Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark | Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What is Reading?

This is reading:

The Secret Lives of Books, by Jena Priebe (on view now at the Mass MoCa)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Take a Ride Down a Winding Road

It's the Blue Ridge Parkway, everyone! From the heart of the Great Smokies (heart-stopping) in North Carolina to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, this road is a sliver of calm in our hectically  bountiful nation. I took a little drive on the Blue Ridge just last month, and here is what I found:

And here's what I did not find, dear readers!
  • Traffic (though I hear that changes come leaf peeper season)
  • Honking horns
  • Billboards advertising hamburgers, cheeseburgers, God, Children's Lives - all popular billboards in OBN, I've discovered
  • McDonalds
  • Cops
'Twas a wonderful time, dear readers. A wonderful time. There are hikes and picnic places and blooming flowers. There are turkeys. There are little bed and breakfasts, and there are rainforests. There is so much beauty, your heart will swell with embarrassing patriotic pride.

Drive some or all of the Blue Ridge Parkway if you can, when you can. It's not going anywhere, and our tax dollars are paying. Bring a lover or just your own lonely heart. Bring your worries so that you can lose them. Drive a silent, winding road - it turns out they still exist. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Marriage for All!

One huge step forward, everyone!

Here's to our country, for finally making gay marriage legitimate. It's surreal on many counts, especially as I learn the news through my laptop in a remote adobe house on the New Mexican plains.

Beneath the Gay Marriage Triumph article, the Times showed a Tweet roll. One Tweet said, "I'm proud to be an American."

And I thought, "I'm not."

And that was a terrible thought, I know, I know.

Except that this decision is being made far too late, later than it should have, and this issue is in fact, in five out of nine very important minds, a no-brainer.

OK, maybe not a no-brainer. Much careful thought and all of that. But still. I suspect, deep down, it was a no-brainer.

Meanwhile, decades have dragged along. Gay couples across our bountiful nation have, for far too long already, endured lifetimes without rights or recognition. We're late in the game. The issue of gay marriage has been covered in the media to an extreme degree, drawing our nation's attention away from other critical national and international issues. In short, we have wasted so much time. This should have been decided long ago.

Are those the wrong things to think? Should I simply be jubilantly happy? Should I be weeping tears of joy, and not of frustration? Should I be seeing this as a global triumph and not a national one, not as closely tied as I might think to my identity as an American? Should I keep in mind that the whole world, besides dear Holland (and even that only happened in 2000!??), is late in the game?

I remember a day years ago when my friend Sam and I stumbled accidentally into Buenos Aires' pride celebration. Gay marriage had been legal for about a year in Argentina, and this was a wild fiesta: funky, rootsy, and wholly organic. We drank beer and shouted and cried. We made friends. We didn't just watch the parade, we WERE the parade, just the two of us plus about a million giddy Argentines, marching down the Avenida de Mayo towards Congreso.

May America know such bliss, if it doesn't already.

Hooray for the gays!

Thursday, June 18, 2015


"At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively."

President Obama, 1 PM today


My uncle is proud of his guns. My students write essays about their fathers' guns. My New Mexico neighbors all have guns. The people of Dannemora, one hour north of my parents' house, feel safer these days with guns. Our Constitution protects our right to have guns. Our country, in so many ways, is defined by guns. 

We should be ashamed. Guns shouldn't be our right; they should be something we all fear and hate. Too many white young men with crazy eyes go into public places with hidden guns. I work in a school, and some of my students wear baggy clothes and have shifty eyes, and I'm not afraid to say that I'm afraid.

To the people of Charleston, I send my love and prayers, but even if we all send those, it will never be enough. Every life matters. Put down the fucking guns.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Humble Stumblings

Read the June issue of Numéro Cinq, everyone!

And not just because DG has been kind enough to publish my humble stumblings, but because the whole issue will be beautiful and fiery and, if I know DG as well as I think I do, more than a little bit sexy.

So from where I sit in lush and steamy Carthage, Tennessee, I raise my glass to you, Doug: for putting my essay, "American Roads," on the Cinq, and also for using a better picture of me this time than the one I foolishly provided for you when you published "On White." Little did I know my name's Google results would forever show, first and foremost, a picture of me preparing to drink water from the Ganges.

Meanwhile: Happy June, dear readers! Summer on.