Welcome to Conversations with the World 101, part of the virtual launch party for Greeting Flannery O’Connor at the Back Door of My Mind. This is what it’s all about:
Quotations of my work in different languages in various mediums have had the unexpected effect of adding my voice, in visually creative ways, to some important conversations going on around the world. They concern major issues like human trafficking, climate change, social justice, and falling in love. At #This2020Moment, the concept of democracy is weighing heavily on a lot of people’s minds and I’m happy to contribute to dialogues addressing it even in places I have never been. The examples which will soon follow are only a few of a number difficult to determine.
The fact that this is a presidential election year in the United States does strongly influence international discussions on what democracy is or should be. But so does an independent collective hunger for greater freedom experienced by members of diverse communities. African-Americans this summer dramatized the issues of systemic racism, social injustice, and police brutality by flooding city streets in protest of conditions and circumstances reminiscent of the Red Summer of 1919. The stunning difference this time around was the number of non-African Americans joining the protests in America and abroad. Such has been this summer of #2ManyLivesGone2Soon.
Among the quotes from my work which have become part of the dialogues on democracy as observed in different countries and democracy as a practice to which some are aspiring is this one:
“Democracy is not simply a license to indulge individual whims and proclivities. It is also holding oneself accountable to some reasonable degree for the conditions of peace and chaos that impact the lives of those who inhabit one’s beloved extended community.”
Nigerian legal practitioner Olumide Akpata chose to make the words part of his campaign for the presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association along with other texts by Nelson Mandela, John Lewis, John Quincy Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others to encourage voter participation.
Akpata’s overall strategy apparently worked since on August 30, 2020, he tweeted: “On Friday 28 August 2020, I was sworn into office as 30th President of the Nigerian Bar Association, the foremost professional membership association in Nigeria and the most influential network of legal practitioners in Africa."
SPANISH ON INSTAGRAM
This is a Spanish-language interpretation of the quote shared by Vanatto on Instagram and subsequently re-posted on other “gram” platforms. Decide for yourself the meaning of the animals chosen for visual emphasis:
Contemporary award-winning American author of classically-styled works in history, poetry, creative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and journalism.