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Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Arts of Peace

words fail me this week. there are fragments of a story swirling in my head, but i don't seem able to make the effort to get it on paper, to weave the words, to transform this swirl into a narrative. instead i check the news too often, go to bed too late, brush to-do-lists out of sight, and paint little coloured squares on paper with child's wax sticks that were hiding in a drawer.

what's the point, anyway, i scribbled on a white page of paper this morning. some other pages of paper answered some hours later, through a book sent to me from across the ocean. Selected Subversions, it is named. Essays on the World at Large. one of the essays is titled "The Arts of Peace." here are some lines of it:

My work and the world: I was asked by somebody back at the time of the invasion of Iraq how we could all just go on writing or funny little stories, especially we fantasists, and I said that in my opinion what we were doing was practicing the arts of peace. What we want is a world in which funny fantastical stories are possible and are valued. In which there is nothing so dreadful or urgent that it causes the writing of such things to stop or be stopped. Worlds where the arts of peace can't be practiced are wounded worlds, and that's why we have to go on practicing those arts, so that our worlds don't die.
- John Crowley, Practicing the Arts of Peace

those lines, i read them to a painter friend this afternoon, who bought a ticket to Jordan three weeks ago, to visit this place she hasn't been to yet, to be in the desert once more. "i can't read the newspaper," she said to me. then she told me how a friend who happens to be architect visited her yesterday, had looked at a tiny sky painting she did last month, and had said to her: "will you do more of those?"

(the link to the Selected Subversions, here: Conjunctions)

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