Posted by: MC | February 3, 2012

Post-Florida-Primary Points of Note

Well today there’s the Susan G. Komen flip flop on their relationship with Planned Parenthood, there’s the unreliability in signs of economic recovery and there’s the hideous violence occurring in Syria and on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.  No doubt, the pundits who fancy themselves either political or entertainment, could be and are spinning these stories to fit their agendas.

Last night I finally got off the road with the promise of 36 hours in the same place.  I was on a star-studded hillside in Santa Fe, NM for a visit with my dear friend, Janice Gould (Voice 084).  Janice is gaining note for her lifetime of artistry as a poet.  She is also a musician, photographer and scholar – a professor in the Women & Ethnic Studies programs of University of Colorado – Colorado Springs.  Her writing arises directly from her life as a human being who is also lesbian and Native American (Concow).  She’s in Santa Fe on a residency as part of a prestigious fellowship from the School for Advanced Research on Human Experience (SAR).

All of this is only perfect from my perspective.  Janice Gould is a gift.  She has given from her talent, kindness and quiet determination at least for the seventeen years I’ve known her and there’s only evidence that this has and will always be so.

Janice, too, is a point of note here in life unfolding with the punctuation of the U.S. presidential primary season.  She comes to mind as I write here because of something she said last night.  She was recounting an interview in which a questioner asked her to speak of her theory.  At the time, she came up with a short response, one with which she was not all that pleased, but it passed in the context of academic discussion.  Last night she said, “I wish I’d said, ‘Theory?  I don’t do theory.  I live and I create.  You can do the theory.”

I keep hearing these words.  They become amplified by my experiences over recent days.

  • The long walk on the edge of the Pacific at Del Mar, CA with Todd Franklin (Voice 027).  Todd, whose life has been changed most recently by completing a business and rhetoric degree at Berkeley about the same time his birth-mother’s death – whose vision, essential generosity and intense talent have only gained strength in the three years since we last spoke.
  • Reaching out my hand to receive the tangerines and avocado I watched Rudy Suwara (Voice 025) pick from the trees in his yard on the edge of a hill south of San Diego.  This after having Lefty, Colleen (Voice 026) and Rudy’s white shepherd join me for morning yoga.
  • Spending time in the Cherokee Hills Elementary School in San Diego with SDSU professor Colette Ingraham’s graduate students in school psychology.  Women and men of Mexican, Latino, Asian and Anglo ancestry working to support the learners and families of this school that serves low income and migrant neighborhoods.
  • Driving through the stunning Arizona desert into the broad expanses of Dine country.  The route N of Albuquerque took me by the smaller reservations of the Apache, Jacarilla and Zia people – the Zia the authors of New Mexico’s state symbol, the circle of the sun with its rays in each of the four directions.
  • Reading from 100 Voices – Americans Talk About Change and sharing ideas with the folks gathered in Farmington, NM’s Andrea Kristina Bookstore – thanks to Allen DeSalme, a college friend I hadn’t seen since we graduated from Austin College in Sherman,TX.
  • Touring Farmington the next morning and watching Allen gesture toward the adobe building where the Totah Behavioral Health Authority provides services staffed primarily by Dine mental health professionals.  Then a few blocks farther ahead, nodding in the direction of a parking lot and a culvert where two nights before two homeless folks were found frozen to death – all Dine people.
  • Stopping on the way out of town for the world’s-best-car-wash-ever.  Really.  Never has my Mini known such a cleaning.  A quality and relief impossible to diminish – even with the road spray on NM550 as I headed back to ABQ through the slightly predicted snow shower.

Each of these, a point of note.

Yes. Of note in my life experience here on the road with 100 Voices.  Points of note are there in each of your lives, too.  Different from my experiences, but real and present in the business of being alive and paying attention.  And beyond that, as experiences that point both to what nourishes and to what calls for immediate action.

It isn’t theory.  It is living.  And it is (or can be) creating.

The headlines on our nation’s presidential primaries and their star players leave me cold by comparison.  I’d like to be hearing life and creativity from the people vying for the country’s highest office.  I’d like for all of us to demand that from our leaders.

Nothing wrong with theory, really – but if it is to have any relevance, it must arise from real human experience.  These days as I drive again through the richly astounding landscape composing our country, the distance between the theories touted in this primary season and what American people live and care about seems as vast New Mexico’s sky.


  1. Mary Clare, a women after my own heart! Having the same conversation in Occupy… No more fear… it is time for clarity…. and friendship… and sharing… and knowing that words make a difference in diversionary tactics! It is time to be creative with our expressions. Laughing because this is a moment. Sharon just told me she walked out of the house with two different tennis shoes… definitely a moment!

  2. . . .kind of a stream of consciousness in 3-D, as you go from a long walk on the beach to picking ripe fruit in an orchard, to “the world’s best car wash, and onto the sloppy after snow highway to 36 hours in one place – all the while talking with friends about first this and then that. . . keep them cards ‘n’ letters comin’.

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