"A Poet’s Advice to Students" and more

I’ve been thinking a lot about E.E. Cummings lately. When I was a teenager in the 1960s, he shaped my thinking and showed me goals to aim for … I remember the the feeling of recognition (“Yes, this is it!”) when reading his books and poetry, and my disgust when I read Ayn Rand.

I’m off to find “The Enormous Room” so that I can reread it, and  I’ve just reordered another copy of “i, six nonlectures” – they keep getting given away.

Here is a quote from “nonlectures”:

“Little by little and bruise by teacup, my doubly disillusioned spirit made an awesome discovery…that all groups, gangs, and collectives — no matter how apparently disparate — are fundamentally alike; and that what makes the world go ’round is not the trivial differences between them but the immeasurable difference between any of them and individuality.”

And another:

“Better Worlds are born, not made, and their birthdays are the birthdays of individuals. Let us pray always for individuals; never for worlds.”

More here:

As I see it, Cummings’ advice to students applies to all of us:

“A lot of people think or believe or know they feel—but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling—not knowing or believing or thinking.

Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people : but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.”

Read the rest of his advice here

Martin Luther King, Nichelle Nichols and Star Trek

On the day after the massacre here in Norway, I am speechless – there are no words for what I’m feeling.

I was going to link to this article yesterday:

“Nichelle Nichols thanks a special fan for the lifetime role of Uhura”

It’s even more relevant today.

Martin Luther King said to her: “You cannot leave. It can wait. It’s part of history now. This man has made this show that projects 300 years from now. This is who we are and we are beginning here, and you’re representing us. You cannot leave because nobody can replace you. Only you.”

I would love to believe that Star Trek “projects 300 years from now”.
Right now I can’t.
Yet I can hope. And wish. And I do.


Norwegian here/på norsk her 

I might not agree with everything Oriah writes, but her “Invitation” seems to be the perfect description of mental health, as opposed to “normality”:

The Invitation by Oriah
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

I am posting this with the author’s permission, and I am adding this information at her request:

“By Oriah Mountain Dreamer from her book THE INVITATION (c) 1999 Published
in English by HarperONE, San Francisco. Published in Norweigan by Ex Libris Forlag. All rights reserved. Presented with permission of the  author. http://www.oriah.org.”

Repeating the website: www.oriah.org
And linking to her blog: http://oriahsinvitation.blogspot.com/