This morning, I woke up to a great idea for a long, complicated poem. I had a general idea, phrases I wanted to use, and an overall outline. A long day has passed, with usual tasks at work, followed by a community event in the evening. By the time I got home, the idea for the poem had evaporated. I wished I had written down some notes. Hopefully, the idea will return.
I spend a little time looking at the tabs that are open in my browser. Perhaps one of them will give a clue. Is it something about ‘Dabar Yawheh’? None of the other currently open tabs seem to provide a lead.
I get distracted looking at THE OBSESSIVELY DETAILED MAP OF AMERICAN LITERATURE'S MOST EPIC ROAD TRIPS. What was William Least Heat Moon’s path in Blue Highways? Which road trip books included Connecticut?
Then, the idea starts to come back. The Road Trip. Starting from #Rhizo15. Getting lost in books as a kid, in encyclopedias, in libraries, and finally, on the road. All of it as a metaphor for that great trip, from cradle to grave, along with whatever comes before or after. I think of the great epics. I think of travelogues. I think of the Camino de Santiago, the 88 temples of Shikoku. I think of my own journeys when I was younger, and virtually retracing some of Blue Highways. I think of Wim Wenders Road Trip Trilogy, and I think of wandering in the desert for forty years.
It is still early in the morning,
but the air is think
with heat and humidity.
Beside the road
and Queen Anne’s Lace
Even wild flowers
can’t provide inspiration
in this heat.
Last week, I posted #FRFF Preview, Part 1, providing links and some initial reactions to various Emerging Artists that will be performing at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival this year. This week, I return with the second half.
Camela Widad (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Camela is one of the performers I’m most excited about hearing at Falcon Ridge this year. I’ve referenced her song, “My Turn” in a previous blog post. Other songs that I really like by her include “Raging Water” and “Candle”. She sings powerful stories to help make this world a better place.
Dan Weber (Vancouver, WA)
Dan is another perform I’m really looking forward to. His song, “Sarah Ann” was one of the first ones I listened to when I set up my Spotify playlist of Emerging Artists. I listened to the song at the dining room table with my wife and youngest daughter. They laughed at the line “Can’t you see that you’re too young for me” and missed much of the poignancy of the song.
Another song, in a similar spirit is “Goodbye to Dad”. Maybe it says something that three of the first songs I mention are about death.
Jay Hitt (Butler, PA)
A song that includes a more complete view of life and death is “Love is…” I captures why Jay Hitt is another one of the performers I’m most excited to see this year at Falcon Ridge.
Neptune’s Car (Sutton, MA)
Songs that I really like are ones that tell stories, and Neptune’s Car has some great songs like this. At the top of the list, for me, is “The 43 (U.S.S. Tappahannock). A couple other songs that I’ve enjoyed of theirs include “One More Glass of Wine” and “Drinking to Distraction”.
Mare Wakefield & Nomad (Nashville, TN)
I’ve been listing to Mare’s album “Poet On The Moon”. It is a great title and some of her songs really caught my attention, particularly, Clementine and Rattlesnake. I also like the song she shared on Facebook “Take Down Your Flag”.
Liz and the Family Tree (New York, NY)
It took me a while to find that Liz and the Family Tree is Liz Queler, Seth Farber and Joey Farber. I’ve listened a little bit to “The Edna Project” and haven’t yet found a favorite.
Gina Forsyth (New Orleans, LA),
Gina’s songs that I like best are the ones that she plays fiddle on. In particular, “Sparrow” and “11 Days” often shows up in the Spotify shuffle of songs and they always catch my attention.
Bernice Lewis (Williamstown, MA)
I grew up in Williamstown, so Bernice jumped out at me. Probably the song that most catches my attention of hers is “Checks and Love Letters”.
Matt Harlan (Houston, TX)
“Old Spanish Moss” is the song that has jumped out to me most.
I’ve been listening to the remaining performers, a little bit while writing this post, and at other times shuffling through my Spotify playlist. I haven’t, yet, found songs to highlight for each of them, so I’ll just list their webpages, and where they have them, Facebook or Twitter pages. Perhaps, if I get more time, I’ll add some updates later on.
Teresa Storch (Longmont, CO)
Katrin (Brookline, MA)
Mason Porter (Honey Brook, PA)
Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers (Fayetteville, NY)
Skout (New York, NY)
Jessy Tomsko (Astoria, NY)
Scott Wolfson & Other Heroes (Jersey City, NJ)
Years ago, Kim got me a shirt for Christmas or a birthday that said, “I get my news on twitter”. I would wear this to journalism conferences and it would always start a lively discussion. These days, there isn’t much new to that. On Facebook the other day, a friend shared a link to a story, How Facebook and Twitter Became Your Newspapers citing a Pew report, The Evolving Role of News on Twitter and Facebook.
These days, I get my news from many sources. I often click on links, and then leave the tabs open to come back to later when I have time. Unfortunately, I’m often very busy and the number of tabs grows until I need to clean things up.
Today was one of those days. As I read through the tabs that were open, it seemed as if there was some greater narrative there, which I’ll try to explore by looking at some of these links.
A good starting point is UMD 'tragedy of the commons' tweet goes viral. A friend shared this link on Facebook and I reshared it with this introduction:
I think the interesting question is not why the professor did this, but why it went viral. Does it say something about the 1%, about the current crop of GOP candidates? Something about the current state of our society, that this has struck a chord? #ChooseTwoPoints
I receive fourteen comments and twenty people shared the post. To me, it comes down to some key issues. Many of the GOP candidates seem to be focused on Ayn Rand’s virtual of selfishness, believing that it is better for everyone to grab as much as they can. The tragedy of the commons illustrates why this does not work.
Another link I had open was David Brook’s, Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While White. He writes, “I think you distort American history” and goes on to present a vision of American History from the wealthy white male perspective. I imagine many of my friends interested in historiography rolling their eyes at what Brook’s is saying. To me, it relates back to the tragedy of the commons. Brooks is unwilling to accept that by grabbing all he can, he is in fact making things worse for everyone. He doesn’t want to hear that. Instead, as I commented on a friend’s post about the article, “Brooks op-ed reminds me of a four year old when told something he doesn't want to hear. Brooks just uses fancier words to scream out "La La La La La, I can't hear you!"” I understand the needs of papers to have short headlines, but it seems that a better title for Brook’s article would be Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While being a privileged rich white male unwilling to look critically at himself.
Another article that fits into this larger narrative is For the sake of the gospel, drop the persecution complex.
So what I’d like to suggest to my fellow Christians is that perhaps taking up the cross means laying down the persecution complex. A spirit of fear and entitlement does more to obscure the gospel than elucidate it.
Brooks, and conservative Christians seem afraid to live out the Gospel of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Instead they complain bitterly, perhaps even calling it persecution, if they are asked to make room for other people’s beliefs.
Perhaps some of this relates to the issue of climate change, and the bigger issue it represents. Two of the articles I had open were We should all worry about Climate Change, study reveals and Does Climate change Influence Death Rates in the U.S?. Is climate change an illustration of tragedy of the commons? What sort of response are Christians called to make to climate change?
Yet two of the articles I recently read seem to do a better job of relating our lives to God. They don’t directly relate to the tragedy of the commons, but indirectly seem to fit quite nicely. One was by a high school classmate, Saying Yes. Another blog post that caught my attention was Leaving a light on.
I should also do an inter-faith shout out here. As the month of Ramadan comes to an end, I think about a video a Muslim friend shared, Mercy Like the Rain.
One other link that I had open was the Poets and Writers database of MFA programs How do we write about The Tragedy of The Commons, Climate Change, and Faith in the Twenty First Century?
The other day, I stumbled across a blog post by Jeffrey Keefer, Why I am no longer a Critical Theorist. Now, I only have passing knowledge of critical theory or actor-network theory, which he goes on to talk about, so my reactions may make a lot of sense.
In his post, he writes:
However, people are so complicated and networks create, hold together, and modify with forces beyond just the human actors (cf. actor-network theory) that is it difficult to speak for the whole as if there is a unified whole.
My mind wanders to a couple different thoughts here. On the one hand, I think about the transcendent, the mystical, that which passes human understanding. How, if at all, does this fit into of critical theory or actor-network theory?
My thoughts also go to my interest in the relationship between group relations, group analytics, and artificial neural networks. The network is more than just the nodes. The group has reactions above and beyond must the members of the group.
Jeffrey starts off referencing Maha Bali’s blog post, Embracing Paradox: Both/And Mentality and Postmodernism. At the top of the blog post, she suggest a three minute reading time. Then, she links to “Matt Croslin’s blogpost on metamodernism and heutagogy”. My thoughts wander off to metamodernism and how it relates to modernism and postmodernism, another area, I could spend a lot of time exploring.
Oops. My three minutes is up, and I haven’t even gotten to her link to “Martin Weller’s post on the role personality plays in MOOCs” or Lee Skallerup Bessette post about “social media activity as service”.
So, I back my way out and am back with Jeffrey as he references Lyotard. It seems like just digging through all that underlies these few blog posts could give me plenty to study for a long time.
Meanwhile, the link to my previous blog post in Facebook group brought a lot of comments. Some of it was around the conflict of colleges and universities as degree granting organizations and learning institutions. That is an old discussion that I find tedious. However, I did get the discussion back on track about the subject matter, which I’m still not sure how best to describe. Currently, I saying something like Metamodernism and Sacred Aesthetics. One link that looked promising was The Modern and the Postmodern (Part 1) and Part 2. Part 2 is the part that sounds most interesting to me, but I might do both of them.
Others suggested, “Douglas Crimp at University of Rochester and Yvonne Rainer at UC Irvine” and “Athabasca University in the MAIS program Master of Arts integrated studies and see what they say. See if you can talk to Wendell Kisner”
So, there are plenty of things to explore, on top of the poems to read, plays to see, folk music to listen to, and my greater spiritual quest.