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.


Carol Gee said...

Great post, Margaret. I like the part about the advantages of joining activism and an optimistic nature. What is deadly for an activist is to lose hope that something different can happen.

BTW, I can almost smell the bread. Ummmm!

Lingual X said...

I love Rebecca Solnit's work. She's been featured on the Poets Against War site. I highly recommend all of her work.

Myrthe said...

This is the book you mentioned on my blog, isn't it? I will definitely see if I can find it (well, not in Armenia, that's for sure!) as it does seem very interesting. It's on my reading list as of now! Thanks for reminding me!

margaret said...

Do you want me to try to send it to you, Myrthe???
Yes, I am up rather late my time. Oh well, it's Saturday, I mean Sunday here. Let me know if you want me to try to send you a copy. it wouldn't be a bother at all. :)

Myrthe said...

Margaret, that would be absolutely wonderful!!! Instead of sending it to Armenia (where it might disappear somewhere along the way - I don't particularly trust the Armenian mail service), I can give you my parents' address in Holland to send it to. They will be visiting me in September or else I will be in Holland in a couple of months. If you want, please send me an email. The email-address is in the sidebar of my blog.

margaret said...

I will e-mail you then.