On January 22, I drove back from Washington, D.C. The day before, I’d been one of the 500,000 that filled out Independence Avenue, one of the specks in those awe-inspiring aerial shots that plastered the news. I’d been cold and hungry and dehydrated and I had not felt any of that discomfort until I sat down for dinner later that night and nearly wept at the sensation of sinking into a seat.
Even if they don’t, even if our stories are met with apathy, with disdain, I believe our enduring anger and our passion require them. These stories sustain my activism because they make concrete the issues that, for me, have always had a certain looming intangibility to them. Scripts are not enough, and they were never meant to be enough. The best thing my scripts ever did was open up a channel to the people in my community. To force me to ask the questions that I had never thought to ask.
Europe was crawling with adulterous couples. Mostly, for some reason, one saw them at ruins, respectfully tripping over the archeological rubble. Just like regular tourists they seemed to be under some terrible strain, but unlike regular tourists they hardly looked at anything, so that when, say, a lizard streaked across their path, they’d jump and fall into each other with apologetic smiles, more like awkward teenagers than adults risking the forbidden.
For me, September is a month for reflection. It’s when the peach fuzz of summer is only an itchy memory, and the cold, dew-filled apple orchards crowd my days: the last harvest of the season. Monarchs, birds, and other creatures begin to move to new locations, readying themselves for the deep freeze of winter, a season which will eventually cover almost everything living in white dust. It’s also the month in which I was introduced to Yoko Ono’s Acorn and ever since, I’ve been falling.
“It feels impossible to talk about race or other kinds of difference,” wrote Roxane Gay recently in the New York Times Sunday Review. “But if we don’t have difficult conversations, we will be able to reconcile neither this country’s racist past nor racist present.” This is a refrain we read and hear so often these days, and yet, the conversations remain hard in coming. Faheem Majeed, in his first solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago this year, is a notable example of conversation between artist, curator, and museum institution that seeks to expand that conversation with a wider viewing public.