Body+Soul: The new book is, in some ways, about choosing art over politics, or "poetry over polemics," as you put it....
Naomi Wolf: I value every single thing that I've done and cared about as an activist and a polemicist for all these years... It's a question now of dualism: Is the mind without heart enough? Is politics without soul enough? A lot of people - especially at my age [early 40s] - are thinking, is this all there is? and wondering whether there is a way to bring loving consciousness to the struggle. - Interview, Body+Soul magazine, June 2005
I noted that at this weekend's Citizen's Media Summit strategy session (btw, events like J.D. Lasica's book release party last Friday is one of those reasons I continue to remain in the Bay Area ; oh, and the chapter "When Personal Media and Mass Media Collide" in Darknet I read on BART on my way home was superb...) that J.D. refers to as "an interesting schism" between those who were for "creating media for a social purpose (the advancement of democracy, etc.)" and those who "sought to emphasize empowering users to create media as an end in itself, as a means of fostering creative expression. The two approaches have much in common, but the differences in emphasis are important to consider."
Maybe it's not an either/or, but rather a both/and proposition as Wolf, a cultural critic and feminist activist, considers once she looks at life through the eyes of her poet father. She's breaking down the notions of dualistic choice.
Body+Soul: What is the most important lesson your father taught you?
Wolf: He believes that everything is an art and everyone is an artist, that every single one of us has this incredibly unique, precious message, and it's our task to express it. Whether your medium is writing or teaching or raising a child, everyone has a creative mission. We all have important creative work to do, and it's important that we take it seriously, regardless of what the market says about it. No amount of money or recognition can compensate you if you are not doing your life's mission. - Interview, Body+Soul, June 2005
Amen, sister. I can't wait to see her new book, The Treehouse: Eccentric Wisdom From My Father on How to Live, Love, and See. Each chapter outlines twelve lessons on liberating your creative self.
Live in the Bay Area? Naomi Wolf will be speaking tomorrow, Thursday, May 19th, 6:30 pm at San Jose MLK Library, 150 E. San Fernando, San Jose. $5 for library cardholders, students and Commonwealth Club members, $15 otherwise. I'll be there myself. (More info, registration...)
BONUS: A good primer on meditation in this month's issue of Body+Soul online. (Yes, this is very related to being an artist!)
But what it boils down to—however it’s practiced and whatever form it takes—is this: To meditate simply means to rest in moments of appreciative, exquisite attentiveness.
Moments that allow us to savor the experience of living and that make us feel both deeply calm and deeply alert, in tune both with our self and with the world around us. Moments we come away from feeling refreshed, renewed, and engaged...
We all know how to meditate; it’s an instinctive ability. If you’ve ever been deliciously absorbed gazing at the flow of a river, the dance of a fire, the twinkle of stars, you’ve enjoyed meditative moments.