Monday, June 27, 2005

Learning From LA

As the end of our time here approaches, I have been reflecting on what I have learned from slightly over a year spent living in Los Angeles.

It has been a quiet year, in many ways. The isolation of being in a new city has worked together with the isolating nature of LA itself, and the ways in which being a stay-at-home parent shapes life, to help make it so. As well, the parenting has enforced a kind of balance I normally find elusive, and has mandated that I spend much larger blocks of time than ever before with no opportunity for intellectual or experiential distractions from just being. How these experiences translate into enduring learnings is yet to be determined, I think, and in any case life in Sudbury will be little different in these ways over the short term.

On a more intellectual or professional or externally political level, I'm not sure I've learned a whole lot. Though it has been less than I'd hoped, I suppose I have learned about the political culture in this country and this city in ways that I wouldn't have from Canada. But I think perhaps the most potentially significant learning of this type has been a subtle shift or deepening in how I think about concepts like "nation" and "state." I'm not sure I can articulate it any more clearly than that, at the moment -- I tried to write a brief essay on my reflections as an anti-nationalist Canadian leftist living in the U.S. for a friend's 'zine and I found it to be a very difficult and frustrating experience. I ended up writing about something else just to get it done. I figure that means either I really have nothing to say on the subject or I should write a book about it; only time will tell which, and this project has claim on at least another year and a half of my non-parenting time before I can think about striking out in new directions.

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