What’s your earliest memory? I think my earliest memory is of being enchanted by dust motes as I crawled around a handmade wooden chair. This must have been when I was a baby. I saw the tiny motes caught in the sunlight that poured through a window, revolving ever so slowly, glinting beautifully, mysteriously. I’m sure I put my hand through them and was amazed that none stuck. Now I think of this memory as an early imprint on my psyche of the cosmos, which I so love.
What does ageing mean to you? I appreciate ageing. And I am surprised by it. I never expected to live this long: 69 on my next birthday. What I love about being this old is how happy I am with the smallest things. There is a freedom that is wonderful, a peace about one’s being in the world. I seem to feel closer to all youth, as I get older; I want the best for them. I want their happiness.
S c o t tC a m p b e
What’s your biggest fear? That I will not, in some area, live up to my highest belief in myself. To me this betrayal of what I know I am capable of, even though I might be excused because I am scared breathless, would be abysmal. I realized early on that there is no external judgment that matters more to me than my own. What are you passionate about politically? Bedrock for me is probably indigenous wisdom and medicine. It is crucial for the world to support, rather than eradicate, the people who can best teach us how to live on and with the planet. One of the things still held in indigenous memory is the idea of Mother Leadership. Planetary maleonly leadership has existed for only a few thousand years and I think most humans can agree, at this point, that it has been a disaster.
In many cultures – wiped out almost entirely by Western, European superiority in arms – women were considered quite capable of leading civilizations and of determining the healthiest direction for the group to take. Some of their ways were simple
The inspiring author, poet and activist considers herself above all a daughter of the Earth, as she explains to FRANK BARAT.
I realized early on that there is no external judgment that matters more to me than my own common sense. I recently wrote a poem called ‘Democratic Womanism’, which is essentially leadership of the planet by those women who’ve had the least to say about Earth’s direction, while knowing more than almost anyone else about how to work with, protect, and honour it: indigenous women and women of colour. With our brave allies of all colours and kinds, male and female. Who or what inspires you? My admiration for Fidel Castro is well known. Whether one likes or dislikes what Fidel represents – and I like what he represents – he seems to me a truly extraordinary human being.
I also admire the Dalai Lama and can appreciate the similarity between His Holiness and Father Fidel. One waged war to overthrow a dictatorship that degraded and almost destroyed the people of Cuba, and the other wages peace toward an adversary, the Chinese government, which to this day shows no sign of mercy toward the Tibetan people. They are both revolutionaries in the truest sense: fuelled by immense love for their people and by extension for all humanity. For each man the path chosen is completely sacred. I am also deeply inspired by the dignity and stamina of the Palestinian people.
I admire many people; the list grows the longer I live. This gives me hope.
Where do you feel most at home? I feel completely at home in this Universe, which I consider a perfect marvel. And specifically I feel I am an Earthling. There can be no better place for me to be than here. In any form. When I look around at the Earth I see the possibilities: grass, rain, rocks, dust, wind. Flowers! Butterflies! Endless opportunities for change, for transformation. All of them fascinating. In this human form, which amazes me and which I’ve enjoyed a lot, I look around me at Earth and Universe; I can clearly see, appreciate, and anticipate my future face in everything. ■
The full interview with Alice Walker is available on our website: nin.tl/NeKdtg
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