Has anyone seen that camp B (or C) horror flick “Critters”? If you’re not familiar with this gem it features a massive seething ball comprised of many small toothy and blood thirsty critters. In the climax this aggregate of claws and pointy teeth rolls over the land destroying and consuming everything and anyone in its path. That’s sort of how I view this new administration. A ball of hate and vitriol with a rotten core that is rolling across the land and gaining speed. Its terrible momentum spurned on by alternative facts and rabid fear mongering.
So I am taking it slow. For my own mental health I’ve mostly disengaged from the news. Occasionally I am able to stomach a quick glance at the New York Times. Just a quick peak to see if things are still terrible out there. Yup, still terrible. Some of us are called to act, to speak out, to demonstrate to keep fighting. If there is a bright side to this storm it’s the sense that there are a lot of good and decent people in this country that will not quietly accept this bitter liquid being forced upon us. However, right now I just can’t. So I’m doing some self care and trying to stay hopeful.
This week I read two books. More accurately a short story and an essay…but lets say books for now. The first was “Binti” by Nnedi Okorafor. It’s a short story about a young girl leaving home. Binti is a sixteen year old Himba (Namibian) girl from a culture that values technology, but not traveling or leaving ones community. Because of this no Himba had ever left Earth. Binti is unusual among her people and longs to see what lies beyond the next rise, what is just around the next corner. She is a gifted and curious student. This leads her to be offered a place in the galaxies premier university. Accepting this scholarship will mean leaving her family and the only home shes ever known. A stranger in a strange land. Her adventure starts even before she reaches the university when the transport ship she is on is attacked by an alien race.
Okorafor packs a lot into this slim 90 page volume. While the ending was a bit fairy tale the overall story was interesting.
The second book I read this week was “Gratitude” by Oliver Sacks. I’ve been meaning to read his works for a long time. This was a very short 45 page collection of essays. It is the last bit he wrote before his death in 2015. Gratitude is an emotion I have been struggling to feel lately, so I though this piece would be pertinent. His voice is clear and shines from the pages. I made the mistake of reading it at work. The frank way he talks about dying or more aptly the way he talks about living brought tears to my eyes. I am looking forward to reading more from him.