of interest this week: 6 March 2016

Dump Ravens

I’ve been very sick the past couple of weeks. Viral bronchitis. This is on top of the usual dysautonomia symptoms and the daily headaches. I am on the mend, though I’ve been much less active—or much more inactive, depending on how you want to look at it—than has been typical.

Still, I’ve continued to read and learn and explore. Below are several of the articles and essays that stood out for me this past week.

  • MFA vs. CIA: A writer considers an alternate life as an undercover agent
    By Jennifer duBois

    Writers and spies share an ability—and a willingness—to hide in plain sight, to deflect attention not only from the nature of their role but from the fact that they have any role at all. A spy obscures his relationship to events in order to affect them, just as a writer hovers anonymously beyond the page in order to exert her tyrannical, obsessive control. What is authorial distance, anyway, but a form of plausible deniability? This willingness to disappear is another difficult quality to gauge in normal terms—it seems to be simultaneously a form of delusional arrogance and its exact opposite. But writers and spies both understand its uses; in both cases, it is the vanishing act that enables the sorcery.

    Because who hasn’t thought about what life might be like as a CIA agent?

  • Raven Lessons
    By Diana Rico

    Andrews’ description of Raven’s process—traveling into the darkness, bringing more and more light forth—is a beautiful metaphor for my experience of the act of writing creatively, something it took me some years to come to.

    This is a beautiful and quick essay about creating the time and space to delve deeply in the act of creation, but it also speaks clearly to an understanding of shamanic totems. My totem happens to be the Raven—something I worked hard to make peace with and to embrace within myself—so this piece, about journeying into the darkness in order to bring forth the light touched me and gave me greater insight into my own struggles.

  • The Supreme Court’s Three Female Justices Are Fighting Tooth and Nail for Reproductive Rights
    By Stassa Edwards

    Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor relentlessly challenged Texas’s argument, probing the state’s reasoning that regulating abortion providers was done solely out of concern for the well-being of women. Kagan pointed out that liposuction was more dangerous than abortion, and Sotomayor said to Scott Keller, Texas’s solicitor general, “According to you, the slightest health improvement … is enough to burden the lives of a million women.”

    I’m honestly surprised that the issue of abortion keeps coming up, even though I realize that’s politically naïve of me. Still, I’m encouraged by the fact that women have some solid representation on the Supreme Court.

  • Watch SpaceX’s Fifth Attempt to Launch Its Falcon 9 Rocket Live, Which Will Make You Question the Very Nature of Reality [Updated]
    By Ria Misra

    In this, their fifth attempt, SpaceX will attempt to launch a communications satellite into the dark void above (in which we, too, drift alone) and then land itself on an ocean barge. No other rocket has ever successfully made an ocean-landing before. All predictions (even SpaceX’s) suggest that a crash would be the most likely result of the new experimental orbit that’s being tested, if we still believed in reality—which I don’t.

    I know that not everyone is paying attention to Space X and other private exploration ventures right now, what with the U.S. political environment in such entertaining upheaval as well as the continuing heartbreak of the Syrian refugee crisis amongst so many other worthy topics in global news. But if we, as a collective species, are to have any hope of getting off of this rock if and when Earth finally becomes an unsustainable home base, we’re going to need these technologies. Plus, you know, space is just cool.

  • I’ve Had a Cyberstalker Since I Was 12: After 14 years I finally reported him. In the eyes of the law, my biggest mistake was not fearing him more.
    By Roni Jacobson

    Between 2010 and 2013 the FBI prosecuted only 10 cyberstalking cases out of an estimated 2.5 million. Franks explained to me that “many people just don’t believe cyberstalking is real.” Those who do recognize it tend to blame the victim or offer facile solutions. “You still hear even federal officers say, just close your computer, just get off line.”

    I’ve had my own trouble with stalkers on and off for the past couple of decades, but I’ve not (yet?) had an issue with cyberstalking. Jacobsen’s experience sounds exhausting at best and chilling at worst. In an increasingly digital world, I don’t see that this kind of harassment is going away any time soon. Shouldn’t our laws, and the responsiveness of law enforcement, be a better reflection of reality?

Creative Commons photo: Related
Posted in thoughts from the spiral.