Writers Who Can Remember Freedom

Ursula Le Guin killed it at the National Book Awards last week.

“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.

“Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.”

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The Bapron

Olive’s teeth are starting to come in, so we’ve been giving her breast milk ice cubes in a little feeding pouch.

Olive loves the cubes.  I love the Bapron.

Olive's Bapron

I sewed it using her old receiving blankets.

Next project — a baby cape-bib (like the ones you wear to get your hair cut).

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Postpartum Magic

I don’t believe in ‘miracle foods’, but miyuk guk (seaweed soup) is pretty amazing.  miyuk gukAfter giving birth to Olivia 슬아, I went on a soup diet.  I ate miyuk guk at least 3 times a day for the first six weeks.  Then, I incorporated other types of soup and porridge.  Mainly chicken porridge. The women in my family swear by it.  They say that miyuk guk restores what your body lost during the birth — iron, calcium, etc. — and detoxes your breastmilk.  It definitely helped me make more milk, and kept my poop soft.

You can make miyuk guk with just about any type of soup base.  I made tons of beef marrow broth before the birth and froze it in containers to make soup afterwards.

Sagol

It’s super-easy.  Buy some 사골 (beef shank bones) and soak it in water for a few hours until the blood drains out.  Rinse the bones, and soak it again to make sure all the blood is gone.  Then throw the bones in a giant pot full of water.  Boil and simmer for a full day — just add water every few hours.  The soup will become white and you’ll see holes in the bones once it’s done.

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Junot Diaz and Toni Morrison

Beautiful conversation between Junot Diaz and Toni Morrison at the New York Public Library.

Morrison on unlocking books:

I always felt that the narrative that African Americans, particularly political ones, told — if they were manipulated by or in the hands of mainstream publishing — it was going to automatically be restrained…  It’s sort of like Frederick Douglass and those slave stories.  You can feel them withholding because they’re writing for abolitionists and they don’t want to upset them too much.  And that gaze and that control, to me, is obvious.

It’s even there in some African American fiction where I can feel that gaze.  That they’re really not talking to me.  If you write a book and call it invisible man, invisible to who?  Not me.

Beloved and mothers:

At the time – this book came out in ’83 or something – but at that time, women who were being progressive and trying to knock down barriers and crack open ceilings, they were intonating that one of the things that would make a woman free was to not have children.  Therefore, she should be able to have access to abortion.  And that was understood to be freedom.

And I was thinking just the opposite.  I never felt more free in my life until I had children.  They were just the opposite of a burden…

But for black women, enslaved, to have a child that you were responsible for, that was really yours, that was really freedom.  Because they took those children.  You didn’t have children.   You may have produced them, but they weren’t yours.  They could be sold.  Were sold.  To be a mother was the unbelievable freedom.

So when Margaret Garner cut that girl’s neck, she was saying ‘this child is mine.’  And to claim her, even if it had to go and become bloody.  Nevertheless that was the freedom, that was the ability, that was the mothering.

On her characters:

I expect them to give it up.  I mean, who do they think they are?  I’m writing so, come on.  I notice that if I don’t have their names right, they don’t talk, but if I get their names right, they are very talkative.  I understand them completely and they sortof understand what the job is.  So it’s an intimate relationship and I’m more grateful than surprised.

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High School Coop

My favorite teacher, Mr. A-K, is helping his high school students start their own clothing coop!

Can’t wait to see what they come up with.

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DJ Janie

My little sister moved to LA last year to become a DJ.  Just put out her first mix full of songs we grew up on:

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Photo Magic

My partner went back to school this semester to learn photography and photoshop. He made this picture of my cat for fun:
ElmoEyes

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Beautiful and necessary piece by Arundhati Roy.  Some excerpts:

India’s nuclear tests, the manner in which they were conducted, the euphoria with which they have been greeted (by us) is indefensible. To me, it signifies dreadful things. The end of imagination.

… Railing against the past will not heal us. History has happened. It’s over and done with. All we can do is to change its course by encouraging what we love instead of destroying what we don’t. There is beauty yet in this brutal, damaged world of ours. Hidden, fierce, immense. Beauty that is uniquely ours and beauty that we have received with grace from others, enhanced, re-invented and made our own. We have to seek it out, nurture it, love it. Making bombs will only destroy us. It doesn’t matter whether we use them or not. They will destroy us either way.

The End of Imagination

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We Are Made of Stories

Eduardo Galeano on Democracy Now this morning:

Scientists say that human beings are made of atoms, but a little bird told me that we are also made of stories.  So each one has something to tell that deserves to be heard.

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Poetry

Feeling moved today.

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