April 14, 2009

Caught in another tale

Jacob practicing a little judo with the angel. Image courtesy of wikipedia.

The official Goat Rope definition of a great story is that it is something you can find as well as lose yourself in.

(Sorry about ending that sentence with a preposition; that's a bad thing to end one with.)

The thing a about a great story, whether it's from the classics or folklore or something new is that it can sometimes illuminate situations in real life. Sometimes it's like you're not just reading literature, you're incorporating or enacting it or experiencing aspects of certain stories in real life.

After having spent several years sparring with various bureaucracies and their irrational policies, I feel like I haven't just read Kafka's work--I've lived it. In my more paranoid moments, I sometimes wonder whether the people who make up some of those rules are Kafka fans...

Similarly, when I'm trying to persuade people to work together to change something, I feel like Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence and trying to get the other kids to do it. Enduring the worst of the Bush years was kind of like living in Oran during the plague in Camus' novel of the same title. Etc.

Sometimes, stories seem to bleed over into life easily and spontaneously. In other cases, we have to grapple with them like Jacob wrestling with the angel in Genesis. He held on for dear life as daylight approached and said "I will not let go until you bless me."

I think I just did the story thing again. Anyhow, the point is, it's often worth the struggle.

UNEMPLOYED AND UNCOVERED. Millions of unemployed workers aren't eligible for benefits under many state programs, but there are options from the stimulus package to expand and modernize coverage. This is something I've been working with folks on in WV. The state's unemployment rate went up again in March.

SPEAKING OF EMPLOYMENT, demand for green collar job training is growing.

STATE BUDGET CUTS could delay economic recovery.

RELIGION. Here's E.J. Dionne on the future of Christianity.

IMMIGRATION. The nation's two largest labor federations, the AFLCIO and Change to Win, have reached agreement on supporting comprehensive immigration reform.


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