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Blog Entries tagged 'change'

The Paris Review: My Window on the World

windowshave been looking out this window for three years. I have stared out of these rectangular panes full of hope and also despair, giddy with inspiration to connect and overtaken by a throbbing desire to disengage. I suppose this is what writing is to me: gripping the rope that swings between reaching out and pulling in.

But whatever my mood, I always love the light beyond this window. I love the quiet. I love my two empty chairs, sentinels awaiting their visitors, open to the promise of more. I feel at home in this spot, on this road to the small village of Hana, on this tiny piece of rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I love the rain that pours down, thunderous and crashing, before sunshine, harsh and stunning, pierces through once again. 

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July 19th, 2013

Washington Post, The Root: An Interview with Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi

Egypt's Nawal El Saadawi: "We will not let Egypt Burn"

For five decades, the famed Egyptian physician/writer/feminist has been fighting the powers that be. The Root caught up with her just hours before President Mubarak stepped down.  

The Root: Where are you now?

Saadawi: I am home in my apartment in Cairo, and we are preparing to go out into streets.

TR: Are you going to [Tahrir] Square?

NS: The Square is full. There is no more room in the square and so we have decided that we will be everywhere. Egyptians will be in every square, on every street, at the Presidential Palace, and at the national television station. We will be in every place. This revolution has unified us. We are not men and women, Christian and Muslim, professional and non-professional, we are all Egyptians and we will not let Egypt burn. 

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February 11th, 2011

The End of the University as We Know It

I'm really loving this Op-ed by Mark Taylor in yesterday's Times, here's a section:

2. Abolish permanent departments, even for undergraduate education, and create problem-focused programs. These constantly evolving programs would have sunset clauses, and every seven years each one should be evaluated and either abolished, continued or significantly changed. It is possible to imagine a broad range of topics around which such zones of inquiry could be organized: Mind, Body, Law, Information, Networks, Language, Space, Time, Media, Money, Life and Water.

Consider, for example, a Water program. In the coming decades, water will become a more pressing problem than oil, and the quantity, quality and distribution of water will pose significant scientific, technological and ecological difficulties as well as serious political and economic challenges. These vexing practical problems cannot be adequately addressed without also considering important philosophical, religious and ethical issues. After all, beliefs shape practices as much as practices shape beliefs.

A Water program would bring together people in the humanities, arts, social and natural sciences with representatives from professional schools like medicine, law, business, engineering, social work, theology and architecture. Through the intersection of multiple perspectives and approaches, new theoretical insights will develop and unexpected practical solutions will emerge.

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April 28th, 2009

Write Now.

Hey beauties,

I'm doing manuscript consults for the next two months, and planning the next Maui Memoir Writing Workshop.

Now's the time to get feedback on the manuscript you need to sell, and/or come to Maui to learn the Art of Memoir amidst pineapple fields, avocado trees, and of course, the big, blue ocean. 

Consults are ongoing and the Workshop will be June 14-20

No time to waste. Write now.

Catch a wave.

April 9th, 2009

In Love with A. Lincoln, by Maira Kalman

"The occasion is piled high with difficulty. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country." --A. Lincoln, 1862

From the lovely Maira Kalman's lovely ode In Love with A. Lincoln

February 28th, 2009

Trailer for What's On Your Plate, a flim by Catherine Gund and Aubin Pictures

Amazing

Not a day goes by that I don't think about what I'm eating, what I'm feeding my family, and how little I know about where our food is from, and who handles it as it moves from place to place.

When I see films like this or read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, I feel fortunate to have lived in Berkeley for several years and spent many delicious evenings at Alice Waters' restaurant, Chez Panisse.

The first time, I was taken for my 16th birthday by one of my fabulous gay "uncles" named Ivory, whom I lost to AIDS years later. I will always remember him as the person who introduced me to Lillet and the concept of the "prix fixe". It was incredible. We ate rabbit and drank Lillet and then had delicious flourless chocolate ganache.

I love you Ivory!

Anyway.

Now that Waters is advising the White House and transforming public school cafeterias by teaching kids to grow their own lunches, I feel I was there at the beginning-- a part of yet another movement: The Food Movement!

Waters has just joined the Advisory Board for this great film, produced and directed by a friend and fellow co-founder of Third Wave Foundation, Catherine Gund. 

I'd love to hear your food stories. We don't have any CSA's here on Maui, or if we do, I need someone out there to tell me about them.

February 25th, 2009

Portrait

Love this portrait of Barack Obama by artist Juana Olga Barrios:

Sent to me by the coolest creative productivity guru I know, Danielle LaPorte at White Hot Truth

February 25th, 2009

Monographs, from Readerville

Hey--here's a nice bunch of sentences I strung together on Readerville, one of my favorite literary sites.

Monographs

In the life I didn’t choose, I am a photographer and installation artist. I make striking objects that live in a space beyond words. In the life I chose, I write books about houses and people and feelings, but I reach for my Yashica Mat camera to capture that which cannot be transcribed. I photograph my son like Sally Mann captured her kids, running wild in the nude. I try to photograph myself like Lorna Simpson would, in a white dress, from behind, with one hand pouring water from a pewter pitcher and the other pouring water from a plastic jug. I dream of building a life-sized southern shack like the ones I used to pass on the side of the road in Georgia, when I was a little girl, driving to the family cemetery.

I’m no longer surprised when I open a box that’s been taped shut for years, and find an artist’s monograph on top. A few books down, I’ll find catalogs from shows that were up at MOMA when I was an intern. I was sixteen then, sitting in front of Mark Rothko’s paintings for hours. I’ve tried to give these books away, to sell them, anything to keep from carrying them to another apartment, another country, but I can’t. I need them. 

Ana Mendieta: Earth Body
How to describe Ana Mendieta? She was a Cuban-American artist who made kick-ass, sensual, outrageously smart and seductive work. I love the Silueta series--Mendieta paints her body to blend into/become various pieces of earth. She is a tree, a body of lava scorching the earth, dirt in an open grave with flowers sprouting from her skin.

Her performance pieces are brave: she walks to the wall and slides her bare hands down it, leaving two red smears. She stops, walks away, and we’re looking: it’s a vagina, it’s a gash, it’s Ana’s mark on the art world, her X in the history of art.

Artwork by Shirin Neshat
When I came back to the states after living in a Muslim country, Shirin Neshat’s work explained everything to me: the power of the feminine in Islamic culture; the powerlessness of the feminine in Islamic culture. The hopelessness of the idea of “Islamic culture.” The way faith and art and desire come together to form something like a drug for the human soul. Beloved, a photograph of mother and son, mother covered in hijab, son held close to the breast, is heart stopping. The baby sits in the folds of the hijab. And to the left of the mother and child, the Muslim pieta, there is a gun.

Seydou Keita
I don’t remember where I first saw Keita’s portraits, or heard about the man who made photographs in a small studio in Bamako, Mali, for decades before being “discovered” by Western collectors. I do know that I wanted to buy his work the second I saw it. His work captures so much about Africa and modernity and style and colonialism and independence and youth and art and vibrancy, I can barely stand to talk about it. I bought two large prints when I sold my first book. He died a few years later.

Yayoi Kusama: Love Forever
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama makes her art at a studio a few blocks from the mental hospital in which she has lived, by choice, since the early 1970s. “If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago,” Kusama has said, and I understand. Her work is feminine, sprawling, heroic, psychedelic, minimalist, absurd and fecund. She works in polka dots, giant nets and huge pumpkins. Yayoi visits conventional reality, but doesn’t live there.

The Art of Bill Viola
Man on fire. Man drenched in water. Man shifting through time, space and the elements, on a thin video screen, with sound. A man comes in and out of being before our very eyes. Genius. I love BV.

I could go on and on. Bill Eggleston, Gauguin, Paul Strand, Hiroshi Sugimoto: Seascapes! Odd shelf after odd shelf. 

To Readerville

 

February 23rd, 2009

What She Said.

From the New York Times:
 
Questions for Dambisa Moyo

The Anti-Bono

Interview by Deborah Solomon

Published: February 19, 2009

Q: As a native of Zambia with advanced degrees in public policy and economics from Harvard and Oxford, you are about to publish an attack on Western aid to Africa and its recent glamorization by celebrities. ‘‘Dead Aid,’’ as your book is called, is particularly hard on rock stars. Have you met Bono?

I have, yes, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last year. It was at a party to raise money for Africans, and there were no Africans in the room, except for me.

What do you think of him?

I’ll make a general comment about this whole dependence on “celebrities.” I object to this situation as it is right now where they have inadvertently or manipulatively become the spokespeople for the African continent.

You argue in your book that Western aid to Africa has not only perpetuated poverty but also worsened it, and you are perhaps the first African to request in book form that all development aid be halted within five years.

Think about it this way — China has 1.3 billion people, only 300 million of whom live like us, if you will, with Western living standards. There are a billion Chinese who are living in substandard conditions. Do you know anybody who feels sorry for China? Nobody.

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February 22nd, 2009

Skull and Bones: Geronimo's

Geronimo’s Heirs Sue Secret Yale Society Over His Skull

Published: February 19, 2009
The New York Times

HOUSTON — The descendants of Geronimo have sued Skull and Bones, a secret society at Yale University with ties to the Bush family, charging that its members robbed his grave in 1918 and have kept his skull in a glass case ever since.


Agence France-Press/Getty Images

A National Archives image of Geronimo taken in 1887.

Legend has it that Prescott S. Bush stole Geronimo’s skull.

The claim is part of a lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington on Tuesday, the 100th anniversary of Geronimo’s death. The Apache warrior’s heirs are seeking to recover all his remains, wherever they may be, and have them transferred to a new grave at the headwaters of the Gila River in New Mexico, where Geronimo was born and wished to be interred.

“I believe strongly from my heart that his spirit was never released,” Geronimo’s great-grandson Harlyn Geronimo, 61, told reporters Tuesday at the National Press Club.

Geronimo died a prisoner of war at Fort Sill, Okla., in 1909. A longstanding tradition among members of Skull and Bones holds that Prescott S. Bush — father of President George Bush and grandfather of President George W. Bush — broke into the grave with some classmates during World War I and made off with the skull, two bones, a bridle and some stirrups, all of which were put on display at the group’s clubhouse in New Haven, known as the Tomb.

More at New York Times

February 20th, 2009