Monday, July 24, 2006

Mugged by the Heat and the Cold

As in the muggy heat wave hovering over the Rogue Valley and the virus that is making my mug feel like a helium balloon in the washer’s spin cycle. Fluids are pouring out my nose and my pores as fast as I pour them in. I think my vocabulary is hitching a ride. It feels as though my brain matter is a stew on simmer. My whole face is chapped--my nose by the cheep tissues and my forehead, cheeks and eyelids by my shirtsleeves as I try to sop up the sweat before it pools in my eyes or ears.

I'm sure that is TMI*, as my nephew is so fond of saying when he's grossed out by something.

I’m supposed to sit with Grandma again this afternoon. Nobody has suggested that I shouldn’t for fear of exposing her to my cold. It’s probably too late for that anyway as my sore throat started Friday and I spent an hour over there that afternoon. Plus my mother-in-law has it too and has been over there more than I have in the past week. We both got it from my husband who brought it home from work. He works on the shipping docks of a major mail-order company so he is frequently bringing home bugs picked up from co-workers and truckers. His mom works the coffee-bar at a motel so she is often the one bringing it home to pass around.

Anyway. The races were not held Saturday because of the big-deal race they are holding Monday night instead. Everyone--my husband and both his parents--are excited and I don’t have the heart to disappoint them by wimping out over a silly cold. And at least we get to use the cooler all day at Grandma’s because of her susceptibility to bad effects from the heat. We have one here but my mother-in-law waits until it is well over ninety in the house before she turns it on.

*TMI=Too Much Information

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Clothed in a Cloud

The heat is all encompassing. I can’t think coherently so I resist trying to write. Even reading is a chore. So I’ve taken to watching hour after hour of DVDs. I’m also coming down with a cold. As if I needed that!

Here in the Rogue Valley we were ‘spared’ the brunt of the high temps the rest of Oregon and most of Washington got yesterday. We were ‘gifted’ with a cloud cover that kept our temps ten to fifteen degrees below the higher ones recorded Friday. But it was only better if you consider it better to have to wear a wet wool coat while breathing a steamy mixture of human and auto exhalations. Walking out in it, I was instantly wet as though slipping the cloud on like a garment.

My husband and I ate ice cream for dinner last night. It was the only thing that appealed.

It was still over eighty indoors after my mother-in-law went to bed and the heat combined with sleep depravation to discourage me from trying to have a work session last night. There was also the necessity of having to do laundry and since there are no races tonight I won’t be spending the night with Grandma so I decided to get up and do laundry while trying to catch up on my online reading during the cooler hours of the morning. I am hoping to have the last load out of the dryer by noon. It just went in the washer at shortly after ten.

The cloud cover is burning off and it is already in the mid eighties outside. It is almost ninety indoors and the humidity is still high in here because of running the washer and dryer. I also still need to wash up yesterday’s dishes. Ugh! I forgot about them when I decided to go to bed instead of go online last night. So I’m going to have to cut my time online short and get busy. I’ve already got two loads of clothes to fold and put away with two more on the way. And the dishes. But all I want to do is go back to bed.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Discipline of Devotion

I am guest posting on Write Stuff again today. I would send you over to check it out except that it is just a recycle of a recent post from here because I couldn’t get my act together to get Harpy Shampoo II ready in time. So instead I encourage you to go on over to check out the other guest writers posting there this week. I have found something useful, entertaining or insightful about each one so far. I was especially moved by Caryn’s musings about the dilemma of distractions for a writer--something that has been much on my mind lately.

Oh those distractions! It's one of my worst bugaboos. But it isn't just things, people and tasks in the physical world that take me out of the creative flow, it is thoughts, memories, images popping into my mind that inspire ideas for new projects and tempt me to jot notes for them instead of remaining focused on the project at hand. But those same free-floating thoughts have so often been the source of the thing that my project needed that I didn't know it needed, I can't just shake a stick at them and chase them off or at myself to whip the eyes of my mind front and center.

As with everything else, it seems to be about balance and boundaries. I don’t claim to have the answers. My musings this past few months have been all about the questions and the testing of potential solutions that give mixed results. Life keeps butting in. But then, life is the raw material with which we weave our magical mysteries so we can’t fence ourselves off from it.

I recycled Discipline is Love in Practice partly because my groping in it seems to have grasped what feels like the key: Nurture the love for the practice and product of your art and everything else will fall into place. I can’t prove that. Not yet anyway. But I have clear memories from past successes, memories I have purposely cultivated to harvest their secrets, that all have one thing in common: Devotion.

It was love for my vision of the finished story that grounded me so that distractions just flowed through and around me either adding their energy to the effort or dissipating due to inattention. These occasions were rare and the last one was nearly a decade ago. I have been seriously distracted for that long! But I am starting to remember just what it was that attracted me to this avocation and kept me plugging away even when all the hope and joy (and yes the Joy too) seemed to have seeped out of it.

The discipline of devotion does not need the tactics of a taskmaster to keep us on task. Nor does it require of us to sacrifice anything that is truly precious to us. It will, though, focus our attentions on the heart of the matter so that how we define precious is constantly re-evaluated, and it will grow organically the boundaries that keep frivolous distractions at bay. What is left are those distractions that arise from dueling devotions: other loves like family, community, friends, work, the Sacred by whatever name you hold it dear. Only the discipline of devotion in each of those areas can create the conditions in which all of them are thriving but none at the expense of any other.

I confess that these insights are coming to me as I write this. I must now devote myself to applying them for the proof will be in the practice.

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

When Library Due Dates Rule

Just dropping in as I have about five minutes before I have to get offline and go pack my bags for my Saturday overnight with Grandma. I'm writing this directly in the Blogger platform so you'll have to forgive typos and misspellings. Combonations of the heat, the exertion of the trek to the library in 95 degrees and spending time with books and movies due Friday, made getting a serious post prepared impossible. I am holding hanging onto one book and several movies that were due Friday over the weekend. When items are from one of the branches that are not open on Saturday I can get away with keeping them until Monday morning. The problem with this is that then I feel obligated to devote as much time as possible to them. Another problem is that the books due the following Friday don't start getting their turn until Monday afternoon. I feel like Im on a treadmill to nowhere. Another problem is that finishing up with a book or movie just hours before it has to go back leave no time to do a review of it.

Another issue affecting me is the situation in the Middle East. But that is a can of worms I can barely stand to contemplate. With my fundamentalist background it pushes all kinds of buttons. My heart is breaking for our world.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Preparing to Sing (Tuning into the Sound of My Own Voice)

I spent hours Thursday afternoon skimming through a word document in which I keep drafts of all the old posts to Joystory, drafts of potential posts and a series of one or two line concepts for potential posts. The file is 148 pages long with a word count of over 70,000 and all but three pages represents posts that were published and not counting those posts that were of the ‘Blog this’ variety (commentaries or reviews of things read or saw somewhere online) as those are kept in a separate document also over a hundred pages though less than half of them were ever actually posted because they were time sensitive and I fiddled with them too long..

My purpose was to mine Joystory for themes that could be returned to in future posts and for posts that either already were or could easily be turned into polished essays or book reviews for one of my other two websites, Joywrite or Joyread. I found quite a few and I’m hoping this will encourage me to start working on those sites again. The sticking point that is hard to get past is the need to re-familiarize myself with HTML and with Selida, the free WYSIWYG that I used to create the sites. Actually the version I downloaded onto my new laptop last November was an updated version of the one I am familiar with so that has increased my proclivity to procrastinate. But I shouldn't be so leery. I learned my way around the first version I had quite easily as it has good help files and good online support. For freeware you can't ask for better. This is going to be a challenge as I have let the sites lay fallow for over a year now, ever since things started falling apart in my personal life about this time last year. And at that time I had only been working with the sites again for a few weeks after letting them sit for several months after the events following the tsunami threw me off track. So my fledgling HTML skills have all but crawled back into their egg.

While browsing those posts though, I was struck by how often the ‘gobstopper’ theme recurred in various ways in both the current events of my life and in my reflections on my past. Since I didn’t get anything else prepared and need to devote most of tonight’s session to preparations for Friday’s library trek, I thought I would direct you to one of those early posts that introduce that theme--the stifling of voice. I had tried in a very clunky way to retell the story related in Conscience vs. Consensus in an early version of Gobstoppers (see below) before I had to slice and dice it to bring the word count down from 3000 to under 1000. I must warn you that this was also a lengthy essay but if you are interested in hearing about the event that catapulted me irrevocably out of the fundamentalist mind-set, this is where I told it shortly after I started Joystory.


Teaser: It involved witnessing the disciplining of an infant for crying via a hand over the mouth on the exhales to deprive him of the ‘reward’ of hearing the sound of his own voice.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

When it’s Hot, I’m Not

We have enjoyed several days with temps in the mid eighties which ranged from tolerable to pleasant. I was able to get quite a bit of reading and writing done, some of which is reflected here. That is about to change. We are heading into the high nineties and some predict triple digits over the week-end. I don’t know how I am going to fare. Heat zaps me of IQ points, energy and ambition.

My regularly scheduled Friday library trek is coming up and I am way behind with the books and movies due this week. Keeping American Theocracy over the weekend in order to finish didn’t help in that regard as I didn’t pick up any of the books coming due this Friday until Monday afternoon. Currently I am twenty-some pages from finishing Chris Mooney’s The Republican War on Science. I haven’t even started any of the others due this week. One of them, is a high-demand novel which I won’t get another crack at for months so I am going to start it as soon as I finish the Mooney. That is Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire. The sequel to Wicked. A re-visioning of Oz with the Wicked Witch of the East as the sympathetic character and Dorothy as a simpering Barbie. I read Wicked around the first of the year and got in queue for the sequel at that time. It is so frustrating that I’ve had the book for three weeks and haven’t started it yet. As usual I save desert for last and when I run out of time I don’t get the reward. But if I can start it by Thursday afternoon I have a good chance of finishing it in time to return it Friday afternoon. If, that is, I neglect just about everything else. But if the heat zaps me too much to read even a novel I am highly motivated over, I will watch DVDs that are coming due Friday instead.

Unless I choose to let myself be overcome by the soporific heat and sleep through it, inviting more of those insightful nightmares like the one I described yesterday. I say this not completely in jest as I continue to muse on that one and continue to reap new insights from it. The theme of self-censorship is just one that I’ve found in it and what I said in Gobstoppers just scratched the surface of that.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gobstoppers

I woke from a heat-induced, involuntary nap one day last week haunted by the shreds of images, emotions and tactile sensations of a dream. A group of young women of high school or college age were gathered around a large table laughing and talking and I overheard one of them make a comment that shocked me by its ignorance and mean-spiritedness. The others were eating her words like candy and I was overcome by the need to speak. That girl was obviously irritated at my interruption and yet I kept talking. I do not remember what I said, just the passion with which I spoke and the sense that I was marshaling a rebuttal of her comment with facts and reason. As I continued to speak her expression morphed through anger and defensiveness to surprise to thoughtful to engaged. I now had her and her group eating up my words and I must admit that I was loving it. It irks me to not remember the issue that set me off nor any of what was said and yet have all the emotions and physical sensations remain so vivid. But since that is the case, I must assume that the point I am to take from it is to be found elsewhere. If the storyline of the dream had ended there, I might think it was about the fact that I was moved to interject and did so. But there was more.

One girl named someone she wished could hear what I was telling them and the rest chimed in with names of their own and suddenly I am agreeing to share my thoughts with their friends and family. Segue to a hallway outside the room I am to speak in. I had thought it was to be another informal setting with a couple dozen people invited by the half dozen girls I’d wowed with my words earlier. I was nervous but not really anxious. And then the door opened onto a huge auditorium with a stage and podium. The room buzzed with the voices of hundreds of people. All the elements that tend to trigger my panic attacks were there--the chaos of light, motion, noise and the crowd of people. My mouth went dry and I said, I can’t do this, and a man handed me a stick of gum, saying, Here this will help. As I chewed, the gum turned into a wad the size of a golf ball. I wanted to spit it out but there was nowhere to put it and then it started to change from a thick bubble-gum like consistency to a soft, stringy mass that clung to my teeth and tongue as it tried to slide down my throat. It was like choking on a Koosh ball coated with melted marshmallow and string cheese. It was gagging me. I had to get it out! I grabbed hold of it and pulled and now it was sticking to my fingers and coating my hands to the wrists and the more I pulled out the faster it filled my mouth and throat. It tasted like chalk and ash and charcoal. It was then that I woke.

Over the next several days I experienced waking events through the filter of the emotions and images of that dream as I mused on the associations of each of its elements. Those girls and the table they sat at were reminiscent of several similar situations--a high school cafeteria table, a library or study-hall table, a college seminar table and the table around which my Panic, Anxiety and Depression support group once met. Those were places in my past where I had had a voice and not been too shy to use it, where I had gotten positive feedback from peers who found what I had to say entertaining or informative or persuasive. Yes, persuasive. And there was the rub.

Persuasion is the tool of proselytizers which I once was and which I had repudiated along with the fundamentalist worldview I once pushed like a narcotic. When I swore never again to subject my mind to the authority of another human mind, I also swore never again to be the authority attempting to impose itself upon another mind. Memories of my past efforts gagged me as surely as that gob of gluey, stringy gum in the dream. I began to see proselytizing as one of the evils of civilization. It seemed to me that any attempt to persuade another person to change their mind was fraught with all the elements of assault. Like a rape of one’s soul. I could not figure out whether that was intrinsic to the act of persuasion itself or depended on the motives of the persuader and the informed consent of their audience. Either way, at that time, I could trust neither my mind nor my motives. So, as I set out to learn how thinking works and what makes ideas viable, I declared a moratorium on attempts to persuade others.

What I had not quite grasped then was that all rhetoric was intended to persuade. It was its raison d’etre. From recipes to romantic comedies, from tech manuals to Greek tragedies, from sermons to sonnets, from news reports to novels--it is all about persuasion. Maybe the moratorium was wise at the time, given my sudden realization of how little I understood about anything and what I had witnessed of the damage done with the power of words. Now I am wondering if this dream is telling me that it is time to lift it. It could just as well be chiding me for violating it. Either way, this rule that I enjoined on myself in 1992 has been one of the most effective gobstoppers ever imposed on me. If I can’t spit it out, how will I ever ‘Sing the secret from my center?’

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Gotta Say!

I began writing the previous post within fifteen minutes of the conversation between me and my husband that inspired it. I spent eight hours composing it under the influence of the emotional agitation of our confrontation which was still strong enough when the time came to click ‘publish’ that I barely hesitated. After posting, I was left with only two hours for sleep before my 24 hour stayover at Grandma’s. I began to regret that post immediately upon awaking but I had only twenty minutes to prepare to leave and no access to the Internet at Grandma’s. My feelings about the post swung back and forth uncountable times between then and the first chance I had to get online again late Sunday night.

I’ve chosen to let it stand. For the time being anyway.

This is because of the high contrast between the feelings that are associated with the urge to delete it and those associated with the desire to let it stand. The need to delete is prompted by guilt and shame and embarrassment but the price of giving into it seems to be a feeling of helplessness and isolation and a sensation like gagging or suffocation. Meanwhile, the urge to let it stand promises (and for long minutes at a time now) delivers a sense of relief, freedom and even dignity. It might me ugly but it is true and it is my truth. It just so happened that I was involved in preparing a post about my propensity to self-censor and the roots of that in my upbringing so I was primed to ‘pull the trigger’ when my husband handed my the weapon of his permission to blog about his less than admirable behaviors even tho I knew he was not sober at the time.

So now you know. Along with all the other challenges I’ve confessed here, I am married to an alcoholic.

I do still feel the need to apologize for the saltiness of some of the language in that last paragraph. There had been more which I took out. I ended up mostly paraphrasing the sense of what he said as he was not nearly as articulate as my rendition implies. Nor as ’pretty’ shall we say. He’s an ex-Marine after all and had been sipping his suds for seven hours or so. I’ll leave it to your imagination.

I’m still working on that post about self-censoring. It seems to be a theme my consciousness is working with both waking and dreaming in the last several weeks. My husband may not have been sober but he was amazingly insightful and told me the truth when he said that I make too many rules about what I can and can’t write about.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

New Rules of Engagement


I woke Friday morning with such high expectations for the day. Such energy and such ambition. As I prepared for my Friday library trek, I was busy composing the post that I hoped to write for that night about the books and movies going back and coming home, about the ideas encountered and the impact stories had made on me. That post didn’t get written. Nothing got written. Because I returned home to the news from my mother-in-law that my husband had returned home from work and then left again to go cash his check. I told her that if he didn’t get back by the time she was ready to eat to not worry about fixing for me either. And then I went to my room to unpack the books and movies and reorganize the shelves. I was no longer composing in my head the post about the books and movies or the round trip to the library. I was already obsessing on the subtext of that little exchange between me and my mother-in-law. What had not been said was so much bigger than what had been and all of that bigness was sticking in my craw like a balloon being steadily inflated.

What we were both thinking and not saying was that the chances were slim to none that he would be back in time for dinner and little better that he would be back before she went to bed. And until he did get back we would both be stewing and fretting about what shape he would be in when he did show up and whether he would have the money he owed her. He doesn’t have a bank account so he cashes his checks in one of three places--the grocery store, a lotto shop or the bar. It is de ja vu for his mother who lived her own version of this story while raising four kids.

I stayed in my room for over an hour before venturing out to fix myself an iced-coffee and then taking that along with a book and both my cats out to the back yard where, after staking their leashes in the middle of the yard, I sat in a lawn chair just out of their reach trying to read. But between the noise of the dozen or so neighbors in the pool about six yards behind me and my continued obsessing about where my husband was and what he was doing, I didn’t get very many pages read. And as for comprehension and retention--I doubt I could pass a quiz on the content of those pages. I think I was out there for nearly two hours when my mother-in-law came out to turn the hose on to water the front yard. The cats were discombobulated by the sound of the hissing in the hose that passed by them and started straining their leashes toward the back door so I took them in. I decided that since I was having such a hard time concentrating on reading maybe I should watch a movie instead. I popped a DVD with two old James Stewart movies on it into my laptop’s DVD drive. I put earphones in and turned out the light. The movie was Pot ‘O Gold. This was good for eighty some minutes of distraction. By the time it was over my mother-in-law had gone to bed. Still no sign of my husband.

I then decided to take the book and go sit on the front porch to read. The book I have been referring to is Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy. I was in the middle of the section that discusses the religious right’s agenda and how they have turned a number of state’s GOP platforms into theocratic manifestos. Where he relates their view of the role of women in the family I suddenly found myself living in multiple states of mind simultaneously. I was continuing to read and continuing to worry about where my husband was while I was remembering when I still fervently believed much of those fundamentalist tenets, remembering when I dreamed through my teens of the home I would one day have, when the role of Christian wife, mother and homemaker was my highest aspiration. Not that I thought then that that represented a limitation on my options. I believed then as I believe even now that I’ve shed the fundamentalist view point that the role of homemaker is the most important one in this or any other society. But I digress, as usual.

So there I was waiting on the whims of a wayward husband while sitting on the front porch of his mother’s house as it closed in on midnight, comparing my teenage fancy of marriage and home to what I have now, comparing that fundamentalist ideal of marriage and family to the ideal that has grown out of my own heart as I shed fundamentalism--a co-equal partnership of mutual respect and integrity of body, mind and spirit; trusting and trustworthy; nurturing and submission running both ways. With that vision juxtaposed over the current reality which was but an iteration in the triple digits of similar events spread out over 28 years, all these thoughts and memories, feelings and expectations converged, I felt a momentary wave of dizziness and a sense of falling or sinking into a vast stinking ooze. Misery. My comfort zone.

Then like a bouquet of exploding fireworks there was light--a cleansing white-hot light that evaporated the ooze instantly. That light was anger aka righteous indignation. How dare he! He has no right to abandon me to these endless hours of worry and shame here where I have no role other than to come to the table when I‘m called and keep my room cleaned! No better than a teenager at two years shy of fifty! And how dare they have taught me that I have no right to insist on better from him, that I have no leverage other than prayer, just because he has a certain dangly appendage which bestows on him the title of Mister. He knows that I worry and by that I mean he knows that when I worry I am subject to anxiety attacks when under the kind of stress his disappearances put me. He knows that my work session starts at nine and that I can not focus on my work as long as I am worried. He knows that I can’t go online as long as there is the remote possibility that he or someone else might be trying to call.

I was really working myself up. My heart was doing the Macarena and my mind was doing the tarantella. Or visa versa. I needed to journal. I headed back to my room but before I could get started, he came home. His story was that he had come looking for me at the library after cashing his check but before he got there he ran into a friend who had an ailing computer that he thought he knew how to heal and that it wouldn’t take long. And I know how he gets when he is in problem-solving mode--single minded, can’t bother to look at a clock or pick up a phone, can’t quit until its fixed or finished--kinda like me when I’m writing a story. Yes, he deigns to compare his hanging with his beer buds to my hanging with my fictional creations. Unavailable is unavailable is how he figures it I guess. And I don’t refuse to credit the analogy, yet neither can I give it equal footing and I’m not sure if that doesn’t make me an elitist snob to elevate my ‘art’ over his male-bonding rituals. Sometimes his framing it this way will shut me up. He knows exactly where my buttons are. One of them is my high value of fairness. But this time it doesn’t work. He happened to walk in while I was revved at gazillion rpms at a standstill having not yet released the clutch via a word-purge of my rage into my journal. The sight--and smell--of him set me off, tires spinning and flinging gravel before they gripped the road and gave me the traction I needed to get where I needed to go at a speed which would give him no time to take aim at another of my off buttons.

I ‘yelled’ in a whisper that would not wake his mother nor the neighbor lady, whose window was actually closer than his mother‘s. I told him that as long as his mother was our landlady he had no right to go hang with his buddies before the rent was paid. Nor did he have the right to abandon me to the hours of anxiety that being stuck here--with his mom as witness to my shame--worrying about him and about whether he would be coming home in one piece with enough funds to cover the week. Nor did he have the right to not come home to a dinner that he knew was being prepared for him. Nor did he have the right to have both Saturday for going to the races--made possible by my sitting with Grandma, let’s not forget--and Friday for hanging with his beer buds. This was acceptable behavior only of a bachelor with a landlord other than a parent. Nor did he have the right to keep sabotaging my work sessions. I already lose Saturday night by staying with Grandma which also makes Sunday night iffy due to sleep deprivation--for not only could I not go online, I could not prepare content for posting since I could neither think nor write about anything except how worried and angry I was which was good for nothing but journaling. And that is when he found a pause button.

What is a blog? He asked in a tone that made clear its rhetorical character. It took me several beats to get his point. I started shaking my head. He said, Why not? I said you know I have a strong ethical disdain for gossip and tattling. I will often confess things on Joystory that will tend to shame me but I try very hard not to share things that would tend to shame someone else. You make too many rules, he said. You are never going to build an audience if you don’t get more dependable about posting but it is no wonder you can’t do that when you rule out ninety per cent of the viable topics before you even start. If you can’t write on ‘safe’ topics while obsessing about one of the taboo topics but won’t let yourself write about the taboo… It’s no wonder you average two posts per week. So get this straight. I don’t care what anyone else thinks. Except you. I care what you think. But not what a few dozen strangers who don’t know me think. But, I blurted, I don’t blog anonymously. Sure I don’t use my last name as I want to establish Joy Renee as my pen name but I haven’t hidden the connection between Joy Renee and Joy Renee Davis. I’ve never spoken of you by name on Joystory but I have reported our marriage on both Classmates and Classreports and I do get occasional traffic from them. So? He asked again. Why should I care? Your blog is about writing among other things. When stuff happens that impacts your writing that makes it fair game. When I screw up, I’m fair game. Tear me to shreds. Rip me a new @hole.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Reading Etc.

Life events--Grandma’s hospitalization and the heat wave among the--have prevented regular posting this past week. I’m hoping that’s about to change. Meanwhile, since my online reading has also been limited, I’ve been reading books. You know, those square, solid things that you hold in your hand and turn the pages? Have also watched a number of videos.

Finished five books in the last week:

From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler--a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist explains his method for creating literary fiction. I hope to do a comprehensive review of this one soon as Butler’s advice may have a huge impact on my approach to my own writing going forward.

Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda by Noam Chomsky--my already jaundiced news-watching eye has gone a deeper shade of orange.

Destroying World Order: US Imperialism in the Middle East before and after September 11 by
Francis A. Boyle--a specialist in international law examines US foreign policy over the last half century.

Night by Elie Wiesel--moving memoir of surviving the Nazi concentration camps. I was especially struck by his story of the years leading up to actual incarceration in which his community and his family ignored the signs of the coming holocaust, even scoffed at those who tried to warn them and how easily they adapted as one by one their basic citizenship rights were taken from them until the day they docilely formed ranks in the streets in front of their homes and then marched into the cattle cars. Equally disturbing is the acquiescence of all those who watched from the sidelines.

Solstice Wood by Patricia McKillip--an enchanting fantasy novel which was a welcome relieve from all the heavy stuff I’ve been reading in the last year. I think I need to treat myself to more of this just-for-fun reading. I’m forgetting my own Joyreader’s Manifesto.

Meanwhile, I’m pushing hard to get as far as I can in Kevin Phillip’s American Theocracy which has to go back to the library this Friday and which I will have to wait in queue for another three or more months for my next turn. I advanced my bookmark a hundred pages in one day yesterday.

Some of the videos I watched in the last week:

Because of Winn-Dixie--watched this with Grandma Saturday

Back When We Were Grownups--watched this with Grandma Sunday. Now I want to read the Anne Tyler novel it was based on.

Twisted--Watched this by myself Monday morning. It isn’t easy to surprise me anymore but this one did. It was a well put together psychological thriller that kept you guessing until the scene--even the protagonist herself was a suspect who wasn’t sure she wasn’t guilty.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth of July

Happy 4th of July

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Grandma is on her way home

Grandma is on her way home and I'm on my way over for the usual Saturday stayover with her. We are all so relieved. I hope to be back with substantial posting by Monday night at the latest. Might possibly have something ready by tomorrow night but my schedule has been thrown off by the family upheaval this week.

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