Meadow Jones offered a session on May 21.
Meadow Jones is an AWA affiliate and Board Member who has led workshops for artist and activist coalitions, with teachers and teachers in training, with incarcerated populations, arts and culture classes in Cuba and has used the Method with undergraduates in courses on writing and film-making. She has recently completed her PhD in Art Education looking at arts practices and the redress of trauma.
by Julianne Panagacos
Merwin got specific about thanks. In the banks. looking at the officials. I can picture the scene. The thanks is real, but it is also a survival strategy. There is so much to be grateful for, but who do I need to perform it for?
I think about when and how I learned to perform gratitude- sitting under the christmas tree, unwrapping a present that I didn’t really want, but I know my parents enjoyed buying. This isn’t a ritual for genuine thanks. This is where I do my familial duty to perform, not to question the activities of the holiday, but to appreciate the work that went in, even if I would have been grateful for the work undone. Once, a friend of mine wrote a facebook post about what might be possible if all the feminized labor to uphold holidays were redirected toward things that actually represented those values. I notice myself remembering in chunks of facebook posts and text messages, or the 11th email in a thread. I wonder how my niblings will remember things when they have been holding iphones since just after birth.
Trying to be strategic with Christmas- different years, different strategies. One year I’ll skip it, another I’ll try bringing a partner, another I’ll go solo, but highly curate the hours of my days for what I can handle. If they like buying things, and I need things, this is an opportunity. Surely this is not what Jesus had in mind, definitely would not throw this birthday party. Jesus, who sounds like my people, sticking up for those who are sick and poor- not saying it’s because they didn’t work hard enough.
I learn to name from the radical Jews in my life- getting practice year after year articulating the modern day plagues through retelling the Passover story. I too am Jewish but it’s generationally repressed. And complicated, as identity is complicated, thanks is complicated. Thinking about Israel and Palestine, And the US Christian dominant Superpower, blocking again and again, naming war crimes as war crimes, refusing to take a stance and call for a ceasefire. Performing super, performing power, performing strategy. What Are the depths these diplomats are repressing? That part is not complicated.
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