Sitka Fellow Cathryn Klusmeier says that she's "trading the wheat fields for the ocean and the rainforest" after spending four years in the Environmental Humanities program at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Klusmeier is finalizing a book about seven generations of her family in Arkansas.
In spending seven weeks living here in Sitka, Bene Rohlmann hopes to replicate the sort of experience that he had in 2009 just as he was launching his illustration career. At the time, he was a student majoring in Illustration at the University of Muenster, in Germany. After a lifetime in Germany, he took a semester abroad in South Korea, and his time there transformed his art forever. Bene says that his time there "was the most productive time of my life. I was in a totally different place, with a different culture...
We've been busy setting the stage for what is sure to be a phenomenal week. We're thrilled to be bringing together this group of faculty and participants for the Symposium, and can't wait for it to begin.
I wanted to write a bit about the evening events, which will be a great opportunity for those of you that can't make it to the daytime events to get a taste of the Symposium.
Each of the following quotes was collected by Daniel Henry at the Sitka Symposium and scribbled into a notepad a few seconds after it was uttered, and may slightly deviate from what was actually said.
“The attitude of a writer’s helper is to resist humdrum and flabby language; the normal act of reading is to resist, then perhaps seduced and consumed; the writer’s act is to overcome resistance.” (Wendell Berry)
“Our goal is not to answer, but to share common stories and goals; to give people courage to go back to their communities with renewed energy.” (Carolyn Servid)
“If you become a member of a place, then maybe you owe it some stories, some history.” (John Daniel)
I'd like to share with you fine folks, whoever you may happen to be, some words spoken by Derrick Jensen at a talk he gave that has been recorded on "Now This War Has Two Sides." His words speak directly to what I wrote about in my last post. Here's Derrick:
A week ago, the Island Institute hosted a showing of a new TV series about climate change. The show is called Years of Living Dangerously. It definitely has its merits. I went to the showing, and there were about 15 other folks from Sitka there. After the show the group discussed climate change for a while, and I got frustrated, because I felt like everyone's comments were along the lines of, "Things can change for the better if we just do X, or if we just do Y." I tried to give voice to my frustration, but I'm afraid I wasn't very articulate at the time.
I have come up with a definition of capitalism that I like because it has within it the explanation of the problem. It is not, in other words, a neutral definition, such as Webster's might try to give us. Neutral definitions are useful. And sometimes loaded definitions are useful too.
Capitalism is the system of relating to the world wherein absolutely everything--including all life forms, all land and water and air, mental processes, all labor, all pleasure, every stage of life including birth and death and love and loss, and everything else--is commodified.
This week I was thinking about the time that a friend of mine came last year to visit me. Her name is Deb and she was staying at a hotel near the famous Pier 49, in San Francisco. I live in Berkeley, which is close to San Francisco as the crow flies but not as the traffic dictates. So it took me a while to get to her. I had directions, and I had the address of her hotel, but once I got near Pier 49, I just couldn't find the right street. I was driving up and down the main drag, looking for the street on the address she'd given me.
More and more people these days are thinking and talking about resilient communities. I invite you to take a look at an innovative grid of film clips featuring teachers, writers, scientists, activists, students, conservationists, and others sharing their thoughts and ideas about what resilience means and how we might incorporate it into our lives, our work, and the places we live.
I read recently this poem by Galway Kinnell (a poet whose poetry I highly recommend!) and I'd like to enter it into the collective conversation about what it means to be an artist. I would love to hear folks' reflections back on this poem. I'm especially curious to hear what people think he means when he says in the first stanza ("almost too late").