Culture, Politics, Reason, Social Justice, Society, Violence

Silence the Fireworks, Raise our Voices

If we were great, our politicians would put country over party; if we were great, we would have a healthy opposition demanding electoral reform; if we were great, we would have healthcare for all and not let people die simply because they don’t have enough money; if we were great, the wealthy would not have such an inordinate influence on our politics; if we were great, over 30,000 people wouldn’t die from guns each year; and if we were great, we would not have a white supremacist and habitual dissembler as president.  Ross Rosenfeld, No Reason to Light Fireworks this 4th of July, The Hill

More info, maps and charts at gunviolencearchive.org

Like Ross Rosenfeld, I’m not looking forward to Independence Day this year. It’s always a mixed bag anyway, the sulfurous clouds of ceaseless and mostly senseless backyard fireworks clogging the air, and sounding unnervingly like the barrages of mass shooting gunfire that have killed nearly 160 people in the U.S. this year alone.

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Art, Culture, Humanity, Music, Society

Listen to All the Music, Do All the Things

Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right? Michele Obama

In a recent article in Aeon,  titled Now THAT was music, writer Lary Wallace sets the stage for his rather generalized conclusions on our ability (or inability, in his case) to appreciate new music. He starts with the assumption that we all experience this “One grim day (when youth is over)”  and “you find that new music gets on your nerves.”

“Some of us are more susceptible than others, ” he says with authority, “but eventually it happens to us all. You know what I’m talking about: the inability to appreciate new music – or at least, to appreciate new music the way we once did. There’s a lot of disagreement about why exactly this happens, but virtually none about when. Call it a casualty of your 30s, the first sign of a great decline. Recently turned 40, I’ve seen it happen to me – and to a pretty significant extent – but refuse to consider myself defeated until the moment I stop fighting.”

Why, he asks, do our musical tastes “freeze over”?

I got news for you Lary.  It really doesn’t happen to all of us.  I’m nearing 60 and love a wide range of new music.  I always have . I plowed through the 60s , 70s and 80s, and found something I’ve loved in every decade. I got busy with kids at the turn of the 21st century, but they kept me current on everything from technology to literature and music.  Today, my contemporary musical tastes range from Marian Hill,  Paloma Faith, Mumford and Sons, Passenger, Ed Sheeran and Kaleo to Van Morrison, Steely Dan, Jethro Tull, the Beatles and other classic musical artists.

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Art, Culture, Society

The Space Between Stories: Finding Ourselves Anew

cypress-knee-sampling

Cypress Knee Sampling, by T.Willingham

If you are in the sacred space between stories, allow yourself to be there. It is frightening to lose the old structures of security, but you will find that even as you might lose things that were unthinkable to lose, you will be okay. There is a kind of grace that protects us in the space between stories. It is not that you won’t lose your marriage, your money, your job, or your health. In fact, it is very likely that you will lose one of these things. It is that you will discover that even having lost that, you are still okay. You will find yourself in closer contact to something much more precious, something that fires cannot burn and thieves cannot steal, something that no one can take and cannot be lost.   Charles Eisenstein, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible


2016 , many will say, seemed a more challenging year than usual.  Certainly the loss of carrie-fisher-quoteiconic figures like celebrities Prince,  David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher and most recently her mother Debbie Reynolds, cultural heroes like astronauts Edgar Mitchell and John Glenn,  and scientist Vera Rubin sports luminaries like Arnold Palmer,  literary figures like Harper Lee and Pat Conroy and public voices of conscience like Elie Wiesel, and many others ranged from stunning to heart breaking.   The American political climate was stormy and unsettling, and the nation remains painfully divided across lines many of us thought were being erased.

If,  in the midst of a restless social and political climate, one is inclined toward more personal reflection and reconsiderations, then the storm front can feel catacylsmic.  Lissa Rankin describes this experience powerfully in  her blog piece, The Space Between Stories , named, as this blog piece is, for a phrase taken from the work of Charles Eisenstein

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