Sunday, September 28, 2008

The First Presidential Debate 2008


I was in Seattle last week for a training, returning home on Friday. I happened to be in the Sea-Tac Airport during the First Presidential Debate 2008 and it was very hopeful to see so many people standing in front of the TV monitors watching it. If you missed the debate and prefer reading like me, the transcript can be found here. I am hoping that most Americans have the critical thinking skills to realize that Obama is the only choice. The debate was just further evidence. If you haven't registered to vote, you can do so here. And if you would like to volunteer for Obama's campaign, click here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Orion Magazine

Painting by Joy Garnett

I have not been feeling too well and have spent a good bit of the last twenty four hours in bed or curled up on the couch with a blanket, Maya, and the September/October 2008 issue of Orion Magazine.

I love this magazine because it takes a holistic approach to environmentalism by looking at social problems as well. It also includes great writing and visual arts. And, it fills me with possible solutions and hope which is not something I feel after listening to Democracy Now, for instance.

This issue includes a thoughtful essay by Terry Tempest Williams about her travels to Rwanda. I am in the middle of reading it and can say that Terry Tempest Williams has once again proved that she deserves the privilege of being one of my favorite writers. She is spiritual, mindful, respectful, and willing to walk into emotionally charged areas such as genocide.

There are so many good writers in this issue including Rebecca Solnit, Gretel Ehrlich, and Pico Iyer. I especially appreciated Pico Iyer's short response to climate change. His piece doesn't separate climate change from social issues such as the situation in Palestine. And he reminds us that transforming conflict and all forms of injustice must begin within ourselves. Here is a taste of the essay:

Our outer environment can only begin to be healed by our inner, and I’m not sure we can ever truly tend to our polluted waters, our shrinking forests, the madness we’ve loosed on the air until we begin to try to clean up the inner waters, and attend to the embattled wild spaces within us. Action without reflection is what got us into this mess in the first place, and the only answer is not action, but, first, clearer reflection. A peace treaty signed by men who are still territorial, jealous, or unquiet—Jerusalem tells me this—is not going to create any real peace at all. A commitment to the environment based only on what is outside of us forgets that the source of our problems—and solutions—is invisible, and that “nature” is a word we apply to what’s within as well as without.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

BARACK OBAMA


I have completely had it with the cynicism that people have expressed to me ever since Sarah Palin joined the race as Republican candidate for Vice President. I am sick of the e-mails with articles about how she is changing the race and the "I have more experience than Sarah Palin" groups on Facebook. People are actually beginning to lose hope that Obama will win. As far as I am concerned we progressives are feeding into a process of cynical criticism that we have been doing for over 8 years and it has to stop. The more time we talk about Palin, the more soundbites we contribute to her campaign and the less time we spend talking about a man who has the compassion to say that he too is the product of a teen pregnancy and that he will not judge.
This divisive banter has to stop and OBAMA knows it. That is why he doesn't contribute to it. Be proud Democrats. For the first time in a long while we have a candidate that we can believe in and that is changing the petty rhetoric of this political landscape. No matter if OBAMA wins or loses in November we will have shown the world that the United States can produce a diplomatic, respectful, compassionate, and real leader. And, yes, he's black. Embrace that too. If you worry that he can't win because of the color of his skin, you need to look at yourself and your own covert racism. I have just had it. I send out into the blogosphere the words that will help us be positive and forget all the cynical banter:
BARACK OBAMA will be our next president.
BARACK OBAMA
BARACK OBAMA
BARACK OBAMA

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Writing

This move has been all consuming. Both E. and I are hoping that we don't have to go about it again in a year. But we may have to. I don't know if its our age or the fact that we have just joined two separate living spaces into one that has made this move so much more taxing than any of those previous. And, I have done my share of moving. Trying to balance getting unpacked and settled with work, a sweetheart, and my need to create has been difficult.

Finally, last Monday I sat down and started writing. Well, looking at where I left off before the move would be more accurate. I did print off where I was with my short story assignment (I am still enrolled in an online creative writing class.) I took the very methodical approach of freewriting the story from a variety of narrative voices and settings. Now I am cutting and pasting them all into one. While the task meets my orderly, logical, and on the road to OCD approach to things, it lacks spontaneity and the writing I have produced from this technique has been just plain STIFF.

I gave up this evening in pure frustration. I want my writing to be fun even if I struggle with it from time to time or more realistically most of the time. I need to loosen up. Not expect perfection. Take some time to unpack boxes and get all of my photos on the wall. Read and read and read. Even though afterwards, I find that I want to emulate almost every voice I read. How much writing does a person have to do before they are actually any good? I know that there isn't any formula. It's all about a knack for writing in a way that makes sense to people and to yourself in a given time. And ego and drive to continue no matter what.

Experience the Divine