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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Happiness before arising

The room is still dark. The heater has clicked on. From the glow behind the curtains, I can tell today will be another autumn gem. For just this moment, all is calm and full of possibility.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sometimes you can't look away

If you're old enough, you probably remember watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, starring Marlin Perkins and his long-suffering sidekick,  Jim Fowler. This program introduced violence on TV, albeit animal kingdom violence. Among the most memorable segments featured the insatiable python and the enormous beasts it could swallow whole: deer, cows, even crocodiles. Horrendous as the sights were, they were hypnotic. It was impossible to look away.

That's how I feel during Presidential Debate season. Granted, we've only seen the Republicans so far, but their encounters are as gruesome and mesmerizing as those of python versus croc.  I imagine it's no coincidence that croc is a  homophone for crock, as in "that's a crock of crap." It's also interesting that some of the debaters shed crocodile tears over issues less poignant than a Hallmark commercial. So far, no one has disagreed with the others over anything substantive. They are just generally cranky and like to point fingers.

I really don't understand how we came to this means of selecting a leader. Surely we don't want someone who's merely good at self-defense and nitpicking. My mother used to suggest that, instead of waging war and slaughtering the best members of a generation, leaders of  belligerent countries should have to fight each other in some sort of international arena. They'd engage in mud wrestling, say, pole-vaulting. Then perhaps we'd choose leaders based on a different kind of strength. What do you think?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The little moments

This term I've asked my Writing 115 classes to develop the daily habit of observing and thinking about the world around them and then share their thoughts with the world in a blog. I hope that they will become more aware, more appreciative, and more introspective as they compile the raw materials of good writing. This isn't an easy task. Everyone is multitasking their lives, trying to do their best and avoid the crazy-making world that interjects itself with fearful sound-bytes and flashing ads about losing belly fat.

I am going to join my students in this endeavor, so you should see many short posts from me as I, too, attempt to engage with the little moments that pass into nothingness unless explored.

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Friday, September 11, 2015


September the Eleventh

If you, knowing what you know,
Having read what you have read,
and remembering
All the tales you’ve heard

Should despite these warnings
name your son Icarus,
You cannot feign surprise
When blood of your blood
reaching wide as a swan unfurled
steps forward from the sill
And into the arms of flames.

The updraft buoys him like cinder
So that he might instead be flying
And for a moment the air is his.

So, too, Daedalus treading the shore, brushing
feathers of ash  from his dusted shoulders
Still thinks of cheating disaster.

Mary Chase