Sitting on the cool basement floor, legs splayed on the blue linoleum squares, my knees hold the cover of a large colorful book. I lean against the boxy yellow bookcase that holds childrens books when I am not bent over examining a picture or outlining the shapes of words with my small fingers. Mom is doing laundry in the back room, the basement door opened to let in the breeze. Blossoms from the apple tree float down the concrete stairwell, itself the location of many games. The breeze smells sweet, the jalousy windows have been turned open letting in the air and the occasional noise of a passing car or people walking past the house or birds calling to each other. My thick ‘mink blonde’ hair is held back from my face with a barette. I wear pale cordouroys and a pink cardigan with pearl like buttons. Mom has tied the laces of my black and white oxfords securely so I don’t trip.
The oversized childrens books have been well used by the time I get to treasure them. There are crayon scribblings from older siblings, and many which I myself have added. We don’t think of this as desecrating a book, no, it is much more like being part of the book, part of the story that the books tell. They make their mark on us and we return the favor.
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I am now part of Alltop – Top Writing News . I mention this for two reasons: 1- because they asked me to; and 2- because Networking is what we do on the Internet, is it not?
Since writers are in the communication ‘business’, sharing ideas, tips, just having a conversation, a disagreement, an explanation, an elucidation, etc., etc., this being part of a circle that gets larger and larger helps shrink the world a bit. The setting for telling stories changes from sitting around the campfire to the kitchen table and so on down through our history, but the need to tell stories is a very human. We can cross cultures and generations at such speed, you would hope we could all understand one another better. Hope, too, is a very human quality.
I read through a few of the other writing sites on Alltop and came across this thought on Writing Forward comparing the ancient pursuit of alchemy to the creative process:
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9:26 am feet on the desk, coffee cup handy, keyboard on my lap—- morning light casting a pleasant glow—- good way to start the day.
Been thinking ’bout developing voice, or finding voice might be more accurate. A writer’s voice should be authentic, shouldn’t be a trumpet for some cause. Are some people born with the courage to stand up and speak their mind, or is that trait nurtured by the right environment? Stand up, speak, write, proclaim, question: all that kind of activity stirs the pot, the pot of contentment and stability, the pot of appeasement. This musing led me to remember a story we read in grade school, maybe the 4th or 5th grade, called A Man Without a Country. I remember the illustration for that story in our reader: a young hearty man looking longingly at a shore, a shore where he was never to set foot. From what I remember this man had uttered words of disloyalty to the new brand new United States of America— I do not recall what he was supposed to have said, but the words, the words, were considered treasonous. His punishment was to board a ship and sail the waters of the world, never allowed to set foot on any soil. Any soil. He was permanently adrift, rootless, homeless, friendless.
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Anyone interested in taking a wonderful class to gather the energy to write? I’ll copy and paste Robin’s note and if you are in the Dallas area on Sept. 19, please consider joining us—-
My tai chi teacher is so excited I may have to tie him to a chair. He wants to meet writers. He thinks we are interesting people. So he’s proposed Sept. 19th in his school in Richardson. Meet at 10 a.m. for lecture and practice of a short version of our form, then lunch and discussion, more review and questions, ending about 3:00 p.m. Those who want to channel the present energy can gather at my house for a writing session. Cost about $90.
Julie, this is a fantastic opportunity. He is a direct line descendant from China’s third great tai chi master. Remember how much trouble this was to describe for the Mayborn essay? But that’s correct. After 8 years of study I can count on my hands the number of times I’ve been allowed to see him teach like this. I hope it goes over well and lots of folks sign up.”
If you would like to attend please contact Robin at:robinyaklin [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
Hope to meet you there
Today is the 89th birthday of the American woman’s right to vote. 89 years, and still, you have to wonder, what took so long?
It is 2009, right? We are in the twenty-first century, so the calendar says. So how come Richard Engel of NBC News still has to report on women in Afghanistan who are in prison because they left violently abusive husbands, were shunned because they were raped, are in prison just because they are women? It is a matter of law that a wife cannot refuse sex to her husband on pain of imprisonment and that every 27 minutes (!) an Afghan woman dies in childbirth!!!! The report showed a nursery as part of the prison where the women can play with their children from time to time. Looking at the young, beautiful faces of these boys and girls it takes little imagination to fast forward 15 or 20 years and see those little girls as wife-slaves to men who were once beautiful little boys, beloved by their mothers. When will those toddlers be taught that women are worth so much less than men? When will those beautiful little girls learn that the boys they once played with in a prison nursery have the right to abuse, rape, shun and violate them?
How do we reconcile these images, these stories that we encounter day after day in so many places in this world with what we know to be right and what to be wrong? How is it possible that people can continue to treat each other with such barbarity?
Over the last several years polite people find it acceptable to downplay the revolution in the Western world of women’s rights. Yes, some of the warriors were shrill, irritating, un-ladylike. Some were extreme and made us uncomfortable. But, look what they have accomplished: educated, intelligent women who are able to speak up for themselves and for thier children and state the obvious: we are all created equal.
What’s taking so long?