WRITING


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href=”“>Bless the beasts and the children
The Carpenters

There are so many ways we can abuse so much in this world. We can even abuse the planet itself as Al Gore has pointed out in his Academy Award winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. I am not a Christian, I have made that very clear on several occasions in my Blogs but I believe the myths human beings tell to explain their occupation of this planet are powerful. The Christian creation story has a compelling message that I think that Christians and non-Christians alike can take a valuable lesson from regarding our role as stewards of this planet and its inhabitants.

I am going to use the King James 1611 Bible because I love the majesty of the Elizabethan Language. I don’t think it makes much difference which translation you use. This part of the story of “In the beginning…” is pretty clear.

1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

This story is centuries old. It was almost certainly passed along as an oral tradition long before it was ever written down and there were many versions before it was recorded in this beautiful 16th century iambic pentameter. The main point that I want to dwell on here is that HUMANS have DOMINION over everything else in the world.

Dominion. That’s a strong word to use. We were to dominate or rule over all the animals and all of the fishes in the sea and the fowl that flies and all the creepy crawly things too.. We have complete charge of everything else in the world. The creator god gave it all to us. If you believe in this creator God I don’t see how you can fail to believe that you have been commanded by God to take care of his creation.

If you are a disbeliever perhaps you could take a moment to reflect that these supposedly primitive people back in the dark recesses of time recognized that it was OUR duty to take care of this planet. They believed that an almighty force, a supernatural being they believed to be the creator of everything around them, gave THEM the power to rule over everything. They recognized their status as the beasts highest on the food chain and understood the moral responsibility that that implied. Can we do any less?

Taking care of this planet and ALL OF ITS INHABITANTS, right down to the most seemingly insignificant species of fly in the muckiest marsh in the backwoods of nowhereville is essential to our own well being. This is it, folks, this is all we’ve got. This planet and its inhabitants depend on us to be good stewards. WE MUST STOP THE ABUSE!

Each of us can stop the abuse by choosing our own particular interest and taking a proactive part in being good stewards. Humananity has been thoughtless and cruel for far too long. There are many, many causes that need to be taken up and battles that need to be fought. You might find the destruction of our rain forests to be particularly reprehensible or you might have issues with substance abuse in your life or you might want to take up the cause of making sure that everyone spays and neuters their pets. There is something for everyone to do.

I have a particular interest in preventing child abuse. How do you prevent child abuse? You can make a determined heroic promise that you will never ever abuse a child and I will truly believe that you would never WANT to do that. But if you were abused as a child I would bet that the odds are better that 50/50 that you will abuse your own child in some way, shape, or form if you do not seek professional help.

Don’t believe me? Check the statistics on the ‘net.

I did. I hate the fact that I did. But I did.

I hit my children when I was angry. I said terrible things to them. Things that no mother should ever say to her babies. Eventually it got so bad I HAD to seek professional help because I was horrified by my behavior. I was horrified but I couldn’t stop. I was out of control.

I had to admit that I needed help if I was going to to end the cycle of abuse. If you are a parent who is in the position I was in, please, seek help. You can get help through your local Child Welfare Services, Domestic Abuse Crisis Lines or family doctor. The professionals you turn to will understand. You will not be punished and your children will not be taken away from you if you come forward. YOU are NOT a bad person but your behavior can and must change.

If you were abused as a child but don’t have children yet, PLEASE, seek professional help. Not only for your own sake, for the sake of your future children.

If you see a child being abused or know of a family where children are being abused DO SOMETHING. The child abuse hotline is 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4253) You can also help by getting involved in Child Abuse Prevention organizations

Make a decision to stop the abuse. Choose Hope.

Bless the beasts and the children
For in this world they have no voice
They have no choice

Bless the beasts and the children
For the world can never be
The world they see

Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them
Give them love
Let it shine all around them

Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from a storm
Keep them safe
Keep them warm

Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them
Give them love
Let it shine all around them

Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from a storm
Keep them safe
Keep them warm

The children
The children

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Tomorrow is the big day. BlogCatalog intends to make history with bloggers around the world Blogging for Hope and against abuse. The Guiness book of Recoods is at stake here. And you can win a prize!

To be a part of this just grab a logo, link to blogcatalog and write about stopping abuse. Substance abuse, animal abuse, child abuse, elder abuse. Republican abuse ;^>. Whatever stikes your fancy. I’ve got my entry written and ready to roll. you can read it here tomorrow. Write on everyone.

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B

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A reminder to myself and others that this Blogging event is happening soon.

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Be a part of Blogging history and Blog against abuse on September 27th 2007. Any form of abuse. See the BlogCatalog for details.

B

Well they say the skys the limit
And to me thats really true
But my friend you have seen nothing
Just wait til I get through . . .

Because Im bad, Im bad-come on
(bad bad-really, really bad)
You know Im bad, Im bad-you know it
(bad bad-really, really bad)
You know Im bad, Im bad-come on, you know
(bad bad-really, really bad)
And the whole world has to answer right now
Just to tell you once again,
Whos bad . . .

Michael Jackson

I see someone has been googling Dr Israelstam again. What’s with that? It’s kind of creeping me out to get six hits on my pdoc. I think I know who it is and I don’t mind so much that he reads here. In fact, he’s more than welcome to read here. But geeze just book mark the Blog already.

Having all of this so/so information about who is reading your blog is kind of strange. Cool in a way but if you are the least bit paranoid it can get your antenna really quivering. I am more than the least bit paranoid On a scale of 1 ot 10 with 10 being so paranoid I would be dangerous if I had a gun and you were to walk up behind me and say boo, I am at least a 4 and maybe a 5. I don’t need any help in getting further up the scale, thank you very much.

Lots of good things going on in my life and lots of mixed blessings. #1 good thing. I am going to be a new Grammy. In fact, I sort of already am! My daughter who does foster care and has been waiting for 4 years to adopt a baby girl through the state has had a baby girl placed with her last weekend. She is 8 months old and her name is Trinity Rose. She came complete with a brother and a sister who may or may not be up for adoption as well. They have a different father than Trinity. In the meanwhile they are going to be in foster care with my daughter and son-in-law.

I am writing like a fiend and I am becoming something of a local “celebrity” or at least a known quantity. The Isthmus Daily Page must have me on a special alert thingie so that when I make a post on my Madison Blog they get notified and if it is Madisony enough and interesting enough they link to me. Dane 101 occasionally links to me as well. I am also writing at a site called Helium which is sort of like a contest thing. The short story I wrote for Gabe is #1 of 79. Wow!

This is a mixed blessing. I am having a hard time dealing with these successes. I feel like a fraud. I am sure someone is going to accuse me of plagiarism because I named the puppy in my story Yeller. I am scared to death that I will not be able to keep this up and my ability to write is really a fluke. It may disappear over night. I may not be able to write tomorrow. Gawd in heaven who ain’t help me.

I feel liked something bad is going to happen in my life. Some kind of doom is hanging over my head. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the sword to fall and cut off this happiness. I’m actually frightened by how well things are going in my life right now. Being this happy scares me. Something bad always happens to destroy it.

I remember journaling about that when I was dating Larry and damned if immediately after I started writing about those feelings the bad shit didn’t start happening. I now know that the vast majority of the shit was the Gremlins playing on my fears because they got at my journal and read about my insecurities but still… That bad fall I took at the Union wasn’t the Gremlins. Or was it? Was I pushed? I’m not certain. There were a lot of people there and they were crowding around us. I could have been…

I am juggling four Blogs and I may start another simply to put Gabe’s stories on. Good lord. Why have I taken on so much? Because I have so much to say I guess. I am going to try to get hold of the woman whose illustration on a card inspired the original story and see if she is interested in illustrating a book. I am going to write a children’s book. I’m scared to death but I believe I can do this.

My goal for my next session with Harry is to talk about why I feel like such a fraud when I am having this much success. Why am I so scared to be so happy and successful/productive?

B

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Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand-a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods-or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.

Willa Cather (1876-1947), U.S. author. “On the Art of Fiction,” On Writing (1920)

Well, Willa, old girl, what would you think of today’s world and instant communication of ideas amongst even the least of us? Do you have a descendant, a younger version of yourself out there on those stark plains in Nebraska somewhere Blogging?

I think you’d rather enjoy this cacophony of voices raised up in “search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic-and have nothing to do with standardized values.” I think you would approve heartily of this medium that allows the voices of the masses to be heard and mold public opinion. I think you would applaud madly.

I first read Will Cather when I was fairly young. She was another author the the librarian at the Andrew Carnegie Library in Clay Center, Nebraska deemed safe to place into my starved little hands. We had reading programs in the summer when I was a child. For every ten or so books you read, you could earn an ice cream cone at the Soft Serve joint across the street from the Park. I could read 10 books a week easy peasy. Maybe 20 since I had read everything in the children’s section at least once. That’s why they promoted me to the adult section. I only had to read one adult book a week,

I planned to sew today. Then I remembered I had to glue some pieces of wood together and a lampshade. That means until they are dry the kitchen table is occupied and I will surely need the kitchen table while I sew. So I am writing instead because I can’t sew.

That’s really bunk. I want to write so I found an excuse why it’s really not convenient. I’ve felt driven to write this past week. It’s like a fever and I can’t not write. The weather is beautiful and I think I should go out and enjoy it because in Wisconsin you really take advantage of days like these days while you have them. Winter approaches.

But I can’t leave this monitor which is new to me by the way. It’s much easier on my eyes and bigger and I love it. I thought I would mourn my old Sony that I have had 12 years and got when I got my first expensive state of the art IBM. Nope it’s sitting in the closet and I don’t care one whit. Sony was a good friend and it was a good old work horse but out with the old and in with the new. This is a Gateway and it will probably never live up to the Sony’s pure gutsiness but the Sony was in the last stages of simply fading away.

But I diverge, back to what’s up with the inability to walk away from the PC? Where are all these words coming from and why am I feeling pushed by some unseen force to record them? Do not interpret that as a supernatural force. I said unseen. I think this is an entirely natural process. This has happened before, these periods where I can’t not write.

Of course the reverse is often true as well. Long periods with nary a word. I will sit down at the keyboard and stare at the monitor and nothing. I will try to type a simple sentence like: I went to the store and bought this or that, and the prose is as flat as a soda sitting in the sun for four hours.

I wander away and brood. Sometimes for days. Sometimes for weeks and months. My personal Muse has wandered away in a snit to play with our words by herself. Moody little bitch. Sometimes I beg her to return in the silence of an endless dreamless night when my thoughts chase themselves around in circles and I know that if I could write I could get to whatever it is that is bothering me and then I could sleep. But no, the keyboard, a pen and paper, even crayons will not entice her out of her hiding place.

When I was first started college, my Professor in English 101 praised my writing so highly that it gave me a case of the heebe jeebees. She really liked me because I was older and polite and best of all, I could spell.

Really, she was impressed by my spelling skills. OK. Cool. My other Professors weren’t as complimentary as she was but they liked me too. I always got these nice remarks on my blue books. That first semester was a little heady for someone who had flunked out of high school.

When it came time to write my term papers I got nervous as hell. What if I couldn’t live up to all that praise? jesus christ on a pogo stick, i put so much work into those papers you’d have thought i was writing a thesis. And I studied like a maniac for my finals. Then I went home and fell into the deepest depression I had experienced to date, sure I had failed everything but English.

When my grades arrived in the mail I was afraid to open the letter. But after the kids were in bed, I sat in my favorite chair and got ready to face the music, turning that letter over and over in my hands beofre I opend it. Holy shit…Straight As.

Even in Algebra which I was sure I would have to repeat so that’s why I took it the first semester. Heck, I hadn’t even had to be tutored. I understood everything.

Then I got the letter from the Dean’s office notifying me that I was on the Dean’s list and my name was in the local paper for having made the Dean’s list and having a 4.0 GPA. I was stunned and suddenly impressed with my bad self.

Then I got scared.

What if I couldn’t live up to all of this. What if this was a fluke. What if I had fooled all of those Professors or some terrible mistake had been made because this just couldn’t be true. It did not jive with anything I knew about myself.

All my life in that damn grade school and high school I had gone to they kept telling me I wasn’t living up to my potential. Or at least that’s what my parents had told me they had said. But no matter how hard I tried I could not achieve whatever it was they wanted me to achieve.

I had so much trouble with math. You see I went to kindergarten in Ohio which was basically like a pre-school. We learned the alphabet and numbers and I knew how to write my name but that was it.

Then I got to Nebraska and a one room schoolhouse with a teacher who really didn’t want some white trash kid who knew too much and was too old in her kindergarten messing up everything. My parents didn’t want me there either because I was old enough for first grade and I had graduated from kindergarten and they had a picture proving it.

So they put me in first grade and my mother taught me to read which I got right away. Reading, WOW! But NOBODY taught me to add and subtract. Ever. I don’t ever remember flashcards for numbers or getting the way numbers worked explained to me. Except one of my little friends showing me how to count on your fingers.

Not until I was 25 and I told my husband I couldn’t add and subtract. More like confessed because he was peeved that I never balanced the check book when I used it. He sat me down and explained numbers to me in detail when I wanted to get my GED.

Did you know that every number that can be divided by 9 also adds up to nine. You know, like 81 divided by 9 equals 9. 8 +1 equals 9. Skip taught me that. Skip was pretty smart when it came to stuff like that. I taught my kids all the stuff he taught me that made numbers easier.

I didn’t know how to tell anyone what the problem was. Or they didn’t listen. Or they didn’t want to hear. Or whatever. They just kept putting these numbers in front of me and telling me to make them do things that I COULD NOT MAKE THEM DO PROPERLY.

i tried. really i tried. i cried and i tried and the numbers would not work. i hated numbers.

Numbers still cause me problems. My daughter has problems with them too. She has been diagnosed as having some weird form of dyslexia that also caused her problems with reading comprehension which I did not have. Numbers transpose themselves and run around on the page for us so we have an uneasy relationship with them. I don’t do numbers past 30 or so. Not even with a calculator.

My daughter has learned how to corral them and even manages to balance her checkbook. I just operate on hope and a general sense of direction in that arena.

But there it was, an A in algebra… What the hell? How had that happened?

When I was a kid, we got a beating for every report card with anything less than a C on it which meant every quarter I got a beating. I never got anything but Ds in math. I remember working my ass off for Mr Bruin one semester–I think I was a freshman–doing every damn bit of homework which was a problem for me with math because I would get so confused and give up. I remember asking my mother for help that semester and she grudgingly gave it to me even though she would soon be tearing my ego into shreds about how stupid I was for not knowing this stuff and not paying attention in class.

Then report cards came out and my usual A in English had slipped to a B and I still got a D in Math. My parents were really pissed. Not only had I gotten-my usual D in math but my other grades were slipping. Of course I had never heard one word of praise for any of those As in the past. My parents did not believe in praise. Pride goeth before a fall you know. Pride is the devil’s handmaiden. right.

I went to Bruin and demanded he look at my grades again and we averaged them out and according to them I should have gotten a C+. So I asked him to change my report card and he refused. He told me he took off points for attitude. I went home crying and told my parents that and my Mother said I had probably deserved it.

What bullshit. What utter bullshit. He thought I had attitude before? Just because I was a Gavin? All Gavins had attitude? Well Ok, he had taught all my Aunts and Uncles and Tommy and Kenny were recent and probably painful memories. My brothers were breathing down his neck. He thought they were bad?

I’d show him attitude. I never turned in another homework assignment again. I never paid attention. I sneered when I spoke to him. I told him to go to hell a couple of times in front of the whole class. Sometimes I didn’t even bother to acknowledge his presence. Colored pencils, a sketch book, or my poetry journal were the only tools I brought to class.

He called me in and asked me what the hell was going on and I told him “I have a bad attitude, remember?” and turned on my heel and walked out. The principa called me in and I told him that if a teacher was going to give me a bad grade for a bad attitude because I was a Gavin I was damn well going to earn it. And if I was going to get beaten at home for said attitude I was going to earn that too.

That was the end of my education as a child. I quit trying. Anything I did at school I did because it pleased ME to do it. That’s why I ended up in honors English. That’s why I got As in art. My parents stopped going to parent teacher conferences about that time. I guess they didn’t want to hear it anymore. Maybe they weren’t invited.

The PE teacher saw my back after a beating one time and asked me what in hell was going on. I didn’t answer but they didn’t call my parents about the shit I pulled the way they called other kids’ parents and I got some heavy duty detentions for my “attitude.” The school may have started trying to protect me. My home ec teacher tried to talk to me but I was too pissed off to talk to anybody. School had become part of the enemy. I started doctoring my report cards and no one said a word about me turning Fs and Ds into Bs.

I got pulled out of Bruin’s classes though and stuck into general math. I flubbed around in there as well. Who gave a fuck.

My parents had already decreed I could not go to college when I was in 7th grade. They had three sons to educate.

I would go to business school and become a secretary. Excuse me, I CANNOT TYPE WITHOUT LOOKING AT MY HANDS. I FLUNKED TYPING, TOO.

another beating. for not trying.

Never mind that I practiced at home for hours on my Mother’s Selectra. How much trying is enough? When do you give up? NEVER. I can type 95 words a minute looking at my hands.  But I still can’t look away from the key board.  I think hit i and my fingers hit the e.

Just like I could not play the piano withut looking at my hands after five years of lessons. I still can’t because if I don’t watch my hands, my fingers don’t do what my brain tell them to.  Piano lessons were another occasion for disapproval and censure but because I was practicing under the watchful eye of my Gran who was also paying for my lessons she could swear that I was pounding away at her old upright fatithfully for an hour every day.

Testing when I was 28 showed that my right brain is dominant and I am right-handed. I should be left-handed.  Actually I am ambidextrous. I could have been left-handed but my mother encouraged me to use my right hand because then I would fit in with “normal people.”  My mother is left-handed.  Apparently, she did not feel normal because she also tried to change my left-handed brother into a righty.  It didn’t take.  Granted, this is a righthanded world.

I was just hanging on at school until they let me the hell out of there.  So far as I could tell, my destiny was to become a wife and mother so I might as well get on with the show.  I could legally leave as soon as I turned 16. If I could get the hell away from my parents I would fly like a bat out of hell.

I write because if I don’t my Muse will begin to scream until she drives me to distraction and then I will begin to scream as well.

B