verse from "Walking Around":

I do not want to go on being a root in the dark,
hesitating, stretched out, shivering with dreams,
downwards, in the wet tripe of the earth,
soaking it up and thinking, eating every day.

I made my own tonglen collaged card ( I still don't have a scanner) and used the letter stamps and the spiral that I bought last week.

I breathe in the pain that we unintentionally caused each other...
I breathe out




And now for some writing :)

Protection Masks and Programmed Hate

It's 3:30 a.m. my time and this is late even for me. I was settling in to sleep by reading a bit of Audre Lorde's Zami. This part compelled me to turn the computer on and post it. It struck a nerve:

I lie besides my sisters in the darkness, who pass me in the street unacknowleged and unadmitted. How much of this is the pretense of self-rejection that became an immutable protection mask, how much the programmed hate that we were fed to keep ourselves a part, apart?

I pray for my sisters who are living through this right now. I know some of them.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Eight Revelations

Frida tagged me and requested that I reveal eight things about myself that I have not yet shared on my blog. I feel that I am an open book on here, sometimes causing tension with friends and family because I share too much. But I will try...

1. I LIKE STATION WAGONS. I don't have one now but my last car was a black Honda station wagon that I named Maude. Before that I had Ford Taurus station wagon. I was proud of the fact that I could fit all of my possessions in it and take off at a moment's notice. I kept organic collectables on the dashboard that moved around when I turned corners.

2. I STARTED A DEGREE IN METALSMITHING THAT I NEVER FINISHED. I like/d making things and using my hands, using unusual materials to make funky odd organic forms, mixing chemicals to make patinas, finding images in my readings and incorporating them into three dimensional forms. But I didn't want to make a career of it and actually got to the point where I couldn't make objects anymore. Which is when I jumped into my station wagon and...

3. Drove to the South Texas border with Mexico where I lived for the next 3 1/2 years.

4. I still hold my forks and spoons as if they were shovels. My friend in Lebanon, P., saw me doing this when I visited. She said I also did it as a child.

5. I like sleeping on the floor in my sleeping bag even when I am in my own home.

6. I LIVED IN NEW ORLEANS FOR ABOUT EIGHT YEARS. I love that place. This is the longest I have ever lived anywhere, besides Lebanon. The longest I have ever lived at the same physical address is two and some odd months and that is in my current abode!

7. When I was a teenager, my father, mother, and I went sailing on Long Island Sound. There were high seas and the stays on the mast broke. I clung to the bow and prayed to a God that I wasn't even sure existed that I would become a nun if I survived (My father didn't tell me that my life was not in danger until much later.) I have decided that being a social worker and working to create a more equitable world for all is just as good if not better than becoming a nun.

And it is now tagging time. I tag lacithecat, wendy, myrthe, and carol gee. I am looking forward to learning something new about my fellow bloggers!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Jan suggested that I practice tonglen. When I read up on it, I realized that I have been doing this without knowing the term. Breathe in whatever suffering, pain that a person is feeling. If the person is yourself, recognize that others are feeling it too and breathe in this collective suffering and when you breathe out breathe out happiness, peace, fulfillment and send it to the person or persons who are suffering. Recognize that we often avoid other people's pain because it highlights a pain that we are feeling within ourselves. Acknowledge that pain.

I often carry the pain of others with me. I breathe it out and wish them peace. What is hard for me is to know when it is time to step back and recognize that I need to take care of myself. It takes a very hurtful comment for me to step back. While the compassion that I feel for the other person makes me want to persevere, I often feel that I persevere for too long and subsequently take on a great deal of added pain. Then what happens is that I carry it around with me. It often manifests itself as a heavy feeling in my chest. I felt this for a month last July when Israel bombed Lebanon and I have been feeling it for the last few weeks for more personal reasons. Knowing that I am not alone in feeling this I breathe it out, and I offer peace and lightness in its place.

As I let go of this heaviness, I must acknowlege the incredible love that surrounds me. I have a father who calls me up after reading my last post and asks if I need to talk. I have long time friends all over the country and world who call me up or e-mail me daily if I need them to and listen with an open heart. I have a team of people with whom I work who I can talk to and that I can listen to when they need me to. And, I have this 21st century concept of the blogosphere and the many friends that I have made through it. I am truly blessed.

I breathe in the deep sadness and heavy heart that we all feel at times, and I breathe out the joy of love, friendship, and compassion and give it to all of you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Peace, Compassion and Authenticity

I wish to be authentic and mindful of people. I recognize that I am not always, and therefore apologize with full sincerity and acknowlege the pain that I have caused.

I was told the most hurtful thing that I have ever heard in my life today. I do not know if it was in reaction to any hurt that I myself have caused or because of something much larger. I will never know because I recognize that it is not my place to. I know that what was said is not true and I will practice compassion. I will also make sure to keep myself emotionally safe. I recognize the beauty within us all and love all beings who live with our earth.


Monday, July 23, 2007

The Tough Gal Look

I broke my wire rimmed glasses today. As they are made out of titanium I do not think they are solderable but I will experiment with glue. I took advantage of the opportunity to go to our local swanky eye glass store to see if they happened to still have the glasses that I saw there a year ago. When I put them on I felt like a tough early feminist like Emma here. I could really develop my act with a pair of glasses like these. Maybe I would even get another threatening letter like I did last week! (Oh yes, by the way, I was told that I was going to hell FOREVER last week. No biggy, it means that I am doing my job :) ) Unfortunately, the glasses were no longer at the store and none of the others seemed quite right. I am determined to look like a tough gal now and will just have to wear my fun red glasses until the perfect serious wire rims come along.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Life is...

Life is

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Song On the End of the World

I am taking an online writing class. It is self-paced and the first lesson is about poetry. It has taken me months to start my assignments. This may seem odd to some because I love reading and writing but poetry scares me. It is the purest most essential form of writing. When I read poetry, I savour it. Speaking the words outloud as they form images, sensations, thoughts, and impressions. How could I ever create such eloquence? Any attempt almost seems sacreligious as I have always felt clumsy with words.

But now the time has come to start working on my assignments and reading what the professor assigns instead of what I feel like reading. I was very struck by this poem by Czeslaw Milosz:

A Song On the End of the World

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he's much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Nice Visit

I'm pretty tired and I go back to work tomorrow. Luckily, it will be a busy day.

It's been nice spending time with my father despite the fact that I would be lying if I said that it was always easy. I had not realized how used I have become to being by myself and am not used to having someone around me all of the time. I snapped at him a few times which I feel bad about and told him so. He asks alot of questions: "How do you do this?," ""Why is this called this?," "Where is this?" I am not used to him asking so many questions. I am used to him being my father and being in control; but as we both grow older, the relationship changes as well. Sometimes, his questions remind me of those of his grandchild or mine when I was young. Perhaps this is in part why I snapped. His growing older scares me.
This made me even more determined to make sure that he enjoyed himself. It was nice that he visited when it wasn't freezing out and we could do more things outside. In addition to our bike ride, we went and visited my favorite park in full bloom and went kayaking in a beautiful nearby lake. This afternoon, we sat at the kitchen table and became creative. Dad made photo postcards of his trip for his grandchildren and I made him a small photo album of photos from his trip. It was a nice way to end the day.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Perfect Sunday Outing

Well, I made the big guy very happy today. I took my father to an old railroad line that has been converted into a 14 mile low grade downhill bicycle trail that goes through tunnels and over trestles. It was cloudy today, not as hot, and when I was getting grumpy about stopping at every single historical marker and descriptive plaque, I just had to look over at the smile on my father's face to know that I had picked the perfect Sunday outing. The mountains were amazingly beautiful too. I must make a point to come hiking, maybe even camping, out here sometime this summer.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Hot Saturday

My father is visiting me this weekend. It is scorching hot. I joked that he always manages to come to visit during extreme temperatures- cold in winter and hot in summer. We walked down to the farmer's market and passed by the railroad tracks on the way back. My father is a train buff even though I seemed to be taking most of the photos. The flowers that my sweet father bought me at the market were wilting by the time we made it home.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It has been a year...

It has been a year since the country of my childhood once again experienced war.

My determination to create the possibility of peace, happiness, love, and limitless inspiration will remain strong despite momentary lapses into sadness. I believe in peace. I believe in love. I believe in happiness. And I will do everything in my power to inspire
others with this belief.
We can erase the word ______ from our vocabularies and hence from our thoughts and our actions!
affirm life.
affirm life.
we got to carry each other now.
you are either with life, or against it.
affirm life.
Suheir Hammad

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm Home!

For good or for worse, I'm home!

One of my dear coworkers picked me up from the airport and dropped me off at home 10 minutes later.
Snuggled up with Maya in my arms for what I thought would be five minutes and ended up being an hour, awakening to a phone call from a former coworker asking how my trip was.
Went to work and caught up with all of my coworkers that I hold dear, sharing the books I found when I wandered into Elliott Bay Book Company for a delightful two hours.
It's the best bookstore I have found in Seattle so far.
So many international titles.
My coworkers could relate to my purchases: Audre Lorde's Zami, Zaatar Diva by Suheir Hammad, a book to help you practice Gandhi's philosophy, and a book on grassroots organizations making social change.
I love my coworkers.

It wasn't until after I left work and was wandering around the grocery store stocking up on staples that I got a little depressed.
Is this is what my life is about?
Wandering around grocery store aisles alone at 7:00 pm at night?
"Who I am is happiness," "Who I am is happiness," I said to myself as I tried to get the depressing interior monologue to cease.
Cuddling with my dearest always helps;
which is what I did when I got home.
Listened to A.'s son, an innate drum player, his father is an Afrobrazilian percussionist after all.

Later, stared at my bookshelves full of books and miscellaneous "supplies."

Journals dating all the way back to 1992.
New Orleans, Illinois, South Texas, Guatemala, New York City, Houston, and Washington State.
Oh yes, and a short excursion to Lebanon.

It's all there within these pages.

Why have I kept journals all of these years?
I have no idea.
What will I do with them all?
I have no idea.
This is who I am: Peace, Limitless Inspiration, Love, and Happiness.
And it is all recorded in a series of journals.

A New Possibility

I created a second realm of possibility for myself and others tonight. I wanted to make sure to post it in here on my blog so that I continue to live my life by it. For some reason, I feel that posting it will make me stick to it.

Who I am is the possibility of love, limitless creativity, peace, and happiness.

The act that I am giving up is that I don't fit in.

And this is who I am!

The "happiness" part was hard for me to include. I have a tendency to be more concerned about other people's happiness than my own. And to be completely truthful, I have not been happy. But that was the past and now we are in the present and I am going to be happy, daggit!!! :)

The "don't fit in" part is also important. I find myself living in places where I do not fit in. I do this to myself and it needs to stop.

Now I must get some sleep. . .

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My Act

I am finally sitting down to write about my weekend. The Landmark Advanced Course that I participated in this weekend was from 10:00 a.m. to midnight Friday through Sunday. There will also be an evening session this Tuesday night. Instead of going back home, I took two days off and stayed in Seattle. I thought that I would be less drained than I was last month when I took the first course, which was called the Landmark Forum, but it was the other way around. This is the one that allowed me to see some parts of myself that I did not entirely like.

The first two days were mildly insightful. I worked on different aspects of myself and spent a good deal of time listening as attentively as possible to others. This was one of the things that I like most about Landmark, that I interact with people with whom I do not usually have the opportunity to interact. For instance, I have no doubt that even though the workshop took place in Seattle there were at least a few Bush supporters and far right fundamentalist Christians in the room. Not that we ever talked about politics, just how we wanted to be more authentic with ourselves, our loved ones, and all of those around us. At this level, we all have the same concerns.

It was not until the third day that I saw myself in full action, acts and all. I think it is interesting that my act surfaced on the third day when everyone else was getting comfortable and true community started developing. I have noticed in other group circumstances that this is the time that I start getting uncomfortable. What I am seeing is that when groups start truly bonding and individuals start taking on roles within groups, I start reacting with my act,"I am a know it all and I can take care of myself." Perhaps this is in reaction to being afraid to be left out or that I will somehow lose my identity within this group structure. I'm not quite sure.

And so, each one of us had to go to the front of the room and create a possibility that we were going to embody in the world and an act that we were going to give up. When my turn came, I said:

"Who I am is the possibility of creative inspiration, interconnectedness, and nonviolence. The act I am giving up is I can take care of myself. And this is who I am."

The instructor asked me to find another word instead of "nonviolence" as its meaning is derived from being the "non" of something else. I was adamant and rather self-righteous about wanting to keep it. You could even argue that I was being violent with my words. I could think of no other word that had the same meaning and that encompassed actions, language, and thoughts. Plus, no male was going to tell me what to do. The instructor asked me why I was angry and in typical Margaret fashion my response was, "I am not angry," using the almost exact same tone that I had used when I had said "I can take care of myself."

The instructor kept on asking me why I was so angry and then finally I said, "Fine, I'll tell you." I do not even know what I said exactly but I was on a roll about poverty, priviledge, classism, racism, sexism, the blinders that people wear over their eyes,... I almost started crying when I said that I was sick and tired of seeing war, that I had seen it all of my life, that the country that I grew up in was still going through war, and that I WAS PISSED OFF!

The instructor acknowledged me and shared that he often felt overwhelmed too. Slowly he was able to help me see that the purpose of our sharing and our ceremony was an opportunity to create a new possibility for the future, one that did not need to contain any of the negative aspects of the past. He reminded me and the group that my reaction, my anger was exactly what happens when we create binaries. Do I really want to bring such negativity into my future or did I want to create a world where the concept of violence did not even exist? Seeing that the day before I had been daydreaming about taking a thick black sharpie and blacking out the word "violence" from as many dictionaries as I could find, the choice was obvious. I would have to come up with another word.

Finally, with much coaching, I came up with this:

Who I am is the possibility of creative inspiration, interconnectedness, true love and respect for each other and our dear earth.

What I am is giving up is that I can do it by myself (notice the change of wording here.)

And this is who I am.

This is a good place to end for now.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


It is late and I just got home from the second long day of my Landmark Advanced Course. I have so much to sleep on tonight. I will make sure to write about what I am experiencing on Monday, or Tuesday, when we have a two-day break.

In the mean time, I received feedback from one person that my previous post made them angry. If you had any reactions to it, I encourage you to make a comment. I posted the quotes because they made me uncomfortable as well.

I firmly believe that is often important to go where we feel uncomfortable and look at why we feel this way. I will also make a point to explain more why these quotes made me uncomfortable and why I felt that they were important enough to post, just not tonight. Monday, or Tuesday.

In Peace,

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Discovery on this Day of Freedom

A perfect day for me is what today was. A day in which I stay in my sleeping apparel until late afternoon, eventhough I have been up since the morning reading.

A day of discovery. What a perfect way to spend this supposed day of freedom.

A photograph of Aaron Rose's Sun and Cloud series is to the right. I randomly pulled a book of his photographs from the public library shelf last night on my way home. I am not quite sure how he creates his photographs. That is part of the mystery. They remind me of some of the pinhole images B. and I once created. The truth is, all of Aaron Rose's photographs make me think of B.

Then more of Rebecca Solnit's Hope in the Dark. Tonight's quote is from the Fourth Declaration of the Lacondon Jungle, January 1, 1996:

A new lie is being sold to us as history. The lie of the defeat of hope, the lie of the defeat of dignity, the lie of the defeat of humanity ... In place of humanity, they offer us the stock market index. In place of dignity, they offer us the globalization of misery. In place of hope, they offer us emptiness. In place of life, they offer us an International of Terror. Against the International of Terror that neoliberalism represents, we must raise an International of Hope. Unity beyond borders, languages, colors, cultures, sexes, strategies and thoughts, of all those who prefer a living humanity. The International of Hope. Not the bureaucracy of hope, not an image inverse to, and thus similar to, what is annihilating us. Not power with a new sign or new clothes. A flower, yes, the flower of hope (pp. 30-40).

I can hear fireworks going off outside. One of my friends stopped by to see if I wanted to watch them. She doesn't know me well enough to know that I don't enjoy fireworks. For me they are a contradiction. Sure, they are beautiful to look at. But the sound of them. They sound like bombs to me. How can one celebrate while listening to the sound of death and destruction?

Before settling in to write this post, I went to a party with fun bluegrass and delicious fish soup. The soup was hot and so was the late afternoon. Perspiration flowed from my scalp as I ate and ate.

I put my finished bowl in the sink and noticed the latest edition of adbusters on the counter. I was with A. when she bought it. Despite the bluegrass, I wasn't feeling all that social. Jazz and Jihad: the Discourse of Solidarity by Gilad Atzmon drew me in. While others socialized, I sat on the front porch and read.

Gilad Atzmon is Israeli but very critical of the "Ziocons" as he calls the Israeli state. He likens the history of resistance that formed jazz to the Jihad, "To be a jazz musician is to fight for beauty, to create and recreate, to construct and deconstruct, to question while knowing that answers may not be available for awhile."

And before I leave you with a YouTube video of Gilad Atzmon playing in Jenin, I must share one more quote. I encourage you to reflect upon all of these quotes as I do, going back to them over and over again...

Alternatively I would suggest that to support the other means to accept otherness, to accept that which you may never grasp. To accept otherness is to let in the unknown and the unfamiliar. To support Palestine is to back the Hamas and to support Iraq is to back the Iraqui resistance and liberation struggle. Simply speaking, to show solidarity is to support and accept other people and their will.

I considered cutting this quote before the mentioning of Hamas but I could not because Atzmon has a point. Last year, the U.S. supported democratic elections in Palestine and then was unhappy with the results. I am not even sure how I feel given the recent violent overtaking of Hamas in Gaza. Despite my feelings, I must acknolwledge that there is a reason why Hamas, Hizbollah, the Iraqui resistance,... exist and to ignore listening to this reason will only deepen the chasm of political chaos that is occurring in a part of the world that I hold dear.

And now, as I promised, some jazz by Gilad Atzmon. Relax and enjoy for it is 6 minutes long. If you haven't been watching my YouTube additions, I recommend that you do. I am very selective and so the ones that I pick are thought provoking and inspiring, to me at least.

Practice freedom, however you can.


Is America Great?

Via quakerdave, I found a thoughtful essay by Leonard Pitts, "Can Ideals Save America?" It's worth reading.

July 4th

Today is July 4th. In the United States, this translates to Independence Day. I tend to be careful about who I am around and what I say on holidays. My poor dear father, for instance, likes to enjoy holidays and my opinions and thoughts about every holiday make him roll his eyes. But this is my blog and so I am free to cause eye rolling. In fact, I would love it!

July 4th is a holiday founded on the false belief that every one in the United States is free and independent. In fact, it was a small group of elite white men or as bell hooks would say members of the "white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy" who declared their independence this day in 1776 and the rest of us women, people of color, low-income, queer, mentally and physically disabled... have been struggling for rights ever since.

The red, white, and blue of U.S. flags are everpresent in my country this day as they were every day from 9/11/2001 until about last year when it finally started to become popular and acceptable to speak out against the war in Iraq. I have already written an entry about my thoughts on patriotism and flags but these colors stir up so many thoughts and feelings in me that I can always say more.

Last night, I received a thoughtful e-mail from my friend B.. Knowing that I struggle with this holiday, he wanted to let me know that July 4th is also International Flag Burning Day, an anarchist holiday where everyone is encouraged to burn the flag that they love the most. I don't think this cheered me up as he thought it would.

For one, the U.S. flag is not the flag I love most. In fact, I don't even like flags. Flags encourage people to follow their country's leaders blindly and give people permission to commit impardonable acts. Flags also encourage people to put all of their thoughts and feelings towards a country, a nation and its people into a symbol. Can a piece of cloth really do all this? No, but humans seem to do it anyway. It's much easier to follow a visual symbol than it is to define what the symbol signifies to you.

And secondly, burning is destructive and violent. I would rather just get rid of the image of the flag entirely and create a set of values for myself and my country, values that we actually strive to live by every day. If you need a flag, you could write the following words on simple pieces of unbleached muslin:





Respect for Difference



and a big X through Empire.

Monday, July 02, 2007

More on Hope

Blind hope faces a blank wall waiting for a door in it to open. Doors might be nearby, but blind hope keeps you from locating them; in this geography, despair can be fruitful, can turn you away from the wall, saying NO to deprivation. And this despair in one institution or one site can lead to the location of alternatives, to the quest for doors, or to their creation. The great liberation movements hacked doorways into walls, or the walls came tumbling down. In this way, despair and hope are linked.
-Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark, pp 13-14.
Photo "Interventions Urbaines Colorees" by Roxana Zegan found via dear ada.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I started a new book today, a book I came upon purely by chance.
After visiting a colleague, I found myself entering my local independent bookstore. Afterall, I was only two blocks away. I had read a forward by Rebecca Solnit and was left with an impression (not to mention the fact that she writes for one of the magazines with the most substance, Orion.)

Hope in the Dark appeared before me and I just had to read it. The bookstore manager and I joked about how it was a good thing for her at least that I was such a bibliophile.

Rebecca Solnit is definitely well read and what truly impresses me is that she is an activist. An activist who is not afraid to make a stand for what she believes in. Besides, she is hopeful. She looks at what has been accomplished by protesting and standing up for what one believes in rather than looking at what still has not been accomplished.

My way of reading books is to savour them. I read a chapter or two and then go off and do something else, reflecting while I am away. Today I am baking bread.

I underline as I go and often copy down what I underline into my journal before proceeding to a new chapter. My blog will be my journal today- a series of quotes:

Causes and effects assume history marches forward, but history is not an army. It is a crab scuttling sideways, a drip of soft water wearing away stone, an earthquake breaking centuries of tension (p. 4).

The future is dark, with a darkness as much of the womb as of the grave (p. 6).

Hope is hope against the evidence. Hope arises in a break with the past. There is a kind of cut and the past is let go of. There is a difference between simple expectation and hope. One could say 'because I see this is the way things are going, this is the way things have developed, I expect this to happen'; expectation is based on the pattern you see in the past.... I think that hope is a kind of birth - it doesn't come out of what went before, it comes out in spite of what went before. Abruptly there's a break and there's an upsurge of hope, something turned toward the future."

-Alphonso Lingis

This reminds me alot of what they were saying at Landmark. You can let go of your past and all of those voices inside you that tell you the way it is and create your own future based on the way you envision your and the world's future unhindered by what has previously happened in the past.

And lastly, "Inside the word emergency is emerge; from an emergency new things come forth. The old certainties are crumbling fast, but danger and possibility are sisters (p. 12).

There is a bright side to everything, I hope.