Hungary’s democracy fell. What happens to women, LGBTQ, Roma, Jewish people, and other ethnic & religious minorities?

gypsyrepresent

‚ÄúHungary is no longer a democracy‚Ä̬†and the extreme right-wing Neo-Nazi Jobbik Party¬†has more power than ever.¬†The E.U. was formed in part to prevent these kinds of Fascist paramilitia uprisings, and yet, here we are.¬†Benjamin Abtan writes in The New Statesman:

‚ÄúThe attack was clear and continuous: crippling restriction of the freedom of the press, political direction of the Central Bank, inclusion in the Constitution of Christian religious references and of the ‚Äėsocial utility‚Äô of individuals as a necessary condition for the enforcement of social rights, deletion of the word ‚ÄėRepublic‚ÄĚ‚Äėin the same Constitution to define the country‚Äôs political system, condemnation of homosexuality, criminalisation of the homeless, attacks against women‚Äôs rights, impunity afforded to perpetrators of racist murders, the strengthening of a virulent anti-Semitism . . .

Only a few days ago, prime minister Viktor Orban officially decorated three extreme right-wing leading figures: journalist Ferenc Szaniszlo, known for his…

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A memory of an Adriatic ritual for Gabriel Garc√≠a M√°rquez

“He died of old age in solitude, without a moan, without a protest, without a single moment of betrayal, tormented by memories and by the yellow butterflies, who did not give him a moment’s peace, and ostracized as a chicken thief.” —One Hundred Years of Solitude

The great Gabriel García Márquez has died, and there is little I can say about it that would be of any use, comfort, or cleverness to anyone. But, I have a lovely memory of Márquez, and now feels like a good time to write it out.

When Len and I landed¬†in Venice, he found a very well-loved copy of this novel, brittle, yellow, and battered from age, perched on the lid of a trashcan in the airport. “It felt like a gift,” he said, “a gift from the¬†trash.” He had been wishing for a book, and then this book he always wanted to read appeared for him when he went to throw his coffee away. We guessed the owner recognized it was in too much disrepair to be read again, but felt too guilty throwing away a work of art. The pages were slipping out, the covers were tattered and separating from the pages, but Len meticulously and carefully read each page as we traveled on train and on foot, in cafes and rented apartments, even though many of them snapped off as he turned them. He loved the story, was in raptures over it from city to city, and hoped to leave¬†the book somewhere for another traveler to find. But by the time he finished, we were in Rabac, Croatia, and the book was unsalvageable: a collection of loose leaves constantly threatening their order. That night, during the full moon, Len and I walked out onto a rock that jutted out into the Adriatic like a sea-altar. We took wine with us, toasted to the moon, and poured a generous sip into the sea. He placed the book on the stone where it dipped like a bath and recited his favorite lines in the moon’s general direction while we waited for the tide to rise enough to take the book away. I drank wine and listened to him. I thought, love is a lush ritual.¬†Silver-white moonlight seemed to run slick-straight across the ocean from the horizon all the way to our rock, and¬†I wondered¬†how many¬†things only look the way they do because of where we stand in space. As the water rose and lapped across the stone, pages loosened and swam out in different directions, slipping down through the clear water to the sand and white coral¬†below. The sea¬†eventually swelled enough to cover our ankles and wash the book away. We watched it tumble and unravel under the surface. I thought, “As above, so below.” A small, orange crab scudded across my foot and caught my toe with its claw so gently, as if it only meant to steady itself before drifting off again. A page washed back onto our¬†rock again and touched both of our feet– one with¬†yellow butterflies.

Quail Bell Magazine print issue no. 5 is in! Order now for quails in your mails!

You can order this issue and even¬†buy a subscription here.¬†Also, Quail Bell Magazine will be at the Brooklyn Zine Fest on April 26 & 27¬†and you can pick out your quail personally. Either way, it’s a beautiful issue full of¬†artwork, essays, articles, fiction, poetry, and more by fresh, talented artists and writers. My essay, “Blond Gypsy Angels: Romani Looks, Romani Blood, Romani Challenges,” about the Maria case and the “Gypsy child-thieves” hysteria that swept through Europe, is in there too.

I love ezines, especially artsy indie ezines, but I extra-love print magazines, so I get especially excited when Quail Bell releases print issues. The majority¬†of Quail Bell’s content is online, and the print issues reflect the¬†season’s highlights plus some extras.¬†I hope y’all enjoy it!

They're here! Such perfect quails.

They’re here! Such perfect quails.

Surya Namaskar for writers with Elissa Joi Lewis of The Cambridge Writer’s Workshop Yoga & Writing Retreat in Verderonne, France

Surya Namaskar, The Sun Salutation, is a series or flow of asana (yoga poses) that energizes, builds strength, and increases flexibility. This flow is particularly good for the legs, back, and wrists–areas of the body that suffer from staying hunched over in the writing¬†cave and feverishly typing. I also find that just five rounds or so of Surya Namaskar makes me feel like I’ve actually done something– I feel stretched and worked, and there’s a eat or energy that rises in my body from my feet to the crown of my head. The symbolic and literal salute to the sun feels like an ode to and a channel for solar energy, representing action, manifestation, and direction. That’s a nice way to shake off writer’s fatigue ¬†and shake-up¬†your¬†writerly, academic (sedentary) lifestyle.

Yoga teacher¬†Elissa Joi Lewis practices a variation of¬†Surya Namaskar¬†in the video above, at The Cambridge Writer’s Workshop Yoga and Writing Retreat in Verderonne, France. Practicing¬†yoga twice a day with Elissa¬†blossomed¬†my writing practice and my yoga practice– by using the ritual of¬†meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises), and asana, artists can approach their art¬†with the same¬†yogic¬†reverence and mindfulness. And¬†Elissa¬†knows so much about meditation, breathwork, Sanskrit, and the physiological, energetic, and emotional benefits from the postures that we all ended up asking her for personal yoga-advice which she very generously gave. This year I’ll be teaching a Fiction workshop at the retreat (here’s the back-story plus pictures of last year’s retreat!). If you find that your yoga and writing practices support each other and you want to go deeper in the gorgeous French countryside, apply here. The deadline is May 15th.

Quail Bell Magazine’s Good Advertising for The Cambridge Writer’s Workshop Yoga & Writing Retreat

Clearly, I’m getting really excited. Make sure to check out Elissa’s page for more Yoga! http://elissajoilewis.com