March 26, 2020 by Grace Cooper

Cyber Circle: March 26th

Our team aims to stay mission-driven during these questionable times. While the world feels like a sci-fi movie, we continue to encourage the writing and sharing of personal narratives. We continue to support shared reading and shared writing. We continue to rely on the most important of human traditions: sharing stories, because every story contains lessons for the audience. They spark questions and curiosity. Stories teach us to love. To forgive. To be just. To strive for something better. Stories connect us, even–or especially–when we feel isolated and alone.

Each afternoon, we at ConTextos will engage in shared reading and writing to help us connect, to reflect on our pasts, to envision the future. To author a brighter future. Over Zoom, we will provide a short reading or a prompt, write for no more than 10 minuets, and share our writings as a group. Please fill out this form if you’d to join us.

Prompts: A) Write what’s on your heart and mind, B) Trapped in a moment, C) There is a necessary letting go.

James

My dad used to mow our lawn in his white straw hat, sneakers, and underpants. Underpants that usually had holes in them. I’m glad we lived out of town.

Dad and I had a tempestuous relationship (not always); but when his storms hit they slammed into walls and emotions. We don’t really know why. ‘We’ being the rest of my family.

Dad was a vet. For forty years he treated all sorts of animals. Many times he worked with chemicals, sheep dip in particular. Did it affect his nerves? We don’t know. Dad also served in World War Two. A soldier in Borneo-Malaya. To kill or be killed? No-one ever deserves to be hurled into that predicament.

Whatever the reason, dad went a little troppo. As a teenage boy needing guidance, I struggled with that. After he left mum and us, I refused to visit him for twelve years. But then one day I shoved aside my stubbornness and bitterness, and I knocked on his door. He was home. He welcomed me in…

He was so happy to see me.

An old man in his final years.

He is now long gone, but in those final years I kind of got to know him for the very first time.

Letting go is always so necessary in life, but I still hold on.

I wish I’d known my father better.

Kelema

Letting go is a choice just like being happy is a choice. You have a choice you can let go of the bad or hold on to it. You choose how you perceive things you have a choice, in every decision you make no matter what you have a choice and even though it might not seem like that you have that choice.holding on to that negative energy makes your energy palpable even if you might not know it, i’ve recently learned that. Letting go of something may be hard i know that from my experience and it also may not be but you have that choice. Some people say your history or past defines you, I disagree . I think it’s your choice. In every choice you make you can choose to go left or right, and at that time if you’re choosing to make that left you might think it’s the right decision at the time and it may or may not be but you have that choice. Don’t let other people define you based on your path and especially with my aunts and mom’s jobs they have a lot of choices to make, like aunt deb working with incarcerated young adults and they might get defined by their backgrounds and history, but i think it’s their choices like them being brave and letting go of their pasts, and writing about it, that’s a choice.

Debra

Why are you so special?

I hear: Why are YOU so special. 

The question is: Why are you SO special.

I drove in circles, passing farmland as I talked to a therapist. Looking for the farm around the corner from my mom’s farm. I say I want to support local. I know that they must hate the FIP’s— fucking Illinois people—who are bringing their disease and demands. But really, I just want those farm fresh eggs. And the local lamb and beef.

The fog was thick, licking the fallow fields. Last year, the farmers couldn’t even plant, the fields lay in two-inches of rainfall until mid-summer. This year’s weather is perfect. Everything is ready and poised. But is there reason to sew thousands of acres of corn and soy?

If we plant for what we need now, not what we used to need, what might fill those fields?

This constant tension about how to see “What’s next?”: will it go back to what was, the same broken systems, a futile momentum just to keep things going going going going; or will we find the time for new practices, new rituals; not new habits, but new ways of being.

And do I have the courage to use this time to see why I’m SO special and delve into that? To write the way I want to. To take longer walks and shorter phone calls. To think deeper about the future, not dwell on regrets of the past. To accept that each day I’m doing the best I can, not rebuke for what wasn’t achieved, or what wasn’t done gracefully, or what wasn’t thought through.

Can we be SO special? 

Embrace the necessary letting go,

to be trapped in this moment to look within

Go deeper,

Read more

Write more

Sing more

Touch the earth,

Inhale the wet fog,

Feel warmth in the heart even while flush with cold.

Can we be SO special…?

Two weeks wouldn’t be enough…

Lisa

My inner art teacher blinds me at the recycling bin. Most things a normal person would put in the blue bin, I examine closely. 2 out of 3 times, I wash it, stack it, store it.

Yogurt containers, the frozen spinach box from a nearby Ukrainian grocery store, even lids from spaghetti sauce jars get saved.

Each night I liberate myself from  media channels and double down on crafting. Stickers, glitter tape strips, paint pens and washed bottles of old mustards, jellies, syrups and Bushmills whiskey piled up next to me.  Strips of ribbon, luminescent angel wing sheets of paper and thrift store plastic eggs, blueberry crates from Cermak Produce.

A Keebler elf surrounded by glittering possibilities, dozing former ferals and a hefty spiked lemonade, I get down to business each night.

I flow, I unclench, I create. The thing is the tables, chair arms and window ledges are getting packed. So my only option is the floor.

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