Showing posts from October, 2020

Verbs These Days

Am I “between,” or am I “in transition”?*   “Between” feels stuck. “In transition” implies movement, but that movement feels passive.   What I need is a good verb. “Transit,” per the dictionary, is both a noun and a verb but it feels very noun-ish.   What are more-active options?   Walk (trudge, shuffle, stride, dance).   Work                 (revise, edit, summarize, write)                 (ask, pitch, request, send)                 (stew, saute, braise, bake)                 (wipe, wash, sanitize, restore).   Wait                     (recognize, acknowledge, celebrate, enjoy)                     (breathe, rest, regroup, nourish).   Turn (look, orient, lean, commit).   Walk. Work. Wait. Turn. Repeat. And, throughout: Hope (dream, yearn, hanker, aspire). ________ * by “I,” I mean “we,” as in "you and me," as in “the world.” We’re sharing a pandemic, political uncertainty, and a climate crisis. We could all use some good verbs.     

Citizenship and Action

Last week, I wrote about pre-ordering books as an act of literary citizenship . I'm not nuts about that term, citizenship, because it situates some people "in," with experiences and voices that are somehow more "worthy" or "legitimate," and others "out," and thus "unimportant" or "irrelevant."   So I think more about literary community. And most of the time, I'm not in the big middle of the community. I'm the one hanging back by the snack table, trying to figure out how people on the dance floor get over themselves to have fun in public. Pre-pandemic, of course. The other thing about citizenship is that it brings a set of activities--approved and expected, or less so. Which is neither a pro or con of the concept of citizenship, just a fact.   So. I've just finished a couple of projects, and while working on them, I told myself about other problems, "I'll think about that after the deadlines."  Now

Citizenship and Pre-Ordering

In this Year of the Weird, I'm coming to understand that pre-ordering can be a significant act of literary citizenship.  Side note:  Here's a link to others' thoughts about the definition and meaning of the term "literary citizenship ." To me, being a good literary citizen is to contribute, in a positive way, to a community to which I also belong--in this case, the community that writes and reads books. And attempting to contribute as much as I benefit. An effort which, I gotta say, in this community, is difficult. Because books! I like books, and I read a lot of books. I have thoughts about them, and sometimes I write about books and those thoughts here. I rarely, if ever, review books--review meaning either "five stars" recommendations or engaged, contextualized criticism worthy of the academy.  Part of the reason I'm circumspect is that I often like books that others don't, for reasons others don't. I also don't like books that others

Recommended: Podcasts to Learn By

Last week I wrote about some of the Mattie Rigsbees I have known, and how Me and White Supremacy , by Layla F. Saad, has helped give me tools to see them with clearer eyes. You can read that here.   This is a Manitoba Maple I saw while walking and listening to an episode of It Was Said. I goofed around with editing tools on my iPhone. I have so much to learn about anti-racism. Besides reading, I'm listening.   Here are some podcasts I recommend, if you're interested in learning but feel as if you can't read all the things. Links are to web pages or Apple Podcasts. Note that although much of the content focuses on the US, Canada shares a great deal of its history and attitudes. 1619, by The New York Times . Also, this article in Politico about fact-checking the podcast is interesting. Here's a quote from the article:  Overall, the 1619 Project is a much-needed corrective to the blindly celebratory histories that once dominated our understanding of the past—histories that

The Mixed Pleasures of Rereading with New(er) Eyes

Sometimes a book—or a series of books, or a cultural shift—comes along that causes lasting change.    In the past five years, I’ve been part of many conversations about cultural appropriation, creativity, and Indigenous visibility. In the past four or five months, conversations around Blackness in North America have increased in frequency and intensity.   It’s come to a head, recently. I’ve spent the past month reading and working through Me and White Supremacy , by Layla F. Saad. It’s been intense. I may be able to speak about the experience coherently in the future.   For now, I want to talk about a recent re-reading experience, of a different book.   +++++   One of my favourite Book Groups (as they’re known in the US; Canadians don’t seem to mind saying “book club”) meets electronically. It’s small, just two of us. We used to be in groups together in Colorado, before we both moved.   One of our books back in the day was Walking Across Egypt , by Clyde Edgert