I have been reading Annie Proulx lately. If you have not read Shipping News, do so. It is one of the best works of fiction I have ever read. No wonder it won the Pulitzer. The language, the characters, the story-all amazingly transporting. Ultimately it is an uplifting story. One can not say the same for her short story collections, from which came the inspiration for the movie, Brokeback Mountain. Her Wyoming stories are unremittingly bleak. They are filled with amazing writing, word pictures, characters, stories but damned bleak!
One lesson I learn from great writers, over and over again, is how remarkably difficult it is to craft even a paragraph of excellent writing.
On to the trickster. What I have been learning in my few months as houseparent at a boarding school for Lakota children is that I am dismally unhappy working to prepare kids for a society I find repugnant. Our society, our culture, is devoted to consumerism, competition and conformity. The evil 3 C's. Actually, they aren't evil in the sense of conciously seeking to actively harm anyone. They are simply real life in the society in which we live. I have NEVER felt that this was my culture. Games should be for fun, not crushing the other team. How much more would we prosper if businesses worked to actually provide for the needs of all? Naieve, yes, and proudly so! Alien is exactly how I have always felt and in spite of my adaptability, life in this culture, capatalist, consumerist, competitive, has been weird(note my "C" theme?) I want out! I want to live with people who see that this mainstream culture is fucked up. I don't think that I can change the world on my own, but I hope I can find a way to live in a counter, let me say again, COUNTER cultural way and make my own little mark against the dehumanizing and grotesque distortion that is what we see in virtually every nook and cranny of our United States life. More on how I plan to do this later.
Ep 419 The Professional Left Podcast
22 hours ago