Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Today's mission: Smile at ten strangers on the street. Observe the results.

Yesterday, I did exercises in participating in conversations with strangers. Rather than just directing people towards books, I asked them questions. Some guy asked me, "Do you have Gay Street?", and I followed with "Let me check, what's that about, is that the one they had a big write-up in the Times about?" When a female asked for Samuel Delaney and Judith Butler, I talked to her about both of them, and talked to her about her thesis, and she asked me what I was doing, and then gave me encouraging advice when I said that I did not really know, that I need to figure that out. I was screaming about Whitman (who else?) to Will and Allison when some old Jewish man interjected, "Whitman was a patriot!" And then I entered into a twenty minute talk with this old man about Whitman, Frost, current "American" poetry, terrorism, Israel, and listened to him explain why "every Arab" hates the Jews. It was definitely an encounter. I am trying to make myself as open to these encounters as possible, that this is where life is, here in these interactions. Today, I am going to chase it. You can participate too. You should. At least ten strangers.

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