Monday, June 18, 2018

The Children Are Listening

Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes a spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell
That is the spell
Children will listen*

I know families who try to cross the border illegally from one country to another usually have compelling reasons for leaving their homes for the unknown. Often these reasons are a matter of life and death. Often there are no laws to protect them. 

I also know immigration is a complex issue. Countries have borders and those borders have laws to protect them.

Reports of our current response to breaches in our southern border are reprehensible. If reports are accurate, it is not the first time our actions have been vile. We have a long imperfect history mingling heroism and horror. Running a country is messy.

But I fear our most current heavy-handedness could prove to be a major downfall.

For when parents seek sanctuary with their children, and then that sanctuary uses isolationism and imperialism as a mandate to wage a crusade, to imprison the parents and abduct the children, the sanctuary finds itself transformed into the new enemy. 

Children have a way of growing up. Even in the worst of circumstances. And these frightened, disenfranchised, traumatized children will no longer be children. They will ripen quickly into mature and malignant fruit, poisoned by hatred, hardened into resolve, and potentially bent on revenge. 

Because they are listening. And they won’t forget. 

We have seen this before the world over. We have experienced the long-term effects of bad policies generations later. But in a decade or two, instead of being an ocean away, the new generation of US haters will come from right next door. 

After all our braggadocio and big stick wielding and pandering to mammon under the guise of gospel.... Who, oh who, will save us? Who will save our children? And will our own children even deem us worthy of saving? 

After all, they are listening, too. 

*Children Will Listen - Into The Woods - Stephen Sondheim 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Do Overs

Hello, it's been a while... not much.... how 'bout you?

(If you now have a song by England Dan & John Ford Coley playing in your head, you're welcome.)

Like most people, I started the new year with intentions to do certain things. Exercise. Eat better. Finish my book. Write new things. And especially I intended to start writing on my blog again. Really, I did. And so, here we are, on the 31st....better late than never. And that is the moral for today. Right up front.

Ever wonder why there is such emphasis in January on resolutions and fresh starts?

Long ago, January was tacked onto the beginning of our calendar and named for the Roman god Janus. He is the god of new beginnings. Since Roman times, January has been seen as a door to the new year, a chance to put the past behind us, to start fresh, get healthy, meet goals, and make the most out of life.

January is usually an awesome month for me. But I struggled with January this year. I didn't start exercising. I didn't start eating right. I was snowed in. I had the flu. I hadn't finished my book. In fact, despite being confined to bed for days, I wasn't writing at all. Things were not going well.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Power of Story: The Man Who Invented Christmas

What makes a story come alive?

Think about your favorite stories, whether in books or movies. What is it about them that moves you? That intrigues you? That causes you to see the people in them, relate to them, care about them? That affects your heart, your mind, down to the marrow of your bones?

Because without that, there really is no story. There's just a text book.

And truly, how does a writer or director or actor do this? How do we engage the reader, listener, viewer, draw them into the story and make them part of it? Even the most famous writers have had to address this.

Even Charles Dickens.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Wednesday Poetry: The Storm

With Hurricane Irma bearing down on us and a new State of Emergency being declared for our state (SC), my mind for Wednesday Poetry ran to another strong woman - Emily Dickinson. In this poem she captures the eerie feel of an approaching storm yet manages to remind us that - no matter what happens - "yet abide(s) the world."

Be safe, all


There came a wind like a bugle;
It quivered through the grass,
And a green chill upon the heat
So ominous did pass
We barred the windows and the doors
As from an emerald ghost;
The doom's electric moccason
That very instant passed.
On a strange mob of panting trees,
And fences fled away,
And rivers where the houses ran
The living looked that day.
The bell within the steeple wild
The flying tidings whirled.
How much can come
And much can go,
And yet abide the world!

                    - Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesday Poetry: Wild Geese

Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

                                                      -  Mary Oliver

Friday, August 18, 2017

Change is a Marathon not a Cakewalk

It's been a long time since I've eaten cake. I don't eat flour or sugar anymore, which are pretty much the hallmarks of all things cakey.  Since I gave up starch/sugar, I feel better, lighter, clearer minded. So the idea of eating cake is counter productive for me.

However, there are times when the world stresses me out and I really think eating the hell out of some cake might make me feel better:

Ok, I probably will not join the Sheet Caking Movement. (Kinda hate to use the word "sheet" when countering people known for hiding behind them.....) But I can't help but think Tina tossed out a useful idea when it comes to dealing with rallies by former-sheet-wearing types with white polo shirts and large weapons and small minds:

Don't show up.