I’m the kind of writer that likes to write about things after they’ve happened. That way I get to process the information in the privacy of my own mind and change my mind a good deal in the process. Almost any significant experience I have has to take its time and percolate through my thoughts before I can articulate what I think.
I’ve always been like this, upon my return from a whirlwind week in London, it took me about six months before I could really talk about it. That’s at the extreme end of the scale of course, but it was also before I recognized how my mind deals with stimulation. A less severe example is the three weeks it took me to explain what I got out of the Body Worlds Exhibit I visited earlier this summer. And the latest is the grim yet important book I finished that put me in a funk for about two weeks – the beautifully written, yet profoundly disturbing look at the sickness of our culture – The Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen.
I’ve never read anything else by the author, so didn’t know what to expect, and what I got was a very clear dissection of the culture of hatred that we live in. We see the results of this hatred everywhere, from the smog in the streets, to the disappearing wildlife, to the landfill of the third world where we ship our trash, and those are the mildest examples. A large section of the book deals with the cognitive dissonance that is created when we actively participate in this culture and the coping mechanisms we develop n order to continue to participate in it. It takes a hard look at the fairy tale of our daily life and exposes it for the fraud that it is.
It’s not an easy book to read. Many of the horror stories of humanity are so disturbing and insane, really, that it’s easy to begin distancing yourself from the book as you read it – well, that would never happen here, not in Canada, not in our current culture, oh we don’t do things like that anymore. That is until the book comes to very modern current examples of the way we externalize the costs to keep things the way they are. Until we realize that nothing costs what we truly pay for it. And until we realize that we, you and me, have also developed some deep coping mechanisms to avoid looking at reality for what it is.
After I processed the book I went on Amazon to see what other people thought of it, and was gratified to see that any review that I write will not hold a candle to the great reviews others have written. The book seems to beg a long intelligent review, and many have obliged. I’d have to recommend it to anyone who has ever felt out of step with the values of current society, especially our insistence on productivity, time management and progress. To anyone who thinks our society is slightly insane in many ways, and to anyone who is typically too busy to reflect much on it.
In other news – my bush peas were doing great – they were bushy. Until a momentous hail storm last Monday came and flattened the lot, just like last year. Now I have a great foot-thick rug of peas growing sideways, with the peas underneath yellowing from lack of sun. Sigh. I’m already jury-rigging a solution for next year – perhaps that will be my ticket to an early retirement? But otherwise the peas are doing wonderful – they are producing a large bowl per day which we gleefully shell and eat each night. All my friends’ peas are puny in comparison, so all hail the pea whisperer!
The tomatoes are also doing well, with the exception of one wee plant that simply refuses to grow. Otherwise they are all producing – before AUGUST which is very momentous in my neck of the woods. And the raspberries have settled in just fine and are already rewarding me with a few berries, something that they’re not supposed to do until next year.
I did plant a few cucumbers, but some enterprising bunny came and ate the lot. Oh well – if he needed them that much, who am I to argue?
I also have a new job, which I start next Monday. That came about in an oblique way, but has also occupied my time, and is a welcome change. The thing with jobs is that you cannot talk about the job, until the offer is signed, kind of like the first rule of fight club. Otherwise for some mysterious reason they are apt not to materialize. Now I’m off to catch up with all of you!