Thursday June 3, 2021

A West Coast friend and I converse on Zoom. We each come away from the conversation with our heads full of leads and recommendations. Both of us are interested in decoloniality. Words linger in the air and on the page, and “decoloniality” is one of them, not least because this friend and I have been watching Raoul Peck’s new documentary miniseries Exterminate All the Brutes. Arrows of time point toward the works of Peruvian sociologist Aníbal Quijano and Colombian-American anthropologist Arturo Escobar. The story of Henry Box Brown intersects with this line of inquiry, as does the story of the Otolith Group.

Saturday May 29, 2021

We kick off the weekend relaxing beside a community pool in our neighborhood. Frankie loves it. After some initial skepticism, I too come to like it. It’s a bit busy, but Sarah packs us a great lunch. And in the afternoon, we gather gang-like for a barbecue in a friend’s backyard. It’s a good group; we all enjoy each other’s company. And the friend is a great host. For all who make events of this sort possible, for all who labor in their preparation and/or facilitate their happening, I give thanks.

Tuesday November 27, 2018

I’ll be revisiting old friendships this weekend — high school friends, some of whom I haven’t seen or spoken to in decades. How might I best characterize myself for them? By what terms might I achieve peace with these brethren, unburdened of unspoken rivalries? In the past, I may have been wounded and wronged by these friends, just as I may have wounded and wronged them in return. Yet as Laura Archera Huxley counsels in her book You Are Not The Target, “each one of us has a function to fulfill. It is when we spend our time and energy looking down in contempt or looking up with sterile longing that we lose sight of this function. Envy is comparison. He who is in the continuous process of being and becoming what he really is, directs his attention to real values, not to measuring other people’s achievements” (240). What I’m suffering is what Ralph McTell calls the “Zimmerman Blues.”

I traveled far from home, lost touch, saddled myself with unrepayable debt — but amid this impoverished wandering, I followed my heart, I found my partner, I learned how to love. Freedom outside in the sun of the prison yard. The country is not one where each person owns or gets enough on which to live. The fault for that lies with the country, not me. Were it otherwise, each could attend to the beauty and the glory of the earth. In the meantime, I break away as much as I can from “compulsions, ambitions, hates, vanities, envies”; I try to conduct myself day by day as a whole being.