Village Vitals


The Middle Classic is an adaptive publishing platform for sharing.

The Village

Photo: Chris Battaglia, taken in Chajul el Quiché, Guatemala. 2012.

Photo: Chris Battaglia, taken in Chajul el Quiché, Guatemala. 2012.

Looking inward, thinking about the civic activity this past week(end), I hope you had a chance to sit down and read some of the pertinent reads from last week's nourishletter (nourishment + newsletter) (that's called portmanteau when you merge words to form a word that means something else (or as dear friend Noah says, a werge, which is also portmanteau, so meta!).

I'd like to bring to light an excerpt from another section in Putnam's Bowling Alone, because I think it's important to remember in these times of such energy, activity. From a section entitled "Against the Tide? Small Groups, Social Movements, and The Net":

Whether among gays marching in San Francisco or evangelicals praying together on the Mall or, in an earlier era, autoworkers downing tools in Flint, the act of collective protest itself creates enduring bonds of solidarity. Ironically, many now domesticated sing-along favorites have their origins in highly contentious social movements: "Oh! Susanna!," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "We shall overcome," "Blowing' in the Wind." Collective protest strengthens shared identity, certainly for the participants and sometimes for their heirs, "anchoring individuals in participatory cultures." In short, social movements with grassroots involvement both embody and produce social capital. (Putnam 153)

I think the sentiment above goes without saying, but to be fair, a lot of truths and information out there need their fair share of 'saying.' What will you choose to participate in? Who is your community you choose to engage with offline? "It takes a village..."

I'm going to send out another note soon, and it will be very important to me. I don't want this communication from me to seem too heavy-handed, so merely letting you know ahead of time. Thanks for your understanding and participation!

For now, a mixed bag of visual nutrition, aural and literary nourishment to secure some of the basics, to be able to then entertain the true problems of life with freedom and prospect of success:

*MUSIC"Polly" by Whitney (Thanks Meghan!)  + Blade of Love by Battle Trance >>

At the end of 2015, Battle Trance performed in Portland, ME. It was a happenstance evening, looking for live music and "Saxaphone Quartet" drew our interest. Throughout winter last year, I spent many days listening to the first album Palace of the Wind. It's a bold suggestion, as it's fairly experimental. It's jazzy, breathy, compositionally exquisite, and thought-provoking: a great backdrop to whatever inner turmoil you might be going through, or thoughts that need heavy processing. Give it a go, and dive into a world of saxaphone beauty, and then download some of the readings below while you listen.

SHELTERBill Theis on the topic of Natural Building, The Permaculture Podcast (AUDIO

One main point I found important is the idea that it is more ecologically sound (thus, more important) to strip an old building to its studs and foundation and rebuild, than to develop a new plot of land. Easy enough, right? Right!

CLOTHINGThoreau, from Walden, "Economy" (LIGHT

In thinking about the topic of clothing, I even resort to the photograph of the girls from Guatemala. Don Diego and I had spent a weekend at his home in the very rural countryside of the rather undeveloped Quiché. We came across these four girls playing basketball on the weekend. No shoes, running full-speed in long skirts. Yasmín and Melda (far right, second to right) were spitfires. You can't see it in the picture, but Yas bore an Adidas sweatband around her left wrist. She was tough. I bring up these girls and their attire because it sharply contrasts the way we buy and collect different clothes for different occasions. Thoreau's section on Clothing has some insight into this. Both this image and this reading have strong affect on my orientation towards buying clothes just for a specific job, activity, etc. Just a thought.

FOOD: Selections from Let It Rot! :The Gardener's Guide to Composting by Stu Campbell (EASY

Everyone should be composting, and this is a friendly, 80's book I've borrowed to hone my very amateur set-up at home. The way we have it is: one small bin (a 5.5L Tupperware, I think Chris Wolf E. uses an old coffee tin) in the kitchen for immediate disposal; then, one 5 gallon bucket (like the ones at Home Depot) nested inside another, serving as reservoir to catch the "compost tea" liquid; and finally, a large 27 gallon plastic tote bin (also, Home Depot) outside in the backyard. For more specifics, feel free to drop me a line about how to set these up. Very easy, and we have already seen measurable waste reduction from buying a pack of 15 gallon garbage bags once since August (in Portland, you pay garbage tax with city-specific bags: 'The City of Portland unveiled new purple pay-as-you-throw trash bags on July 5, 2015. The new trash bag rate for purple bags is $1.35 per 15 gallon bag or $2.70 per 30 gallon bag.') That's expensive!

FUELChapter 4: "Most of What I Know About Writing Fiction I Learned by Running Every Day" from What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami (EASY)(APPLIES TO EVERYDAY LIFE) 

Murakami is one of the best writers around today. He is easy to read, but still incredibly smart. His novels are sensational, and his essays are captivating. Please read this whole memoir if you run, if you breath, if you write, or if you are human.   

archiveChris Battaglia