Monthly Archives: June 2017

What Happened to Reading?

Yiadom

 

I don’t know what happened to the endless hours of reading under the shade of a tree on a beach or splayed out on the couch, cocooned in bed, in the muggy heat of the laundromat, the corner of the library under the armadillo. . .

I try to get up early, do my must do items that come with being an adult, then sit on my not so comfy but cheap office chair, stare at my computer and read. It does not last long and I barely get through one long article when my heel starts hurting, my hip aches, my neck stiffens.

What happened to reading without pain? What happened to the ability to quiet the outside world and immerse into the worlds of Pearl Buck or Amy Tan. How come I do not hear the authors speaking in my ear?

I have become a skimmer, sadly. Here is what I am skimming now. “Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s Imaginary Portraits” by Zadie Smith, New Yorker June 19, 2017.

This is what kept me skimming:

This red has the effect of bringing a diverse selection of souls together, framing and containing them, much like a novel contains its people, which is to say, only partially. For Yiadom-Boakye’s people push themselves forward, into the imagination—as literary characters do—surely, in part, because these are not really portraits. They have no models, no sitters. They are character studies of people who don’t exist.

I want to be able to immerse myself into character studies of people who do not exist. I want to read that way again.

Advertisements

What You Get When You Give a Little

logo

There are people in my life that connect on a level that is spiritual and timeless. The relationship does not need to be stoked and watched and baby’d. It survives on a plane that is metaphoric. One of the people that I have that kind of connection with is Manulani Meyer. She is a mentor to many, a part of many Hawaiian educators’ moʻokūʻauhau, but I am lucky to call her my buddy. Our lives continue to intersect when we most need it to and I try to stay attuned to the wind and movements of the earth so that I can also be that HĀ for her.

I told her that I was having a hard time writing because I would rather write poetry than academic prose and she sent me this.

Lee Irwin, Visionary Worlds: The Making and Unmaking of Reality. (93)

It is not anarchy, but the loss of place and position that threatens so many who would truly live another way, an alternative world. There are many who would give up reason for imagination if they could do so and survive; this is the great need, the driving force behind cultural collapse and struggle.  It is not the “irrational” but the imaginative, the artistic, visionary, and alternate that appeals. Reason has its place, as does language and sensation, but life is far richer, far greater and more alive than reason can reconstruct.  If reason is liberated from its bonds, it will rediscover its union with imagination, vision, artistry and mystical illumination as essential to its own further becoming. Reason illuminated is reason freed from externals and aware of its own illuminating potential. After St. Thomas Aquinas had long finished his Summa Theologica, he had a profound spiritual awakening that took him far beyond the bounds of reason. Asked afterward about all his many labors to write his great work, he replied: “Straw for the fire!”  So it is with the empirical worldview, the positivist stance is preparation for death and transformation, for a great dying and rebirth. There is reason to fear, for many suffer already in their unwillingness to let go, and thereby cause others to suffer.

What is so sacred now:

  • The reason behind “cultural collapse and struggle” is our need to give up imagination for reason in order to make enough to survive.
  • Even if we are able to free ourselves from externals, when we have spiritual awakenings, the large “aha,” we must quantify, qualify, analyze, reason and our laborious thoughts are “straw for the fire.”
  • Perhaps Lee Irwin knew Aunty Minnie Kaʻawaloa of Kalapana who said, “if you no listen, everybody suffer.” She was talking about the fact that the kūpuna from Kalapana were urging the catholic diocese to leave the Painted Church in Kalapana because the Painted Church looked mauka to protect from land and the Kalapana Maunakea Congregational Church was across the street looking makai to protect Kalapana from the ocean. The town had several scares over the years but the lava and tidal waves did not hit Kalapana until the diocese did not listen and moved the Painted Church. Now Kalapana as Aunty Minnie knew it from her youth is gone. So see, everybody suffer.

I guess the struggle is not so much do I listen, but what do I do now that I hear?