Inhabiting an Inner Stance

Nancy Flynn Apostrophe Blog Archive, Wisdom, Writing

The Apostrophe Blog

Musings on Writing and Life.

After the shock of the U.S. Presidential Election in 2016, oh so many of us felt upended, and at loose ends. A wise and deeply soulful friend encouraged me to do some soul searching and craft my personal inner stance, statements that could inspire and guide me when the waves got choppy, when the going got rough. I crafted my angst into words; time and time again during those turbulent years, I would steady myself by taking a look at my words. Speed ahead in time to find us eight years later and, amazingly, shockingly, horribly, things these days seem to be even worse. As an exercise in building yet more personal resilience, I recently updated my original document from 2016 and plan to add to it as needed in the coming months.

What is human existence? It turns out it’s pretty simple: We are dead stars, looking back up at the sky.  —Michelle Thaller

—Take the much longer view—geological, astronomical, even historical—and see us as what we are merely a blip in the grand scheme of things.  

—Keep in mind, however, that these seeds of our destruction were sown (and deliberately) at the founding of this republic (of before, of course, too) and are now entering their final “invasive species” phase.

—The inevitable evils of Empire began to really show at the seams when we became the sole superpower. Another beginning of the end, the inevitable decline, eventual decline and fall, dominoes, cause and effect, the usual suspects pulling the puppet strings.

—Never forget that the (mostly) GOP—but also both parties & the neo-liberal capitalist corporate establishment—created this toxic soup that now allows these monstrous men (and women) who have now seized the reins of power. And they also, for decades now, created/encouraged the transitions that have left the rural/white working-class mad as hell and thus voting for a demagogue nutjob. That, along with right-wing radio and Fox News and now fake news on Facebook? A perfect storm of disinformation and lies. And they are now continuing to be even more venal in their embrace of the truly unfit, vulgar talking yam.

—“We fell under the leadership of those who would compromise with truth in the past in order to make peace in the present and guide policy in the future.” —W.E.B Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America

—“The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”  —Howard Zin

—James Baldwin for these challenging times:

“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state on innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”

“White people are trapped in a history they don’t understand.”

“Ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

—Always ask does an action, policy, effort make things more equal and just— and with kindness, generosity, compassion, and empathy. And if not, to speak up and out.

—Live ubuntu (a South African word used by Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu during their fight against apartheid). Meaning—I am who I am because you are who you are. A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, and feels diminished when others are humiliated or oppressed.

—“Even in the darkest of times we have the right to expect some illumination, and…such illumination might well come less from theories and concepts than from the uncertain, flickering, and often weak light that some men and women, in their lives and their works, will kindle under almost all circumstances and shed over the time span that was given to them.” —Hannah Arendt

—“There will be rebels. They will live in the shadows. They will be the renegade painters, sculptors, poets, writers, journalists, musicians, actors, dancers, organizers, activists, mystics, intellectuals and other outcasts who are willing to accept personal sacrifice. They will not surrender their integrity, creativity, independence and finally their souls. They will speak the truth. The state will have little tolerance of them. They will be poor. The wider society will be conditioned by mass propaganda to write them off as parasites or traitors. They will keep alive what is left of dignity and freedom. Perhaps one day they will rise up and triumph. But one does not live in poverty and on the margins of society because of the certainty of success. One lives like that because to collaborate with radical evil is to betray all that is good and beautiful. It is to become a captive. It is to give up the moral autonomy that makes us human. The rebels will be our hope.” —Chris Hedges from Waiting for the Barbarians

——“Be kind to everybody, make art, and fight the power.” —Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad at the 2016 National Book Awards

—“Take your broken heart, make it into art.” —Carrie Fisher

The public domain photograph above was taken in September 2008 by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. It captures a small region within M17, a hotbed of star formation. M17, also known as the Omega or Swan Nebula, is located about 5,500 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. The image was released to commemorate the thirteenth anniversary of Hubble’s launch.

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