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On Seeing

Mirror neurons invite us to feel empathy for other human beings and often encourage us to smile when someone else is smiling. I’m sitting on a plane to Boston but I was just in Tucson. There was a super moon – the second one. Maybe this is the foundation of Facebook. An unarmed black boy is dead in Ferguson. Another in LA. According to the United Nations, 72% of the deaths in Gaza are civilians. I’ve never liked the shape of a question mark. I know so many things now. A 7-year-old Australian boy, his picture posted online now - proudly holding up the severed head of a Syrian soldier – and for as long as the internet goes on.

There is a father and his 2-year-old sitting next to me. She’s one of those kids with glasses. What does she see without them? In her interview with Krista Tippett, Anne Hamilton asks, How do you make the conditions for tactile experience, knowing that it isn’t just about touching? The little girl is older already, simultaneously more fragile and more fierce. I keep arguing with Rosanne Cash. At one point the dad put his head on his daughter’s lap, hoping to make the light go away a little, and in that perfect way that kids actually know how to take care of their parents, she put her hand on his head. It’s not just about the music when things are healed on stage. We can never discount our witnesses. They are sleeping now. What do any of us see without help?

When I went inside the gas station the other day to pay with my debit card in order to get the (cheaper) cash price, I was doing that professionally friendly thing (I’d like to get $30 worth on pump 4 with my debit card) which is supposed to read as efficient but polite. The cashier, a thin woman of about 60 - either a current smoker or, from the creases leading toward her lips, someone who has only recently just quit – said simply, We don’t take debit cards.

But I thought I just read on the sign…

I’m just teasing you, Sweetheart.

Some jokes are walls that fall in on their builders. Not all. I don’t think any of us want each other that distant. I hugged that cashier. Maybe I don’t immediately recognize falling in love when it doesn’t look like getting injured in order to be seen. I’m sorry, Robin Williams. According to neuroscientists, mirror neurons are to prevent us from hurting further those who have already been touched. What do we see when we just keep looking? We couldn’t seem to help you find your way out.

~ TC Tolbert, Assistant Director

PS. Please mark your calendars for our fall events. And we hope you'll take special note of our Manifest Your Dream contest winner, Jill Lorenzini's Heatwave. See below for details of all the exciting events!

Read an archive of past newsletters here

What's the Word?


Make a secure online donation to Casa Libre through Network for Good
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10/18 Poetry as a Transformative Path:
a poetry workshop w/ Lisa M. Cole
more info...

10/29 Experiments in Form: Received Poetic Forms Turned Inside Out
a poetry workshop w/
Jarrett Eakins

more info...

11/11 & 11/18 Alternative Forms for Essay and Memoir
a writing workshop w/ Erin Zwiener & Will Slattery
more info...


9/7 Lamplight Reading Series
more info...

9/10 Edge Reading Series w/Julie Hampton, Tyler Meier, & Joseph P. Wood
more info...

9/19 WIP Reading Series
more info...

9/20 HeatWave Hands-On SunDone Workshop
more info...

9/26 Stjukshon: An Indigenous Reading Series w/Adrian L. Jawort, Cinnamon Spear, Luella N. Brien, & Pumpkin Vyne Singers
more info...

10/3 WIP Reading Series
more info...

10/4 Heatwave: curated by Jill Lorenzini (a Manifest Your Dream Contest winning event)
more info...

10/5 Lamplight Reading Series
more info...

10/14 Trickhouse Live: An Integrative Arts and Performance Series
w/Justin Bigos, Erin Stalcup, Bojan Louis, & Sara Sams
more info...

10/17 WIP Reading Series
more info...

10/22 Edge Reading Series: w/Jia Oak Baker, Roberto Bedoya, & John Myers
more info...


Trickhouse Live: An Integrative Arts and Performance Series
more info...


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