Literaryswag Book Club June Meeting Recap

Because language is loaded, words trigger. So Thursday's meeting was all about taking words apart. Unloading the weapon that we are told hurts less than stick and stones. I kicked off the conversation with Maggie's understanding that "words change depending on who speaks them," and that they have a multitude of possible uses, and contexts. We, as a book club, started with the idea of pronouns. The fact that pronouns, by definition, are used as substitutes for the thing as opposed to the thing itself. The fact that context is needed whenever a pronoun is spoken. This started with the pronoun "we." A word that always creates more questions than answers, beginning with: What is meant when that word, "we," is used? Is it meant as a nosism, like when a personal opinion is propagated as public sentiment? i.e. The bossy friend who tells everyone that "We should get ice cream" when they're the only person who wants it. The freeloading friend that asks, "what we eating?" with no intention to chip in. Or is that word used in a communal sense? Like the way black people, or any people, regard one another? Like there is no "I" in "team?" (although there is an "m-e" but whatever). Do we (anyone who uses the word) use that word with an intended target in mind, or are we just shooting our shot to see what hits? This all may sound like a monologue from The Matrix, but that's what life is. Something that gives way to the development of other forms and functions. To live a real life, then, is to change given to context or circumstance. To parse through what we, as human beings, are given by life in order to see what we really have. When that work is done, what's left is us--not in the plural sense but as a collective singular moving as one, like salmon swimming upstream. To be clear: moving as one, doesn't make us one. Even in the singular sense, we are many; like when Whitman writes in "Song of Myself": "I am Large, I contain multitudes." Every single body in this photo contains a multitude of possibilities, and we talked to and through those possibilities together, with love.

Jennelle Gordon