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a place of disconnection

My goals seem so impossible. While I tell myself to think well of people during my 6 hour shift, it is difficult to maintain a positive outlook amidst the psychological violence that Americans unconsciously commit to people in service careers such as mine. Yesterday I came home partially destroyed from the judgmental looks for very inconsequential mistakes, from the non-responsiveness to questions such as "how are you?", from the always time-crunched and fragmented communication that happens between co-workers. Yet this is the day to day world in the service industry - both in my experiences as well as in service professions far beyond coffee service. Still, it is in this environment I will continue to promise myself to listen, love, and pay close attention.

It will never cease to amaze me how many people are blatantly able to ignore such a very simple question of greeting. Yet, the words, "How are you?" get ignored more times than I can count. "Yeah, can I get…
Recent posts

A New Racial Autobiography

My racial autobiography, 2008-2009:

In the fall of 2008, I moved from Salem, Oregon to Chicago, Illinois. There, I started work in the all-black setting of North Lawndale College Prep High School. The first black person I started to see daily was Joe Berry, who was the tech coordinator at Free Spirit Media. He graduated high school some 6 years back at NLCP, and was deeply connected with the community in North Lawndale. I remember feelings of wanting to talk to him more about race relations (having studied it so much in college) but I felt like such an infant all over again. After all, I was recognizing that here I was making mental note of the 'fact' that I was building a relationship with someone who was culturally black. So, time went on and I made a few good moments of connection over chicken that he would bring in now and then. Though, I remember being jealous that last years volunteer, Jesse, had such a good relationship with him and that the two of them could talk openly…


It seems to me like time moves so fast lately. These days, as I watch it whiz by, I’ve been engulfed with constant thoughts around the subject of art, and so my mind is constantly moving. I notice that I feel particular parts of a creative self surface within me. In a word, I could say that it’s been exhilarating to be in the company of artists when I’m in my work setting. Suddenly, I don’t feel strange to want to dialogue about our student’s need to have a “creative space” [physically] in which to do work, as such conversations are commonplace in the work setting full of fellow artists. As it is, I join with others in the belief that it is a basic human need to express yourself and be empowered to think in ways that extend beyond the everyday.

I have been recently enlightened to realize that creativity is like a muscle. I can look back in my own life and remember the times that I was "physically fit" in this regard: early childhood, my summer at the poetry camp, ski da…

This is real now

It is starting to sink in that I have a year ahead of me. Through the event of working my first work-week in a high school setting, it occurs to me that this is my first real job. My commitment is expected to be more than the months of summer. I have a year in this position, and with that, I’m feeling something between exhilaration and terror.

The exhilaration is that I am working with Free Spirit Media. This educational setting is one of my dreams. In it, youth are not taught as objects into which information must be banked, but rather creative instruments that can be enabled by way of handing over cameras and basic skill sets. One of the jargons that I hear commonly in this community of media educators is “youth voice,” and it reminds me that the very basis of our teaching theory will be continually be based on the idea that education is meant to be empowering. I find myself in a role where my job is to hand over the camera and skills, and then guide youth to be both creative a…

First Week in Chicago: (new intersections, right?)

One week ago today, myself and my three housemates moved into our new lives in Chicago. In the elapsed time, it’s actually become difficult to think of much that hasn’t happened. In the course of our busy week, we have moved into an apartment that started off a disaster (cabinets pulled, sinks on the floor, drywall-dust covering the floors), tapped into new social communities with past LVC volunteers, gotten to know our neighborhood, started our new jobs, picked up our local organic vegetables CSA share (yum), attended a movie-at-the-park, biked all over the city, I saw my brother Blake, and also saw my old housemate Jacob Swenson, went back to work, realized that I’ll actually be the one teaching tomorrow, and lastly, I learned how to bake bread (it’s rising right now). Basically I think they say, “he hit the ground running” for occasions like this.

In this current moment, school is probably the biggest deal to me. During the first two days in the school, I’ve more or less laid low …

An Idea

The idea for this blog started after some talking with my best friend and love Kara, reading some of the gospels in the Bible, watching Motorcycle Diaries, and then dialoguing over lunch with Erin Murphy about the necessary commitment to live a life of intentional human relations. The purpose of this space, then, is to get me to record my encounters of what I perceive as meaningful events and human intersections in my life. I hope to talk about what I learn of our human selves from thoughtfully communing with others in a fully present kind of way. While this space may have the usefulness of updating people on my life and thoughts, the most honest reason that I started this is because I wish to continue to step courageously out into conversations that may yield insight and spiritual connectivity between people in the world. I see this blog as my accountability to keep these interactions up, write about them, and reflect the deepest layers of our being alive with one another. I wan…