Thursday, September 29, 2005

the vulnerability of autumn

after much time and effort i finally finished my article for toward freedom about you and the antiwar movement! read

the seasons are changing and everyone is freaking out. there is a unique vulernability abound when it starts to get colder. we have to equip ourselves with new, warmer clothes that haven't been worn in months. we add extra blankets or maybe find someone to cuddle with. if you don't have a car then all sorts of new challenges arise when you want to go anywhere. this is what it's all about, these urgent moments of transition when you are more aware of your basic needs.

there's more to say but now is not the time. i hope everyone is hanging in there.

Monday, September 26, 2005

a weekend of adventure

i'm tired after an amazing four day adventure. if i had stayed here i would have endured an unremarkable weekend of working--days like any other, emptied into the dustbin of my history. instead...i went down to dc for the national antiwar march there on saturday. before that i surprised various friends in new york city and a fun time there before heading to dc. friday night ben and i took the chinatown bus to baltimore, a city that i had passed through dozens of times but had never set foot in. we stayed there with a friend of ben's that was writing an article about the protest with him for the new standard. we drove right into dc the next morning and met up with tens of thousands people from all over the country to oppose the occupation of iraq. it was pretty awesome.

i left that night with some students from bard college. we got back there around 4 am and then i took a bus back to northampton yesterday just in time to see erik petersen rock out at the flywheel. so many moments packed into one weekend. if i wasn't so tired i would go into it more now, but basically it was really amazing.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

the suspension of everyday life

Dear Rebecca Solnit,

How are you? We met in Madison earlier this year before our unsucessful
attempt to meet up around the SF Anarchist Bookfair. Perhaps another time...(If you are curious about my project that I wanted to interview you for check out my weblog)

I'm writing you now to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading you're new book "A Field Guide to Getting Lost" and to ask you if you have published anything about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. I began reading the book a couple days before the hurricane hit. A week before there was a brief, minor power outage in downtown Northampton, MA (where I am currently living) which inspired a conversation with a friend about these moments when our daily routines are interrupted. Naturally, I brought up your talk in Madison about crises and the suspension of everyday life and how, given the opportunity, humans will cooperate and get along fine without the
imposition of authority. One inspiring example of this, among the many you cited, was the blackout a few years in New York City. My friend commented that that's what anarchy is (not the "anarchy" the New York Times employs to describe chaos of recent events).

Then the hurricane hit and, at least in the media, we saw a very different situation. But I'm sure in between the cracks, outside the radar of the media industrial complex there have been countless stories of inspiration and hope in humanity to overcome such tragedy. This catastrophe is also obviously related to "A Field Guide..." with thousands of people from the Gulf Coast being displaced.

I'm very curious to hear your reflections about these events. If you have already written something on the subject could please send me a link or attachment? Thank you!


im on a foreign keyboard--but look at the harper's website for my initial commentary.

thanks for writing,


The Uses of Disaster
Notes on bad weather and good government

Posted on Friday, September 9, 2005. This essay on the relationship between disasters, authority, and our understanding of human nature went to press as Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. The excerpt below is followed by a postscript, available only on the Web, that specifically addresses the disaster in New Orleans. Originally from a forthcoming issue of Harper's Magazine, October 2005. By Rebecca Solnit.

Monday, September 12, 2005

posters and uncertainty

writing from the smith college campus center, i feel more conscious of my gender now that the fall semester has begun. walking around campus i wonder if some students think i may be f to m. probably not.

as i walked down the stairs to where the computers are i was bombarded with a college poster sale spectacle. this makes me think about what my life would be like if i was travelling around the us of a right now selling posters to college students as i thought about doing for a while. all expenses paid and you get to scam tips off students who think you are a starving poster-salesman.

i'm happy where i am now, despite persistent uncertainty. i know where i'm living and working for the rest of the month but then it's up in the air. i've been thinking about what it would be like to feel really committed to a community and have a really secure situation somewhere. i think that's what i want now but i'm really up for anything.

yesterday i made sandwiches for kim gordon (of sonic youth fame) and jay mascis (from dinosaur jr.). this is such a strange town.

did i mention that i have my own bed now? ah....

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

labor day labor

labor day. a dusty artifact of american culture. a pseudo-holiday in a society which lacks a true class consciousness and understanding of labor history. a disneyfied may day devoid of any substance or radical tradition. but despite this, american laborers do get this day off from work...unless you are a retail or food industry wage-slave.

so on this first monday of september i, like millions of other working americans, went to work. happy labor day.

a customer asked my boss if we were all getting time and a half for our labor day labor. "shhhh!" she responded revealingly. "i heard that!" i replied from behind the sandwich-making station. $7.50 per hour>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

on top of all of this i started getting sick the night before and going into work was the last thing i wanted to do in the whole world. five minutes into my shift i was wiping the tables down with windex and a paper towel. i sprayed a table next to a woman who was reading and sipping a latte that found this action unacceptable to her comfort: "i am chemically sensitive so you shouldn't do that near me." i passively nodded my head and walked outside to check on the tables there. i should've just walked home.

i talked about making a t-shirt that read "i am working on labor day" with the back reading "your leisure is a product of my labor" but that probably wouldn't make people want to buy cupcakes. i sported alf instead (the sitcom puppet not the clandestine organization).

but this could be the last labor day i work. i had a job interview with free press today for an online organizer position. a living wage, benefits, and holidays (even the most ambiguous ones) off! cross your fingers kids...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

staying...for now

i'm living my life on a month-to-month basis. after passing up an opportunity to travel across the country with an extraordinary stranger, i recently decided to stay in the pioneer valley through september. today is september 1st. for the next month i will be living in an apartment in northampton that i just moved all of my belongings into, working at woodstar cafe and finishing my internship with class action. i also want to start writing/playing music with people in the area, make lots of stencils, bike everywhere, and take part in all the fun events that will be happening now that the colleges are back in action.

but october 1st is still a big question mark.

i'd like to stay in this area, and i probably will, but i really don't know what my life will look like at that point. i have an interview with free press next week about the online organizer position i applied for, so perhaps i will get that and will be able to start paying back my fucking student loans. we'll see...

for now, i'm here. staying...for now.

frameworks labeled home: part II

when you work part-time, occasionally you get 5 days off in a row. it's important to take advantage of this opportunity. so when i saw that i was not scheduled to work all week i made plans to go down to cape cod to see family and friends, relax and to put the aging summer into perspective.

when you hold on to your college id two years after graduation you can still get student discounts. a one-way bus ticket from northampton to boston is then reduced from $30 to $20. i got to hyannis by noon and met my mom and sister for lunch. then we walked down the street, through the crowded public beach and across the boundary of the so-called private beach. we were stared at by the elite privateers who have never seen a frozen cape cod in the winter months or it's desolation and peacefulness. we pretended to sleep to avoid their snooty wrath.

i had a really nice week at home. it's always good to go back there and put my whole life into perspective. seeing people and street names from my past, along with photographs and other memorablia of my personal history.

toward the end of the week i met up with corinna at nickerson state park, one mile from the house i grew up in, where she spent the week camping and taking a break from class action. on thursday we ended up at the land ho, a local watering hole that serves as a seasonal high school reunion venue for multiple generations of nauset high school graduates. i warned her that we would inevitably run into random people and as we arrived at the entrance i stopped and took a deep breath in preparation. opening the door we were greeted by two men. i recognized the one on the left as chris collins, wearing a land ho t-shirt, while the one next to him appeared to be much older. they both recognized me however and upon second inspection i realized that the older looking one was indeed mike murphy--class of 2000 and current town of chatham police officer. hadn't seen either of them since the late 90's. so weird.

we ate fried onion rings that, despite the exorbitant price had definitely not been prepared on the premises (or this hemisphere) as a mediocre bar band played loud enough to make one's throat sore from speaking over them. sarah's ex-boyfriend appeared next to us and he was utterly surprised when i tapped him on the shoulder and shook his hand. he lamented about his job moving furniture and the fact that the land ho bartender serves him up "the usual" before he can even make it to the bar. his gun-to-the-head motions made me pretty uncomfortable, but the interaction made me feel lucky that i didn't stay on the cape after high school or move back there permanently after college.

on friday night we went up to provincetown to see east coast tremors rock the squealing pig with their infectious brand of psycho surf. it was one of the rare dream-like moments in which disconnected people from my life are all in one space and i'm bouncing back and forth between them like a pinball. i left with a euphoric sensation of just being lucky to have so many great people in my life--even though i have to travel to see most of them. it was good to be home.