“We had a lot of trouble with western mental health workers who came here immediately after the genocide and we had to ask some of them to leave.
They came and their practice did not involve being outside in the sun where you begin to feel better. There was no music or drumming to get your blood flowing again. There was no sense that everyone had taken the day off so that the entire community could come together to try to lift you up and bring you back to joy. There was no acknowledgement of the depression as something invasive and external that could actually be cast out again.
Instead they would take people one at a time into these dingy little rooms and have them sit around for an hour or so and talk about bad things that had happened to them. We had to ask them to leave.
”—A Rwandan talking to a western writer, Andrew Solomon, about his experience with western mental health and depression. (via dialecticsof)
Windy today and I feel less than brilliant, driving over the hills from work. There are the dark parts on the road when you pass through clumps of wood and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean, but that doesn’t make the road an allegory.
I should call Marie and apologize for being so boring at dinner last night, but can I really promise not to be that way again? And anyway, I’d rather watch the trees, tossing in what certainly looks like sexual arousal.
Otherwise it’s spring, and everything looks frail; the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves are full of infant chlorophyll, the very tint of inexperience.
Last summer’s song is making a comeback on the radio, and on the highway overpass, the only metaphysical vandal in America has written MEMORY LOVES TIME in big black spraypaint letters,
which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.
Last night I dreamed of X again. She’s like a stain on my subconscious sheets. Years ago she penetrated me but though I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed, I never got her out, but now I’m glad.
What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle. What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel. What I thought was an injustice turned out to be a color of the sky.
Outside the youth center, between the liquor store and the police station, a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;
overflowing with blossomfoam, like a sudsy mug of beer; like a bride ripping off her clothes, dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,
so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene. It’s been doing that all week: making beauty, and throwing it away, and making more.
“Don’t think, when you melt in sorrow
like candle tears, of who will see you
or follow your intuition’s light.
Think of yourself: is this all of myself?”—Mahmoud Darwish, from “To a Young Poet,” trans. Fady Joudah, Poetry (March 2010)
“It seems to me that the intellectualization and aestheticizing of principles and values in this country is one of the things that’s gutted our generation. All the things that my parents said to me, like ‘It’s really important not to lie.’ OK, check, got it. I nod at that but I really don’t feel it. Until I get to be about 30 and I realize that if I lie to you, I also can’t trust you. I feel that I’m in pain, I’m nervous, I’m lonely and I can’t figure out why. Then I realize, ‘Oh, perhaps the way to deal with this is really not to lie.’ The idea that something so simple and, really, so aesthetically uninteresting — which for me meant you pass over it for the interesting, complex stuff — can actually be nourishing in a way that arch, meta, ironic, pomo stuff can’t, that seems to me to be important. That seems to me like something our generation needs to feel.”—David Foster Wallace