Sunday, August 15, 2010

Photos and back to school

I'm totally losing at this I-have-a-bedtime game. Tomorrow marks the first Monday of the school year (for teachers, at least; students don't come until Thursday.) To celebrate the fond memories of summer, though, I uploaded a new album of photos to my Picasa site. Enjoy! And now, to bed, with an alarm clock set. QuĂ© pena, ¿no?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

B Goes to Sunday School

Everyone who's asked me for reading suggestions in the past six months has gotten the same advice: Daniel Quinn's The Story of B. It's a thesis-based novel, part of the Ishmael trilogy, that draws on anthropology and theology and ecology to challenge the unsustainable way we're living. Best book I've ever read. Not the best-written, or the most beautiful, or the one that makes me feel the best, but certainly the most urgent, powerful, inspiring, challenging. One of those where I had to lie flat on the floor with my eyes wide open for awhile after I finished, thoughts coursing through my brain.

Before you go flipping to your public library's website to reserve a copy expecting the same sort of experience, read this disclaimer: B would not have had the same sort of impact on me had I read it five years ago. It wouldn't have had the same impact had I read it five years from now. Had my previous experiences and ideas been different, this book might have inspired only outrage or confusion or defensiveness. Know that that's what it might do for you.

That's also why I was shocked when a man from the Mennonite church I attend asked if I would be willing to facilitate an adult education discussion series on the book. For those of you unfamiliar with Daniel Quinn's work, his ideas and characters are not exactly ones you would typically find in a religious setting of any sort. B is the last person I expected to be invited to church. I hesitated. He encouraged. I accepted. B went to Sunday School. People read the book. We discussed, questioned, challenged. I began my attempts to build up something new and different from the rubble of cultural and religious foundations that now lies at my feet.

The conversations have continued in many different contexts, with friends and family and anyone I can get to engage in discussion on visions of our role in the future of this planet. The energy I've found out there for finding better ways to live--related to the Quinn philosophy or otherwise--is nothing less than awe-inspiring.

Last weekend, nine of us got together for what turned out to be a wonderfully intense and intensely personal discussion. One of the discussion members asked me as I was leaving if I was B. I said yes, yes I am. But after coming home and attempting to go to sleep, mind still working as full-speed as if the coffee we drank had been caffeinated, I realized that I don't want to be B so much as E. E as in Erin. The story of me.

Maybe in another few years I'll have figured out what that means.