Friday, October 23, 2015

Read Some Incredible Books Lately: From Mark Twain to Sascha Altman DuBrul, Huck Finn to Maps to the Other Side: The Adventures of a Bipolar Cartographer

Two really good books. 
I’ve read some incredible books lately.   A few years ago, back in June of 2013 to be precise, I packed an old copy of Huckleberry Finn to read during a trip to Vieques, Puerto Rico.   We didn’t get through the book during the long trip.  But the little I did became a huge influence  as I wrote my Rebel Friendships book during the same years.  Huck found being friends with Jim, a runaway slave, more important than following unjust social mores.  I would carry the hold beaten up copy of the book on every trip we took, to Spain or Cape Cod.  And we never really got through it.  The girls had loved Tom Sawyer.  But we got lost reading Huck Finn, so many characters and hustles.  It was hard to keep up or know where the road was taking us.  Just because we're wandering doesn't mean we're lost.  And we certainly didn't know where we were as we read in the morning before school.  Still we read it on the subways, on the way to Judson, etc. 

number two and i enjoying this magnificent, discombobulated tome

This week we finally finished this epic travelogue about men on the run, taking to the Mississippi river, to catch fish, hang out naked, swim and have adventures.  The book really resonated although much of the time, we didn’t know what was going on for much of the reading.

Monday, as we were finishing up, I made my way to the book release party for Rebel Friendships.

Countless friends were there from all walks of my life. 

Thank you for the wonderful photos and friends at the MoRUS reading, photos by Nadette S, Erik McGregor, and Norman Green.

Walking out, my friend Sasha gave me a copy of his road trip / memoir / manifesto,  Maps to the Other Side: The Adventures of a Bipolar Cartographer.

I’ve spent the week thinking about these two books, Huck Finn which I finished and  Maps to the Other Side: The Adventures of a Bipolar Cartographer, which I just started, and the ways they open a narrative of joy, connection, and resistance. Both books consider life on the road, with the journey opening up a space to reflect on social mores and ways of breaking free.  Each offers models of sustainable living.
And each consider ways we take risks for those in our lives.

Thanks for this gift Sasha!  Thanks for bearing with me through three summers and one fall of tracing Huck Finn's narrative of resistance, rebellion,  I look forward to many more.  They make we excited to write and reflect, to tell lies and enjoy the journey along the days in between.

Maps To The Other Side: The Adventures of a Bipolar Cartographer

by Sascha Altman DuBrul

Part mad manifesto, part revolutionary love letter, part freight train adventure story—Maps to the Other Side is a self-reflective shattered mirror, a twist on the classic punk rock travel narrative that searches for authenticity and connection in the lives of strangers and the solidarity and limitations of underground community. Beginning at the edge of the internet age, a time when radical zine culture prefigured social networking sites, these timely writings paint an illuminated trail through a complex labyrinth of undocumented migrants, anarchist community organizers, brilliant visionary artists, revolutionary seed savers, punk rock historians, social justice farmers, radical mental health activists, and iconoclastic bridge builders. This book is a document of one person’s odyssey to transform his experiences navigating the psychiatric system by building community in the face of adversity; a set of maps for how rebels and dreamers can survive and thrive in a crazy world. 
The author, as Sasha Scatter, was in the band Choking Victim and is a co-founder of The Icarus Project.

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