Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start

Posted on June 30, 2011


Barbara Kingsolver published a lovely little book about her attempt to eat seasonally on a farm in Appalachia. This meant no avocado in December and definitely no fresh tomatoes before they were ripe on the vine some time in June.

Extreme? Yes / maybe. It seems in order to really make an impact and put a monkey wrench into this terrible machine called capitalism (substitute: bastardized democracy), then there is a need to lean on the extreme side. William Burroughs said that there is and there is not a time for common sense, careful planning and moderation.

I give my blog the title AnimalVegetableHuman, because I believe there is a deep aspect of interelatedness that our current culture allows us to remain distant from. I am an animal and a human; I believe if I stood still long enough in the middle of a forest that my toes would grow roots and I could morph into a vegetable, but that is yet to be experienced. We all feed each other, and in a perfect world we have done so in balance for tens of thousands of years. In our post industrial, post natural world, we have managed to deny the link between things to elevate the human growth while ignoring the rest. We operate like a car with three wheels-  we can hear the metal grinding on the asphalt, we know the old rig is getting harder to steer, and we are pretty sure that if we try to take the next turn at the speed we are going we will careen off the cliff, or better yet, into the damn outlet mall just built in front of the cliff. But we keep driving.

I am back here in Ohio to explore the depths of the self again. Having spent the past five years in the Bay Area, specifically in the beautiful struggle of Oakland, I’ve been living on edge. I’ve been wedged between people, houses, freeways, city parks, pay for the plot community gardens, and lots of crime. Oakland is a beautiful city, and I never was a physical victim of the crime, but I witnessed plenty, both firsthand on the streets, secondhand from my students, and thirdhand from the residual mistrust and citified feeling I notice myself now practicing. I am back in small town life I should add. We don’t have keys to lock the front door of the house. I leave the car windows down at night. I rolled back in here less then a week ago asking if I should lock my bike up outside. My parents laughed and pointed to everything that is within easy reach of a potential thief. The city mind in me says naive. Just waiting. But my family has lived here for twenty seven years and not a thing has happened. My country mind tells me this is the trust I miss. This is the feeling of calm and community.

I’ve given myself the month of July to open up the senses. To read, as always, but also to test myself as a writer and bring to fruition the projects I’ve allowed to float by the wayside. I want to grow. Junot Diaz writes in his amazing novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (which I could not read the first time I picked it up, but then saw him speak, went back to the book and tore through it in two days… and saw it as a theatrical performance in The Mission):

I am waiting to begin.

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