Every day I think about my poor neglected blog, and send out a silent thank-you to my readers who are still stopping by. It's been kind of a crazy month.
A couple of weeks ago, I got the loveliest e-mail ever from a woman named Maria, blogging here, who is living in Switzerland and working with Peruvian Indian textile artisans on a wonderful Slow Cloth project. Her message was extraordinarily kind, and extraordinarily well timed, reminding me that there is value to this blog and the efforts I've made here as a global textile explorer. I've been discouraged this month with my "day job" swallowing my life and possibilities, and I still hit roadblocks related to certain people who know me in real life lurking here--that came up for me big-time earlier this month. But Maria's message, her commitment to her work and her level of achievement, inspired me anew and reminded me of what matters.
A lot of what's mattered this month has been current events. The health care reform ugliness makes me heartsick. Every life decision I make is affected by whether or not I can get health care with my pre-existing condition; I am sure my health habits are as good or better than most Americans, but I'm considered a risk outside of an employer plan. And all of the hope and astonishment and joy of electing a man with intelligence and integrity is being drowned in the reality of our political system and our pathetically anti-intellectual, intolerant, violent and fear-driven culture.
Meanwhile, my brother's farm in California was at the center of the destructive Lockheed fire. There was no loss of life or structure, but the fire and the necessity of bulldozing to cut fire lines did significant damage. And there were some very tense days, not knowing if the incredibly courageous and dedicated firefighters could contain the fire. Everyone is okay, and I'm grateful for that.
Since we talk a lot in this blog about world cultures and their inextricable link to textile traditions, please take a look at the New York Times Magazine's special issue on women and girls this week. Some of this previews a new book by Nicholas Kristof and his wife Sheryl, called Half the Sky, and the accompanying Web site here. I don't always agree with Kristof's position on sweatshops but I do understand his point of view and greatly admire his commitment to giving voice to the silent female majority in the world, whose rights and freedoms are too often limited. Maybe we should start a group to make microloans to women and girls working with textiles. Anyone game?
I think all things are connected, and the article we read about women in Africa can inform every stitch we take or every piece of art we make, so I hope you don't mind these news-focused posts.
Oh, and one more thing! Maiwa has a blog now -- I was so hopeful about going to the symposium this year and it is not to be, but I am glad for all the material they're posting.
So that's about what I've got to say. I'm trying not to let the commute and the cubicle kill my spirit, to be grateful for the chance to work with interesting material and authors, and to believe that there's more for me and it will appear in time.
So don't be tempted by the shiny apple
Don't you eat of a bitter fruit
Hunger only for a taste of justice
Hunger only for a world of truth
'Cause all that you have is your soul
All that you have is your soul.
Tracy Chapman, All That You Have Is Your Soul