March 6th, 2011 / 11:53 pm

Rebecca Solnit on a Deficit of Language

I’m a writer, so I spend a lot of time alone at home, but I also spend a lot of time as an activist in the streets, in gatherings and things like that, and following revolutions around the world: the Velvet Revolution, Tiananmen Square, the Zapatistas … In those moments, I’ve discovered in myself and in others a deep happiness, an unknown desire that’s finally fulfilled to be purposeful, to be a part of history and society, to have a voice.

One of my arguments in A Paradise Built in Hell is that we have almost too much language for private needs and desires and not nearly enough for these other things. This need and desire is so profound that when it’s fulfilled, you find these weird moments of joy despite everything in disaster. The whole world is falling apart, but I am who I was meant to be: a citizen, a rescuer, a resourceful person who belongs to and is serving a community.

Read the rest at BOMB Magazine.


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  4. deadgod

      I think Solnit is right about the mostly gratuitous cynicism of the left. Its/our all-or-nothing disappointment is crazy-making.

      You know, if Solnit had been asked about clipped, affectedly affectless sentences, this interesting interview would have sparked a lot more conversation than it has.