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Sick Day Reading

March 23, 2011

I guess it is a great blessing that being sick makes a person seem grimy and messy — hacking, sneezing, all glassy-eyed, sweaty, and weak — because if it made us more beautiful, radiant, and appealing, then lots of people would flock to us and be consequently infected.

So here I am, nice and off-putting with my wet cough, taking the opportunity to read.  I even get to read aloud to myself.  The James Baldwin was great for that, as was the first response letter from my faculty adviser at Goddard.  (She’s a poet, and shows it in her prose.)

So here are some of the highlights of what I’ve been up to, text-wise.

  • Catching up with Alan Senauke’s travels in India, leading classes on gender among Dalit communities and linking up with the international Think Sangha, on the Clear View Blog
  • Similarly catching up with Maia Duerr’s thoughts, and skillful curating of other people’s thoughts, on socially engaged Buddhism over at The Jizo Chronicles
  • Getting down with the fabulous blog of a friend in Seattle — thorough, meaty posts on feminism and revolutionary organizing — from their perspective as a political organizer and exploited (to be redundant) Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).  Especially loved this post, and this page.
  • Falling in love with James Baldwin all over again through his 1964 essay Nothing Personal, recommended to me by my adviser.  I don’t agree with him on everything, but damn he’s not afraid to get deep with it.
  • Following updates on the Berkeley steel mill strike that started yesterday, when nearly 500 workers formed a hard picket line at Pacific Steel Casting to demand the reversal of company decisions that would force workers to cover their own health care costs.  Sounds like they want reinforcements down there, so if anyone reading is in the area and less ill than I am, think about heading down there to support!

Ok, friends, time for a glass of water and another nap.  Hope your Wednesday’s goin well.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen permalink
    March 23, 2011 8:27 pm

    Hello Katie,

    Hope you feel better! Glad to hear your day was productive thought!

    Sincerely,
    Karen

  2. March 24, 2011 8:59 am

    Thanks, Karen! ‘preciate it. :)

  3. Karen permalink
    March 27, 2011 2:42 am

    That essay was so good! There were some beautiful lines that just made me “mmmm.”

    Just curious, what did you disagree with him on?

  4. March 28, 2011 3:12 pm

    Glad you liked it, Karen! He’s easily one of my favorite writers. So amazing. And I love that you had a vocal response to it, just like I did. Something about his writing that feels so vocal to me — maybe some of that Black church and preaching from his upbringing…

    Yeah, you know, I often find myself agreeing with Baldwin’s assessment of the psychological torment of Americans, collectively, and the specialized, racialized psychological dysfunctions as well, but he seems to say that the answer is for each person in the country to look deep into their own soul and find out some difficult shit about themself. I agree that that would probably be good, but I don’t think it’s realistically gonna happen, and I don’t think it would even work to change the structural political problems, the root problems, that are all wrapped up with those collective psychoses. Not that Baldwin was against political organizing, I don’t think, but in his essays like this, that tact is nowhere to be found, whereas I think this is exactly where it belongs. There’s tremendous psychological healing that can happen through collective political work, I think, and that deserves a place right up there with the introspection that is so popular among folks who take spirituality seriously (i.e. Baldwin, and a lot of the engaged Buddhists I’m trying to learn about right now).

    Hope that answers your question. I’d be curious what you think!

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