02022-03-21 | Uncategorized | 6 comments

Am I Blue? is a brilliant essay by Alice Walker, from 1986, published in an essay collection called “Living by the Word”. I borrowed the book through Hoopla, which I can access through my local library, and found the above link to the essay online. I love the writing and the masterful layering of meaning.


  1. anne

    today – your city images grapped me first…but i wish i had read this first.

    Yes- she weaves alot into her essay.

    the issues are complex and are tangled.

    We have come a long way ..We should be proud, right?

    • ottmar

      I don’t think much of pride. It seems like a fairly useless emotion to me. Things continue to evolve and we, hopefully, learn and grow. Perhaps we have come a long way, as you say, but I think we have a very long way to go.

      • anne

        Yes, a long way to go indeed.

        We can also be proud of all our world view changes, attitude expansions, cultural shifts in norms.. ie the woman’s movement. 100 years ago – i could be locked up, or earlier, burnt at the stack for my outrageous thinking.

        Our collective history is remarkable….we have done so much. We are all on the same team. Great lines from u2 –

        “One love, one blood
        One life, you got to do what you should
        One life with each other
        Sisters, brothers
        One life, but we’re not the same
        We get to carry each other, carry each other”

        of course it comes with new problems…big huge complex problems.

        I don’t have any answers or even solid idea’s. mostly, Just like everybody else, a feeling…an observation that something fundamentally needs to shift. But what is that?? …and where do you start? What has been done? What has worked? How do leaders make decisions? Lots of important questions need to be asked.

        • anne


          really- like WTF !! …burning a human alive!!

  2. JaneParhamKatz

    Oh, Ottmar, my heart is breaking completely in two! I have mentioned before how much I love horses, though I have no horse friends right now. And the analogy to the treatment of slaves is stinging and almost unbearable. Thank you so much for this piece.

    When a horse döes become your friend, it feels like there is nothing you could not ask him to do for you. And then you think about what horses throughout history have done for us. A horse’s eye is such a beautiful Jewel. When I visited a friend in New England, I got acquainted with her horse, Ricky. I spent time with him, talked with him. Just before I left, Ricky started licking my arm all the way up from my hand to my shoulder, then across my back and down the other arm. Then he went licking back up the other arm, across my back and down the first arm. I was laughing and laughing. My friend finally told him he had done enough licking already! That was very special.

  3. luna

    Beautiful, powerfully emotional story/essay…thank you, Ottmar.

    Always, since I was a young child, was around horses one way or another…and I know that look, that beyond-human communication…horses, similar to dolphins, it has always seemed to me, look through us humans with those big piercing eyes on the sides of their heads. They seem to scan us, as if they are reading our deepest soul essence. And their raw emotional nature, from erotic to playful to grief to rage to… can be triggered in an instant, as they literally know and flow…much more honestly than most humans it seems.

    This story touched me deeply reading it today…as just yesterday on a walk, I encountered a dead duck near a little pond. While I was walking by it, I noticed another duck approaching its body. I stopped to watch what it was going to do…as I sensed the duck approaching was coming to grieve. I’d never seen that in ducks before……I felt the duck’s sadness. It stood over the body making anguished sounds, as if hoping it would answer. I cried. Then I decided to consciously send Loving compassion to it and put my hand on my ❤heart as I stood there lovingly holding space for the living duck in some kind of intentional energetic connection. Something strange happened, because all of a sudden the grieving duck turned around and faced me, still making sounds. I was a good distance away, so had hoped my presence would be soft and in the background, holding Loving space for its grief. Surprisingly,
    the interpretation I felt wasn’t anger from the grieving duck, it felt more like it sensed my intention standing there…of course that is my human mind interpretation. I’ve always felt that animals Are SO much “smarter” than us, so who knows what the duck really felt about me being there, sharing its grief…
    but this story about Blue reminded me of this encounter with the duck yesterday…about how numb or desensitized we humans can be from our own feelings that we lose the ability to empathize with other creatures of all kinds. Why have we humans become like this through thousands of years? And perhaps more importantly, How can we come back to Balance?
    Any practical ideas anyone?


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