Masala Inc 11

Impermanence, memories, and perverse normalization of immigration

🌱 2022-02-14

On Substack

Hello friends,

It isn’t until one has a child that they become familiar with the kafkaesque labyrinth of government bureaucracy. I spent countless hours on calls with nameless agents. People trying to do their best in a system that doesn’t reward being emphatic or kind. So, shoutout to all of them for tolerating the degrading grind of government red-tape.

P. in montreal

  1. Finished Citizen: An American Lyric(paperback, kindle), Claudia Rankine trenchant look at racism. The racism of the everyday. Where it has been so normalized , if one speaks up about it they would be considered crazy or worse, silly. A certain look here, a certain comment there. Thousand cuts, that destabilize the very nature of self for person of color.

Memory is a tough place. You were there.

  1. Memory a day : A counter point to building a safe haven with memories of everyday

  2. I have been thinking a lot about the perverse normalization of american immigration

P. in montreal

Scavenger Who Wanders

I really like the analogy Jason Fulford uses when thinking about photography.

The collector I’m thinking of is a scavenger whose mode is to wander. He enters the woods with an open mind. He might find a Scarlet Elf Cup or a Hen of the Woods; he may come home with nothing but an empty pack of cigarettes. The collecting happens over many years. The analogy continues when it comes to editing, making sense of the mess. Presentation is considered. Similar items are compared; the weak examples are discarded. The collector asks: Is there an audience for this? Is supplementary information necessary? Is the collection explanatory or mysterious? What ties the various elements together—the collector’s personal interests, or a predetermined set of categories? Is it about repetition or variety? Does the collection continue to grow, or is it now closed?

Expanding on that analogy, I see a darkness in the center of this pursuit within me. A scavenger of memories.

In When things fall apart, Pema Chodron talks about how "impermanence is the essence of everything". And bemoans that people have no respect for it. A scavenger is cognizant of impermanence all the time. They are in an eternal dance with it. Allowing the futility of the moment, which changes its meaning outside it, to live in whatever way it can.

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