It is difficult to cling onto a single thread from Khalid’s talk last week. It is difficult to understand fully what the quilt he crafted with his language, his emotion, his presence–all in relation to our language, our emotion, our presence–might look like. Looking at my notes from the talk, purple arrows leap out from the page. They suggest, perhaps, some kind of causality, a sequence of thoughts, some knitting together in conversation. This, of course, may be true. Certainly answers followed questions followed answers followed questions followed thoughts followed silence. But it does not seem right in this blog post to write with some cause and effect or even a thesis. That seems too neat. Too complete. Too polished. In reality, when I think beyond those purple arrows I recall holes, gaps, threads of conversation hanging loose and teasing me to follow them down the rabbit hole. Khalid is here as the Oak Fellow. He is here to shake up our campus (though, admittedly, I doubt this is Colby’s motivation–but it is his). He is an artist who rests and stays abreast in anger and also in creation. He is a man I know little about; drawing art about revolutions I, frankly, know little about. And yet. As he talked I grasped onto floating clouds of passion as if they were condensed from my own daydreams.
[Anger creates art]
[Art is a universal language]
[We have this obsession with the past because we are broken]
[We still have time]
Khalid is here at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, up on Mayflower Hill, sitting in Lovejoy 100, speaking to a classroom of young undergraduates. Khalid is here, but he keeps creating because the revolution does not stop [revolutions take time]. He spoke of how [Western media likes to make heroes], so O’Neill pushed further about how he is English speaking / well-dressed / charismatic. The kind of dark hero America can swallow. And yet. Khalid spoke of how he was ashamed of this fame, how it is [something I didn’t deserve]. Because he might be here at Colby College, but we must not forget the work he does. He and his colleagues and his fellow creators and shakers and revolutionaries are risking their lives every day–some more than others. This saliency existed in the silence, in the emotionality present in Khalid’s eyes. I could see it, feel it, hear it, sense it from all the way in the back. It is chilling–those moments of truth when you zoom out from the blue light on Mayflower Hill and remember that life is more than the papers, the books, the theories. Revolutions are real and they are not safe and they are not secure and they are not equitable and they are not a block of time written on in the history books. They scream of the page, begging to be graffitted on walls and plastered on News Feeds. They deserve more then 15 seconds of viral fame.
[the thing about revolutions is it just happens]