Pages 60 to 70 are some of the best consecutive pages I have read in a long time as they situate the circumstances of what is unknown and what is being grasped to become known and familiar.
The personal transformation that arrives through day after day of dedication and not being dissuaded by a dearth of the right materials nor by the lack of skills or absence of familiarity. But the affirmation and realizations that come with continuing to be, do, and become.
The escalation of the story builds my anticipation and the end of a chapter has me feeling giddy, as I recall the euphoria of childhood and boyhood and being able to rise to some new level that has been unreachable in prior days.
The sentences are beautiful how they carry the feelings, the tastes, the smells and the sounds coming from inside his body, the impacts of his body with the ice and the air and the sun and the routines at dusk and nighttime culminating in abilities that come from continuously being imperfect yet persistent.
How there is joy inside in spite of the most horrendous set up.
These are some of what I experience and ride in pages 60-70 of Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese.
My grandmother had always referred to the universe as the Great Mystery.
Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse, page 65.
“We need mystery. Creator in her wisdom knew this. Mystery fills us with awe and wonder. They are the foundations of humility, and humility, grandson, is the foundation of all learning. So we do not seek to unravel this. We honour it by letting it be that way forever.”
The transformation that comes from practice and doing the same tasks over and over for many days. The chores build strength and speed and competency. The isolation fosters individuation and delight at the ability to accomplish and notice the changes that come with being able to simply do and with time master at what was once impossible.
But, why is it so? she asked me.
Mortality. Their own. And the fears of things that they do not understand.
But that wasn’t right.
Later, I said, They are regretting having sold this land that they didn’t agree on. That she wanted to but he did not. Now they have sold it, we live here, and they wish that they had not.
Nor was that accurate. This was so much bigger than us with so many forces at play. We were moving through challenging obstacles in our lives in the midst of phenomena defining others’ lives that were insignificant to our own yet also featured minor ways that we would imprint on one another’s paths.
It’s that they are crackers. Yes, that was it.
Little more to it. Some false sense of entitlement, a delusional importance and some ill and mistaken notions of how you interact with others, not simply that we are a separate family but even what is appropriate and inappropriate for an adult when speaking with or reprimanding a child. They have repeatedly thought that they could have wishes for what would transpire in our lives, which they have amplified by giving voice to some of their opinions. Unwelcome and asinine opinions. Now that they’ve been rebuffed, they bristle and bicker and stir the pot of shit that they want to spread around.
And in the face of such shit spreading conduct, I could cower or attempt to manipulate my body to not get hit by their shit, as a number of other cowardly neighbors have done around the bullies, because the cowards cower in the face of their aggression. And this white woman uses her white woman fragility to push the buttons of men who spring into some misguided actions of attempting to protect. From what, they’re not too clear as they don’t recognize the very whiteness of their ways. They pretend to adhere to being colorblind not knowing that their social circles are heavily white and colorblindness has been unfashionable since 1998.
I was looking for an interview of/with Dorion Sagan revolving around Notes from the Holocene, which I’d borrowed from the library a few weeks ago. I have yet to read a page, though sometimes these internet-parallel searches offer just enough carrot to lead me to open a book tomorrow. So, for Dorion, there is tomorrow.
I cannot recall how I came to learn about Dorion Sagan though it was following the reading about his mother, Lynn Margulis.
Not finding any interview, I did encounter a summary and review of the Powell’s bookstore website that included these 12 questions lifted from the book:
- Why does life exist?
- Why do we drink water?
- Can we save the Earth from global warming?
- Are human beings central and special?
- Is it possible that we’ve arisen by pure chance?
- Is the Earth an organism?
- Are we part of it’s exo-brain?
- if it is alive, can it reproduce?
- Can the universe?
- What does the future hold in store for us?
- Does God exist?
- What is the nature of ultimate reality?
Earlier tonight, I spent 10 minutes flipping through pages of the online encyclopedia better known as Wikipedia where I read about: the Holocene, the Pleistocene, the Meghalayan stage and the caves of Meghalaya, the Younger Dryas, regolith, and the Mid Pleistocene Transition or Mid Pleistocene Revolution.
All of this after the weekend’s atmospheric events surrounding the Hunga Tonga Volcano that was somehow heard in Alaska (5,000 miles across the Pacific) and initiated some 70,000 lightning bolts in some short span of time (maybe 60 minutes) where there were 15 lightnings per second and seemingly 1/50th the severity of the 1991 explosion of Mount Pinatubo.
I read decades ago that something along the lines of, “the universe is so big, human brains are so small” was attributed to Osho.
How are the children?
Listening to the stories of genocide, savagery, the incomprehensible behavior of whites that litter through history.
Last week, the children listened to the news detailing the research in Kamloops/Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc that revealed that 215 children were buried in a mass grave.
That wasn’t a school. It was a prison.
That wasn’t a residential school. It was an assimilation hall.
A few days prior to the stories out of British Columbia, I had picked up:
- I Am Not a Number (Second Story Press, 2016)
- Little Bird #1, by Darcy van Poelgeest (Image Comics, 2019)
The week prior, we were exposed to the language of lies wrapped inside a tone of cunning deception that qualified the officials who kidnapped and stole indigenous children as “nice” and the act of forcibly relocating children as “tricked” with stories of nourishing meals.
Lies perpetuated through decades and centuries, repeated in news accounts, embellished in children’s books upholding the sanctity of white colonizers, refraining from mentioning the horrors of abusers and authorities.
We are undertaking a vast experiment in the days and years and decades that we are alive.
As creatures of habit, we are forever attempting new ways to structure guarantees into life. This is a tricky choice and an attempt to bring greater assuredness into the daily experiences and relationships that defies the essence of being alive in an unknown and unpredictable world. Despite all the messages and signals that we have been told, we do not know what to do in order to know what lies ahead. This we cannot know. Entire lifestyles have been created to offer predictability and a greater perception of knowing what will happen. But we cannot know what will happen; we may know what can happen but are not the entire determinant of whether something will happen as we imagine it to be.
In the midst of all this not knowing, there is concern, anxiety, confusion, and a strong pull to be in control. Control is a fiction where we believe that only one factor, or a few factors, determine an outcome. Control has a confident, brash ego that tells itself and others that it is all that matters; it is unclear whether Control actually knows otherwise, or genuinely believes in its perceived superiority than any (and all) other factor.
Immersed in the lie of Control, I settle into Faith. Faith that there are many factors and divergent forces swimming amongst one another. Similar to the choppy, erratic movement of Brownian’s Motion that I learned if in Form 4 Physics. Fast moving but not in a single direction, so much force. Much uncontrolled force. Uncontrollable.
Faith that there are much greater forces than humans alone and all of humankind on this Earth. Faith in the dogged resilience that fosters life, spawns evolution, encourages experimenting, and embraces change when it happens. Faith that there is much more happening than I can see with mine eyes, hear with my ears, taste, and sense in all ways. Faith in tiny, miniscule, microorganisms of force and Faith in profound, vast ecosystems that harmonize air, earth, water, and fire.
May 2015. Today is Mike Brown’s 19th birthday. This I learned from the political education and relationships that I have benefitted from through the It Starts Today campaign that ends today on Mike Brown’s birthday. April 2005. Ten years ago, I was invited by John, Courtney, and Jamie to apply to join the Advisory Board at Resource Generation. I did so. I entered my first board meeting at the Walker Center in suburban Boston in a cohort of rookie board members along with Andrew, Ajita, Penny, and Meg. We were some kind of board Fab 5 heading into headwinds of organizational turbulence, interpersonal challenges, and divine breakthroughs that I could hardly fathom when I first walked through that doorway as board member. It was revolutionary to attend meetings where the culture was to introduce yourself by saying four things: Your name. The place you live. Your class identity. Your “PGP” (preferred gender pronoun). I’ve been more schooled in and on gender and sexuality from the colleagues, friends, comrades, and confidantes of RG than any Women & Gender Studies classes could have instilled. At the first RG conference that I attended (circa 2006), multiple RGers did not only talk about their inherited wealth but told stories of how they could trace their white families’ wealth all the way back to slavery. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. It rocked my world. And, I was hooked. RG gave me the tools, the political education, the camaraderie to be able to say that “my mom grew up in a working-class, white family” for the first time. I had never understood this, nor seen this facet of my family tree before being immersed in spaces that were explicit and unapologetic about class, classism, capitalism, and class dynamics. Not by being outwardly focused and waxing philosophical about class in society, but by being inwardly focused on families and the belief systems and biases that color my choices. I have been off of the board for just about four years and forever give thanks and have multiple, daily appreciations for the gifts that having been a board member at RG has bestowed upon me. Wisdom, love, patience, courage, trust in others (in their anxieties and their daring feats and so much more), impatience, humility, a yearning to tell stories and write blog posts among them. And ask others questions so they will write their blog posts and tell different versions of their stories. Today, I honor the life, the premature death, and the legacy of Mike Brown and all the people of Ferguson, Missouri. As one more name, place, and episode in the long legacy of lynching and the addiction to violence that discolor the US Constitution. I had not known the name of Ferguson before last summer. The people and popular outrage of Ferguson compelled me to figure out how I could act where I was and with those people that I already knew. To inquire who were the small group of people that I could band together with in such a nauseating, perplexing, horrifying time. If you’ve got some change in your pocket, some discretionary dollars in your bank account then go and invest in Black liberation, in Black leadership, and in Black dignity. By investing in Blacks in America, we are investing in all humankind. Thanks, yall. And, praise Jesus that I’ve learned to see that those who believe in freedom are of all races, of all classes, of all nationalities. And, I will continue to seek out those who believe in freedom and civil disobedience.
What I heard and remembered to take notes on in Week Two of Fast Flash Fiction at the Santa Fe Community College were. Much of last night’s class was about editing one another’s work and what else to remember as I re-read and revise my own stories. Number 3-6 are cited from a handout given (citation needed):
- Anticipation | Hold someone on the edge of their seat until they are almost impatient.
- Beautiful moments | “I take out beautiful moments in each piece.”
- Personify objects/emotions | in ways that the reader won’t expect.
- Unfamiliar similes | will jump out at readers in positive ways.
- Conflicting images | take what readers expect in a character and turn it upside down by choosing conflicting images.
- Metaphors | are often what can propel or kill a story.
- Surreal | make it work.
- Stick to your core | “[There are] parts of your piece that you are going to hold onto with dear life. You have to remember that your voice is your voice.”
There were also a few quotes that resonated:
You want every paragraph to matter.
I create stories from what I remember in childhood, and change the ending.
Use adverbs sparingly. I love adjectives.
I began my first writing class last week. The title is Fast Flash Fiction is a six-week course taught by Meg Tuite at Santa Fe Community College. Tuite, the instructor, cusses, inspires, and tells stories with plenty of tangents like thet legions of great storytellers that I know.
Tuite dispensed multiple dosages of simple truths in writing on the first night:
1) Read it out loud.
2) Keep your core.
3) Get it out | “I am not sure that I’ll call it vomit. Maybe, pink vomit.”
4) Deadlines are good.
5) Every page matters | in flash fiction where we have to condense our work.
6) Start thinking about the senses.
7) Brevity and ambiguity | These are essential in flash fiction, leaving the reader wanting to know more, to be taken along.
8) Gamble. That is where your voice is.
A couple of other choice moments were:
– “I get a lot of people published. Because you work hard in this class.”
– “Write about something that you are close to. Emotionally invested. Risk, risk, risk. The most exciting part of life –> getting close [to something].”
Lastly, there are three, simple questions to guide the workshopping and feedback shared with classmates are:
What do you love?
What makes sense?
What is confusing?