Solstice Greetings and Gratitude 2013, or Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn Playing Tennis!
©2013 by Alice Walker
2013 was a surprising, even astonishing, year whose revelatory power shows no sign of abating in 2014. It is as though we are collectively watching an enormous egg, as big as the sun, cracking open to reveal a golden center. That golden center is Reality. What a time to be alive! Whatever happens next, we will not be stepping forward, or stumbling and crawling forward, in the fuzzy unreality in which we have, alas, become so deeply embedded. There have been mind-blowing revelations and testimonials of all kinds, along the cracks. About banks and money, about power, about governments and theft and war, about what’s really going on in the parliaments, royal bloodlines, political parties and corporations of the world, and among the religions. About the hatred of and abuse of women, and, especially, of children. About Super soldiers! Mind control! The capture and enslavement of child psychics! About a lot of Nazis still running around loose! It is all streaming out, a kind of pus, as though from a wound that has needed attention for thousands of years. And yes, we humans have been deeply wounded. Our scarring and disfigurement covered over by a thick poultice of lies.
And so thank you to all the voices of beloved humans who’ve stuck their necks out for the collective. Below are some of the people and some of the things that, for me, made the year so stellar:
Julian Assange: May you have joy – you deserve this for the risks you took – never doubt that it will come to you again. Your courage actually represents the joy the world will follow.
Edward Snowden: May you have joy – you deserve this for the risks you took- never doubt that it will come to you again. Your courage too represents the joy the world will follow.
Chelsea Manning: May you have joy- you deserve this for the risks you took – never doubt that it will come to you again. You are seen, and cherished. Your courage represents the joy, and the compassion, the world will follow.
The People’s Voice and David Icke: May you have the peace that comes when a perplexing assignment has been taken on and, in service to humanity, lovingly brought to fruition. The People’s Voice is amazing. Something we the people did together, too. A dollar here and a pound there!
One Day in December: Celia Sanchez and the Cuban Revolution, by Nancy Stout, the biography of a truly empowered revolutionary woman: Celia, you have arisen from your flowerbeds! I love you.
Arizona Wilder, whose hair -raising tales of mind control and ritual human sacrifice actually silenced me, they are so disturbing. I kept thinking: What does one do with this painful, never even guessed at, information? Now I know: pass it along. Someone will know. Or, collectively, we will know.
Cathy O’Brien, whose life with Mark Phillips I hope is deeply joyful. Thank you for your courage in presenting your deeply painful story to the world; and more than that, for falling in love and looking great at the end of the ordeal!
Michael Tellinger: They’ve removed the video that seemed to me pure love and genius about the origins of humans in Southern Africa. And how we were all created to mine gold! (I rebelled, I’m sure!) Your enthusiasm makes you a great teacher of this fascinating subject.
Human Race Get Off Your Knees, David Icke’s radical history of how it all fits together. It is refreshing to witness a free person. However, truly free people take naps!
Chris Hedges’ columns in Nation of Change, especially his piece about his writing class in a local prison. The work of the prisoners made me see prisoners in an entirely new way. Other things to admire: His passion for linking his own history and survival to that of others. Also his strong sense of outrage at injustice and bullying, and especially I admire him for standing up against the horrid NDAA, which has frightened Americans so badly that, for the most part, they pretend it doesn’t exist.
Party Music: The Inside Story of the Black Panthers’ Band and How Black Power Transformed Soul Music, by Rickey Vincent. Who knew the Black Panther Party had a band, called (of course) The Lumpen! I had no idea. Vincent gave me a copy of the book as our paths crossed at KPFA, our local radio station in Berkeley, California. I was enchanted by the thought of the revolutionary brothers and sisters (who’d always seemed rather hard edged to this Southerner) making music. It radically transforms one’s view of the Panthers. No less fierce are they, and what growing up in the South taught me is that fierceness isn’t the same as hardness; fierceness does sing, dance, and play. Because (as the fierce ones might say) the cracker’s got his foot on my neck, anyway, why the fuck not?
A Prisoner in the Garden, a book about Nelson Mandela’s life in prison demonstrating among other things how he tried to outwit the prison censors for 27 years and send messages to his wife and children. (I will always love Winnie!)
The Signature of All Things: This novel by Elizabeth Gilbert is imaginative, exhaustive, long, and wonderful. There is a great aha moment regarding our country’s involvement in pedophilia apparently from the beginning. Though I’ve never really believed in Darwinism. Audio!
The Thirteenth Tale, by Dianne Setterfield. This novel gave me the same chills of delight I received from 19th century novels years ago. Great for snowy winter evenings by the fire! Great on audio!
Mandy Aftel’s handmade from scratch Scents, especially Fig, my favorite, and Ancient Resins, created for Leonard Cohen, whose I’m Your Man CD is filled with soulful insights and truthful glory. Recommended: Democracy is Coming to the USA!
Ottorino Respighi’s music, which I heard for the first time in Ft. Bragg, California, played by the exquisite Symphony of the Redwoods (Alan Pollack, director) one of the best experiences the planet has to offer! (Where my beloved, Kaleo Larson, plays trumpeta!)
Democracy Now!: I nominate Amy Goodman and the reporters and producers of Democracy Now! for The Best in Showing Up With the Truth Award of all the news media in America. It is beautiful, intense, has music and a heart.
Twelve Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen: this is the profound story and devastatingly accurate film on which an entire required study of the history of the Americas can be built. Do we want to know who we are, or not?
Lee Richards’ The Butler, a film that rings truer about who we have been in the USA than almost any I can recall. Brilliant
The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout, is the perfect book to read after viewing the two films above. We have never dealt sufficiently, or hardly at all, with the mental illness that afflicts our country, in our leadership no less than in our families.
The paintings of Alvaro Chavarin, a young painter in Zapata, Mexico who exhibits the dedication and perseverance, and some of the color, of his painter ancestors, Tamayo and Rivera. That he agreed to be my tutor of painting for a short period was a gift! Just go for it! He says.
The One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka: my favorite book on farming. It also raises an important question: What causes enlightenment? In fact, what is enlightenment? Is it the moment we know we are of this planet and are this planet and that we can work together, the planet and us, to last, joyfully, forever? Or at least until the next flood or ice age. Even before nuclear power came to Japan, Fukuoka could see many Fukushimas coming and tried to warn the people.
Charlie, the little Yorkie who was given to me by a stranger (though not for long, Button!), whose unconditional love is one of the best medicines ever administered to me. A miracle! What is the possible lesson? No real love is ever lost. It is transformed and sent running back to you!
And last but not least, Noam Chomsky. Long before I knew who this great teacher was I was riding around the Cape with Howard Zinn (A People’s History of the United States) on my way to Wellfleet where his wife (Roz the beautiful) was waiting lunch for us. The Zinns were old and dear friends. Howard mentioned playing tennis. I couldn’t believe it. I’d never heard anything before about him playing tennis. He said Oh, yes, I play tennis. I play tennis with Noam Chomsky. I think he said every Thursday and I think we must have been passing the tennis court. Since that time whenever I’m really depressed about the political situation in America, which is often, I think of these two great beings playing tennis. That’s when I know we the people have every chance of winning.
Onward through less fog!
With all my love,
My recent books: The Cushion In the Road: Meditation and Wandering As the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm’s Way (essays, travels and dreams); and The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness Into Flowers (poems). The New Press 2013.
Photo of solar flares on the sun 2012.