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Notes Towards Day 20 (Thurs, Nov. 14) : Unspoken Hunger

Anne Dalke's picture

The Coyote Clan

weather prediction:
44 degrees, 7 mph wind, 0% chance of precipitation, partly cloudy
Barbara is situating us in the Erdman Common Room
next site
to be selected by Shengjia
(reminder that, when you select a site, you need to post afterwards about the experience of being where we are...)

I. coursekeeping
for class on Tuesday, we will conclude our discussion of Terry Tempest Williams' An Unspoken Hunger.

Bring w/ you not only her text, but a print-off of (or computer access to) all of your site sits so far.

(If you have tagged them they will all be available on one page with that title.)

your writing assignment #10 (for most of you, a revision of #9) is due tomorrow @ 5
, to me and your partner
*  your next report on your field site is due Sunday @ 5
*  the deadline for your meeting-up-w/ the other class, and reporting on it, has been extended til the week after break (w/ some complaints about how hard it's been to schedule w/ you all!)

II. your on-line conversation (missing a # of posts,
from CMJ, Hannah, Rochelle, Susan, Wanhong, Zoe...):

a cluster of postings about activism-->
“Vital need” is my term of the week. I love this term …It sets a standard… a meaningful process to think about to what extent we should be using natural resources…

mbackus: I was wondering ... if anyone has been inspired to action by any of our readings in class?

SarahC: ...shall we think of one action we could do as a class?

[as an alternative to a final paper/in-class performance?!]

and economics:
while from a budgetary point of view the renovations may seem unnecissary Perry House's cultural significance must be taken into account when planning for its future.

SaraL: some things that have no monetary value …but are invaluable to the quality of life.

another cluster about feminism-->
: how do you place a value on women's domestic labor? …what is a human life …worth….?...we could pool together all the currency in the world, and then divide it by the population, so that each person was technically "worth" the same.

mtran: how can we make sure that the rights women now have will not be taken all away again? …perhaps there should also be another amendment to enhance the rights of women?

SarahC: an amendment to the US constitution to protect the rights of women….originally proposed in 1923…was passed in 1978. But…this must be ratified by at least 3/4 of the individual states…three more states needed!

some thoughts on naming -->
an environmental thinker and writer named Bill McKibben… wrote, that we stop giving these storms the names of people, and start naming them after fossil fuel companies…the biggest contributors to the global warming that causes sea levels to rise and the waters to warm, which in turn boost the awesome, terrible power of a hurricane.

which fossil fuel company should receive the "honor" to be the first to give name to a storm?

and some reflections on where you came from -->
there are farmers all over Iowa…and how well someone manipulates the land determines the education levels of their communities….how well a farmer can convince Mother Nature to help produce some plants.

mtran on the important and really hard task of balancing between social and economic development and nature preservation in Vietnam

III. An Unspoken Hunger

* reading aloud from the essay of that title, p. 79 --
what is the unspoken hunger Williams is talking about?
why/how is it deflected?

* "Winter Solstice," pp. 61-65 (also read this aloud):
D.H. Lawrence writes, "In every living thing there is a desire for love, for the relationship of unison with the rest of things." I think cautious I have become with love. It is a vulnerable enterprise to feel deeply....If I choose not to become heart cannot be broken because I never risked giving it away. But what kind of impoverishment is this to withhold emotion, to restrain our passionate nature in the face of a generous life...? A mind...who reins in the heart...can only expect more isolation and greater ecological disease. Our lack of intimacy with each other is in direct proportion to our lack of intimacy with the land....Audre Lorde tells us, "We have been raised to fear...our deepest cravings"....Wildlands' and wildlives' oppression lies in our desire to control and our desire to control has robbed us of feeling (pp. 63-5).

Write for 5 minutes: where in your own writing (or thinking, or reading) this semester have you expressed a desire for love, a search for intimacy with others, and/or the world? How do you understand the relationship among these cravings? (And your decision to represent them....or not?)

Read these passages aloud.....?

IV. From The Politics of Place, an interview with Terry Tempest Williams
conducted by Scott London (on the Insight & Outlook radio show):

"We're animals. I think we forget that. I think there is an ancient archetypal memory that still exists within us. If we deny that, what is the cost?  So I do think it's what binds us as human beings. I wonder, what is it to be human? Especially now that we're so urban. How do we remember our connection with place? What is the umbilical cord that roots us to that primal, instinctive, erotic place?

...I worry that we we are a people in a process of great transition and we are forgetting what we are connected to. We are losing our frame of reference. Pelicans pass by and we hardly know who they are, we don't know their stories. Again, at what price?

I think it's leading us to a place of inconsolable loneliness. It's what I mean by 'an unspoken hunger.' It's a hunger than cannot be quelled by material things. It's a hunger that cannot be quelled by constant denial. I think that the only thing that can bring us into a place of fullness is being out in the land with other.

Then we remember where the source of our power lies."

"Water Songs," pp. 39-48:
"The idea of finding anything natural in the built environment...seemed unnatural" (p. 41).
"Our wetlands are becoming urban wastelands" (p. 43).
"Lee Milner's...stalwartness...offers wetlands their only hope...she was showing us the implacable focus of those who dwell here. This is our first clue to residency" (p. 44).
"I kept thinking about Lee, who responds to Pelham Bay Park as a lover, who rejects this open space as a wicked edge for undesirables, a dumping ground for toxins or occasional bodies. Pelham Bay is her home...a sanctuary she holds inside her unguarded heart...the water songs of the red-winged blackbirds...keep her attentive in a city that has little memory of wildness" (48).