Fourth Wednesday of every month, 7:30 pm,
The next one will be February 25, 2015
at Left Bank Books, 92 Pike Street
We will be discussing the first four letters.
Yarostan: “My picture of you was hazy when I wrote you last time but now I
remember you as if I had been with you only yesterday. No one who had known you twenty years ago could fail to recognize you. You wrote me a warm,
comradely letter. I’d like to answer in the same spirit. I’d like at least
to be polite. But twenty years have passed. Everyone around me has changed.
Your picture of yourself as you are today is disturbingly similar to the
person you thought you were twenty years ago. What I recognize in your
letter is not the event we experienced together but an event we never
experienced. I wrote to a living person and was answered by an imaginary
person celebrating an event that never took place.”
Sophia: “The same letter wouldn’t have been so cruel if you’d sent it from
jail. I would have understood your anger, your desire to destroy my frame of
reference. I would have understood it as resentment against someone who is
not in jail. But you didn’t write from jail. You wrote from a situation that’s
far happier than mine. You described a world which is again in ferment, a
social context which is alive with hopes and possibilities. You described
exactly the experience I longed to learn about and share, the experience
that would heal the open wound I’ve carried in my being since I was torn
from you. And you excluded me from that experience. Yours wasn’t a letter
from one in jail but from one becoming free and it was sent to one who is
still in jail. Instead of sharing the joy, the promise of new life, you spat
on me, pushed me aside, discarded me. Why?”
–From Letters Of Insurgents
In 1976, the Black & Red publishing cooperative in Detroit published the
letters of Sophia Nachalo and Yarostan Vochek, two people who shared a
moment of personal and social upheaval and were then separated. Twenty
years later, they find themselves in new moments of insurrection and reach
out to each other to resolve the past and the present.
In 2014, the book, which had received a certain amount of appreciation and
sadly went out of print in paper form, was reprinted by Left Bank Books,
crediting the openly secret double-pseudonymous authorship to Fredy Perlman.
You’re invited to join the reading group of Letters of Insurgents hosted by
L@s Quixotes Radical Lending Library at Left Bank Books scheduled for the
fourth Wednesday of every month at 7: 30 pm. At the next meeting we will be
discussing the first four letters.