Search

Beginner's Pen

Jonathan Erdman. Writer. Wayfarer.

Loaded Words: On writing and revolution

An article, Loaded Words, from a writer and activist who has been very influential to me, Derrick Jensen. One of Derrick’s most quoted and most controversial lines: “Every morning when I wake up I ask myself whether I should write, or blow up a dam.” (see Actions Speak Lounder than Words, 1998, and/or Derrick’s book, A Language Older than Words, a book very influential to me, personally) Continue reading “Loaded Words: On writing and revolution”

Featured post

Back in the neighborhood, with some old friends

Santa Cruz Mountains

Here I am, bright-eyed and busy-beard, with a wise old Redwood, trees that can grow for a few thousand years. I’m going to miss Alaska, but it feels nice to once again be in Northern California.

Featured post

Truth in a Trumpty Dumpty world



Scott Nell Hughes from http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/videos/a51152/trump-surrogate-no-such-thing-as-facts/

Amos Oz

Interview, Amos Oz in The New York Times Book Review, Nov 27, 2016

Keith Scott shooting: no charges to be filed against Charlotte police officer 

Scott, 43, never raised or pointed the gun, according to the prosecutor, but Vinson felt he posed an imminent threat because he ignored orders to drop it and stared at them in a “trance-like state”.

Is this really the kind of nation we want to live in? Where officers have a license to kill with no accountability or repercussions?
Source: The Guardian 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

45df4e8c-fd72-49a1-9849-a57041c49fa3.png

 

How I rate it: 4 of 5 stars

Plot Summary: A coming of age story of Junior, a fourteen-year-old boy living with his family on the Spokane Indian Reservation. With a sense of humor along with the blanket honesty of a young adolescent, Junior narrates stories of being bullied and making a major step forward in an attempt to take ownership of his life.

Significance: Controversial as well as comedic, there are many beautiful moments in this novel that speak to the experience of growing up on “the rez.” For those, like myself, who have extremely limited knowledge of what it is like to grow up on the reservation, it was riveting and at times heartbreaking to read Junior’s diary.

 

Continue reading “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie”

The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo (Novel, 2005)

wp-1480299830493.png

 

How I rate it: 4 of 5 stars

What I liked: The main protagonist Lisbeth Salander. She is intriguing, combative, and unyielding, something of a rage against the machine dynamic.

Continue reading “The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo (Novel, 2005)”

Source: Slate.com

What is wrong with white people?

Over the last few years, I’ve watched the revival of racial animosity in America, I’ve watched yet another incarnation of the KKK, and I’ve watched white Americans everywhere froth with xenophobia as they talk about taking their country back, and on reflection, I can’t help but wonder if it’s we white people that are the inferior race. I’d like to think that all races are equal, etc., and I’d like to believe in the whole color blind thing, but white people just seem really messed up……Then I saw this video by comedian Louis CK, and an interesting possibility emerges: maybe white people are really just aliens from another planet who don’t belong here. That would explain a lot.

Amidst the abuse of the protesters, it’s heartening to see veterns self-deploying to Standing Rock. As these events unfold, however, I am reminded that it takes a lot of violence to sustain our way of life. Usually the troops and police officers are fighting on the side of the wealthy and powerful, geared up to the teeth to beat back anyone who stands in the way of “progress.” Our ever-expanding economy must be sustained by heavy energy use. Few question whether or not we need the economy to continue to expand, so we just keep building pipelines that will leak, we keep drilling offshore, we keep pouring poisons into the ground to frack up the shale, and we keep blowing off the tops of the Appalachian Mountains to get at every last bit of coal, even when this means destroying our beautiful, green landscapes and leaching toxins into rivers and creeks. This is the price we all agree to pay, to live as we do, though we often do not acknowledge it. After all, most of us don’t have to live with a pipeline in our backyard.

http://abc13.com/news/veterans-stand-for-standing-rock/1625443/

Kafka
Bob Dylan
Evangelicals inconsistent willingness to embrace an ethic of life that’s solidly rooted in the values of Jesus is why so many post-evangelicals have left home. So now, after the election, we have a decision to make: are we going to build a new house together? The toxicity within evangelicalism leaves us few options…Many are now done with the word “evangelicalism,” which has come to represent white self-interest. But the very same people are still attracted to the true “evangel,” the Gospel, the good news. In fact it is the Good News and Jesus, who embodies it, that compel me to denounce what evangelicalism has become in North America. As the house falls, we are clinging to the Gospel that many “evangelicals” have abandoned. (Shane Claiborne, former evangelical Christian) A New Home for Homeless Christians

I was an evangelical magazine editor, but now I can’t defend my evangelical community – The Washington Post

For those interested/baffled/angered/betrayed by the evangelical support for Trump, here are some thoughts in the Washington Post by one of the editors of Christianity Today, Katelyn Beaty. I think she’s putting it very mildly here, being much more sympathetic than is deserved, but I have too many thoughts and emotions on this issue to even begin to comment on the so-called “Christian” born again evangelicals. Here’s an excerpt from this short op-ed:

After an election in which 81 percent of my white coreligionists supported Trump, the faith that has been my home for 20 years seems foreign, even hostile….

It’s like the way you love your offbeat uncle — the one who rambles at Thanksgiving dinner about threats to his freedoms and political correctness run amok. You understand why he feels the way he does. You sympathize with him on many points. But when he starts in with racial slurs and sexist jokes and complaints about “illegals,” at some point you have to get up and leave the table.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/11/14/i-was-an-evangelical-magazine-editor-but-now-i-cant-defend-my-evangelical-community/

How does love work when we are called to fight?

As you can probably imagine, I’m having a hard time getting back to novel-writing. The hours pass quickly as I read article after article, click share, post thoughts, reply to thoughts, and delete or edit some of those #Ishouldhaveknownbetter replies . So, in lieu of working on my novel, I’m turning to this blog to process. What I mean, specifically, is that at this historic moment of terrible transition, I’m reflecting on my own mind and spirit. Realistically, we will have to fight to beat back the forces of evil or to hold them at bay, and the next few years will likely be violent and chaotic. They will bring out our demons and all the skeletons in the closet of our national history.

Continue reading “How does love work when we are called to fight?”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: