This week I went back to school. By school, I mean the first session of a level III workshop at the International Writers' Collective and already I'm loving it. The close reading of wonderful works like short story Crazy They Call Me by Zadie Smith and poem Interrogative by Tracy K. Smith. The razor-sharp comments by Sarah Carriger, our teacher. And the camaraderie of fellow writers all eager to learn.
When I was a kid, the first day of school was such a high point. Very nerdy to admit but totally true. I love the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil (currently my favorite writing tool). I enjoy learning, maybe even need it, in order to feel like I can still grow. I'm less concerned about whether the knowledge gained can ever be put into practice, although that wouldn't be a bad thing.
That may explain class #2 this week: a bread making workshop at the Bakery Institute. Class will be held inside an old cookie factory about half an hour outside of Amsterdam. For 6 hours each day, we'll be making loaves, dozens of them. If I survive, that will be the topic of next week's blog post.
For now, I'll leave you with this week's edition: Model Minority. The idea was sparked by a newspaper article I happened to read on the flight from Amsterdam to London. Memories of LA, observations on the streets of London and Oxford and the latest rants of you-know-who have converged into a riff on racism.
Should we laugh it off? Cory Booker sure isn't. He's enraged by the silence, the wilful amnesia, the failure of those in power to speak out against what is wrong. Meanwhile the White House plays a game of semantics. Did he say shithole of shithouse? Huckabee Sanders points to the President's salty language as evidence of his passion about immigration. For once, I think she's telling the truth. The President of the United States is passionate about racism: embedding it in our laws, injecting it into our law enforcement and border control, dog-whistling to its adherents.
Enough already. Where are the Democratic candidates who are going to take down this Administration, seat by Congressional seat? And what are they going to offer to the nation aside from outrage?
If, like me, your blood pressure is reaching apoplectic heights, perhaps you are in need of some diversion. So here's an invitation (pictured above) to the launch of The Shanghai Literary Review Issue No. 2. If you don't make it to the launch, then at least check out the journal, which features an essay from yours truly.