In my recent conversation with Natalia Smirnov we talked about learning, creating, play, and refusal. We talked about how these concepts are fused together and why it is important to recognize their fusion, or perhaps I should write about enacting their fusion, and enacting their oneness. A reason behind making our conversation public was to invite you to write for (and with) Refuse. Here is link for the call for contributions for the forthcoming Issue 2 (you can also click on the journal cover image). We ended our conversation by reading together the themes that motivate Issue 2.

What is writing? And why is writing entangled with refusal? I think we find this in our initial resistance against writing, which is felt as something similar to the (inner) resistance against speaking up or the (inner) resistance against violating a norm. What I am calling “inner” resistance is an inner imitation of an external resistance, and that is part of what we refuse in our writing. When we internalize a cynical voice (of an unhelpful “reviewer,” for example) we are disallowing another voice to find expression. When we refuse or suspend the inner/outer resistances, we are letting those other, previously suppressed voices, to find expression. The “no,” is the precondition for the “yes.”

I joined the Non-Buddhist Practice Posse yesterday and it was a great experience. It was a true gathering of voices and perspectives, a true unity of differences. Such a gathering is driven by the same spirit as the gathering we want to facilitate in Refuse. The encouragements we give each other and questions we raise in a group discussion, the ways in which we try to clarify or test or push against an expression is, I think, similar to the editorial work of a (good) journal editor. Editorial work is essentially supportive, in a similar way that the seminar facilitator is supportive. The support is based on the assumption and the will that we are creating something together. The coordination we need for group creativity does, of course, require some protocol, but that should also arise out of the spirit of community and support.

If you have any interest in writing, and if the themes of refuse resonate with you, I invite you–on behalf of myself and Natalia–to submit a proposal (please do so before Nov 30). Here is the conversation with Natalia about Refuse and here is more information about the journal.