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Blog

Doors and Monsters

Sara General

This morning I listened to a CBC program (The Current) about the recent sales spike of the George Orwell book, "1984", following the revelation of the National Security Agency's capacity to monitor individuals. It was a great program. At the same time, I was finishing reading the book, "The Icarus Deception", by Seth Godin that was talking about creating art and connecting with people without fear or shame.This talk about art and sharing and censorship and the concepts in the book like double speak and thought crime helped me start considering how these ideas are at play in my own little universe of thought and what I am putting out into the world.

What kind of connections am I trying to make? What is important to me? What messages and conversations am I hopeful to share and have? I’ve been realizing that it’s a good idea to revisit these questions every once and awhile. As I look back over the blog, I see more clearly, the things that I care about emerging in themes. Language, Treaties, Sustainability, Art, Community, Family. Education is an important one as well, but everyday, another line of thought occurs to me and my understanding of these things expands and deepens.

For many years, I’ve been my own censorship police and I think this growing understanding is a big part of the reason for why that’s happened. I mostly censored myself because I was afraid of saying something that might hurt other people’s feelings and because I was worried about saying something that might be misinterpreted or incorrect. I was also afraid that if what I said was taken wrongly or as anything other than an opinion or reflection that it would somehow reflect on the work that I was doing or the organizations I was doing it for. Just lately, I have been realizing that there is something silly about my censorship and yet, I don't regret for a minute that I've employed it up to this point.

It makes sense to me that I did - I just don't want to do it out of fear. A lot of what I have learned comes directly from being open to other people’s ideas and thoughts. It comes from their experiences, achievements, failures, dreams, goals, and wishes. And it comes on a variety of environments and platforms – their Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, blogs, conversations, books, articles, journals, legends, stories, jokes and expressions. People who faced their fears, found ways to share and enriched lives as a result.  Moving past the fear of sharing and sharing in a respectful yet super creative way is one of my goals for the rest of the year.  

Happily, the Treaty is also there as the support throughout all of this; peace, friendship and respect - these are the values that can balance and guide me as I continue the learning, writing and sharing process. I also realized that even if I don’t have all the answers and I learn a lot from other places, I don’t want to punish myself for not having them by not creating more opportunities to learn and hear other perspectives.

I want to enrich my life and experiences through sharing and I definitely don’t want to punish myself so much that I don’t share the things that I care most deeply or am most excited about. This seems to happen mostly with the things that I write about, the fiction and the art. Moving forward, I have to keep finding positive and interesting ways to share the things that I have learned or that I think about, and most especially – the things that I create. I think this will be a really exciting part of my ongoing journey.

In other and related news, I have just returned from a short road trip to Kahnawake, Montreal and Vermont. It was wonderful and refreshing. I enjoyed Vermont because I loved being able to travel across the islands in Lake Champlain (not the lake’s Ogwehoweh name), seeing the mountain range and learning about the lake monster. Montreal was filled with artists and their creations - jewelry, paintings, pictures, music and more. I enjoyed Kahnawake because it was another Ogwehoweh community that was working hard to do things, make things, and move forward. Very creative place and they have a great newspaper called The Eastern Door that has an upbeat tone that resonated with that part of me that wants to constantly point out and celebrate good and little things.

Language revitalization also had a really prominent place in their paper. Visiting that community was definitely an inspiration, made me see a few other really cool things that would be fun to do.

It’s been a whirlwind of a week. Here's to opening doors and facing monsters.  I'm excited to jump back into projects after this time away but speaking of whirlwinds, it’s been almost a year since I started this blog! It's been a strange experience writing it, but I'm definitely happy that I did.

I’ll be cooking up something special for the one-year anniversary, stay tuned! Nya:weh,