Thursday, August 9, 2007

His Mountain

by Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer
Posted on August 9, 2007

I received special permission to blog this story.

Last week my oldest son learned the hard lesson that where a group of 10-year-old boys is gathered, someone gets chosen as the odd man out. In this case, it was Adam.

He was at a summer day camp, his first year to go. A certain group of boys, led by a ringleader we'll call Chuck, bullied him all week. It wasn't serious physical bullying--it was the kind that arguably hurts even worse. Adam was taunted and teased and excluded in ways that cut deeply. The camp counselors tried to intervene, but they're all a bunch of college kids not trained to deal with the dynamics of a bullying situation. They weren't a lot of help.

After the first day, we sat down with Adam and went through the list of how to handle a bully: standing up for yourself, teaming up with a friend, talking with the adults. We offered to get involved; he was insistent that he wanted to handle this himself. Though the Mama Bear in me was ready to lash out, instinct told me I should trust him on this one. Read more...

The things that bind

by Aliki2006 at World of One Thousands Different Things
posted on August 8, 2007

Yesterday, pulling away from the college where I teach, I drove past a homeless man pushing one of those old-fashioned baby carriages. It was, somewhat stereotypically, filled with all sorts of random things and probably also personal belongings. I wondered where he was headed, so purposefully, in the 99 degree heat, with that rusty old baby carriage filled with remnants from his life. I always have an incredible desire, at moments like that, to see the story to its end, so to speak. I wanted to follow that man, watch where he went with that carriage, but even then I wouldn't have had all the answers, only more questions; perhaps that same voyeuristic desire to get at someone's life through their things--their artifacts--is what drives some of us (myself included) to wander through estate sales, thinking about the stories behind a silver spoon, or a glass bowl, or a collection of books.

But I drove off and he soldiered on, purposefully, pushing that carriage up the hill, one foot after the other, headed who knows where, in a heat that must have weighed on him like many bricks. Read more...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Songs of Innocence and Experience

by Her Bad Mother at Her Bad Mother
Posted on August 7, 2007

One of the most difficult things about pregnancy, for me, was that it forced me to confront myself as a biological creature. It forced me to experience myself as a body, as a being put entirely into the service of nature. My every wakeful - and not so wakeful - moment was spent in a state of hyper-consciousness about my physicality: I was nurturing a life, and that life depended upon my physical being, and no force of intellect or imagination could alter or facilitate or intercede in that dependency. And as a person who had spent all of her conscious years in her head - and someone who was well-trained in a school of philosophical thought that emphasizes the absolute primacy of mind over body, reason over appetite and base sense - this was very, very hard for me.

So I was anxious - anxious beyond measure - about birth and new motherhood, which I perceived as a broadening and deepening of this experience. I didn't fear it, exactly: I wanted the experience. Every fibre of my physical being strained toward this experience, and demanded that my mind follow - this, in itself, was disconcerting. The thing of it was, rather, that I doubted my ability to stay the course: how would I ever, ever find my way through this dense thicket, this overwhelming jungle, without maps, without books, without the compass of my intellect? How would I survive, if I had only the thrum of my senses to guide me? Read More...