Sunday, August 7, 2016

We have some things to talk about, yes?

February - my last post on this blog was in February.

A writers blog means a writer is writing about writing. So, where did it go?

Being a writer means there are times when you back off, get some distance, when you feel changes to which you need to pay attention. It's not that I'm not writing, it's that something about the writing, about being a writer, is changing.

The unraveling of the culture is having an impact. The outcome of years of this nation's glaring incapacity to SEE, much less ponder, discuss, reflect on the massive changes underway in our world is now clearly visible in this stunning political year. We see it now, this clinging to an old way of, of what? of feeling what it is to be a U.S. American, clinging to cultural identities that largely don't exist anymore.

One day white middle class Americans looked around and found their cultural geography completely altered. And no one has really wanted to talk much about why this has happened, the political, economic, demographic, and ecological shifts underway. One result is this awful political year we are enduring, the outcome of which we are also fearing, no matter what happens in November.

What's a writer to do? Keep writing. But it would be hugely helpful if writers and culture workers of all kinds would recognize this new turbulent context in which we do our work and help illuminate it, get some of the necessary discourse going, help encourage, inspire, clarify, reassure, challenge, and more to shake things up, see if we can't reverse some of the extreme fragmentation that has become a hallmark of a nation that really doesn't know what it is anymore.

Fortunately a lot of that good work is going on, and a lot of it is also being fiercely resisted. I have great hopes in the courage of many writers, artists, musicians who are working so hard to reveal us to ourselves.

I'm feeling like starting up a conversation about writing again. I'm feeling like this blog is one place where I can share some of my own thoughts about it all, especially from this specific vantage point of Milwaukee, which struggles mightily with realities of racism and segregation, deeply entrenched poverty that has gotten worse, not better, a city that has become an icon of structural injustice thanks to Matthew Desmond's critically important book, "Evicted - Poverty and Profit in the American City" - which just happens to be about Milwaukee.

Yeah, I'm going to be doing some thinking out loud here. I hope you will join me by subscribing to receive updates and add comments. Let's see what we're thinking about these days. Maybe that can help us.

1 comment:

  1. We probably don't have much time to launch a true cultural alternative to the dying dominant system. Change will not be a "century" away (which in the myopic business-as-usual scenarios is code for "never").

    Resilient local / regional communities need to be functionning when? 10 years? - if the climate deteriorates rapidly provoking political instability both between and within nation states. Or do we have 50 years? (assuming that doomsayers like me have understimated a bit)

    If you take the mid-range of these estimates, that gives us 20 - 40 years to build local / regional resilience / autonomy. Not much time!

    Here is some good news on the large scale: Denmark is producing 40% and more of its electricity from windpower. This does not make them immune from geopolitical / regional instability or climate change effects but it does, potentially, increase their POTENTIAL to withstand the coming turbulence.

    I'm sharing this of course..