Maxine Hong Kingston spoke at Santa Barbara City College last night about writing and social activism, specifically, war and peace. The Warrior Woman, she noted, was told against a backdrop of war, as were her subsequent books, including China Men and her most recent, The Fifth Book of Peace.
There have been few times in our history when war has not been part of our experience. Still, she seeks peace, she acts for peace, she writes for peace.
I love these photos I took of her at the end of her reading, when she talked about the duality of our existences – peace and not peace. We are always at war, and somewhere, at the same time, someone is also at peace. She looked around the audience in Garvin Theater. “See?” she said. There are wars raging around the globe, yet, “We are here, all of us, at peace.”
What a beautiful – and hopeful – sentiment. I am carrying it in my heart.