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Medium 9781626562691

6 The Case for a Pen Pal

Maya Schenwar Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Only connect.

E. M. Forster, Howard’s End

Kayla’s pregnancy and postbirth incarceration in 2013 breaks me of my nostalgic fondness for letters. The urgency of the situation—the baby—strains the space between us, and at this overcrowded prison letters take three weeks to be processed upon arrival. I am dropping envelopes in the mail slot with a kind of reckless uncertainty, knowing that many of my messages will fall useless into Kayla’s lap, bearing outdated questions or now-irrelevant tips. But as our correspondence continues, I begin to think: The reason I once loved writing to Kayla was because it offered a chance for deep, sustained communication—a communication that doesn’t usually happen between people who are, in so many ways, hundreds of miles apart.

I’ve corresponded with a couple of dozen prison pen pals over the past eight years. The “use” of pen-palship has made itself visible in small and large ways over the course of these loosely threaded friendships. Sometimes, a piercing phrase will spring up out of the envelope—a truth that will never leave my mind. At other times, a prisoner will contribute a vital bit of information that proves unavailable anywhere else. Often, though, the “use” of pen-palship is not in the particulars of what is being communicated, but in the act of communicating.

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Medium 9781576754764

Chapter VIII: Movement to Action

Harrison H. Owen Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

There is no guarantee that definitive action will take place just because Open Space has been utilized. But the same can be said of any other approach. In the final analysis, meaningful action emerges when people accept responsibility for getting it done, whatever “it” might be. Open Space does, however, appreciably raise the probability that action will be taken because all participants have been put on notice from the very beginning that they and they alone hold the necessary keys to get the ball rolling. This is not to suggest that all necessary power and resources are available to them for the accomplishment of the task. This may or may not be the case, but it is very clear that the power of initiation resides with them. If they do not take the first step, it is highly questionable that others will.

In addition, Open Space raises the probability that meaningful action will be taken because the perception of need and the desire for action has emerged from the group itself. There is no “lay-on” from higher authority, no predetermined plan of attack. Those who saw the need to move are themselves the movers, and they above all others should be motivated to take the first step. I say should because there is no guarantee, it is just that the probabilities are higher.

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Medium 9781588436771

Customs & Duties

Blair Howard Hunter Publishing ePub
Medium 9781855759442

48. Analyst who is observing babies

Noe Marchevsky Karnac Books ePub
Medium 9780253009296

Chapter 13 In Search of an Ending: Seventeen Moments and the Seventies

Anne E Gorsuch Indiana University Press ePub

13. In Search of an Ending

Seventeen Moments and the Seventies

Stephen Lovell

FOR A LONG time, historians of the Soviet Union have had little need of the sixties. Their purposes have been served admirably by the notion of the Thaw (ca. 1954–64). The sixties have connotations of personal liberation and political protest that seem absurdly inappropriate for the still straitlaced and repressive Soviet Union. In recent years, however, it has become almost a commonplace to note that the Thaw did not end with Khrushchev’s ouster in October 1964. Soviet culture has been shown to retain its edginess, contentiousness, and experimentation at least until 1967. Josephine Woll justifiably claims for her history of Thaw cinema Andrei Tarkovskii’s Andrei Rublev (1966), Larisa Shepit’ko’s Wings (1966), and Kira Muratova’s Brief Encounters (1967).1 A leading historian of the Thaw phenomenon, Stephen Bittner, finds its end to be “ambiguous and uneven,” located somewhere between the arrest of Joseph Brodsky and the invasion of Czechoslovakia.2 As several contributors to the present book show (notably Nick Rutter and Rachel Applebaum), the Soviet Union’s opening to the wider world was not reversed by a change in the leadership. Nor, of course, is it the case that the West in the 1960s was quite the unbuttoned place of dinner-party lore.

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