On Not Writing For A Minute


Friends! The lucky spell continues. I was fortunate enough to go take a hike on Wednesday with Ryan. A recurring joke from me along the trail: Can I borrow your internet phone to check Feministe comments?

But really, as much as I love spending upwards of 8 hours a day engrossed in writing and reading, it’s especially important at those times to be able to unplug, step away, and reconnect with life around me. (Thanks for that reminder, Wisdom 2.0.)

What a beautiful land I’m living in, and how grateful I am to be able to witness it.

me and ryan

Good Conversation

feministe screen grab

Phew — things have been busy over at Feministe!  In a good way.  A really good way.  Folks are asking really great questions and giving awesome insights.  If you head over to read my first 2 posts (here and here), definitely don’t miss the comment sections.

I did manage to take some time out this morning for a gorgeous hike with Ryan along a reservoir waterfall in Marin.  Didn’t take many photos (Too busy climbing endlessly!  Waterfalls are so tall!  Every few seconds we were both like, Uh, how much longer?), but if any of them turned out well, I’ll share them Friday.

Again, I’ll be pretty much wrapped up with the Feministe guest blogging for the next two weeks, so material here will be short and sweet.  But there’s always the archives, if you’re feeling curious!  ;)




ps: Thanks again to the regulars here who’ve come over and commented at Feministe!  Very kind of you.

Concert Colors

Didn’t get too much use out of my camera at the Erykah Badu / Janelle Monáe show last Friday, and I don’t do too well with low light, neither.  But with a little color editing, it works out — now we all match Erykah’s bright, bright stage.

concert crew
francis and eric
Francis and Eric
janelle monáe signing cd's
At the end of Janelle Monáe's set, she jumped off the stage and climbed over the rows of seating straight toward the back of the theater. I literally thought she was going to scale the balcony somehow. That woman has some energy.
francis with a flower in her hair
erykah on stage
Ms. Badu on stage

To be perfectly, perfectly honest, I felt a little disappointed by the show.  Something about the ricocheting between extremes of inscrutable coolness and raw vulnerability that didn’t do it for me.  But!  The audience was simply beautiful — all kind of folks, all ages, everyone warm and friendly and smiling.  I hadn’t been to a concert in a long time, and this one was a great opportunity to just walk around and take in the splendor of regular people.

In other news, my first post is up at Feministe!  I’m pretty excited.  Come check it out!

Badu In T Minus Seven Hours; Feministe In T Minus A Few More

Guess what?  This lucky bug is heading to an Erykah Badu show tonight in Oakland!  With Ryan, Cat, and a friend of Cat’s (and I’m guessing we’ll run into a whole bunch of folks at the Paramount).  And Janelle Monáe is opening.  Looking forward to some amazing artistry and musicianship, and also to some marvelous audience engagement skills. (Video description and lyrics below the fold.)

janelle monae poster
erykah tour poster

(Random Sidenote: In order to stay up past my bedtime, I may need to treat myself to a rare favorite beverage: fresh-brewed soy chai with a shot of espresso. When I was in high school, my crew’s nighttime haunt, True Love Coffeehouse, used to call this concoction a “Jostled Gandhi.”)

And guess what else?  Starting Monday, I’ll be guest-blogging for two whole weeks over at Feministe, a feminist news-media-and pop-culture group blog that I’ve been following for years now.  Even wrote part of my college thesis about them.  Exciting stuff!

feministe screen grab

Since I’ll be devoting a lot of time to composing posts for Feministe, there probably won’t be too much regular Kloncking happening here.  But I’ll cross-post everything I write, so please feel welcome — and warmly invited — to comment either here or there.

Have a wonderful weekend!  Take care, everyone.

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“We Are Real”: Violence, Colonialism, Human Suffering, and Reflections of Palestine and Israel in The Last King Of Scotland

amin-mightyAs you may have noticed if you’ve been hanging around here for any amount of time, I don’t talk much about current events.

Partly because this blog is mainly autobiographical — about my own lived experience — and I haven’t been involved in many “current events” lately. Also, news consumption has been extremely low for me in the past year — on purpose.

Despite my personal media fast, some major happenings (mostly US-centric) inevitably come to my attention. Oscar Grant’s murder. The bp oil spill. Arizona’s racist immigration law. The Gaza aid flotilla killings.

Still, when I am trying to talk about these issues, I don’t try to thoroughly research and analyze them the way I might have two or three years ago. Not that there’s anything wrong with research and analysis: both good and important. But here, for now, I’m focusing on deepening my understanding not of politics, per se, but of suffering. In order to understand suffering, it’s important to be aware of what’s happening around us — including politics and all the harm that’s constantly happening. But there’s more to it than that, I think.

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Friday Words From The Wise

Stuck right with me this week, these four:

Compassion is not about kindness.  Compassion is about awareness.

~Khandro Rinpoche

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Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.

~ Karl Marx

— — — — — — —

“But say a man does know.  He sees the world as it is and he looks back thousands of years to see how it all came about.  He watches the slow agglutination of capital and power and he sees its pinnacle today.  He sees America as a crazy house.  He sees how men have to rob their brothers in order to live.  He sees children starving and women working sixty hours a week to get to eat.  He sees a whole damn army of unemployed and billions of dollars and thousands of miles of land wasted.  He sees war coming.  He sees how when people suffer just so much they get mean and ugly and something dies in them.  But the main thing he sees is that the whole system of the world is built on a lie.  And although it’s as plain as the shining sun — the don’t-knows have lived with that lie so long they just can’t see it.”

~ Jake Blount, local madman, in Carson McCullers’ novel The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

— — — — — — —

When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet.

~Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron.

— — — — — — —

That’s all for now, friends. Take care; see you next week!

A Few More From Angel Island

Busy day today: accompanying a new friend, a Guatemalan woman with two kids, 7 and 13, to set up her CalWorks (food stamps, medical, and general assistance for people with children).  Then, my friend Lea is coming through SFO with a 10-hour layover, so we’ll get to hang out in the city a bit.  Won’t make it to Angel Island, so this post ain’t too topical, but I just thought I’d share some more of the photos from a couple weeks back.

Workin on a couple of longer pieces, too, so stay tuned.  Happy Wednesday!

Ryan’s Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

Honestly, I’m not sure I’d ever even tried carrot soup before Ryan cooked up this batch on Saturday.  If I have, its memory was totally and completely overshadowed by his gingery, sweet, spicy phenomenon-in-a-bowl.

How can a simple mixture of onions, olive oil, broth, carrots, ginger, cayenne, and cilantro wind up tasting like all the good things of the world combined?  (Then again, that might just be an effect that all super-delicious foods have on me.  I said the same thing about my friend Cat’s organic honey one time — that it tasted like chocolate and the sea and all earthly deliciousness.)

All I can say is: Yum, people. Yum.

Happy Monday!

Vintage Reading

To celebrate submitting my application to Goddard last fall, I went to a batting cage.

To celebrate completing my first semester at Goddard last week, I…read some fiction.

But not just any fiction!  This gorgeous copy of The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, a 1946 edition: older than my own mother.

Isn’t she handsome? And I love the candor of the text on the back cover:

Born in Columbus, Georgia, in 1917, Carson McCullers has been writing since she was sixteen. For several years before that her main interest had been in music and her ambition to be a concert pianist. When she was seventeen she went to New York with the intention of studying at Columbia and Julliard. However, on the second day she lost her tuition money on the subway. Thereafter she was hired and fired from a variety of jobs, and went to school at night. “But the city and the snow (I had never seen snow before) so overwhelmed me that I did no studying at all.” The year after that Story bought two of her short stories and she settled down to writing in earnest. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940 and Reflections in a Golden Eye in 1941. The critics were amazed that works of such maturity should have been written by a twenty-two-year-old girl. Concerning the first book, Richard Wright remarked on “the astonishing humanity that enables a white writer, for the first time in Southern fiction, to handle Negro character [sic] with as much ease and justice as those of her own race.” Of the second book Louis Untermeyer said: “no literary ancestors, although there will be those who see in the powerful situations something of D. H. Lawrence and something of Dostoievsky.”

I’m only five chapters in or so, partly because McCullers’ prose is so marvelously simple and vivid and penetrating that it makes me want to close the book and go meditate.

Speaking of which, time to sit and go to sleep!  Night y’all, see you next week.