Somewhere in that messy middle, the person who steals twenty rabbits and subsequently causes the death of ten day-old babies walks down the same road as the ten students and two instructors who together kill eleven rabbits for food. All of us held the rabbits in our hands at some point. Felt their pulse. Contemplated their life, their death. All of us tried to find meaning and make a stand within our very different acts. All of us thought we were doing the right thing.
—Camas Davis, “The Messy Middle,” Fight, Summer 2012
If we are unable to look into the face of suffering—our own and that of others—we seal ourselves into our own individual experiences that we replay in their particularities, cut loose from the arc of human experience.
—Wendy Willis, “The Rim of the Wound,” Safe, Summer 2015
The shagginess of things, the way they never quite work out as planned and break down every other Tuesday, necessitating wine and foul language and duct tape and the wrong-size screw quietly hammered into place with the bottom of the garden gnome, seems to me the very essence of marriage; so if what makes a marriage work (the constant shifting of expectations and eternal parade of small surprises) is also what causes marriages to dissolve, where is it safe to stand?
—Brian Doyle, “Irreconcilable Dissonance,” Away, Fall/Winter 2009
It’s rougher country there in the parking strip. Up against the curb, one finds new rules—step across the walk and let your freak flag fly. Botanic rebellions in the lawn proper are often put down quickly with chemical warfare, but in the parking strip dissent is indulged. After all, weeds are culture, too.
—Dan DeWeese, “Parking Strip,” Land, Spring/Summer 2006
There are no traces left of the Chinese gardens, or of the men who spent their days tending the land. But if you ever go to Providence Park to cheer for the Timbers, or if you live in a part of Goose Hollow where the land slopes and curves into a bowl, this is what you should know: that a Vegetable Man, a long time ago, was there, planting his way into an American dream that was out of bounds in his lifetime.
—Putsata Reang, “The Farmers of Tanner Creek,” Edge, Summer 2016
Oregon’s failure to face, or even recall, its history with regard to the ratification, rescission, and reratification of the Fourteenth Amendment reveals a selective amnesia when it comes to matters of race, and not only serves to whitewash the state’s history, but also undermines Oregon’s role as a constitutional player.
—Cheryl Brooks, “Politics of Forgetting,” On Principle, Fall/Winter 2006
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