A convivium of fire

‘Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.  Resistance and change often begin in art.  Very often in our art, the art of words.’*
(Ursula Le Guin)

Audre Lorde introduces me to the word moxie:

“I feel I still have enough moxie to do it all, on whatever terms I’m dealt, timely or not.  Enough moxie to chew the whole world up and spit it out in bite-sized pieces, useful and warm and wet and delectable because they came out of my mouth.”**

I look the word up:

“force of character, determination, or nerve.”

I think Lorde is saying that she will not let her cancer of the liver tell her story, that she is determined to tell her own story no matter how hard it is.

I look again at moxie.  The word comes from an American carbonated drink.  There used to be different flavours: cherry cola, American soda, orange cream, but they have gone.  When it comes to human moxie, there are still many flavours.  One isn’t better than the others and they oughtn’t lead us into competition or conflict.  Lorde asks a question that asks us to identify our own:

“Where does our power lie and how do we school ourselves to use it in the service of what we believe?’

[…]

How can we use each other’s differences in our common battles for a liveable future?  All of our children are prey. cHow do we raise them not to prey upon themselves and each other?  And this is why we cannot be silent, because our silences will come to testify against us out of the mouths of our children.”**

A convivium is simply a place we come to in order to figure out how we can live together – con and vivo.  We don’t get watered down, we get fired up:

“I am going to write fire until it comes out my ears, my eyes, my noseholes — everywhere.  Until it’s every breath I breathe.”** 

(*From Ursula Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter.)
(**Audre Lorde, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: A Burst of Light.)

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