Friday, July 20, 2012

American Soul Links - And Some on Losing it

There was a lot of goodbye-ing this week. From all my friends in Scotland to some opportunities, to-- this very morning-- when I awoke to hear of a tragic shooting in Colorado and the death of one of my childhood inspirationals: the father of my very first friend. I've always really internalized the pain of others to a kind of a detrimental degree. I have a hard time with it. I suppose it's all part of my greater existential grapple. I stand by the point that its futile to compare suffering, or rank it. Suffering is suffering is suffering. But some loss, you can wrap your brain around. My friend Guy Mitchell fought the good fight. He lived a joyous life, watched his grandkids be born, inspired and advised those around him on matters of the soul. In short, his soul was smiling... and striving... for understanding all the time: a quality I admire in people to the utmost. 

But then there's the losses that make no sense. And there you have something I worry about--can't ignore-- in the world today... and especially in my country. I worry about the modern American soul. The way we're starving it and ignoring it and paying it off with money and tuning it out or crowding it out with more work. There's no room for it. There's no time for it. I left the US, in part, to take a step back and look at where I came from-- to get some distance from, and then hopefully clarity on, all that was troubling my American soul about the American soul. 

My academic (and fiction!) writing is frequently, and in my opinion, meanly accused of being too American, too conversational, and not argumentative enough. To the people who say this, I say, respectfully, suck it. 

Life is a conversation that we're not really having anymore. We espouse, assume, back up with facts, or versions of "facts," we beat people over the head, or stonewall, or shut out. Or post! We put up academic formalities for distance and we're lacking in real dialogue that asks for a response. We're all rhetorical questions, and very few honest or earnest ones. I don't know why James Holmes went into a movie theatre and shot over 50 people. Maybe there is no why. Maybe he's just a sociopath. But my instinct is to tally these types of violent acts as moments when starving souls snap. And the food of the soul is human connection; dialogue. 

I have been accused of starting too many sentences with "and." Guilty. And I won't give it up. Because there's always more. You don't "get to the bottom" of any soul situation. If  you show up at all, it should be with the understanding that you start with the fact that there's always more to talk about. I am brimming with these things that still need to be discussed; that we'll never get to the bottom of. So I start with and, and, and. And keep on fighting the good fight. And keep writing, yeah

Your links:
- More on why women are leaving academia
- This is some of the bureaucratic mess I'm thrilled to be leaving. Several of my friends suffering from this right now. Five months, no passport. 
- More Franzen hate. I think this chick is mean and misses the point. And doesn't understand self-deprecation?
- The Newsroom's woman problem, etc etc
- Barack, Mitt, & Adam Smith. Oh, economics.
- More on my fave band, Milo Greene, and where they got their name. I approve. 
- Ah, hearing color. One of my favorite topics. 
- The Olympic rings projected on the white cliffs of Dover. Gorgeous. 
- The new No Doubt track isn't my favorite, but it sure is nice to have them back. 

1 comment:

Why Stop Now?

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