On the phone, at a gas station, in our dreams
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Hopefully we all agree by now that there is an immediate need for energy conservation. Convincing arguments can be made on economic, political, and environmental grounds for conservation. This article considers the economic basis since that’s what motivates most people.
Dance has long been neglected, known as an art for the privileged and well-trained, not as the birth right of all of us, in the studio and on the street.
In 1974, Newsweek magazine stated that one-half of the world’s population was living in “perpetual hunger.” The president of the National Academy of Sciences, Philip Handler, estimated that 15 million people worldwide have died from starvation this century and that the death rate has now increased to 10,000 a week. Here at home, the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs has found that 40 million Americans are malnourished. Many are starving.
For me, business and livelihood means trying to pay my bills by doing what I enjoy doing and would probably do anyway, even if I had a more conventional job. A number of my friends are in the same boat — they do massage, cook, build houses, and throw pots.
Sitting by a dancing fire on this cold rainy Sunday, I feel lonely. Lil gently rubs the back of my neck. Robert and Phil strum guitars and sing ballads of loss, loneliness, and change. I sip dark red wine and am warmed by flames, alcohol, and love. My heart hurts, although I love and am loved. I do not know what I hurt about, but I do prefer this sadness to the numbness that preceded it. Sadness sobs in my stomach, chest, throat, mouth, eyes. I am heart sick. I feel myself longing for something or someone. I don’t know how to convert this sadness into something else. I realize as I complete this thought that I do not want to change my sadness; I would rather feel it.
. . . other night with Inside Out,* a spiritual manual for prison life. Reading it, I felt compassion for those on the inside, then for myself, prisoner of myself.
Four years ago, I was a housewife, though I didn’t think of myself that way. I had a three-month old baby girl, born Caesarian, and I was just beginning to pull physically out of that. My worries were how to resolve the jealousy of her three-year-old brother; how to get the right nourishment into all our bodies, especially mine (I was breast-feeding her and was often tired); how to get tomatoes off the vines as long into September as possible and figure out when you were supposed to pick acorn squash; how to keep myself alive as a writer (I was writing poetry, diary, and small press book reviews for The Durham Herald); and how to love and provide that nourishment for the whole family. We were five and lived in an old farm house in Cedar Grove. An article on me in the Herald of July 1972 had as a headline: “Peace in the country for Poet Judy Hogan.”
“Communication” is a big deal. It is one of the main buzzwords of our time, and has been ever since our intellectuals stumbled over such compelling cultural data as the number of years a child spends in front of a television and the billions of trees that yearly become pages of one sort or another. Now we have communications media, communications courses, communications theories, communications specialists and even a Federal Communications Commission.
Thomas Merton wrote the last entries in his Asian Journal on December 8, 1968, while attending a conference on Catholic monastic affairs in Bankok, Thailand. He had not especially looked forward to this conference, as he had been in Thailand, India, and Ceylon for about two months prior to it, immersing himself in Buddhism (particularly of the Tibetan variety, to which he was more drawn than say “gauche“ Hinduism with its ornate colors) and preparing himself, it seemed, for a break from Catholic orthodoxy (he was a Trappist monk.)He had already experienced pressure from his superiors about his “waywardness” and was troubled perhaps by the nightmare of a quasi-inquisition held against him in the 1950’s for his then-radical lifestyle within the Church. In any event, he was looking forward to the conference coming to an end so that he might resume his inquiries into the religious Orient and its mystique.
Commander Arthur Wazu, a broken man, sat disconsolately on the spaceship veranda, gazing at Shlerpy, one of the nine moons of planet 4-b.