what’s going on

It feels uncomfortable to post pretty photos when children are detained in solitary confinement (regardless of your politics, can we agree that solitary confinement is torture? And that, if anyone is to be tortured–which I don’t think should happen, but if you are ok with it maybe you can also agree that–it should not be children?) and people are working for no money to make gadgets we sure like but maybe don’t need, not the way we (all) need things like food & water, shelter, and love. And people in Japan are still suffering from the effects of the tsunami and earthquake almost a year ago. And US politics seems more and more insane from the outside, not to mention that some people think it’s ok to make this much money when other people on earth make this much. Or less. Or work in indentured positions. Or are outright enslaved. And still there are people who think that we shouldn’t have to take care of the people around us (by ensuring that they–and we–have access to education, infrastructure, and healthcare). And that’s the tip of the iceberg.

Which is why I haven’t been around a ton. I have a hard time reconciling my inner and private life (which is complex, contradictory) with an online life that at its best is often still flat and dimensionless. That I am making poems/objects/pictures/books and also I am worrying about the lives of the people around me, the ones I know and the ones I don’t. (Thanks, Juliana Spahr.)


But I have been working on things, and I will try to be present here more often. I just want to find a way to be here that acknowledges all the things I am thinking about, and just posting photos of nice stuff doesn’t really do that for me. On the other hand, making things is part of the way I am in-the-world and it’s part of (and formational of) my ethics. I just don’t want to contribute to a blithe ignorance of the privilege I (we) have to live like this.


  1. you do not need to reconcile or excuse. acknowledgement is good.
    making is good too.
    people make in the worst of times.
    it’s in our blood.
    to document
    to remember
    to alleviate suffering
    to mark time

    your ethics and intentions seem to continually stem from dare a i say a pure and well intentioned place?

  2. I’ve suffered the same predicament from time to time. The point of aesthetics, of moving forward, of making things with the hands and giving others something to look at when there is so much suffering and difficulty. I try to come back to thoughts and beliefs about aesthetics–all these ways that we create ourselves, all these ways that we create, all this outward pouring. It is political *because* it is personal. What is the point of saving a world without beauty in it? There’s more. But this is just a blog comment, after all

  3. thank you all–

    Erin, it’s not that the difficulty of the world makes me doubt the importance of beauty. It’s more like, in the face of my responsibility to the pain of others, is it ethical to use my spaces just to post pretty things? Or how do I acknowledge the complexity of my relation? (Not JUST thinking about one thing or the other–both beauty and horror together.)

    Delphine merci pour the link, it is exactly this which I think is important–both the beauty and the injustice and the relationship. I also believe.

    lisa hug ALWAYS!

  4. I so admire your heartfelt concerns about the sad and troubling state of the world because I, too, have similar feelings. Being here in the USA makes it even more maddening because the absurdity and destructiveness are in our faces all the time.

    Your making things and posting ‘pretty pictures’ is essential. If you do not do something(s) that nurture your own soul, you will not renew your energies. And thus be unable to continue to care about and engage in any efforts aimed at making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than you (and most of us) are.

    Besides these artistic and aesthetic things you do help nurture those of us who know, respect, and care about you. Especially those of us who are less talented/more limited in that regard. So, please keep doing it!!

  5. oh i am embarrassed to have misunderstood! so so! Please disregard any post you receive from me relevant to my comment but not to your intention.

  6. oh Erin, no!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! The ideas you brought up and the feelings you talked about (while not what I was talking about) are also important and in a way part of this conversation.

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