Thursday, June 23, 2016

Notebook, April 2016

Harvesting the little notebooks I often carry, filled with scribbles of words -- some mine, some others -- that seemed urgent and then are forgotten until I return to a stack of the notebooks, looking for something I can't quite remember. Was this it? This? This?

Notes from a little yellow pocket notebook I carried during April 2016.

: "...a place for the profane as a theological weapon..." -- my friend Rev. Osagyego Uhuru Sekou, visiting my friend Aimee Bahng's #BlackLivesMatter class, talking about protesting in Ferguson -- putting his body into police power to keep his soul free.

: "The Pascalian wager of attempting to prick the conscience of a state that might not have one." -- Sekou.

: "Working within the illusion of constitutional restraints" -- Sekou, on the protest as a means of imagining state power curbed.

: "Behomithic" -- a word invented by John Comerci, a student in the advanced literary journalism course I teach at Dartmouth

: "When you're confronted with absence you can make a world of it." -- Sarah M. Broom, visiting my "Raising the Dead" class to talk about her forthcoming book, The Yellow House, built around her New Orleans family house destroyed by Katrina.

: "A fact is not a story." -- Sarah M. Broom

: "A house is like a child." -- Sarah M. Broom

: My thesis student, Mary Liza Hartong, writing a comedic novel talks with me about improv shortly after I return from reporting on several Trump rallies. Mary Liza thinks Trump's doing improv. Improv as demonstration of confidence, confidence not undermined but proven by the comedian's ability to roll past "jokes" that fall flat. Confidence demonstrated by the display of vulnerability inherent to improv. As if Trump says, I'm so powerful I can be vulnerable in front of you -- even my vulnerability is invulnerable. Or: Listen close, true believers, because you'll get what outsiders won't: Here I am, power incarnate, giving you my intimacy.