Investing in Futures

A few weeks ago I came across Investing in Futures, “a project which helps you imagine future worlds (wild, impractical, idyllic, and utopian) and what it would be like to live in them.” As a writer, I immediately latched onto the idea and became a backer.

Then they sent out a digital copy for playtesting. And, of course, I eagerly played.

So here’s my thoughts and findings. Will you, too, invest in futures?

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The Brave Little Faggot

I was sitting outside in the beautiful fall North Carolina weather (our first day of sunlight in two weeks), musing about the story I might write for NaNoWriMo…I have an idea, but is it enough of an idea–

And then, from a table near mine, “–faggots kissing.”

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When a T-Shirt’s Not a T-Shirt

One of the too-many classes I’m taking this summer is a course in business ethics. When I added my second major in political science, I had everything planned out perfectly–and then I was told I needed to pick up additional, non-political science classes for the college (i.e., non-major) requirements. The first was a literature class (I’ll be taking fantasy in the fall–which does excite me) and the second was a philosophy class.

Which didn’t excite me at all.

Looking for an easy course that would at least have some tangential relevance to politics, I finally decided on business ethics because I didn’t know much about businesses, but they’re an important part of our economy–and thus an important consideration in politics.

It hasn’t all been fun, but what I’ve learned has been worth it.

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Artificial Constructs

Today the semester began. This could mean any of the following:

(a) All my free time has suddenly vanished in a burst of nothingness.
(b) The stress I thought I knew last semester will seem like relaxing.
(c) I have to deal with people. Lots of people. All the time. Always.

Though it’s true each of the above will likely apply at some point this semester (and my restless sleep last night certainly seemed to foreshadow two of the three), it’s the third that’s got me thinking today.

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Don’t Pray for Me

The first time it happened I was standing in a shack raising money for the homeless. The two walked up to me–a man and a woman, maybe my age, smiling, too exuberant–and with their eyes attached longingly to mine, they introduced themselves and asked, “Can we pray for you?”

I’ll admit: I was taken aback. All my life the idea of “praying for others” was an insult to their identity and an affirmation of the prayer-maker’s superiority: “You’re Jewish? I’ll pray for you. You’re gay? I’ll pray for you. You’re a sinner. I’ll pray for you.”

And here were two and all they wanted to do

(an unnecessary line break for poetic emphasis)

was pray for me.

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Heartless

He was drunk. At least I think he was. I heard the can clink against the grey metal box on a pole I had never noticed before while I was still across the street. I had just finished rehearsing my performance for tomorrow night–a six-minute splathering of emotions into air–and here he was, clinging to his beverage can–I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he wasn’t drinking–just to keep his balance.

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Pack Attack

I don’t think I’m fully settled in yet. I had thought this week would be a breeze, I’d post daily with updates about my doings–but there has been so much doing to be done, that writing here was not one of them. The amount of welcome week activities was staggering, and the amount that I actually went to was somehow less than I had at first planned, but more than I had thought it would be. Oh, the irony.

In any case, I return with the fruits of wisdom in many regards.

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The I is in Israel

I spent six weeks in Israel the summer of 2009. It was one of the most amazing and definitive experiences of my life and served as the perfect bridge from homeschool and Hebrew school to college. One of our writing assignments near the end was to write about what it means to be Jewish. A lot of people despised it, many of us knew it was coming, and I just sat in the computer lab until it was finished.

No matter, as a prelude to the assignment, we were asked to walk around an area of Tel Aviv where we were visiting for the day and see what people living in Israel considered Jewish. We went up and down the streets in small groups. We walked to a cafe. We walked past soldiers. We sat down with some modern Orthodox Jews. It was exciting, yet nerve-wracking approaching strangers in a strange land (alright, it wasn’t that strange, but I’m naturally quiet, so it was surely an exercise in extroversion!). And then, with our classes, we sat down. And then they dumped it on us.

The essay doesn’t stand as my best example of writing (in rereading it, I feel it lacks an air of sophistication about its coherence and structure), but it reflected my evolving views on Judaism and being Jewish at the time, and for that, it did what was intended of it. I hadn’t ever had the intention of sharing it at the time, at least with none other than our teacher, and since length wasn’t it issue, it ended up becoming a fair bit longer than the bit I posted yesterday. So, without further ado, I present to you the essay I called “Recon.”

(Short for “reconfirmation,” of course.)

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