Thursday, October 6, 2011

Journal of Ordinary Thought

Cover art by Susan Shie, Garden of Haiti
I am making an effort to get out more because I'm far too comfortable staying home. I don't think it is healthy to allow your world to get too small. When I heard that the Fiber Artists for Hope was going to have our quilts on display (they were on tables in the back of the room) at the launching of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance's new Journal of Ordinary Thought on September 21, I decided to go even though getting into Chicago for a 6:30 meeting meant leaving my house at around 4:00 (avoiding rush hour traffic). The drive was uneventful and the Parking Goddess was kind and I got street parking. I was early so I spent some time reading and making notes in my journal.

I knew very little about the organization before attending the event. The NWA offers writing workshops for adults in neighborhood locations of the Chicago Public Library, community centers and social service agencies. Participants' writings about personal histories, everyday experiences and reflections on their communities are published in the JOT.  They also have a wonderful blog called Everyone is a Philosopher which I encourage you to check out.
Quilt by Bonnie Smith
The JOT was founded on the propositions that every person is a philosopher, expressing one's thoughts fosters creativity and change, and taking control of life requires people to think about the world and communicate their thoughts to others.

I was so impressed with Hollen Reischer, the JOT's editor. She was warm and encouraging. It was easy to see that she cares greatly about the people involved and the organization's mission. She set the tone for the positive and inspiring evening.

This particular issue is titled Testify: JOT writers on Creative Resistance: Art as Activism. The readings were powerful! I cried. I laughed.  The energy in the room was electrifying. I loved every minute of it and was sad when it ended. I left feeling inspired to continue to make quilts as creative resistance and art as activisim. I also plan to continue to visit their blog often because it is opening my eyes to so many new people and ideas. I hope you will join me.

Fiber Artist for Hope 9/11 quilts
Fiber Artist for Hope 9/11 quilts


  1. This sentence struck me: "Respect your fellow man." The writer is so right about emphasizing it repeatedly. It sounds so common-place and it is so difficult. The moment I get carried away by conviction, I'm already in danger to forget this motto.

  2. Eva, As always, you hit the nail on the head. Hugs, Karen


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