Please welcome my guest blogger, Ryan Warner, who lives in Olympia Washington with his wife and son. He fell in love with discovery and learning at a very young age and is never without a book.
As an idealistic young person, I believed (as did many of my peers) that a great wave of revolution would come and right all the world’s wrongs. As we aged, it became clear that societal change would actually be a progression of small things, of daily efforts to make things better. Oftentimes, transformation would be due to the unseen acts of love and compassion that would rise like dandelions through the concrete. It is this realization that ran through my head and heart as I read The Revolution of Everyday by Cari Luna (Tin House Books, 2013)
The Revolution of Everyday is a story about a group of people who lived as squatters in an abandoned building in NYC in the mid 1990’s. The diverse group of characters worked day by day to rebuild what had been lost and tossed away by society (a trait the building shared with some of its occupants). The characters used what was available, often accessing recycled and thrown away materials. This story illustrated the cumulative power of individual actions to create gradual, big results.
The author was able to present characters who openly showed their flaws, struggles and hurts, without glorifying the kind of life they lived or what it took to live it. The story demonstrated the evolutionary process of the characters and what the toll of taking small actions meant to each of them. The individual struggles of each character make the story a powerful read. The battle each of them had with their own demons was as compelling as their collective battle against the onslaught of gentrification that ultimately may be the downfall of the group.