Does it have a name? Conformity is too broad, too simple. What do you call complacency in the face of injustice? But complacency, I feel, is too harsh of a word, too sharp of a judgement. The complacency comes from not knowing how to affect change on a large enough scale that it has an impact. Or rather, change is inevitable, but how does one go about shaping the shift? How does one go about inspiring progress? How does one overcome soul-crushing realities and allow themselves to feel hope? And not just hope enough to continue living, hope enough to make reality less soul-crushing. But how does one do this and balance it with living their own lives, with pursuing their own dreams, their own loves?
History has already built this crazy momentum before we got here. Who are we to challenge it and we certainly can’t change it alone. Is it conceivable to convince enough people to give up their passions, their interests, their comforts long enough to make changes? For mass amounts of people to give up comforts to raise the quality of others’ lives?
As far as I know, teaching strikes this balance. And high school seems to be a formative time for people to start thinking about these larger ideas and begin deciding how they will strike their own balance. I don’t mean to indoctrinate children to have my point of view, but indoctrinate them into thinking. Most injustice, oppression, comes from a lack of thinking. A willingness to accept contradictions without examining them. Its from either having a lack of information or having access to endless instant gratification.
I’ve moved plenty of times, but seeing my possessions all packed up never ceases to give me a weird feeling. There’s just something about seeing all those bits of me packed up in boxes. Seeing all the trinkets and books crammed in boxes, clothes shove in garbage bags. Temporary furniture dismantled and discarded.
And then there is the deep cleaning. Moving furniture and cleaning out those forgotten corners and inaccessible spaces. This part is always exciting. What hidden treasures will pop up? Yesterday, I only found a stray Corn Pop behind one of my bookshelves. I picked it up but I couldn’t think of how it could’ve gotten there. Did it fly there during a frenzied late night cereal binge? Did it fall when I was pouring a bowl and my cat use it as a play thing until she lost it behind the bookshelf. Jabbing and poking at it with her paw until she realized she couldn’t reach it anymore. Then walking away to find something else to occupy her attention.
It’s been cool to see everyone wearing the UIWP shirts inspired by my writing process. It’s very affirming to know that my idea resonated in such a way with a group of intelligent people. Fellow teachers no less. It’s also gratifying to see my unofficial space get all up in my official space. It’s like I knew Anne Dyson in a past life. Space (outerspace & just the concept of space) is a theme in the music my brother and cousin make. They make reference to it in dozens of ways and I’m always listening to their music so its always near the surface of my consciousness.
Is the Writing Project official space or somewhere in between? This whole experience has been affirming professionally definitely, but personally as well. I enjoy everyone’s feedback on my writing and ideas. It does make me feel like a writer in a way I haven’t in a long time. This experience has forced me to spend time writing and I’ve finished a project in time for an important event. I’ll have an instant audience for the writing I’ve been doing.