Sunday, June 20, 2010

time for a Sabbath Monday

June 20 2010
After midnight
Miki & Aaron's place
Ann Arbor

Allied Media Conference finished up today, and with that, Claudia is headed back home, staying in Chicago area with Miriam tonight. Times have been good so far, although I've had a relapse of my digestive troubles from 3 months ago which has tempered the good times quite a bit. I think I've spent several hours over the last three days in bathrooms. Still, it's been good having good company to keep me laughing and wresting joy out of everything.

Exciting news: I don't know how bodies do this, but they are very good at letting you know when something is wrong, even if you can't see it, and they are just as good at letting you know when your internal functioning is reasonably back to healthy. Just one example: I know when my digestive troubles have returned because my stomach stops growling. In almost no time, the other signs come forward, as certain muscles, organs, and nerves give off a not-rightness that, even though you cannot place it, is real all the same. You eat some food and something about the way it moves through you just seems off, and you know it. Now, after 30 hours of fasting and a few doses of metamucil, I’ve just tried eating again. And the stomach growls are back, and the muscles are doing what they need to, the organs are settling back into their roles, and food is now pleasing to eat, rather than something that gives me trepidation. It’s an amazing feeling, good health.

Despite health problems and difficulty concentrating because of work to finish up, I did enjoy the conference and was especially impressed by two workshops, one led by Climbing Poetree and another, led by several organizers, called “Safe in Our Skin,” which explored the ways we create and build communities of safety without the intervention of state and capital (and specifically the police and other elements of the prison-industrial complex). Lots of people there, filled up the room and then some, which was both heartening and affirming that everyday life experiences of harm and healing are some of the most common things we share and most important areas from which to consider organizing. Their topic is right up my alley, and the workshop had interactive and performative aspects to it as well, which I love. If there’s a dancing workshop at the USSF, I want to do it; these are the intangibles that keep me going.

Also watched a good 30-minute clip of the documentary “Land of Opportunity” in another workshop. The folks behind it are brilliant, not only in their filming style (they have no narration and almost no text, it’s all done through the stories and voices of the people they film) but also in the fact that they’ve been following the lives of six people in the Katrina aftermath for five years. Most docs about Katrina only account for the first year or two after, but as I’ve thought to myself so often, it’s what happens over the next 5-10 years in New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast that will be the most telling. I appreciate their sticktoitiveness. Check them out.

Once things finished up today, Linda and I headed over to the Detroit Institute of Arts, at Aaron’s recommendation. They have, reputedly, the best Diego Rivera mural in the country, Detroit Industry, and it is stunning.

Monday the 21st is the day of rest, before the USSF launches on Tuesday. My only tasks are staying healthy, getting groceries, meeting up with someone from Radical Reference, and seeing Aaron’s gallery show and presentation of his master’s thesis. Then, after hopefully a good night’s sleep, I meet Craig and Ben for the first time, have lunch and a beer, check into the Motor City Casino Hotel, march with 15-20,000 others in the heart of Detroit, and hang out with the book for the first time.

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