North

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“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.” Emily Dickinson

It seems that with the U.S. presidential election so many of us have been struggling to make sense of what happened and to shout our opinions of the result in the spaces we have available to us. Why did he win? Why did she loose? How could this happen? Why is there such racism, classism, misogyny, hatred, spite? Are all those people who voted for him that clueless?  Are they all rednecks? Are they all stupid? Why? Why? Why?

Myself? I think I have the answers, but really I don’t. I think I know the solutions, but really I don’t. All I have are half formed opinions that are bursting to get out of me. Frankly I simply don’t know. I don’t know why he was elected and she wasn’t. I don’t know why I feel powerless. I don’t know why I have such a huge energy to do something but with no idea of what to do. And if I am really, really honest with you dear friends this has been the state of things for a very, very long time.

I am adrift in a directionless fog of what to do, and have been for years. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know what I want. I want justice and mercy, equity AND equality, I want anyone was left behind brought to the front, I want kindness, I want the sharing of knowledge and freedom, and most of all I want love to infuse everything all the time. But knowing what you want is one thing. Knowing how to get there is another. With people I know casually and those who are close to me I sense they are lost as well. I sense they want the same things. If what i sense is true then why can’t we get there? Why isn’t there more love, more equity, and a sense that the world is bending toward the light?

I have been talking to one friend on great number of things for a number of years now. Through the these conversations we explore ideas Ideas about democracy, morality, beliefs, politics, friendship, institutions, government, and who we are. We agree on many things and disagree on others and I like that. I like the struggle, in our time together, to define an understanding. To create a kind of common compass with which we can chart our way through the times we are in.I love compasses for they are miraculous things. By using compasses humans created the means to chart the world, find the undiscovered country, and expand the horizons of what we thought was a certainty to what we see is possibility. The ability of a needle to point north is not only an absolute in an uncertain world, but also comforts us with guidance when we are lost.

That needle pointing north is what we seem to need right now. The thing of it is though that no one can tell you where your  internal needle is pointing. You have to, and will know this within yourself, like all great explorers who have followed the compass north, face some moments of truth and some moments of sacrifice to get there. We know what is necessary to achieve equity and justice. We know what is needed to make the least amongst us first. We know what justice and fairness looks like. We know what is needed to develop education, healthcare, wellness, and create a decent standard of living for the world. We know what is required to achieve the world we all talk about but can’t seem to get to. We know which way is north and may have to, like those explorers following a compass , sacrifice some of what we have in order to balance the scales so we all can stand in a place of possibility rather than the grim certainty we have experienced in the last few weeks.

We can all sense within ourselves where true north is as much as we know where the sun is when our eyes are closed and turn our faces into its warmth. I sense, rather than know, that there are answers to this feeling of being lost in the world. I sense, rather than know, the direction we might take in order to get to that undiscovered country. I sense, rather than know, that the rest of you sense this as well. Perhaps we all should work on a shared compass and follow that sense of true north.

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Also the Fault of Progressives: Trump, Leitch, and the Age of Division

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We are all, quite rightly, appalled by the way Donald Trump has behaved. His xenophobic, sexist, misogynist,  racist, daily diatribes are in embarrassment to the Party of Lincoln. But while we are all feeling morally superior and content in our enlightenment, I am troubled by how we progressives helped to create the environment for this kind of viral hatred to grow.

We progressives are great a supporting causes like #YesAllWomen, #BringBackOurGirls, #IceBucketChallenge, #IndyRef, #BlackLivesMatter, #LoveWins . All of these are critical issues in our world and all of them very worthy of our attention but there is a problem. Who are we progressives ignoring?

There is the bias we show in the causes we champion and the people we don’t. In the case of the dog whistle politics of a Kellie Leitch or Donald Trump, the cause we did not pay attention to was the plight of the blue-collar worker and those who were ejected in to an uncertain future from the economic disaster of 2008. So many lost their jobs ,or were made redundant by changes in technology on the factory floor, that there became a huge group of people who were left behind. And while clever pundits and economists speak of creative destruction, in the real world millions lost the dignity of work in the middleclass.

The result? Men and women, many of whom had achievied  a middle-class lifewere thrown into a  long humiliating nightmare of uncertainty. Manufacturing jobs were devastated and never came back because those industries either moved to cheaper labour markets, Caterpillar did this here in London, or innovated through technology and so need radically fewer workers in plants. Also retraining programs were inadequate at best and callous at worst. A worker would rarely, especially in the US, get the training they needed to work in advanced manufacturing and would often be forced into programs that were irrelevant to the current job market. Also it was brutally tough for a 50 year old man or woman to retrain in the computer focused workd of advanced manufacturing.

So the dignity and stability of work, which is so critical to having a stable life, became a memory for millions across north America who instead found themselves in precarious work and precarious lives. They were, and are, a growing  group who are rightfully angry and rightfully feeling ignored. Into this vacuum come Kellie Leitch and Donald trump who provide easy targets for the anger and frustration. So it is any wonder that we have the environment that spawns a Donald Trump or Kellie Leitch? No progressive movement I’ve seen is advocating for this group  and so they support those who, through lies and misdirection, provide them with a target for their anger. Immigrants, political correctness, elites, women, international bankers and the list goes on and on. It is so easy for Trump or Leitch to pretend to be one of them while givig them targets for their anger that further thier callous ends. Meanwhile we in the progressive ranks shake our heads and tut in superiority. Racism, sexism, and prejudice are always unacceptable. But it should be equally unacceptable for so many millions to be left behind and become the targets for politicallu opportune predators like Trump and Leitch to pretend to use our friends and neighbours so callously.

Perhaps we need a new hashtag that lasts for more than a weekend. Perhaps we need a hashtag that says we will stand with those being ignored. Perhaps we should do more than a hashtag and actually send messages through the corridors of power and say we will not ignore our friends and neighbours any longer. We won’t stand for the denigration of the dignity of work and the humiliation of families that are left behind. That would be a proud achievement for the progressive movement. I doubt it will happen but it would be a proud moment. #nooneleftbehind

exuberant, lame, yellow with cream and sugar

exuberant exigent sunlight floods eye and a bounty, green in start, ruby reds in completion, wends it’s way to my attention. All day I have thought about the next 5 minutes i say, and the man on the radio quotes Matthew to the masses.

lame luddite words burp on their screen and they react like dust trapped in the furnace air filter. Fast in approach but stopped and stuck in resolve. All day I have thought about the next 5 minutes i say and the lady laughs and pirouettes out of shot.

yellow yielding warmth offers a chance for joy and you take the moment and instagram it out of existence. All day I have thought about the next 5 minutes says the lady with the too large glasses as I go through the door with bell clanging finality.

the next 5 minutes get filled for the next 3 hours – conversation, coffee, and potential

Sunday

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The sun, yellow bright in it’s inevitability, one handedly shakes us up and at em with a blank page invitation to other opportunities, and in the first precious hours of wakedness, you read mornings news, contemplate the laughter conversations of yesterday, and finish another 1000 words of intention.

Here comes the mob media posts of lovely people that sonder into your awareness and the insistent shout and satisfying of fur friends answered and satiated.

Now the wonder of breakfast begins frying pan busy and oven insistent and I cut and chop my way through “i should have said” considerations and D minor C major progressions of sparkler flared recollection.

Not for nothing and nothing is what you’ll get but …..oh wait….bacon!

Lunch times laugh still pings about my soul from yesterday and the technicians exasperation at the old timers insistence still makes me warm smile curl around its recollection. A note of sour trashcan ended discord interrupts my progress with comments of someone else angst.

Toaster pops, coffee wafts, poached eggs shimmer, potatoes smile, and the table conversations begins in a newspaper spread passing of family on a Sunday morn.

Not for nothing and nothing is what you’ll get but …..oh wait….bacon!

….coffee?

Buzzsaw Cowardice

Your buzzsaw quick cowardice dresses itself in the theft
of Judy, Doris, Rosemary, Anne, and Heather’s work.

Who? you ask ….Yeah .

And now you stand on the shores of the pacific, reeking of privilege and anglo pride,
bringing salvation to the poor people of a nation whose history and struggle you only notice in the airport gift shop.

What? you ask …..Yeah.

I would gladly stand in a court made of Y and 46XX to be judged.
And when sentence is passed would say thank while you slink out the backdoor
with your eyes down.

Uh? you say….. Yeah

So go a head spit spite and shout your words yelled from safe distances.
I am unafraid of any judgement you may generate and offer the evidence of your incompetence dressed in other peoples struggles.

But! you say……Yeah

it is not built within me

You cannot imagine the deflation of try no more than you could utter the words to someone else’s heart. In calling across the recreated glories of my sometime past I feel…

ah, there it is. feel.

So I act, and as is the timing of my thought to action, act quickly. It is not built within me to hesitate, and as I hesitate, i almost invariably go wrong. Nor is it within me to greet and smile and nod and be quiet when I cannot mean it.

You cannot imagine the deflation of try no more than you could intercept the slapped out words of others said to others. In calling across the recreated glories of my sometime past i fail…

ah, there it is. fail.

Lost in the where of when and why I am encumbered by your idea of my next steps and so I act, and act quickly. It is not built within me to be careful, and as i am careful, I almost invariably go wrong. Nor is it within me to spend careful hours and long spans in deliberation when I cannot mean it.

The full-tilt boogie of my mind rim-shots against the foolish idealism of what should be and results in a jangling jive of now, now, now.

ah there it is.

You cannot imagine the deflation of try

Shibboleth

Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right.” Book of Judges, Chapter 12

 

I have been considering first principles for sometime now. More specifically my own first principles and what they mean to me and what I do with them. In my beginning there was art and it informed what I did and how I went about my life. It began with music and moved on to theatre. Art and its creation was a first principle.  And then came to a stop.

Over the last 10 or so years i have tried a number of times to restart the process of creating but it was always abortive in the doing. Always came to a point of confusion and non-completion. The largest part of the blame for this resides within myself by holding on to past wrongs and failures. Some part of this is because of where I live. It has not been as fertile a place to create as other places I have lived. But again and again, for sometime now, I keep thinking about these first principles of where I started. The first principle of creating art.

Let me say that Art is a completely illogical thing. Where the impulse for its creation comes from for me is almost undefinable. In trying to II sputter and flail about. But still it is there; a very deep and strong impulse despite my abuse of it. So I chose to go back to first principles. The drive to create art.

This will mean i will need to set aside some other plans and processes I have currently started or am doing. To those of you who will see me leave that work I am sorry for not finishing it with you. I hope you will understand. I must do this other thing.

I will begin by understanding and writing and talking about the parts of this first principle of creating art. About sharing my thoughts on what it means here in my community and most importantly creating it. For those that create art there is a kind of shibboleth that we recognize amongst one another; a way of identifying those who understand these impulses and need to create. I will be seeking you out and will know you, and you me, by how we frame our thoughts. How we say Shibboleth to one another.

This will not be easy but i sense already it will be a worth while. I am filled with a mad excitement and a real terror at the thought of starting .or is it restarting and of abandoning the safer path I am currently on. So let this be a declaration of a beginning.

Wish me Gods speed and turbulent waters. Everything else is merde .

Quigley