i packed four books with me for the year i spent in viet nam. one of them was zami. even now, as “settled” as i have been in my life, audre is still teaching me words from the other side. this is the first of the binge….
“Racism. Cancer. In both cases, to win the aggressor must conquer, but the resisters need only survive. How do I define that survival and on whose terms?” (111)
“How has everyday living changed for me with the advent of a second cancer? I move through a terrible and invigorating savor of now-a visceral awareness of the passage of time, with its nightmare and its energy. No more long-term loans, extended payments, twenty-year plans. Pay my debts. Call the tickets in, the charges, the emotional IOU’s. Now is the time, if ever, once and for all, to alter the patterns of isolation. Remember that nice lady down the street whose son you used to cross at the light and who was always saying, “Now if there’s ever anything I can do for you, just let me know.” Well, her boy’s got strong muscles and the lawn needs mowing.” (124)
“I work, I love, I rest, I see and learn. And I report. These are my givens. Not sureties, but a firm belief that whether or not living them with joy prolongs my life, it certainly enables me to pursue the objectives of that life with a deeper and more effective clarity.” (134)
i pulled those passages for henrietta lacks, and for jack layton. see you tomorrow at roy thompson hall, toronto.