What We're Reading: August 2021
As members of an organization that believes in the power of conversation to promote systemic change, the team here at The Lark often circulates, among ourselves, anecdotes and emails about materials we've read lately that have moved us. In accordance with our commitment to the amplification of necessary voices that reflect the world we live in, this monthly post compiles some of the media we have been tuned in to, to share with our wider community. We know these are only a sampling of all the insightful work out there, so if we missed anything that had an impact on you this month, we encourage you to share in the comments section!
By Sarah Mantell
"But the process of telling a story with our whole selves is also a high-risk sport. And we in the theatre have never wanted to deal with the complications of the bodies and minds that carry those stories—that perform them, stage-manage them, light them, direct them, metabolize them. This oversight is not sustainable or humane. Expert support for putting trauma onstage is, in short, as crucial to our field as safety cables and fight choreography."
Developed by Black Theater United with signatories including owners and operators of all 41 Broadway theaters, both commercial and nonprofit, this document outlines commitments to implement diversity training, mentorship programs, and diverse creative teams.
By Colette Shade
"In a capitalist system, many people don’t have time to see family and maintain existing friendships — let alone create and nurture new ones. It is difficult to make time to see people when you are, for example, working multiple jobs (often with irregular shift times), commuting, caring for children and family members, and doing basic tasks like cooking, going to the grocery store, and doing laundry, sometimes all at once... These factors mean that busy social lives are increasingly reserved for those who can afford them."
By Cathy Park Hong
“Minor feelings occur when American optimism is enforced upon you, which contradicts your own racialized reality, thereby creating a static of cognitive dissonance. You are told, “Things are so much better,” while you think, Things are the same. You are told, “Asian Americans are so successful,” while you feel like a failure. This optimism sets up false expectations that increase these feelings of dysphoria."
By Margaret Talbot
"At its most basic level, the [Federal Writers Project] was a jobs program that saw thousands of writers through one of the roughest economic passages in American history. Many of them would never be famous... but the project also managed to subsidize a dazzling array of literary talents. Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow, Studs Terkel, and Richard Wright worked on the Illinois guide. John Cheever was a high-school dropout surviving on raisins and buttermilk when he landed an F.W.P. job in Washington, D.C.; Zora Neale Hurston was an accomplished writer scraping by on grants and freelance work when she was hired to collect folklore and stories from Black communities in her native Florida. Ralph Ellison, Claude McKay, and May Swenson were among the interviewers scouring the streets, bars, and barbershops of Harlem and the Bronx. And the future crime novelist Jim Thompson drove the back roads of Oklahoma, hauling home tales of wildcat oil workers and railway strikes."