Sunday, July 01, 2007

(I apologize to the folks who read this blog and are expecting a return call or email from me. I am present here but nowhere else. Please bear with me).

Thanks to those who have backchanneled about the post on "sexual crimes and colonial trauma;" this is a minefield. I hope I can learn to tread softly as you entrust me with your stories and painful memories.

More about storytelling from David Abram: At the very moment that the idea of human equality has finally spread via the printed word or the electronic media, into every nation, it becomes apparent that it is indeed nothing more than an idea, that in some of the most "developed" of nations humans are nevertheless destroying each other, physically and emotionally...through warfare, through the callousness of corporate greed, or through a rapidly spreading indifference.

Clearly something is terribly missing, some essential ingredient has been neglected, some necessary aspect of life has been dangerously overlooked, set aside, or simply forgotten in the rush toward a common world....we have forgotten the poise that comes from living in storied relation and reciprocity with the myriad things, the myriad beings, that perceptually surround us.

Only if we can renew that reciprocity - grounding our newfound capacity for literate abstraction in those older, oral forms of experience - only then will the abstract intellect find its real value. It is not a matter of going back, but rather of coming full circle, uniting our capacity for cool reason with those more sensorial and mimetic ways of knowing, letting the vision of a common world root itself in our direct, participatory engagement with the local and the particular.

If we do not soon remember ourselves to our sensuous surroundings, if we do not reclaim our solidarity with the other sensibilities that inhabit and constitute those surroundings, then the cost of our human commonality may be our common extinction.

In North America there is growing movement of those who have "fallen in love outward" with the world around them. As their compassion for the land deepens, they choose to resist the contemporary tendency to move always elsewhere for a better job or more affluent lifestyle, and resolve instead to dedicate themselves to the terrain that has claimed them, to meet the generosity of the land with a kind of wild faithfulness. They suspect that...sooner or later technological civilization must accept the invitation of gravity and settle back into the land, its political and economic structures diversifying into the varied contours and rhythms of a more-than-human earth.

What then is the task of writers?...our task is that of taking up the written word, with all of its potency, and patiently, carefully, writing language back into the land....it is the practice of spinning stories that have the rhythm and lilt of the local soundscape, tales for the tongue, tales that want to be told, again and again...enfolding us all within a common flesh, a common story now bursting with rain.

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