Thursday, September 22, 2011

This and That

'Sfunny, even though I'm retired I don't seem to have any more time than I did before. I'm reading a lot, though. Just finished reading a novel called Swallow (Northampton MA: Interlink Books, 2010) by the Nigerian writer Sefi Atta -- her third book apparently. It's another one of those things I just noticed on the new arrivals shelves, picked up and checked out. I was impressed, though not overwhelmed; it was better than most of the recent Nigerian fiction I've been reading, and it seems I keep stumbling on such books. It's about a young woman living in today's Lagos, trying to make her way, living with a rather wild roommate, contending with a boyfriend who wants to get married until she accepts him, and trying to make sense of her family's past. It doesn't have much of a plot, but its cumulative power is remarkable.

I'm not sure where this image came from (I snagged it from somebody on Facebook), and I have no illusions that Spock would solve all our problems, or that rationality is necessarily the answer, but it's a nice fantasy.

They're both half-breeds, after all, Spock and Obama. Which reminds me of a speech of Spock's from Star Trek V that has stayed with me for over twenty years. Spock's half-brother Sybok bonds people to him by showing them their painful, guilty, shameful memories; Spock is the only one who isn't impressed.

Sybok, you are my brother, but you do not know me.
I am not the outcast boy you left behind those many years ago.
Since that time I have found myself and my place.
I know who I am. And I cannot go with you.
Some people never find their place, never learn who they are.