Tag Archives: survival

Day 68

Rereading writing from my teaching notebook this afternoon. Themes emerge. Below are three excerpts.

But first, some wisdom from Annie Dillard’s “The Writing Life.”

She advocates writing about what most interests us, possibly a thing no one else could write but us. She counsels, like Jude does actually, to give it all away.

Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?

I’m not suggesting the paragraphs below meet that level of urgency but here they are anyway.

2/20 Prompt: something about Going Big

In the fraught days between impeachment and acquittal, women in black hold large letters spelling REMOVE TRUMP, protesting in silence because otherwise they might be arrested. They walk in repetitive loops as if enacting a strange monastic ritual or like an orderly colony of ants, because to be still, they’re told, is an impermissible barricade of the Senate halls and could also result in arrest.

The darkest hour might be before the dawn, but it’s also true that things die. Even Republics.

Heroes come, rise up, and are crucified, goes one story. Now all my heroines shout and shout again: “NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE YOU. There is only us.”

On good days, this inspires. On bad days, a silent and sour question emerges: “Oh yeah? And what are WE going to do?”

2/20 Prompt: “Finally, you wonder, why does Gaia tolerate all this?”

How quickly we run into our obstinate, unyielding consumptive need! Maybe Gaia, being a goddess and all, doesn’t care if we make it as a species. Maybe Gaia doesn’t care if earth remains livable for human beings, either.

That’s kind of like what Ram Dass said that time he shared the stage with someone calling herself a visionary Christian, someone passionately committed to our survival, to our waking up to the nature of our self-destruction. Correct course! Before it’s too late! Ram Dass sat there, so alive, so himself, and asked the question right out: “Why should I be invested in our survival? In one result over another?”

4/20 Prompt: speak as a part of the body — I chose spine

We prepare for darkness, the dust to dust part. Such preparations are not morbid. In fact, they are joyous. How lovely to breathe. How lovely to breathe knowing one day you will not. We crumble and compress on our way to the grave. Such is the way of all structures, not just skeletons, but empires and republics.

Did it ever occur to you that much of your daily agonies arise from wanting, desperately wanting, our Republic to survive?

A seed a finale

Collage month final prompt.* The “seed collage” here on the left is not a seed and not a collage either but there you have it. It’s the last page of the sketchbook.

It looks like a peaceful scene, a couple (perhaps the man has retired?) looking out over the ocean. It’s a place of repose, regeneration, and beauty. The couple comes here often in between doing other things and going other places.

So a big thank you to Acey for vibrant and energized leadership through a month of well-timed and created prompts. She made a nest we could all climb in and fly out of repeatedly. There was a lot of excitement, connection with others, and discovery.

I haven’t finished yet, though. You didn’t think I had, did you? Many blank pages remain in my sketchbook and many loosely laid images have yet to be glued. Stay tuned. Below are some of the pages I either glued up yesterday or hadn’t yet photographed.

This week I made some survival decisions: I shall resume a meditation practice. I shall get on my exercise bike frequently. I shall listen to new music (I felt unbearably OLD watching the Grammys this year).

And, as a starter activity, I resumed writing postcards. Right now: to Florida registered Dems to inform them that they can vote by mail. It’s easy, it’s concrete, and it might make a difference.

Go to postcardstovoters to sign up. There’s a little bit of a screening process mostly to do with handwriting and the ability to follow directions, but then it’s easy. I get addresses by texting.

Corrupt-genius just expanded the Muslim ban to six more countries. The first time he pulled this shit, lawyers flooded the airports. Protests broke out all over the country. I took part in a well-attended rally in Copley Square THE VERY NEXT DAY. And today?

Something like shell shock. One friend said she didn’t think she could feel worse than she did on Election Day but does. I get it.

One of the newly banned countries is Nigeria, the most populated country in Africa, aka a “shithole country.”

Given the catastrophic recent events and the worse events sure to follow, how do you plan to take care of yourself? What concrete steps will you be taking to get a Democrat in the WH come fall?

*

Acey’s Collage Month.

See also my Flickr album, SoulCollage, and the tags for SoulCollage and collage here on the blog.