20 November 2008

Oh, Flannery!

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.

-Flannery O'Connor

Love it.

Meat in a Tube

Last Saturday evening we participated in our first annual Sausage Fest, that is, a collaborative effort with friends to crank out approximately 50 POUNDS of potatis korv (potato sausage). That's right, 50 pounds (although it's still a toss up as to whether there was more sausage or bad jokes). This extremely entertaining and messy endeavor was hosted by our dear friends, Barbara and Nathan, and not only did they sacrifice their time, energy and equipment to get everything prepared, but also... their kitchen. Sausage making is not for the faint of heart, nor for those who cringe at the sight of dribblings on their stove... or floor... or cabinets. Barbara and Nathan had split up the grocery list and we each brought our allotted ingredients, and after all was said and done, we all had more than several pounds of sausage to bring home. Last night, Andrew and I cooked up our first few links, accompanied by horseradish garlic mashed potatoes, and I realized that we had been initiated into a tradition much cherished by our Swedish friends. And it was delicious.

*Photos and statistics courtesy of Barbara and Nathan.

07 November 2008

An Exhortation

I would assume that regardless of who you voted for, it is hard not to bask in the historical significance of Tuesday's election. It is good and right and necessary to acknowledge and celebrate what this means for us, as a country and as individuals. I feel that we have somewhat redeemed ourselves in eyes of the world, but more importantly, we can once again believe in our collective conscience. Our country needed this. Our history needed this. Our souls needed this.

I would also assume that it is not enough to just have a black president, but rather, we need a successful black president. And I believe Obama earned this, winning not because (or in spite of the fact) he is black, but because people believe in his vision, leadership and character. I am proud and relieved to know that we, as a nation, were able to rise to the occasion and make history.

I am certain, however, despite the proclamations of the media, that this does not mean that America has been born anew, cleansed from its legacy of racism. We have indeed dawned a new day, but we cannot forget the dark yesterdays and the ugly tomorrows to come. Because they will come. The two pronged attack of racism, the individual coupled with the systemic, is fierce, and even with an African-American in the White House, you can bet that racism will continue to plague our neighborhoods, our work places, our schools and even our homes. We must not rest, believing that the history and present reality of injustice has been rendered obsolete by an electoral map. There is still work to be done.

But for now, I am more than happy to raise a glass to Obama, to celebrate this moment and to look with promise to the future. I know that my hopes cannot be pinned to any president, this one or the next, but it sure helps to have one who stirs my soul.

03 November 2008