Hallowed Ground: Patti Smith on Visiting the Prison of Jean Genet’s Dreams

Longreads

We were entering a military zone and hit a checkpoint. The driver’s identity card was inspected and after an interminable stretch of silence we were ordered to get out of the car. Two officers searched the front and back seats, finding a switchblade with a broken spring in the glove box. That can’t be so bad, I thought, but as they knocked on the trunk our driver became markedly agitated. Dead chickens? Maybe drugs. They circled around the car, and then asked him for the keys. He threw them in a shallow ravine and bolted but was swiftly wrestled to the ground. I glanced sidelong at Fred. He betrayed no emotion and I followed his lead.

They opened the trunk. Inside was a man who looked to be in his early 30s curled up like a slug in a rusting conch shell. He seemed terrified as they poked him with…

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The Unrighteousness of Fat

femwoc

An infinite line with Sin above the left arrow and Righteousness above the right arrow.

I’m fat. Technically, more accurately, I’m morbidly obese. But people don’t usually like technical, so I’m fat.

Being fat is hard in our society. Being fat and Mormon is even harder. As Mormons, we depend on outward actions and appearances to determine all things important, including our righteousness.

Fat Mormon Woman = Unrighteous

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On Writing Race

The Minnesota Review

A lot of us here when asked to talk about race are most comfortable, or least uncomfortable, talking about it in the language of scandal. It’s so satisfying, so clear, so easy. The wronged. The evildoers. The undeserving. The shady. The good intentions and the cynical manipulations. The righteous side talking, the head shaking. Scandal is such a helpful, such a relieving distraction. There are times when scandal feels like the sun that race revolves around.

—Claudia Rankine, introduction to The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind

Claudia_Rankine-40

Last week, I had a chance to attend a craft talk and reading by our Visiting Writer, Claudia Rankine. During her visit, she talked about the importance of poets and writers creating writing that confronts the divisive topic of race in order to place race within the context of conversation, rather than reducing any writing which addresses race…

View original post 989 more words

On Writing Race

The Minnesota Review

A lot of us here when asked to talk about race are most comfortable, or least uncomfortable, talking about it in the language of scandal. It’s so satisfying, so clear, so easy. The wronged. The evildoers. The undeserving. The shady. The good intentions and the cynical manipulations. The righteous side talking, the head shaking. Scandal is such a helpful, such a relieving distraction. There are times when scandal feels like the sun that race revolves around.

—Claudia Rankine, introduction to The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind

Claudia_Rankine-40

Last week, I had a chance to attend a craft talk and reading by our Visiting Writer, Claudia Rankine. During her visit, she talked about the importance of poets and writers creating writing that confronts the divisive topic of race in order to place race within the context of conversation, rather than reducing any writing which addresses race…

View original post 989 more words

Impressions of poverty

Critical Dispatches

Our national epichasyet to be written – James Joyce

If you’ve ever listened to the song Running to Stand Still from U2’s Joshua Tree albumyou will have heard about the Irish town of Ballymun in the lyric “I see seven towers but I only see one way out.” Located on the northern periphery of Dublin city, Ballymun was at one time Ireland’s largest and – at least as much as my own experience has led me to hold – most unattractive public housing estate. Hastily conceived through a confluence of public and political pressure in response to a housing crisis in Dublin in the early 1960’s, the Ballymun Housing Project was missioned with providing relief from the wholly unsatisfactory conditions of the collapsing inner city slums for the region’s poorest and most desperate. Upon the project’s completion in 1966, the Ballymun estate featured seven fifteen-story tower blocks…

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Dispirited but not defeated

Cuaderno Inédito

I don’t know about you, fellow freelancers, but the past eight weeks have felt like “The Twilight Zone” when it comes to getting paid.

Only you know that the problem won’t end after a 30-minute episode.

At first, I chalked it up to The August Doldrums: you know, editors and publishers going on that elusive thing called “vacation” while you continue to sit, fingers to keyboard, filing assignments and checking accounts to see if those outstanding invoices have been paid.

Once the calendar flipped its page to September, I was ready to follow up. With nearly $9,000 of unpaid invoices, most of which represented work filed months ago, I set aside time in my hectic reporting and writing schedule marked “INVOICE F/U.”

That “F/U” is for “follow-up,” in case you were wondering. I know- the temptation to read a double entendre into that is real.

I always feel resentful about…

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