In an email letter in the series ‘Letters to Ukraine’, Mario Petrucci, one of the most innovative poets writing today, notes:
We needn’t become accidents of society, or robots of biology, or victims of our times. We gain irresistible power, and also serve the whole, when we discover our own deepest purpose and are true to it. Nothing prevents any of us from being a nucleus for resistance, possibility, hope.
Celebrating the dawn of a New Year with my small family, living a small life in a small place, running a small independent press whilst currently not knowing what our funding situation will be for 2012 and all this in a world in financial crisis, it’s easy to struggle with the question of whether my little bit makes one iota of difference. Yet I warm to Mario’s thinking and it resonates with other sound thinking – whether from the much-maligned Polonius in Act I, Scene 3 of Hamlet:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
or from the even more wordy Augustine of Hippo, who (like Mario Petrucci) focuses on love as the root of selfdom that is neither selfish nor self-negating:
Once for all, then, a short precept is given thee: Love, and do what thou wilt: whether thou hold thy peace, through love hold thy peace; whether thou cry out, through love cry out; whether thou correct, through love correct; whether thou spare, through love do thou spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.
(In epistulam Ioannis ad Parthos)
So last night at midnight I shared a bottle of sparkling stuff with three of my children and one of my children’s partners; shared New Year wishes with this little group plus a family friend who was Skyped into the living room and made a very quick phone call to my daughter working on a ward of sick children, then went to bed to write my journal, believing that small acts of love and integrity do make a difference no matter how insane the world in which we live. One of my favourite books is The Secret of Joy by Alice Walker (the third in the trilogy that begins with The Color Purple) – Resistance, Walker tells us in that amazing, often harrowing, yet ultimately life-affirming narrative, is the secret of joy.
I concur – so happy small new year from a small press in a small place, and may 2012 be a year of resistance, possibility and hope.