Carter G. Woodson went to the Philippines in 1903 to help establish a new school system there (The first group to do this traveled aboard the U.S.S. Thomas and were therefore known as Thomasites.) Woodson, a Black educator, saw how the books and subjects that Filipino kids were being taught were completely outside of their own circumstances, their own story. The Filipinos’ lives and landscapes were excluded from the books and curriculum written and designed by white Americans.
To state the obvious: love is what matters. Where there is love, there is strength. Strength is not power. Power is often handed down or passed surreptitiously under a table from one hand to another. One acquires power from somewhere outside the self. But strength–one reveals strength through a deep, difficult inner looking. You can be powerful and loveless. if you are strong, though,you are loving and loved; your love sees itself in relation to beloveds and therefore resonates/resounds. Your strength, then, becomes legible. Your love becomes eloquent.
“…[T]he decisive actors here are the adventurer and the pirate, the wholesale grocer and the ship owner, the gold digger and the merchant, appetite and force, and behind them, the baleful projected shadow of a form of civilization which, at a certain point in its history, finds itself obliged, for internal reasons, to extend to a world scale the competition of its antagonistic economies. “
On teaching Asian American Lit for the first time
“The history of mankind, of nations and of nature, natural science, mathematics and his own experience were the wellsprings which animated his lectures and his everyday life. He was never indifferent to anything worth knowing. No intrigue, no sectional interests, no advantage, no desire for fame ever possessed the slightest power to counteract his extension and illumination of truth. He encouraged and gently compelled people to think for themselves: despotism was alien to his nature.”
I want the National Parks Service to run a major grant program that fully funds travel and support for writers and artists–especially from communities who are less likely to utilize the Park System— to visit, camp, hike our national parks and produce writing, artwork, film, dance, music inspired by our landscapes. Let’s go Ford, Carnegie, Guggenheim, NEA, NEH, AWP. Let’s go, Oprah. Let’s go, rich Apple guy and the other guy who does the other computers. Figure it out. #artistsinnationalparks
Think of a field — imagined or from memory. You can describe the field, but I’ll suggest another challenge:
Write down all the rules of that field.
Every field has its rules. A meadow or clearing abides by the rules of its ecology (ecologies). A magnetic field or a field of energy has its rules. Think of graveyards and gardens, which are curated fields. Or mine- and battlefields. One of the horrors of war is that its violence exposes the interior of buildings and homes to the outside–an abrupt return to some version of their original state— field. (Most human structures seem to want to arrest the field, which isn’t just a space but a process; the field in nature is always changing.)