Thursday, July 06, 2006

A new letters site


I suppose it's silly to maintain a blog site and yet end up mostly posting what I have written and sent to others for publication. And 'mostly' is an understatement. The nearest blogging I've done is posting the poem that crept out of my pen last June, and posting some family pics a few months ago.

Well. So. Let's try and correct that bit by bit. One device may be to use reaction letters. Below is one letter, which was emailed to me and also copied to many yahoogroups none of which I belonged to, responding to the Collevecchio piece, and after that is my reply to the letter writer. Despite its obvious brevity, I chose to post it because it dips into the pallette of cynicism and daubs the color quite thickly. I hope it's enough of a nudge to make me set aside more time for blogging. I will try to post letters every now and then in case these help to get me to blog more. But don't hold yer breath.

And if you haven't read The road from Collevecchio yet, all you need to do is to click on this.


Cesar T., responding to the essay The road from Collevecchio:

A very sad story Mr. Constantino, of a Dream World.

So how do you propose to do attain this Dream World Mr. Constantino: "It is possible because we will work for a world where dignity is the main currency, justice fuels our economies and interactions, and solidarity is the only debt that people shall owe one another."

Cesar Torres

My reply:

Hello Cesar. I reply only to you since I do not belong to any of the ten or so yahoogroups you copied your email to. But you have my permission to forward my email, if that is your intention.

Well, I do not propose to attain what you call a dream world. The essay says so. Perhaps in fundamental disagreement with some who demand that another world is possible, I insist that that such a world already exists, though always on the interstices, and somehow, often, never more than a passing moment in a day or week or month or year. Or not more than a few years. But it is there; it is here, however ephemeral. I think too many keep looking for the distant thing, or a different planet, or a time gone by or a world that supposedly will be built all over again from scratch, and so they miss building on what they already have. They miss working on the clay that is in front of them, what they wake up with almost every day and go to sleep with almost every night, the things that make them feel they are more than just automatons, that make them celebrate and rage and weep and exalt and feel joy.

The thing is to make these things grow and occupy vastly more than the margins that they inhabit every now and then.

Indifference is a tragic thing, perhaps equal to the tragedy of eager resignation when there is so much to rage against, to build with and to celebrate. Insane, blind optimism? Maybe, or maybe not. Yet how can you even begin to start from where you are and to build with what you have when you speak of dreams as something sad, which is even more sad than all the killings put together?

A group of elderly Filipinas asked themselves a few years ago what they wanted most for their next birthday. One said good health, another said a great resort where she can retire and live out the rest of her days in peace and quiet, and another said she wanted to live one more year so she can wish for another year after that. But one said that what she wanted most was to keep her capacity to always feel joy, and also anger at injustices, because these are the things that keep her from growing old. I think, for all my enthusiasms and frustrations, that I am so much older than her and so from the time I first heard her story I have reordered my goals, and on top of many is the aim to age enough so that one day I can be as young as her.

My thanks for your feedback.



Photo: A beginning: A new fishing boat being built in Aceh some months after the tidal wave. Pic by Red, taken from his Nokia.

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