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  • Gail Wilson Kenna

A few words from Flannery O’Connor and Gail….

The following is from chapter three of O’Connor’s early novella, Wise Blood, 1952. (I am this month teaching a class on this finest of American short story writers.)

“The black sky was underpinned with long silver streaks that looked like scaffolding of stars that all seemed to be moving very slowly as if they were about some vast construction work that involved the whole order of the universe and would take all time to complete. No one was paying attention to the sky. The stores stayed open on Thursday nights so that people could have an extra opportunity to see what was for sale.”

This is perhaps a strange response, but it is related to my last two postings on being stuck in Dubai and reading George Orwell there.

“I conjecture that those inside the air-conditioned soccer stadium in Dubai were paying attention to the field and not to the sky. And those in the gigantic mall while enjoying the ski slope there, were not seeing stars either. Yet outside Dubai, at some distance from the garden famous for its millions of flowers in the desert, what had died in the sands?”

For some time, I have been unable to toss an article by Marcus Eriksen titled, I thought I’d seen it all studying plastics. Then my team found 2,000 bags in a camel.

This director of research and the cofounder of the 5 Gyres Institute wrote, “The camels were a whole new level of appalling.” Ericksen stated that some 300 hundred camels have died around Dubai from eating human trash. In one camel, the team found a mass of plastic bags as big as a large suitcase. “At least 2,000 plastic bags were lumped together where the animal’s stomach would have been,” Eriksen wrote.

Rereading the article just now, odd as it might seem to say this, I thought of Benjamin in The Graduate, lectured by Mr. Robertson about plastics and being told, “It’s the future!” Could the brilliant film director, Mike Nickols, have imagined what this statement from the 60s would mean today? But were he alive, I think Nickols could make a wicked, satiric film about life in Dubai.

I admit this is a strange way to take leave of my weekly blog. My friend Ilona has been wonderful about adding graphics and design to my words each Sunday for a long time, and I am deeply grateful to her. And to those who have read my thoughts and responded, please know how appreciative I am. Gail

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