In Search of Funk


There’s a problem with this picture, mainly in that it was taken outside the Liberal Arts Building on the USM campus, and it’s the best graffiti I could find. This is the building where the poets and misfits go to school, and this is all they can come up with? Largely the area is clean of graffiti. Largely the campus is clean of graffiti. At least the parts of it I saw on my walk about this afternoon are.

This is much better:


The eyes are on the outside of the International Building, and I had to search high and low to find them.

The campus has become entirely too nice. It now has places that look like this:


Lovely, but artificial. Manufactured. Planned.

If you walk around the two-year college campus were I work, you’ll find all manner of places where student creativity has spontaneously erupted on the spot. I remember USM as a campus where that happened when I was a student there…a few years ago. Today, I didn’t see it. Maybe that was because I picked a day when the students weren’t there, but it was more than that. The students didn’t seem to have left their own marks. Maybe because they have a fake plaza and a Starbucks now. They don’t need to carve out their own spaces.

On the other hand, the Alumni House gets extra points for out of season yard art:


And even on a manicured campus, the trees were doing their own thing. This one has decided to rest its branches on the ground:


This one has let a few uninvited plants move in:


But honestly, if you have fond memories of hanging out on the front steps of College Hall and imagine the younger generation doing the same, forget it. Self-respecting college students will not be found among the chained down rocking chairs.


Really, Alma Mater. Rocking chairs? What’s up with that?

Bring back 80s funk. I need it. I don’t need to see a Liberal Arts Building that looks like a museum.


So, so sad.


When Patti said she was doing the Shutter Sisters 365 Project, I was so tempted, but January was already half over when I got my camera, and I lack the confidence to compete with some of the brilliant photography I see at Shutter Sisters. Plus, I know myself. I might be obsessively snapping pictures right now, but times will get tough, I’ll get busy, and the camera will slow down.

I still long to be part of the sisterhood, though, so today I decided to join the Shutter Sisters One Word Project. Instead of promising to contributing a picture a day for a year, I’m committing to one a month for a year. The picture should relate to whatever the word for the month is. I love that idea. It appeals to the writer in me that I should take a picture to represent a word.

January’s word is create. Here is the picture I took to represent what create means to me.


Again I’ve used my window as a stage. Yes, friends, enemies, Mom, expect to see the window a lot this year.

why some people be mad at me sometimes

they ask me to remember
but they want me to remember
their memories
and i keep on remembering mine

~Lucille Clifton, “why some people be mad at me sometimes,” from Blessing the Boats, New and Selected Poems 1988-2000

Isn’t that always the case? Isn’t that half our problem each time we try to talk to talk to each other about conflicts of any sort? Aren’t we always waiting for the other to remember, not their memories, but our own?

Yes, Dr. King, I too have a dream. Let freedom, and unity, and love, and understanding, and compassion, and respect ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. Let freedom ring, indeed.