Sep 272017
 

A childhood highlight was getting — and using — a library card. It was the same for my mother. She tells about choosing her books and facing a librarian who would not let her check them out because she was “too young.” I would love to have been a fly on the wall the next day when my five-foot-nothing grandma marched into the library to share her opinion about banned books, and to inform the staff that her daughter was permitted to read anything she chose.

It's Banned Books Week, but that sort of thing is behind us, right? Click To Tweet

It’s Banned Books Week, and I’d like to think that censorship, book burning, and banned book are far behind us. But, as I write this, social media is alive with an intense first amendment debate, and I don’t have to look too far in the rearview mirror to remember a several-hundred-acre wildfire started by someone burning books. And, as I began to research banned books? The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a recent favorite I found on the list.

Banned Books week is sponsored by the American Library Association and, according to Newsweek, is “both a celebration of freedom and a warning against censorship.” I was also surprised to learn that Banned Books week is only about 35 years old and began in response to a sharp increase in challenges to books in schools, libraries, and bookstores. A significant increase — in 1982. Publishing powerhouse J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a frequent target of censors as is, apparently, almost anything by Stephen King. And, evidently, the entire Captain Underpants series and Fifty Shades of Grey (which sold over 100 million copies) present a clear and present danger to the Republic. (Dammit, where is that sarcasm font when you need it?)

And lest you think the upsurge in attempted censorship is somehow related to looser modern standards and morals, take a look at some of the classics on the list: Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Jungle.

I was raised to believe that reading was a way to open doors to new ideas and different points of view. I was taught that part of the value of those things was an increased ability to understand and empathize with those with whom I have significant differences; that such skills were useful in maintaining and enhancing peaceful relationships.

Which books present a clear and present danger to the Republic? Click To Tweet

So isn’t it logical that suppression of offensive ideas could bring them to back, stronger than ever? Or, perhaps if an individual finds a certain book offensive she could choose not to read or recommend it. Aren’t those decisions adults can make for themselves and for the children in their lives?

What do you think about banned books? Do you have a favorite? Please use the ‘comments’ to share.

 

 

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 September 27, 2017  Posted by  Thinking, Writing and Reading 12 Responses »
Sep 202017
 

Good morning. Although our family weathered #Irma unscathed, many of us are using it as sort of a reset: looking for ways to help others, making sure we’re prepared for the next one, and sorting through our personal reactions and lessons. We are heartbroken about the tragedies taking place in Puerto Rico and Mexico right now and would send “thoughts and prayers” if we weren’t so sick of politicians saying those words while doing nothing meaningful to help. Photo ops detract from rescue efforts.

The other thing many of us are trying to sort out: why is everyone feeling so fuzzy-headed? 100% of local friends and neighbors report feeling off-balance and a bit mentally slow — so I put together a few quotations that may or may not be relevant. I hope you enjoy them.

There are some things you learn best in calm, some in storm. – Willa Cather

We adore chaos because we love to produce order. – M. C. Escher

We adore chaos because we love to produce order. Port in a Storm Click To Tweet

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.   Vincent van Gogh

It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm & defy it.   Amelia Barr

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. –  Carl Jung

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. Click To Tweet

Tones sound, and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes. – Ludwig van Beethoven

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.   Melody Beattie

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Click To Tweet

Are you weathering some kind of storm? What brings you hope and comfort? I look forward to your comments.

 

 

 

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 September 20, 2017  Posted by  Happiness, Special Topics, Thinking 8 Responses »
Sep 062017
 

I am married to a Buddhist, so the concept of the “bardo” is not completely foreign to me. The Tibetan tradition uses the term “bardo” to describe the time between two earthly lives: the time between dying from one body and being born into the next. It sounds a lot like what some Christians refer to as purgatory. And, while my family and I are all still very much alive and well, we are experiencing a significant moment “between lives.” So are several million neighbors in Florida. We are getting ready for Hurricane Irma. And, we are not getting ready for Hurrican Irma.

It's an interesting way to be 'between lives' as they say. Click To Tweet

As long-time New Englanders, we are familiar with extremes in weather. As relatively new Floridians, we’re still learning about tropical storms and hurricanes but a person sure does not need to be living in Florida to know that the approaching storm is a big one. But it’s not here yet.

Floridians have gradually shifted focus from helping Houston to making our own preparations. I’m extremely grateful for the detailed and informative weather coverage. What they’ve told us so far is that Irma is very dangerous — and that it might not hit here at all. Or that every conceivable path is going to create significant problems. So where does that leave us?

We are between. We are between being afraid and being calm. Between preparation and denial. Between despair for Houston (and the islands) and hope for our community. Between staying and going. Between keeping to our normal schedules and bugging out. It’s an odd feeling to know we’re going to pack up and leave but not being able to pack because we’re only taking essentials. It’s even stranger to attend to today’s mundane appointments while wondering what will happen to those on the calendar for next week.

Between preparation and denial. Between staying and going. Click To Tweet

So we have fitted the dog crates into the gassed-up car and have clean laundry to take along. The lawn furniture is on its way into the pool and the stray gardening “stuff” will make its way into the garage. It’s an exercise in preparing for the future while staying firmly rooted in the present — of embracing ambiguity. It reminds us that we never really know what the next day will bring but that a veil of routine keeps us in comfortable denial.

...but we never really know what the next day will bring. Click To Tweet

And we will keep hangin’ out in the bardo until it’s time to start the next chapter.

 

 

 

 

 

 September 6, 2017  Posted by  Self care, Special Topics, Thinking 10 Responses »
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