Even in COVID times, the act of checking out a library book is delightful. We could not go inside the local branch. Instead I wrote a few authors and titles on the back of scrap paper that I handed to the librarian as one child walked through the grass and another rode a bicycle back and forth. We waited on the personalized attention as the librarian walked through the stacks pulling the books that we listed. And I saw one more sitting on top of the shelves nearest the door and asked if we could have that cat going cross country (skiing?), too.
Library books and lending are endless gifts of infinite curiosity. For a few years, I have searched for “publisher: Enchanted Lion” and a few series like Mercy Watson [“the porcine wonder”] by Kate DiCamillo, Dodswortb and Duck by Tim Egan, King and Kayla by Dori Hillestad Butler and the Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem. I’ve read multiple books (approximately 24 different titles) by these four authors more than 200 in the last three years.
Yesterday’s haul included a few Mercy Watson stories along with books on whales, other marine life and volcanos. It was most special because they were the first library books that we checked out in three months — the longest stretch of not borrowing books in five years.
Now we are back at it in a new library system with no limit on the number of books that we can borrow. But a system that does have late fees, so hopefully I will be more diligent about returning borrowed materials back on time. Better than I was 15 and 20 years ago, when I’d incur late fees but it was paying $.10 a day per book to the libraries and though I never saw the budgets of the library, I never had remorse about paying fees that paid for such a renowned institution.
Pablo Larios interviews Yvette Mutumba about decolonization and she rattled off a list of twelve with the most fabulous prelude that I’ve ever read:
What follows only begins to touch on a matter of decades of thinking, working, experiencing, talking and growing.
As for the 12 definitions of decolonization:
> that I will not do the job of those sitting inside institutions and organizations that are predominantly white
> conversations which create serious exchange, but also discomfort, maybe even pain, on the other side of the table.
> having to sit with that discomfort.
> understanding that decolonization is not a matter of ‘us’ and ‘them’, but concerns all of us.
> acknowledging that this is not a current moment or trend.
> not necessarily being political, but no choice to not be political.
> admitting that having grown up in a racist structure is no excuse.
> transparency from the institutional side.
> stepping back and making space.
> creating safe spaces.
> changing structures as much as building new structures
What i have noticed, and what i identify within myself. If i do not note it, then does it exist?
1. 20 minutes of a.m. cleanup
2. 2 glasses of water when waking up
4. writing 3 pages of morning pages
5. sleep (as integration)
6. spending time outdoors, in the sun, prior to noon
7. drinking multiple cups of coffee, with soy milk or half-half but no sugar
8. gardening, weeding, watering, germinating
9. washing dishes rather than using the dishwasher
11. list building as a way of dreaming
12. reading on the internet, more words per day than ever in my life
Baltimore, Philly and Greensboro just aint the same after reading Octavia Butler’s science fiction on time traveling into slavery. Kindred — first published in 1997. First picked up by me in mid-August 2010.
I’ve trampled over history this summer of 2010. Looked at leaves swaying along the interstate south of Philadelphia. Seen Black youth, Black families and Black communities with new eyes. New eyes cast having read about the slave trade, migration routes, escape routes, and movement of commerce.
I sat in a branch of the Durham Public Library, pulling books edited by Ishmael Reed and Member of the Club, a collection of articles written by Lawrence Otis Graham. Slavery doesn’t look the same now that it sits on the other side of the wall. A wall capable of taking my arm off, as it did to Dana/Edana in Kindred.
Atrocities of commerce. Or was it genocide borne of commerce, in visiting Colorado’s Camp Amache and Sand Creek Massacre. According to the War Department, Amache was called the Granada War Relocation Center.
All this, for a mulatto in miscegenation nation.