“If they cannot be made good they must be killed.” If you’ve read The Gravity of Light you may remember that phrase as one of Rav’s temptations. A Federal agent spoke those words to the Sac and Fox Indians during their removal from Illinois. More than a hundred years later and half-way around the world we ‘destroyed villages in order to save them.’
Ariel Djanikian moves this meme into a post-apocalyptic future in her first novel, The Office of Mercy. The ‘good guys’ are the technologically advanced people living inside America-Five, a domed city, whose Alphas had unleashed the apocalypse that killed billions. Those who must be killed in order to be saved, that is, saved from suffering, are the descendants of the survivors, who live much like Indians. The killers work in the dome’s Office of Mercy. You may think of the OOM as the Department of Defense fighting the War to End All Wars.
Walking and seeing work together for me. The pedestrian slowness becomes a meditation in which I stumble across scenes otherwise missed. Sometimes the picture suggests itself. Other times it’s imagination and post-processing that walk me into a parallel world. My photos concern relationships: the visually insignificant boat lost on the great bay; the downcast cat behind the old garage window; the young boy emerging from the ancient forest; the young tree dancing surrounded by its elders. There are days when I walk and never once raise a camera. Those days are good, too.
Karen Joy Fowler may be best known for The Jane Austin Book Club, the quirky tale of a book club that read only Jane Austin. I’d been a fan of Fowler’s since I first read her scifi/fantasy. TJABC delighted me. Her latest hit me like a bowling ball.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is about the human need (some of us feel it as a need) to go home to the Garden of Eden. It’s about science and its default to understand by tearing apart; it’s about family and relationships, the need to survive by holding together.
That God. Michelangelo’s God. The God of “power and might.” “The Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” The all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful God who demands worship and sacrifice. The Lord. The King of Kings. The God we must fear, obey and love. The God who placed the first humans in the Garden of Eden along with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, who instructed the humans not to eat its fruit, knowing – He is all-knowing, after all – Adam and Eve would disobey. Entrapment 101. The God who sent His Son to be killed by us so He could forgive us for Adam and Eve’s sin. The God who sits above the angels who stand above the saints who look down on the stars which we look up at from earth.
proclaim our innocence
(we are not)
praise our innocence
(we have not)
good choice, Lord, choosing us
(the Voice says not)
city on a hill
beacon to all nations,
bow, loathsome nations,
envy us our gospel,
the good news of us
in the far dark pew
a humble woman
My parents did not have very many books, at least in my judgment. My father treated books as icons, a representation of a life for which he longed and from which he’d been forever barred.
Not being a fan of contemporary art, I wouldn’t have driven from Boston to North Adams to see the Museum of Modern Art. But I was there for work and decided I can always learn something. Most of the exhibits confirmed that most contemporary art and I have no common frequencies. Signals not received. If you get it, bless you. Please explain it to me.