Tuesday, October 30, 2007

i want to be what you want me to be

it's interesting to look back on what i was doing a year ago. i spent most of last year organizing a national music festival for the now-defunct clamor magazine. i remember waking up in that tiny bed the next morning content, and remembering that it was the national day against police brutality. when i was in college i would observe "the criminalization of a generation" by wearing black.

sometimes i feel like i haven't done anything since bard college, as if the past 4 1/2 years have been a waste of time and then i think of things like the clamor music festival or traveling across the country and it helps put things into perspective. i guess i "haven't done anything" in the sense that i've been deferring my student loans (due to "economic hardship") and have yet to earn a living wage or secure health insurance. but i am reminded that there's more to life than all of this. there are other indicators of success and happiness.

i think about how much my life has changed since we were last together. the last time i was really together with anyone. the details are being censored in this limited space, but the importance lies in the general fact that i am a different person now in so many ways. this crosses my mind as i place a one hundred dollar bill inside the book about 69 love songs album. i hope you check page 69. i hope it crosses the border safely and that you're able to exchange the currency. but i'm not helping you out. i'm just indebted to the weight of the past.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

book dating

i have been known to compare the reading of books with romantic relationships. the term "book slut" refers to avid readers or people who read little pieces here and there of several books at a time. i prefer the term "literary nonmonogamy." toward the end of the summer i started reading a book that my friend ben dangl sent me called remembering tomorrow. it's a new memoir by activist, theorist, and z magazine founder, michael albert. the subtitle is from sds to life after capitalism, as the book chronicles his experiences from the 60's antiwar movement at MIT through the current era of world social forums. i enjoyed the book for the most part, but it started dragging on as i would only read a chapter or two every couple days. after over a month of this, and with 100 pages still to go, i decided to abandon the "relationship" and begin anew.

i had purchased rebecca solnit's new book storming the gates of paradise about a month ago at broadside books in northampton. the beautiful hardcover edition that they had on the shelf had been severly water-damaged so i convinced them to give me a hefty discount. simply reading solnit's introduction was a refreshing change of pace. she has such a way with words, describing with elegant detail the intersections of politics and the natural environment, culture and history. here's a taste from the intro entitled, "prisons and paradises:"

There's a widespread belief...that idealists should not enjoy any pleasure denied to others, that beauty, sensuality, delight all ought to be stalled behind some dam that only the imagined revolution will break. This schism creates, as the alternative to a life of selfless devotion, a life of flight from engagment...But change is not always by revolution; the deprived don't generally wish most that the rest of us would join them; and a passion for justice and pleasure in small things are not incompatible.

i want to read as much of this book as i can, maybe reading others here and there along the way. keep things open, try to learn as much as i can. any suggestions?