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Showing posts from May, 2021

Day 422, May 13, 2021

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Flightpath Today's soundtrack: The Sun Ra Arkestra, Berlin, 1986 It is interesting how fragile our emotions and psyche can be. I was yearning to go outside for a walk at the end of the day, but ran out of time sandwiched between my last meeting and a webinar that felt more like a long commercial than a learning moment. It felt like a sorrowful thing to not be able to go. I felt like a child who missed the ice cream truck.  Early in the evening, in the spring, the sun pours through the west facing window. It bathes my face with light and I have to lazily close my eyes.  It becomes easier to close my eyes than to keep them open.  Amy Tan says, everything has to be about the reward in the moment, rather than thinking the reward is in the payoff at the end.  Water study IV She talks about her mother as becoming an invisible person when she arrived in this country. As the sun sets the air grows colder and I shut the window. The sun is now resting on the sill and will soon sink into the

Day 421, May 12, 2021

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The Ending and Beginning Tonight's soundtrack: V.S.O.P. II, Umbria, 1983 Yesterday, I wrote in the last page of a notebook. I've been writing at least a page a every weekday morning in this red notebook since March 6, 2020. It is the thing I do as I eat my bowl of cereal or bagel, smoothie, and coffee. And since January 14th, I've been working on the first draft of a short story, one page at a time. It has been strange that both the story and notebook petered out at the same time. I wonder if I was subconsciously aware of the paucity of pages as I neared the end. Water Study II Finishing a notebook is always bittersweet for me. It is like finishing a sleeve of cookies or the last ice cream bar in the freezer. Notable in its accomplishment, but then there is the palatable absence because a notebook becomes a familiar thing, something with a consistent heft and texture in the palm.  I have a whole collection of notebooks in my basement. Most are filled with poetry, some are t

Day 420, May 11, 2021

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Re-Constructs Tonight's soundtrack: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, Brian Blade, JazzBaltica 2004 Last night I wrote about surviving well. I wonder if, in addition to the mentioned forms of well-being, material, occupational, social, community, and physical, if there are other aspects of well-being that we need to be more attentive to for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.  I suppose on one hand, one can say that those five forms of well-being are universal human experiences. But there is something different that happens with the dynamics of a nation where there are ingrained power dynamics that are founded in homogeneity, majority rule, and whiteness. It sets a prevailing norm that we all, BIPOC and non-BIPOC alike, need to check ourselves all the time. Are the constructs here designed to help all people, or just a subset of people? Do these constructs reinforce inequities, or do they actively work to diminish them? Do we understand the repercussions of our

Day 419, May 10, 2021

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Survive Well Tonight's soundtrack: Stanley Jordan, Budapest, 2018 This weekend's meditation from Take Back The Economy was based on what does it mean to survive well?  Or in the recent pandemic parlance, how does one flourish rather than languish? TBTE focuses on material well-being, having basic needs and resources met; occupational well-being, enjoying what one does over the course of a day for work, study, or recreation; social well-being, from relationships and networks; community well-being, from involvement in community activities; and physical well-being, good health and safe living.  TBTE then goes further thinking about extending beyond the individual experience and thinking about living well collectively and in particular considering one's ecological footprint. It is interesting to consider what has changed, shifted, and realigned as a result of the pandemic. At a meeting today one of my colleagues mentioned how the pandemic has exacerbated the inequities that exi

Day 414, May 5, 2021

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Greening of the Forest (or the commons)  Tonight's soundtrack: Herbie Hancock-Wayne Shorter Quartet w/ Omar Hakim and Stanley Clarke, Munich, 1991 I has been a chilly May. This afternoon I was on an international call with participants from 5 or 6 different time zones around the world. For some folks it was 10:30 at night, and for others it was 8:30 in the morning, and for me it was 4:30, my last meeting of the day. We had a wide ranging conversation about the possibility of a project tying together community economies and the arts and it was fascinating to hear little glimpses of the kinds of projects and actions people are engaged in all over the world. One of the conversations centered on how to help people to engage in the project who are not supported by salaried positions. Many of us on the call are academics, and for artists who do not have the patronage of a university or other career, it is very hard to sacrifice time from art making or other income generating endeavors to

Day 413, May 4, 2021

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Beautiful Things Tonight's soundtrack: Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 "Eroica", BSO, Charles Munch, 1960 I was reading a piece this weekend and one of the metaphors was the trim tab on a ship, the rudder. The idea was that a small thing can effect great change if given enough time and space. It is a metaphor of hope for all of our endeavors that, at times, feel so entrenched and fixed in their lanes.  In a similar vein, my mentor, Julie Graham used to talk about the shift in women's rights and how in the span between her mother's lifetime and her own (Julie was born in 1945 and passed away in 2010), that women had gone from not having the right to vote, to near parity with men across the globe. Clearly, the work is not complete, and even in America women still make 82 cents for every dollar men make. However, Julie's point was that tremendous progress was made over the course of two lifetimes, and most of that occurred at a grassroots level where families altered t