Monday, August 29, 2011

Water, like people, sometimes travels by air and sometimes by land. Water travels below the surface of the Earth more than people do.
The inconspicuous blesser sits off to the side.
The colors of the outside of the white bakery bag on a sunny day include pale blue, light gleaming yellow, grey and a little white.
Kid crying to his mom in the open doorway of their house, August morning: "I wanna go with Jonah!"

Mom--"Jonah's going to school."

Kid--"I'll be good. I'll be good."

Mom--"You are good."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Yeah, I've read Antigone before by Sophocles. This time something is obvious that hasn't been before.

Antigone is daughter of the gone, exiled king Oedipus, yes, that Oedipus. His marrying his mother all unknown to himself is why he's gone, and also killing his (he didn't know it was) his father.

That's all unusual, but more usual is the two sons fighting over who gets to be king now. The younger one wins the getting the residents and elite to like him campaign. Then the older brother attacks the city with seven friends and their armies (seven against Thebes) and the older brother loses again.

The old guy relative who ends up being king, Creon, decrees that the winner brother, defender of the city, will get full honors at his funeral, and the losing brother won't have a funeral and won't be buried, but left for the vultures to feast on.

Antigone, the sister of both these men, defies the king's order and covers the older brother's body with dirt--a symbolic burial that might help some with the carrion bird problem. Creon orders her death.

Creon's son is her fiance--small world and they keep marrying close. He says to dad, good thinking, I obey, but I hear in the streets people muttering that it's wrong to kill a sister for just wanting to marry her brother.

This point in the play is when I thought the thought I hadn't thought before. Obviously, everyone in town, or a lot of them, who thinks his body deserves respect regardless of the late fighting, because we're all humans and worthy of respect, all those people should throw dirt on the older brother's body.

You can't stop us all, they should say with that action, rather than just muttering in the street.

The reason that thought came automatically is I'm reading Antigone during Arab Spring going into Summer, during a series of often amazingly non-violent uprising against long-time tyrants.

Of course, you do it as a group. Antigone asked her sister to join her and her sister said she wasn't strong enough to stand against the state.

So not being able to get two, Antigone did it as one.

I just read a biography of Sandy Koufax, a very good pitcher, who was on the same baseball team, the Dodgers, as Don Drysdale, a very good pitcher. One year, before players as a group had any rights, back when they were stuck on the same team forever if the team wanted them, those two players held out and didn't sign contracts, together.

Ultimately, Drysdale, who had a family (Koufax didn't yet) caved.

The man who ultimately organized the players' union said that was very helpfull in organizing, which he was starting to to right then. He said if the two best pitcher can't. . .

Together, in a group, the odds increase in our favor.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A carving or a weaving where the heart is whole sent as a thank-you note to you.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A USA person strides onto the scene, studies the situation for seconds on end, applies USA categories, and knows what to do.
Grey skies above, gentle colors below.
Vera Stark takes a year off from her law firm when her second child is born. It has been twelve years since the birth of her first child.

She loses herself in the child's learning and caring for the child and generally being domestic. She doesn't pay much attention to the news. Some things get through. She notices the news story about a child the age of her baby getting shot dead while carried on her mother's back.

A seed is planted. She tells her husband, suddenly, from his point-of-view, "I'm not going back to the firm. . . .I don't want to fight their insurance claims on their jewelry and Mercedes. Or dig the dirt in their divorces."

Her husband wonders if she'll go out on her own. He doesn't understand, at first, the nature of the seed of change.

She goes to work for a foundation that deals with land use issues. Which means things like people getting thrown out of where they've been living by the government, taken to a blank bit of land in the middle of nowhere, given by the government metal sheets to build houses with, or given nothng, and being told to make their homes.

The foundation fights that and the many things like that. Vera, with experience, reminds others she works with that they can't fight causes, only effects They can't change the white minority rule setup. They can only find loopholes and delaying tactics that make things less bad for some people sometimes.

"She went to work for the Foundation, not out of the white guilt people talked about, but out of a need to take up, to balance on her own two feet the time and place to which, by birth, she understood she had no choice but to belong."

Later, things change. It's the part where majority rule is seen as inevitable but hasn't happened yet. Stark is invited to be part of the committee to write a draft constitution.

She isn't sure she wants that. The foundation needs her as a leader and as a lawyer. There's a heavy volume of work as some white people try to get away with a lot before the change of government. It's not what she's used to--much less concrete.

But it is her invitation to move from effects to causes. A draft constitution will be changed. Not all final constitutions have real power.

But being part of writing a draft constitution for a real ongoing country is doing something that might have power for a long time. Those wrangles about the exact phrasing of this or that might change lives as much as her fighting evictions.

And she brings something few whites on the side of majority rule have--lots of experience being in the kinds of home most people in the country live in. Grounding.

A friend of hers also active in making the new, working in finance, says she's got to take it. You've got to do the best you can and trust everybody else working for your goals, and trust the future. So she becomes all committe meetings all the time, the best she can do at that moment.

--about and quoting from Nadine Gordimer's novel "None to Accompany Me." To the extent that the novel is about private life, it's about marriage. That's a grown-up title for a novel about marriage.