Thursday, June 15, 2006
In the Beginning Was the Word
In the fifth grade, my language arts teacher had us read a book about the power of the word, a parable in which a person could give someone else a "warm fuzzy" (a compliment) or a "cold prickly" (a put-down). Of course, warm fuzzies were the way to go according to the author. I hadn't experienced all that many warm fuzzies in class -- the last time I'd fallen for someone's kindness was when one of the boys in the class said he liked my necklace, a butterfly with a rainbow on it. When I smiled, he proceeded to ask me where the dead (insert racially slanderous term starting with an n) was that I had stolen said necklace from. Given this kind, humane environment, I dreaded the assignment that followed the reading -- we were to make warm fuzzies and scotch-tape them to other students. Dear Jesus, this was hell and I was living it. I used all my fiction writing skills to come up with as many warm fuzzies as I could and the others in the class also begin to write, but with more glee than usual, and I could see what was going to happen before the rather dense teacher. Many cold pricklies came under the guise of the warm fuzzies, back-handed compliments, outright insults, blank pages with only "ha ha" written on them. We all had to sit down and take a time out to think about our evil little selves. Had we learned nothing from the book? Our teacher couldn't believe the cruelty. I guess she bought all the bullshit about the lovely unspoiled humanity of children. I kept my warm fuzzies with me, the real ones, though, even though we were told to throw everything out. You take your kindness where you can get it, even if it's pinned to your back that's against the wall most of the time.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Words lead to deeds, acts of kindness and mercy." St. Theresa of the Little Flower
1 shot of starbucks coffee liquor
1 shot of godiva liquor
1 cup of hot chocolate
Make hot chocolate and add the shots.
Benedictions and Maledictions
Love the lively debate on the comment board! Have to agree with Robin about trusting intuition. There's always a moment before something huge happens, for better or worse, that you are given a sense of it, a way for you to embrace it or run from it. Some people call it your conscience, some the voice of God, and so on. I know it exists, regardless of what one names it, and we put ourselves in great peril when we ignore it. Of course, peril is a great learning experience so it works out either way.
In regards to all the academic crap, I spent a lot of money and time drinking to get it out of my head. Ultimately, I found that a) I was not very good at it and b) it was vaguely masturbatory (and not in the good Woody Allen, sex with someone I love, kind of way). Thank you, Robin, for the kind compliment about my class -- I try to be as straight as possible about the writing process and have fun with it and hope to impart anything and everything that can help -- but mostly, my entire class can be boiled down to this -- write anything you can for as long as you can and enjoy it! As for the comparision to Anne Sexton and the compliment on "The Difference Between Sex and Rough Sex," I send a big old kiss to Mr. Anonymous Rants. Love Anne Sexton -- she was beautiful, brilliant, and completely devoted to her poetry, fanatical with her persistence and didn't let anyone or anything get in her way, even her own mental illness -- when she taught classes (and she taught very very few), she'd tell the students not to bother with obscure references to other poems and poets -- she wouldn't get them. What's not to love about someone like that? As for "Cathedral," it's not my favorite Carver story, but I have come around to liking it more as years pass, but emotionally I understand a story like"Vitamins" better. Who could resist a last line as brilliant as -- "Things kept falling."