Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Habit of Local Awareness

One of the things I have tried to make a part of my way of being in the world is local awareness.  I try to pay attention to the things surrounding me in my community.  I like to read the student newspapers at the colleges I teach at to keep abreast of what is happening on campus.  I love the Fullerton Observer, because it does a good job of informing readers of what's happening socially and politically.

I don't always agree with what I read, of course.  As an English teacher and lifelong learner, I try to think critically and take local issues seriously.  I am incapable of "just believing" something.  I have to look deeper, to seek to understand the truth.

Another thing that has helped me pay attention to my community is not owning a car.  Having to walk around allows me to interact with people, to see what street artists are up to, to follow what is happening at the "street level"--in the coffee shops and bars and galleries and public spaces.

This way of being in the world, this habit of local awareness, continually shapes me, engages me, inspires me, and sometimes even disturbs me.  But it allows me to connect to the world, not in an abstract way, but in a very real, human way.

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