My immediate reaction to this reading was a positive one. I enjoyed the insight into the logging industry and life in small town america, topics of which I know almost nothing about. The logging industry seems like such an inherently bad thing, but Eli Clare gave me new insight into its complexities. Now I know that the loggers aren’t the bad guys, that the corporations don’t care about their communities or their lives in the long term when logging is no longer a viable livelihood. It also made me think of my role as a consumer, especially when Clare pointed out how our consumption habits are the same ones that make clearcutting necessary and profitable. It reminded me of the 10 week project I’m currently working on, how I’m implicit in destructive and oppressive systems.
Throughout the reading I could truly feel Clare's sense of loss, and was able to gain an understanding of the complexity of his terms of exile. While reading, I was drawn to Clare's description of the safeness of a small town compared to the potential dangers of anonymity. It wasn't something I had understood, to me the small town is essentially ignorant and bigoted while the city is more accepting. After reading, however, I was able to realize that it's more complicated than that. Clare's description of the sense of community and home that is missing in a larger city gave me a deeper understanding of his sense of loss he felt even though in the city he was free to be himself and live in a community of people like him.