"We await our lives, the way you dream us, the words you speak for us. We ask you to be sensitive," they say, "to understand our subtlety, no matter how we are cast. Fashion us with care and authenticity." So I struggle with that.
Published in literary magazines since I began writing fiction and poetry this year, 2012: In the Rusty Nail: ... "Alien Bones," "Tick Tock" - two poems In Efiction Magazine: ... "Scooter" - short story, fiction In The New Writer Vol 3.1 ... "Fidel's Gift" - short nonfiction ... "Orbits" - poem In The Faircloth Review: ... "Halloween Eve 1945" - short story, fiction (upcoming) Awaiting response for a submitted nonfiction piece: "Tina's Nicaragua Story." Now working on "Elrod and Raphool," a short story about two homeless friends affected by a predator bent on killing the homeless. Also on a novel, "Displaced."
I wasn't fully aware of this when I started writing and wrestling with the novel "Displaced," but it's become so apparent now. The question for me is how to make Deep Ecology a prevailing theme without using the characters and their stories as a soapbox for this understanding and its movement.
Still, there's the awareness that the Earth Garden for humans and other life is not flourishing because of the poisons and injustices afflicted or allowed by people in power. The interrelatedness of life seems so obvious. So odd how this fundamental is absent in the foreground of human discourse.
A quote from the Foundation for Deep Ecology:
"The conversion of Nature to commodity form, the emphasis upon economic growth as a panacea, the industrialization of all activity, from forestry to farming to fishing, even to education and culture; the rush to economic globalization, cultural homogenization, commodity accumulation, urbanization, and human alienation. All of these are fundamentally incompatible with ecological sustainability on a finite Earth..."
1) Did you demystify your gaze before and while tuning in?
2) Which candidate is a "weak-sense critical thinker" and which is a "strong-sense critical thinker"?
* Weak-sense critical thinkers are skilled but put themselves and their agendas ahead of ethical considerations and consequences.
* Strong-sense critical thinkers tend to look into the logic of a problem aware of the perils of their egocentric or socio-centric bias as they consider ethical implications.
I'm reading nonfiction work by Joan Didion and Hannah Arendt while writing fiction - first draft of my novel "Displaced." The directness of nonfiction feels like a ballast that helps guide me to write the characters and story as if they are real, as if it all really happened.
Opening paragraphs to my short story "Halloween Eve 1945" ...
I grew up in New York City, spent a lot of time on the streets. This was during the war, World War II - me a small kid really, 9 years old at the end of the war. Yeah, there was a park nearby, Corporal O’Conner, and we’d go there, but mostly it was the streets where we hung out.
At night sometimes we’d hear the sirens, turn out the lights or pull down the dark shades. an air raid warning test. The air raid wardens would go out on the streets to make sure nobody had house lights on, things like that.
We played stickball, roller hockey, punchball, hopscotch, hide-and-seek, stoop ball, and knock rummy on the streets and sidewalks, girls and boys. And when things like Halloween came around we had a pretty good idea of what we could get away with. Halloween eve was goosey night, when we threw eggs and other stuff, after ringing door bells. Stones at street lights. Running like hell. Everybody knew who did it. This was in Bayside West, the rougher and poorer part, working class, pretty close to the other neighborhoods though of what would you would call the middle class. Most of the narrow homes had no driveways. I lived in the upstairs of a two family house, three rooms - my grandfather and grandmother slept in one, the place’s real bedroom; my brother, mother and I slept in the other, the living room. Then we shared a small kitchen and bathroom. Next door lived Joe the garbageman, tall, lanky, funny. He always had a good word for me.
Hard to have things, keep things though, our place was so small. Downstairs the landlord didn’t like noise either. So it was the streets I hung out in.
We also knew a lot about the war, we kids. You’d go to school even in third grade and the teacher would open the Daily News, NY’s picture newspaper, during current events part of class -- yeah, we had current events in third grade under the progressive education system that was in place at the time. The newspaper’s main stories usually focused on the war -- atrocities, campaigns, photos of soldiers and sailors and marines and airmen in combat, explosions, air battles, all the stuff -- this was our TV.
Then, you could walk down a street sometimes and there, in some house’s window, would be another little war flag. If it had a purple heart, that would mean someone in that house had been wounded in the war. If it had a gold star, that would mean someone in that house had been killed in combat - sailor, soldier, marine, airman. We’d see that now and then, even across the street, or two doors down ...
Brief synopsis: Philosophy and theology have increasingly turned to the problem of the rising numbers of people who live in severe conditions of oppression, people who are surplus to global economic and political orders which the oppressed define as "neoliberal" and "neocolonial." This work, Political Grace: The Gift of Resistance, is part of that turning.
THE WRITE STUFF: The switch to writing from recent video work to me is a way of returning to the wordcraft I’ve been working with all my adult professional life -- 24 years as a print journalist; -- 4.5 years for the Ph.D. in philosophy; -- 10 years preaching from sketchy notes spontaneously. What’s new is experimentation in fiction. I’ve always been prolific and continue to be. I love books and stories and now I love writing them. Then I become uncertain ... is this just a delusion? Delusions, illusions, I need a transfusion to dispel the confusion, an infusion of ... oh, pardon me, is this the rocking chair I'm supposed to use ...?
Scene involves Alicia Stewart (later Alicia Lys) and Gil Stephens -- both working on news stories about a psychiatric center's downsizing -- and William "Bill" Barnes, head of the psych center board of visitors, a downsizing opponent.
They exited the elevator and walked down a hall, dimly lit, to a door labeled “9.” Barnes opened it, led them inside, and spoke with two male attendants who appeared to cast clinical looks at his two guests. They introduced themselves.
“This way, please,” the shorter attendant said. “We’re in art therapy right now. They do have visitors occasionally during this period, but I ask that you be reserved and polite. Respectful.”
Inside a bright spacious room, Stewart and Stephens stood in the background as several men looked at them initially. Three began to chatter and walk slowly in different directions, others stood stationary, and another ambled over to Stewart and gestured to her to follow him to a large pastel that displayed a swirl of orange, yellow and red, with a black profiled figure in the center that glanced sidelong at the viewer. An attendant nodded it was okay.
“This is my mind and my emotions,” the man said, pointing to the swirl of colors. “And this in the center is the Devil. He wants to turn all these colors black. He wants to do that in all of us. Did you know that?”
“It’s a powerful drawing,” Stewart said.
“You’re evading the question,” the man said. He shook his head, looked at the taller attendant, and walked to a corner of the room, sat down and smiled.
“You know that it’s true,” he called to her. “He’s insidious and full of disguises. Look around. What disguise is he wearing now?”