Hey there. Feeling overwhelmed? Exhausted? Having trouble keeping up with everything that happens each day—and sometimes even over night? Wondering how you can possibly sustain your current level of activism and engagement? You're not alone. These are important questions. We should recognize our limits, acknowledge our boundaries, and recharge regularly. Here is a guide to staying angry while also practicing self-care. Here is an apolitical tipsheet for taking care of yourself during a politically tumultuous era.
1. I had been meaning to read Kathleen Collins's story collection Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? since around the time it came out, in December. So when I unexpectedly found myself with some time to spare while out yesterday, I popped into the bookstore and picked up a copy and then spent about forty-five glorious minutes sitting at a bar just absolutely devouring it.
2. I've been reading Carolyn Forché's 1981 poetry collection The Country Between Us before bed each night. Forché spent 1978-80 in El Salvador, during that country's civil war, and the opening poems of the collection concern her time there and return to the US. "It is / not your right to feel powerless. Better / people than you were powerless."
3. This poem has been making its way around the internet the past few days. I first read it on a friend's FB page, attributed to Danny Bryck. I did my best to locate the source, and what I found suggests it was published Jan. 23, just three days after the inauguration. If you have better intel, please get in touch.
If You Could Go Back
I know, I know
If you could go back you
would walk with Jesus
You would march with King
Maybe assassinate Hitler
At least hide Jews in your basement
It would all be clear to you
But people then, just like you
were baffled, had bills
to pay and children they didn't
understand and they too
were so desperate for normalcy
they made anything normal
Even turning everything inside out
Even killing, and killing, and it's easy
for turning the other cheek
to be looking the other way, for walking
to be talking, and they hid
in their houses
and watched it on television, when they had television,
and wrung their hands
or didn't, and your hands
are just like theirs. Lined, permeable,
small, and you
would follow Caesar, and quote McCarthy, and Hoover, and you
to make Germany great again
Because you are afraid, and your
parents are sick, and your
job pays shit and where's your
dignity? Just a little dignity and those kids sitting down in the
and chaining themselves to
buildings, what's their fucking problem? And that kid
That's King. And this is Selma. And Berlin. And Jerusalem. And
is when they need you to be brave.
is when we need you to go back
and forget everything you know
and give up the things you're chained to
and make it look so easy in your
grandkids' history books (they should still have them, kinehora)
is when it will all be clear to them.
4. I've never tried online dating. Will this new dating app that matches people based on their mutual hatred of things finally get me to try it? (Hint: no. Do I think they stole my schtick? Maybe.)