A note from the Goddard residency about a new article on Women Doing Literary Things:
“As a writer, I have always been attracted to what is hidden. I write to understand what is not understandable, what is not even acceptable, and to find a deeper truth in what has not been spoken.
“I write war, trauma, history.
“I also write family, without planning to do so. And motherhood. This is the natural consequence of writing who I am. In our culture and our stories, gender is everything. I have learned – not always in the nicest ways – that even when I am sure that my own preoccupations have nothing to do with gender, my readers will still bring their own, gender-based expectations to my work.”
To read the whole article, you can link to this blog, to She Writes, or to Gender Without Borders.
“In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman, and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, recalling the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy, is recounted. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. This tribal ceremony often lasts for several days. At the end, the circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe.”
– Jack Kornfield, On Forgiveness, excerpted in Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World, edited by Karin Lofthus Carrington and Susan Griffin.
This morning, I discovered – surprise, surprise! – that there is very little traffic on the roads at 2:30 in the morning. That’s when I was picked up for a live interview on the Lorraine show, on ITV in the UK. More traffic than expected at 4:00 am, when I was finished. In between, a conversation with a smiley face on a yellow post it (that’s where I was supposed to look at the camera – I could hear Lorraine’s Scottish brogue in my ear, but her image was too time-lagged to look at). If you have an international video viewer, you can see it here. If not, you can wait along with me for the DVD to arrive in the mail.
Beth Kephart, amazing writer, sends a vision from Berlin. She writes:
“A consecration. A silence.
“This is the German war memorial, a mother holding her son.The ground below has the remains of a German soldier and a holocaust victim. The earth is from both a battle ground and a concentration camp.”
Truly a Chorus of Stones.
“The heart has reasons that reason does not understand.”
I have ordered my copy of Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World, edited by Karin Lofthus Carrington and Susan Griffin, University of California Press.
In their own words:
“Over the last decade, whether in Palestine or Israel, Mumbai or Pakistan, Baghdad or Kabul, Rwanda or the Sudan, the United States, Spain, or Great Britain, we have witnessed a vicious cycle in which terrorism causes terror and the experience of terror seeds acts of terrorism. And yet, though the human emotions we all share— fear, grief, and loss— are so clearly part of this murderous equation, in delineating and defining this violence rarely does society consider the experience of terror that lies at the heart of terrorism.”
Heart and humanity are at the center of my writing. I am looking forward to reading this book, and to using it as an inspiration for an upcoming presentation I will be giving at the University of Connecticut at Storrs on September 15 on the multivalent meanings contained in the still-evocative term, “ground zero.”
Buy the book. Read it with me. Tell me what you think.