2008/12/31

Bad words

Well, not really "bad" words. There is no such thing as a bad word, as far as I am concerned. From my perspective. As I see it. This is more in the category of leftovers that simply will not tolerate any further mutations and which cannot be set on the table any more for a very very long time. These are the creamed eggs on toast of verbiage.

(We ate a lot of creamed eggs on toast in our early marriage ... I am not allowed to serve it ever again in this house. You don't know what it is? Oh. Well, it's a white sauce flavored with herbs (or not) and into which one cuts up hard boiled eggs. Serve on toast. What? Well, go eat something else then! I like creamed eggs on toast! And searching for a picture has revealed to me that this dish might also be called Eggs Goldenrod (fancy!) or "Nun's Toast" -- and I think that's funny. Also ... this picture is far more appetizing than our plates ever were. Go to the post at Debbie Does Edmonds, and you'll discover something else I find amusing. Her husband put up a fight over this dish. Maybe it's a woman's food? After all, its other name isn't Monk's Toast.)

Now, where was I?

Oh yeah. Bad words. Don't serve these words to me anymore. Just cut it out! Stop it! Do not say this stuff any more for a long, long time. This is the annual Banished Words List. Take heed, parrots. Expunge this verbiage from your vocabulary.
Lake Superior State University "maverick" word-watchers, fresh from the holiday "staycation" but without an economic "bailout" even after a "desperate search," have issued their 34th annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. This year's list may be more "green" than any of the previous lists and includes words and phrases that people from "Wall Street to Main Street" say they love "not so much" and wish to have erased from their "carbon footprint."
"Staycation" has my vote for most egregious hodgepodge of nonsense.

And for a Perfect Storm of Cliches, read this from toledoblade.com. Because, after all is said and done, at the end of the day, we do without a doubt too often hit the ground running, trying for that win-win situation, forgetting to think outside the box. And where does that get us? Back to square one, obviously. And probably without a paddle.

2008/12/30

What job would you not like to do?

You know the questions, right? The famous Bernard Pivot questions James Lipton asks his guests on Inside the Actors Studio?
  1. What is your favorite word?
  2. What is your least favorite word?
  3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
  4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
  5. What sound or noise do you love?
  6. What sound or noise do you hate?
  7. What is your favorite curse word?
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
  9. What profession would you not like to do?
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Well, not only would I hate it, I would be lethal at it. I must never, never, never take up the care and keeping of animals of any kind.

Today,
1. My dog walked off, and I have a strong suspicion she's gone into the woods to go to the big (safe) dog kennel in the sky. After having gotten too close to the wheels of the truck, she rolled into a ditch and has spent the last day and a half on the back porch, not eating or drinking anything.

2. The white horse (not my horse, but pastured outside my window in my field) found his way out of his fenced area again. Now I don't see him any more. (Why didn't you put him back? He's not my horse and he doesn't wear a bridle. Why didn't you call his owner? I did.)

3. The danged cat is making me nuts. She "caught" a mouse or shrew or something and now we can't find it. We can't find the rodent. We see the cat. The cat is completely uninterested in finding the rodent.

I'm just not an animal person. I'm just not.

sigh ...

2008/12/29

When something dies

This is about the tenth attempt at getting a post written. Or anything else written, for that matter. I have been trying to figure out how to put words to the small litany of things that are pulsing at the back of my mind.

The unifier - the Idea of all of them - has finally come to me.

It's about Death.

Yeah. Death.

Ever watch Houseboat? There is a scene in which the dad says to the son that yes, he (the dad) will have to die -- to make room for the son and for his sons and for his son's sons. Every year we watch the truth of this. Every year, the old year dies to make room for the new. Every year, we become separated again from every attachment and everything we have loved and everyone we have known. We cannot step twice in the same river. (Heraclitus) The river is not the same - water flows on. And we are not the same. Time flows on.

Every day must die at the setting of the sun ... or there could be no tomorrow after the night. Every year must die. And every relationship. Over and over and over. Whether it will be a new relationship tomorrow is never certain at the death. But the death happens. The grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies. This makes crops. The death happens, and sometimes, the death is the seed of new life. Not always, but sometimes.

What happens to us as we get older? Do we forget to grieve over the dying wheat? Do we decide that it's silly? Or useless? Or wrong? I am starting to suspect that we should be careful about this issue of death and grief. I am starting to wonder if we inadvertently build a back log of grief, and then, far out of proportion to the thing that breaks the dam, great and overwhelming devastation happens. Our sludge buries us because we saved it up. We were making power. We thought that the pile of fly ash was just a fact of our productive lives. And then one day the dam bursts.

And if we stop so long in grief at our losses at the close of our years? If we stop and stay and begin to feel that grief is our most natural state?

Then we are too intent on grieving to notice it when the sun comes up again. And the sun does come up.

So, here, at the close of this year, I bring my little grains of wheat to the edge of the trench I dig, and I bury them. First, I bury my fertility of body, and pray for the gentle sun and rain of spring to bring fertility of soul. Personal reading and personal Rule of Life to water, school to feed and tend, the warmth of brilliant mind and silly conversation at home to germinate, and the hope of a crop is in the soil.

This year I will also put some relationships and affections into the ground near the fence where they cannot invade the garden. I am at a loss as to how to tend them, and experimenting with them has not gone well. These seem to be wild plants. I have no ability to handle them without doing damage to them - or to me! I keep getting stung. Nothing for it, but to let it go.

All these little deaths, and a few big ones. I plant them in the ground. I thank them for their lives. I kiss them good bye, and I remember to feel the sadness. I owe them that much at least. And in their honor, I wait for the spring.

Education

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
Aritstotle

2008/12/26

You just GOTTA TRY this!

www.literature-map.com

This is just about the coolest little toy I've seen in ages!

Literature-Map - the tourist map of literature
Find a writer in the map:

Name of the author:

And then ...What else do readers of ______________ read?

The closer two writers are, the more likely someone will like both of them.

Click on a name to travel along.

On the Feast Day of Saint Stephen

We didn't know, when we named our sons, that the two days after Christmas are the feast days of St. Stephen and St. John, but they are. Today is for the protomartyr ... and for Good King Wenceslas to do his miracle.
"Good King Wenceslas" is a popular Christmas carol about a king who goes out to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (the second day of Christmas, December 26). During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by the heat miraculously emanating from the king's footprints in the snow. The legend is based on life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia (907-935), known in the Czech language as Svatý Václav.

2008/12/24

O Christbook Tree, and snow on snow

Like it? It's from a great little blog I found called BookLust.

Today is Christmas Eve.

Good news: Portland is starting to get enough warm air to scour out the unprecedented pile of snowy weather.
Bad news: The Columbia Gorge is where the resistant cold weather is coming from, making certain areas of Portland slow to thaw. The Columbia Gorge is where I live.

Good news: The boys who are both men are both home.
I'm-not-sure-what-kind-of-news: The boys are both home in a snowstorm (probably another 6 or 8 inches by noon, the way it's coming down at the moment), and they brought their instruments.

Good news: We got the phone call in time, and the husband has been successfully stopped from heading into the worse and worse weather to work in Hood River today.
Bad news: Worse and worse weather.

Good news: Man, oh man, did I ever buy groceries yesterday.
Bad news: Christmas shopping was a nearly nonexistent activity this year.

Good news: The husband is already at the bottom of the driveway so that he could snowshoe over to his mother's to put pellets in her furnace, and since he doesn't have to go to work, he can go to the grocery store and get something special for breakfast and then come home and stay here.
Bad news: There is no way -- really actually no way -- the daughter and the son-in-law can make it up here before they have to head back to Ft. Lewis after Christmas leave.

Good news: I was in Portland to help decorate the inside of the church yesterday, and the organist practiced, and the greens were hung, and the tall new creamy white candles put into their candle stands, and the nativity set arranged ... I was out of here and inside the bricks and music and greens and icons for long enough that Christmas became real for me yesterday.

Good news: I sent the army kids their cute little thyme "tree" by way of a florist earlier this week. (Hope they got it!)

Good news: We do own snowshoes. Never thought they'd be anything but recreational, but this year they are essential.

Good news: Both sons did themselves proud this quarter. Amazingly so. The man at the "hippy school" taking multi-disciplinary courses got all "full credit" and all "positive evaluations." (This translates to straight A's, but he's "not bound by conventions like grades and letters and other such trappings of the establishment." There was more to that hilarious goofiness in the car on the way home last night, but that's the jist of it.) And the man at the music school carried fifteen hours, worked for a living, moved twice (to get out of rent he couldn't afford, and then out of a very bad situation), paid his bills, is not now nor ever will be one of God's little naturally academic types, and still managed a 3.0 GPA. I am so damn proud of him! Of them both.

All in all, the good news outweighs the bad, I'd say. All healthy. All safe. All at sixes and sevens because of the "deepest snow on record for the month of December," but it's okay. We've food and candles and bearded giants in the bedrooms. I can live with this -- and smile.

At 1:30 in the morning

...both the young giants are in the living room, the dad is drinking his tea, Mr. "I've only had a half a cup of Maltomeal today" has eaten a sandwich, and riffs of laughter are filtering up here between riffs of guitar music. I'm so tired I am starting to see things in waves. And I think we're in the house for the long haul. If tomorrow's storm materializes this will be the first Midnight Mass we've missed in 13 years. It was windy on the way home from Portland - but not snowing or icing. So we'll see.

2008/12/23

Happy Birthday, Grandpa Les

When I was a child, we celebrated our extended family's Christmas on December 23 because that day was Grandpa's birthday. And because Grandpa Les was the Norwegian grandpa, the grownups ate lutefisk and lefse. (The kids, at the table in the kitchen, did not eat lutefisk. Lutefisk smells very bad. Or, at least it used to. That's not just my memory at work - other people say you can get it now in an un-smelly version. Whatever. It smelled quite bad when we were kids.) Because of Grandpa's birthday and Norwegian family, we said the table grace in Norwegian. It is the only Norwegian language I know, and I am not sure I would be understood in Norway, but one of these days I will go to Norway and find out what this table grace sounds like there.
I Jesu navn går vi til bords
å spise, drikke på ditt ord.
Deg, Gud til ære, oss til gavn,
Så får vi mat i Jesu navn.
Amen.
In Jesus' name to the table we go
To eat and drink according to His word.
To God the honor, us the gain,
So we have food in Jesus' name.
Amen.
Fire and ice. Christmas traditions. Fish and potato bread. These things are in my blood. Maybe that's why I am entranced by the sound of Trio Mediaeval. And why these women look as if they could easily have been at the Christmas Party-Grandpa's Birthday of my childhood.
"Singing doesn't get more unnervingly beautiful than the exquisite display mounted in Herbst Theatre on Thursday night by Trio Mediaeval. With its cool, unerringly precise blend of voices, the group made a local debut that has to count among the musical highlights of the year." - San Fransisco Chronicle
Unnervingly beautiful. That's about right, I'd say.

2008/12/22

Miss Dashwood

Quite accurate, this little quiz. Try it for yourself!

I am Elinor Dashwood!


Take the Quiz here!

The downside of optimism

Here in the maritime northwest, we have a special breed of people. We're all a bit on the artsy side ... we don't like people who are full of self-righteousness - or b.s. And we're all just a little too optimistic about our chances with the fates. This is not a good thing in surprise and unfamiliar storms. Seriously. We're just not cut out for this.

Not better

Temperature's gone up outside. Now it's 20 degrees. And snowing like crazy. And deeper - a lot deeper - than yesterday. No Christmas in the house, no highway in or out of town, and now husband who keeps both houses warm is on the couch with the headache that woke him this morning. If he's getting sick on top of all of the rest of this ...

At least I know how to walk around in snow shoes. If I have to be the pellet stove filler across the road as well as here, I can do it. Christmas Eve is day after tomorrow, though, and I really do not see any way to get off our property except on foot.

We're about 300 feet higher in elevation than the bridge down there at Cascade Locks. Oh, the poor delivery people and emergency crews and road workers and hospital people!

2008/12/21

Addendum to previous post:

All those women who get their Christmas preparations completed earlier than Advent have always made me roll my eyes. I just can't even think about it until the season turns. Or ... can I? The weather people currently preempting all local programming on the television have just said that Wednesday (that's the Wednesday also known as "Christmas Eve" - that Wednesday) will bring a probable clearing out of the frozen weather. Friday for sure. Wednesday maybe.

I just might do my Christmas preparations in November after this.

Overlooked

Like, for instance, you might've overlooked a blizzard. Doesn't really seem possible to overlook a blizzard, but I've done it. And "blizzard" is not the name of the cat. For the first time I have ever heard of, they closed WA State Hwy 14, up the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. Interstate 84 on the Oregon side is also closed between us and Portland. We're socked in for real, and guess what? I have not done my Christmas food shopping, nor picked up some presents we still wanted to get. I have the house all spiffed up and ready. But no sons in sight, and no larder full of festival food, and good golly, it's cold!

We were supposed to be adding the people back in, starting today. The last to leave the first to return -- taller bearded giant, then not-as-tall not-as-bearded giant, then the gor-baby and her husband by Christmas Eve. But today's blocked roads are also blocked train travel, so taller bearded giant is stuck at school. Today is Sunday. Wednesday is Christmas Eve. Come, warm southern winds! I need to go to the store!

2008/12/19

Trina

About twenty years before I became the grownup me I am today, Trina Schart Hyman made this picture of me. She didn't know it was me, of course. She probably thought she was making a picture of herself, for all I know. But it's me. (Note the glasses on the head and the glasses on the nose. This is why I only own one pair of glasses - so that can't happen to me.) I first saw this picture as a greeting card we sold in the coffee store my dad owned. I was working there. I may even have placed the order with the rep who brought us the cards. And I used to own a copy of it for myself, but it got lost somewhere in all our moves. And here it is!

Thank you so much, Di!

I first got to know the work of Trina Schart Hyman in the wonderful and enchanting book, Stuck With Luck, which Hyman illustrated and I bought from the Weekly Reader Book Club (one of the best inventions for conventional schools EVER - remember it? You take home that impossibly thin newsprinty paper order sheet each month with your Weekly Reader from that week, and you check the boxes for the books you want, and you bring your money to school, and in a little while, the teacher gets a box from the Weekly Reader Book Club, and inside that box is your books! I ask you. Could there be anything more wonderful?).

I think I read this book several times while I was home sick from school. I was home sick from school a lot. And I loved this book. You can't really see it here - this is the only image I could find of the cover - but the picture is of the hapless boy who accidentally ends up with a terrier and a leprechaun and his life becomes a bit complicated by these things. (Hilariously, this book image is from a site about terriers!)

And now I have the image from that greeting card again. I sure hope something amazing happens to Di this month. I cannot thank her enough.

On a hunt for that Trina Schart Hyman illustration

If you are as devoted to well-illustrated children's books as I am, then you are familiar with the fascinating work of Trina Schart Hyman. She died in November of 2004, and this makes my hunt increasingly more determined.

I need a copy of one of her pictures - I have this picture only in my memory. It was a greeting card. Has anyone else seen it? Do you know where I can find it? Here's a description:

There is a woman at her desk, and all around her, piled every which way in leaning towers, are books and papers galore. It's got an old-fashioned library feel to it. Thousands of details (like a lot of her work has), and books and papers and papers and books in stacks. And a woman. At her desk. (This is so frustrating! I'm starting to lose everything about this evocative picture except my love for it.) Can someone help me out? Has anyone else seen it?

The season's absolute best ... in the category of WORST IDEA

Ah, America. Home of the free, the brave ... the terminally tacky ... Where else could this story take place? It's not even a joke!

Burger King is hoping to be known as more than “The Home of the Whopper.”

This weekend, the fast food chain rolled out “Flame,” a new men’s body spray billed as “the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.”

And an informal survey by the Boston Herald found that there are men out there who’d wear it - even one who seemed to be named after a meat.

“It’s very nice,” said Salami Caushi, 55 and a South Boston resident, who was sipping hot coffee at the Burger King on Broadway yesterday.

As his companion grimaced, Caushi sprayed the scent on his wrist, and then took a long sniff of Flame for men.

“Yes, nice,” he said.

Tony Rama, who was sitting downwind of Caushi, strongly disagreed. “It’s much too heavy,” he said.

A few tables away, Reno Hoxhallari, 29 and from Medford, was taken aback by the burger joint’s new product.

“It’s got to be a joke,” he said, as he scrutinized a photo of the chain’s cartoonish King, languishing by the fire, wearing his crown and little else.

Two days ago - just in time for the holidays - the fast food chain began selling the body spray, for $4 a bottle, at Rickey’s, a New York City retailer, and on the Web site, http://www.firemeetsdesire.com/.

Yesterday, after the company distributed samples to various news organizations, the Herald took it on a trial run.

“It smells like cinnamon,” said Alyse Hawco, 14, of Dorchester. She was at Burger King enjoying a post-school snack with some friends.

“I’d buy it for my brother,” she said.

Up the street, at a crowded corner on Broadway, a group of men in their 20s were initially skeptical about the fragrance.

“Flame??” one man said. “I think they should change the name.”

Another guy wondered if it would “make me break out.”

But after their female companion said she liked it, their opinions appeared to shift.

“Yeah, I’d think about it,” said Jaime, a native Cape Codder.

“Do you think it’ll make girls swarm?” he asked his friends.

"Swarm"??? Uh ... no. Not so much.

2008/12/18

On the right track

This cartoon from Canary Pete is perfect for how I feel just at this moment. I found his cartoon here, by the way. Also interesting.

Anyway, I'm having a moment of In The Right Room, or On The Right Track, or something like that. I've just heard from my instructor. The essay I wrote that is for a course in my declared major has come back from the evaluators, and they recommend not only the three upper division credits I requested, but they also recommend I take a grade for it instead of pass/fail. They recommend an A! I could not possibly be any more pleased. I am on the right track, and it feels good.

2008/12/16

I amuse me

Okay, I just think this is funny. This is the kind of funny that makes my children roll their eyes, but I think it's funny. This first book is one I'll need for the course in January. It's called Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions. It's about the connection between brain and immune function, and the ability to find words for events we experience. (yay! Very cool. It's so nice of researchers to do all this work so I can say, See? I told you it worked that way!)

Here's an excerpt:
The second group of people for whom this book is written is made up of individuals interested in the mind, the body, and psychosomatics. Growing evidence suggests that translating events into language can effect the brain and immune function.
Then there's this. I checked it out from the library because I'm currently very fascinated with working with felted wool. This book is called ...

(ready?)

How We Felt.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! ("How We Felt" .... !) hahahahaa! Oh, c'mon. That's funny. Yes it is!

2008/12/15

A message only a mother could love

In my inbox:
I'm just fine. The internet has been down a lot recently in my mod. Anyways, I'll get back to you after my evals tomorrow with train info, hopefully I won't have to write that in the library.
I amuse myself. This is actually enough for me. I knew when he was three that "too many words" was never going to be one of my issues with this kid. (And I knew when he was three that he'd grow up to think it was funny to say "anyways" ... ) Christmas break. Soon. Really soon.

Brrrr!

In a highly unusual set of days, I have just spent nearly the entire weekend in the company of my husband, and only my husband. It's been like an enforced vacation or something - really nice. He couldn't go anywhere, and after he'd winterized all the fluid-containing things (like the pressure washer, forgotten a few winters ago until it froze into a very expensive repair need) he stayed home. We watched movies. The Apartment and Across the Universe. And the director's cut of Woodstock.

Yes, Woodstock. Most of my readers didn't know me when, but for those of you who did, I have an announcement to make. The girl has evolved. Seriously. I have at last come to the place of genuine appreciation for the genius, generosity, and extreme, defiant, and hopeful youthfulness of Woodstock. I even "get" what Hendrix was doing. Weird, huh.

The arctic deep freeze currently holding our part of the world in its crackling grip made it impossible for either of us to go anywhere this past weekend, and instead, we drank tea and watched movies and discussed culture and music and the delicious surprise our lives have turned out to be -- mostly because the life we've built together turned out to be possible after all. All you need is love.

Today the man filled the wood pellet stoves in my house and his mother's, and brought an extra bag in for me for later. He has taken his 4-wheel-drive vehicle out onto the frozen freeway to drive to work, and may the holy Guardian Angels keep all idiots far far away from the old pale yellow Isuzu. Modern urban idiots. I wish there were a way to keep them in their homes when they're a danger to themselves and others. It turns out that a huge gas-guzzling vehicle with 4-wheel-drive does not increase driving expertise. At all. Seems to have the opposite effect, actually.

We don't generally get this much cold this many days in a row, and when we do, it's not usually this early in the winter. More snow expected too! Weird, man. It's just weird. And cold.

2008/12/11

I see

While recovering from the week's virus, I have been soaking in Inside the Actors Studio, and I have just this moment gotten a very clear glimpse of my own personal fire in the belly. Art is not what I want to study, although Art fascinates me. Art Therapy? Also fascinating. Art History? Film? Visual Arts? Musical Arts? Yes ... and all of the above, but no .... not really any of those ... it's ... um ... It's Domestic Arts and sociological phenomenon ... I need some film classes and some art history classes ... To watch the artists on Inside the Actor's Studio is to watch the personal creativity - the creation of ------- (gasp!)

CLANG! That's it!

That's the beginning of it. That's the unity of it.

The Art is a thing of beauty. It takes my breath away. All Art does that to me. But the tears come and the fire is lit and the glow and the heat begin at the center of me, just behind my navel, and spread to my breastbone and the backs of my hands when I watch the Artists.

What is the first thing we know about God? "In the beginning, God created." That's the first and defining thing about God that we, His image, can know. We create. He creates. He created. We create.
To watch the human Artist is to see the finger of God.

For further reading and further writing

I've handed in my final essay for this quarter. It was for a communications course called Communication of Self-Esteem, and it was a danged hard paper to write. I think that if I'd been watching me, I'd have been trying to figure out why I kept making a Byzantine labyrinth and pile of laundered knots all felted together out of what was really a fairly straight-forward task. But I haven't really had time to look at why on earth I would complicate things so much - there has only been time to walk the labyrinth and work the knots apart and get the thing handed in.

A long time ago, when we first saw the interior of our parish and first talked to the first person we ever met there, one of us commented, "I've never been more uncomfortable anywhere in my life - and I never want to go to church anywhere else." That person, it turned out, had a vocation to the sacred ministry.

I think this is the same. I've never had a more difficult time with myself any time I was trying to write - and I never want to write about anything else. I think I have found my spot. Located my lenses. Sometimes a girl's just gotta stop pressing forward for a minute or two, and straighten up and stretch, and look around a little. Sometimes when she does this, she has to admit that there's been a theme developing in her life.

First of all, part of my Documentation for this essay was an annotated book list. I'll put it at the end of this post. It represents thousands of hours of obsessive study I've done on my own, and I didn't really see it as the mountain of information it has become until I did this annotated book list. I am surprised to discover that I may have reached some kind of former addict's milestone at last. (Hi. I'm Stephanie, and I'm a recovering fundamentalist.) I can finally find truth and reality in places and from people I don't entirely agree with. (Thank you, Jane Austen. I've learned at last that sometimes even the odious Miss Bingley may be telling the truth. Thank you, Philip Barry. "Mac the night watchman is a prince among men, Uncle Willie is a... pincher.")

And secondly, the classes I want to take include:

HMS 381 -- The Psychology of Tranformational Narrative
HMS 378 -- Critical Thinking in the Human Sciences
HMS 352 -- Bio/Psycho/Spiritual Integration
PHL 201 -- Foundations of Philosophy
SPH 359 -- Phenomenology and Existentialism
ANT 304 -- Applied Anthropology
LIT 402 -- Psychoanalysis and Culture

It's pretty hard to look at that list and still avoid the truth of my strongest bent - my direction becomes obvious - even to me. It is time to admit it. This is the hardest thing I've ever done. And I never want to do anything else.

Here's my annotated bib (funny name, I think -- I bet we could sell them to the children of the hyper-educated -- annotated bibs). Click on the pics for links to the books. (Sounds like the beginning of a very rhymey book.)

Gillingham, Anna and Stillman, Bessie W. The Gillingham Manual: Remedial Training for Children with Specific Disability in Reading, Spelling, and Penmanship. Cambridge, Massachusettes: Educators Publishing Service, originally published 1935.
The Orton-Gillingham work makes use of a multi-sensory approach to teaching language skills, linking the three modalities of auditory, kinesthetic, and visual learning through specific exercises and sequential lessons. This basic training manual is for adult and child learners, and proposes to help the brain form connections through whole-body interactions with the written English language. It is a professional training manual, and would be best used with instruction from an experienced teacher, but the concepts are not complicated or difficult to implement. The use of all modalities for learning is so efficient that these methods are also useful for regular learners, and not just multi-sensory learners.

Levine, Mel. Keeping a Head in School. Cambridge, Massachusettes: Educators Publishing Service, 1994.
Dr. Mel Levine is fairly well-known among teachers who specialize in multi-sensory learning, dyslexia, and other learning disabilities. All Kinds of Minds, co-founded by Dr. Levine, specializes in neurodevelopmental issues. Keeping a Head in School was written for the students themselves, and is very useful for explaining what is going on with language processing so that the student can take ownership of his own learning process in the midst of a classroom environment which might not be very friendly to his brain’s ways of finding and holding information. This book is immensely helpful for any parent or teacher who would like to understand the challenges from the student’s point of view.


Baron, Renee. What Type Am I?: The Myers-Brigg Type Indication Made Easy. New York: Penguin Books, 1998.
Renee Baron is the author of several self-testing, self-analyzing, self-help type books. This book has an easily accessible, light-hearted format and is not useful for academic study, but is very useful for quick explanations. Especially enjoyable are the illustrations that are “worth a thousand words” of description of the sixteen personality types which capture the true flavor of various kinds of people.


Beck, Martha. Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001.
Life coach and author Martha Beck proposes the idea that it is possible to use the clues in one’s own life and one’s own body in order to discover one’s most authentic self. There are exercises throughout the book so that the reader has a format to follow for interaction with the theory. Useful ideas included are: the ability to choose an “everybody” so that the interior thought that “everybody thinks” or “everybody says” is populated by supportive people; ways to tell the difference between fear, grief, anger, and joy; and the four stages of change, beginning with “Square One.” This is a good book for the kind of thoughtful work that must be done whenever a person has detached from his own body in order to avoid feelings or reactions to overwhelming events, and it also highly useful for any period of life that includes a lot of change.

Keirsey, David. Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence. Del Mar, California: Prometheus Nemesis, 1998.
Keirsey has done some of the most widely accepted work in bringing the Myers-Briggs type sorter into the modern world. The book is a bit dry in its tone and is therefore not easily accessible reading for most people. Keirsey’s website, testing services, and books are an industry standard and are often used by corporations. He groups the sixteen types into the four broader categories of Guardian, Artisan, Idealist, and Rational, which I find to be too limiting for a thorough understanding, and too heavily reliant on the ancient Greek model of the four temperaments, but the research is extensive.

Myers, Isabel Briggs. Gifts Differering: Understanding Personality Type.
Written by one of the original Myers-Briggs Type Indicator pioneers and co-authored by her son, the book presents the work of Carl Jung in a way that repudiates the idea that we are all variants of a mythical and elusive “normal” person. Rather, Myers was a fierce champion of the benefits – the “gifts” – we have in our differences, and devoted her life to the uphill battle against established theory and practice of her day’s psychologies in an effort to help people understand that our differences are good. The book is a thorough explanation of her ideas and her work.

Myss, Caroline. Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing. New York: Harmony Books, 1996.
Caroline Myss takes the three views of humans found in the seven Christian sacraments, the Hindu chakras, and the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life, and unites them in a cohesive view of “biology as biography.” Although the book is made of theory and anecdote, and not practical exercise or tests, it is useful for the practical work of understanding what the body is trying to tell the soul about itself and its life. There are several charts which may be used for quick reference once the concepts are understood.

Pearman, Roger R. and Albritton, Sarah. I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just Not You: The Real Meaning of the Sixteen Personality Types. London: Financial Times Pitman Publishing, 1998.
A good explanation of the types and how they view the world around them, but chiefly remarkable for its brilliant title. There are several sets of dialogue included in this book, useful also for tuning the inner ear to the way the sixteen types sound in conversation, and charts listing characteristics of the various types against the same list for a different type so that the difference stand out in greater relief than mere explanation of one type at a time would be able to do.

Thomson, Lenore. Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.
Although it is often described as “advanced” or as written for an esoteric audience, there is nothing off-putting or dry in Thomson’s brilliant contribution to the conversation about type theory. The book includes her version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, using slightly more sophisticated versions of the questions than Keirsey’s Type Sorter, and groups the sixteen types into eight “primary functions.” The science of left- and right-brained people, documented by researchers explains the orientation of the types, and the functions beyond the basic introversion/extroversion and sensate/intuitive distinctions are discussed so that the lifetime of maturing and growing within a personality can be explored. For illustration purposes, modern popular culture and media are referred to, and Thomson’s treatment of the midlife dilemma in human development is especially valuable. There is also a helpful and concise explanation of what it means when a Jungian psychologist talks about the “shadow,” and what that shadow can tell us about ourselves and our development. Lenore Thomson, M.Div., writes on theology and psychology and lectures at the C.G. Jung Foundation in New York.

2008/12/10

Please Read

From the Mother Letter Project, an excerpt from Ann Voskamp:

I can’t help but think this is work in its purest, most Edenic form, work that is an unadulterated expression of love and creativity, work free of monetary stain or manufacturing triteness.

If the world ever urgently needed a Christian model of work, work done without force, without manipulation or bartering for finances, isn’t a mother’s work that elusive ideal?

It leers at me on medical forms, government forms, that space labeled “Occupation,” and inky point of my Bic pen always hangs. What exactly is my occupation, this work that I do raising six children? Sadly, I imagine how I might be regarded if I scratch it out in block letters, “Housewife” or “Stay-at-Home-Mom.” Because our society flaunts the fallacy that the only valid work is that which brings in a paycheck, buys us niceties.
“The habit of thinking about work as something one does to make money is so ingrained in us that we can scarcely imagine what a revolutionary change it would be to thinking about it instead in terms of the work done,” writes Dorothy Sayers, Oxford graduate and member of the informal group of writers that included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

“To do so would mean taking the attitude of mind we reserve for our unpaid work – the things we make and do for pleasure…. and making that the standard of all our judgments about things and people.”
It’s true. We can hardly imagine how counter-culture it would be to make unpaid work, the work we do for love, like mothering and its bearing and feeding and giving and teaching and laughing and crying and caring for children, and made it the standard for our assessment of work.

Sayers explores the possibilities, “We should ask of an enterprise, not “will it pay?” but “is it good?”; of a man, not “what does he make?” but “what is his work worth?”;… of employment, not “how much a week?” but “will it exercise my faculties to the utmost?”

Yeah ... if her voice sounded more like Katherine Hepburn, this would be about right

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Grace!

mm.grace_.jpg


You are a Grace -- "I need to understand the world."


Graces have a need for knowledge and are introverted, curious, analytical, and insightful.

How to Get Along with Me
  • * Be independent, not clingy

  • * Speak in a straightforward and brief manner

  • * I need time alone to process my feelings and thoughts

  • * Remember that If I seem aloof, distant, or arrogant, it may be that I am feeling uncomfortable

  • * Make me feel welcome, but not too intensely, or I might doubt your sincerity

  • * If I become irritated when I have to repeat things, it may be because it was such an effort to get my thoughts out in the first place

  • * don't come on like a bulldozer

  • * Help me to avoid my pet peeves: big parties, other people's loud music, overdone emotions, and intrusions on my privacy

What I Like About Being a Grace
* standing back and viewing life objectively
* coming to a thorough understanding; perceiving causes and effects
* my sense of integrity: doing what I think is right and not being influenced by social pressure
* not being caught up in material possessions and status
* being calm in a crisis

What's Hard About Being a Grace
  • * being slow to put my knowledge and insights out in the world

  • * feeling bad when I act defensive or like a know-it-all

  • * being pressured to be with people when I don't want to be

  • * watching others with better social skills, but less intelligence or technical skill, do better professionally
Graces as Children Often

  • * spend a lot of time alone reading, making collections, and so on

  • * have a few special friends rather than many

  • * are very bright and curious and do well in school

  • * have independent minds and often question their parents and teachers

  • * watch events from a detached point of view, gathering information

  • * assume a poker face in order not to look afraid

  • * are sensitive; avoid interpersonal conflict

  • * feel intruded upon and controlled and/or ignored and neglected
Graces as Parents

  • * are often kind, perceptive, and devoted

  • * are sometimes authoritarian and demanding

  • * may expect more intellectual achievement than is developmentally appropriate

  • * may be intolerant of their children expressing strong emotions


Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

2008/12/09

Why the dogs were barking

We live only about 2/3 of a mile from town. From houses. People. Plenty of 'em. When the dogs bark, there might be kids in the woods who shouldn't be there but are. Or a coyote maybe. Or another dog. Usually, though, the horses don't canter up to the top of the field to see. Unless, of course, the dogs are barking at (and then judiciously deciding to share the field with) these:
Can you see what those are?
Elk.
Those are elk.
In my yard. I have elk in my yard. At this elevation! 13 cows and a huge bull with a giant rack of horns, and I just BET the dudes in the mud-splattered pickup that came up my driveway "took a wrong turn." I just bet they did. I'm sure there wasn't a gun in that truck. No sirree. They weren't going to shoot elk on my property. Nossir.
ELK!I need a new camera for Christmas. People are going to stop believing me unless I have proof of this sort of thing.

The glory and the goofy

Outside my upstairs window ... across the field ... above the trees this morning ...
and on my desk whenever the sun comes out ...

2008/12/08

Fear factors

There are different kinds of fear. It seems silly to be on earth nearly five decades, and only just now figuring this out. Maybe it's confusing because the different fears feel the same in the body. Or ... nearly the same. Fears all sound to the inner ear like the same word, only with different accents - the same songs in other keys. Something like that. They all feel the same. But they are not all the same.

There is a fear that says, "Don't go in there! Didn't you see? The Monster went in there! The music! No! Listen! The scary music is starting! Don't go in there!" When we refuse to listen to that fear, blundering ahead like some bubble-headed starlet doomed to be axed or stabbed or otherwise gruesomely rewarded for her whatevershedid, then we are always sorry afterward.

But not all fears are like that. Stage fright - not like that. Stage fright has all the adrenaline of the first one, but the realities are utterly different. It is possible to recover from disastrous performances, for one thing. (Fatal stabbings aren't like that.) And for another thing, nervous energy can be channeled into useful energy.

And then there's fear of the Known. Fear of the Unknown is one thing, but fear of the known ... facing that fear takes a different kind of courage.

That's where I am right this minute. I've just scheduled my winter courses, and I'm going to be in the deep end of my major's ocean. No more playing about. This is real. And I know how much work, and how much stripping away of old thinking, and how much vulnerability there is in doing anything this real. The author of Writing Begins With the Breath teaches truly that the reason for writer's block is that the real writing lives in the same dungeon as your very own demons. And there's no way to exorcise the beasts without going in there. The beasts hold the treasure. And I can hear the music rising.

This is the fear screaming, "Don't go in there!" while meaning, "What if I screw up in front of everybody? What if I can't do it? What if I'm not that good? .... What if I am?" But the fear factors are actually leading to everything that is most real and true and right and good. This is a fear of the Known. Of being Known.

Foretaste of Heaven and taste of blood in the mouth here on earth, all wrapped into one big vocational adrenaline spike. "Then I shall know even as also I am known."

But I know how the story goes now. Five decades (almost) into this life, and I know now. See ... I had three babies. The first one taught me how to work. The second one taught me to conquer the fear of the Known. And the third one taught me to "allow" --- To allow is better than to force. To accept is better than to resist.

But I still feel like a professional bungee jumper who is chronically afraid of heights.

Enough communication

This is a great story! It warms the cockles of my heart. (What are cockles, anyway?)

These two guys - they've been exchanging the same Christmas card for 60 years. No, not the same kind of card ... the same card. Back and forth, back and forth, one year the first guy sends it, the next year the other guy sends it back.
"We've been sending it since 1948," Hebel said. "I gave it to him the first year. ... So he turned around and gave it back to me the next year. I felt like, how come he couldn't give me a new one instead of sending an old one back? So I kept it, and I gave it back the next year. That's how it started.

I wonder what the card looks like. -- But what I love about this story is their absolute non-need for anything else. It is enough. And they know the value of what they're doing. They keep the card "in a plastic thing" and they've started using certified mail. But there is no more than the card with its signatures and dates. It is enough.

Knowing what is enough. Recognizing it when we see it. These two guys are brilliant.

2008/12/05

Chomp

Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.
- Doug Larson

Only ... like a cheerfully uncooperative mutt, my computer is holding up just fine and refusing to break down to give me any excuse about getting things handed in today. The machine makes weird noises. I know I need a new one. I know I don't "back up my files" like I should. But today? Nah. Today the thing is chugging away, and I have no excuse. It is time to hand in the last bits and pieces of this course and call it done. (ooooo..... maybe that's my problem. Calling it done.)

Notes to future "adult learners" who return to school in their midlife years:

1. You will be able to focus.
2. You will not want to. It is easier to be distracted, flighty, interrupted, and aware of everything and everyone else around you.

2008/12/04

This one's for Steve

If I could grant three wishes, one of them would be for our youngest son. I would grant him the chance to play on stage with these two people, playing this music. This is what he loves. This is what he does. This is what it sounds like at my house when the young giants are around -- almost.

2008/12/03

Why I need a kitchen scale

I can practically taste these beauties. But ... the recipe is from the UK, where they measure baking ingredients properly, and I, alas, am an American sans kitchen scale. Yeah, yeah ... conversions, shmersions. I know about conversions. I still need a scale. (click on the picture to go to the recipe at the amazing nini makes)

Saint Nicholas Day is December 6


Saint Nicholas: patron saint of children, seamen, scholars, brides,the hungry and more
Prayer Card, G. E. Mullan Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Purchase card
Saint Nicholas is said to be just about everyone's saint; he is surely named the patron saint of more causes than any other saint. Nicholas has been chosen as the special protector or guardian of a great many classes of people, cities, churches, and even countries.
Saint Nicolas with toys
St Nicholas, patron of children
Holy Card, Ukraine
St Nicholas Center Collection
German Holy Card Nikolaus
Saint Nikolaus, patron of the seamen; Holy card, Germany, G. Winkler
St Nicholas Center Collection
Patron saints have lived a life which is a worthy example of how to faithfully follow Jesus Christ and, as part of the communion of saints, they intercede on behalf of those who call upon them.

In the West Nicholas is most widely known as the patron saint of children. Many of his stories tell of children rescued from calamity and returned to the care and keeping of their families. In France the most familiar story, both told and sung, is of three little children lured into the clutches of an evil butcher and rescued by St. Nicholas. Other stories, as well, tell of children who disappeared, were kidnaped, fell into a well, or suffered some other disaster-all to be delivered through the good offices of St. Nicholas. These accounts of a child forcibly taken from parents, followed by a time of grieving and despair, then the miraculous return of the child, have profound and universal appeal which makes Nicholas the much valued Guardian of Children. It is no wonder he is the beloved patron saint of children.

In other parts of the world, however, St. Nicholas' chief patronage is that of sailors and ships—offering safe voyage and protection from storms. Many ports, most notably in Greece, have icons of Nicholas, surrounded by ex-votos of small ships made of silver or carved of wood. Sailors returning safely from sea, place these in gratitude to St. Nicholas for protection received. In some places sailors, instead of wishing one another luck, say, "May St. Nicholas hold the tiller."

Prisoners and others wrongly condemned are St. Nicholas' third major category of patronage. It reveals his strong concern for justice, especially for innocent victims. The stories of guiltless soldiers lives being spared and others wrongly imprisoned being released form the basis for this category.

These lists illustrate the extent of Nicholas' extraordinary influence and patronage.

People

Places

Churches

Other Organizations and Such

"Nicholas" Names

I need some good paper!

Aren't these pretty? They're made of folded strips of paper.

I am itching to make chains of them and string them around for the month of December.

For directions, go here.

Or ... follow this cool video I just found!

The comments at YouTube include: "When I was in grade school, our teacher showed us how to make these, but I never really learned, she did it for us. After completion the teacher dipped them in melted colored wax,which made them sturdy. After completion we took them home as Christmas Tree Ornaments."

2008/12/02

Waiting

Waiting for Christmas. This year it feels familiar to me again.

Today is one of those mild late fall/early winter days that happen here where I live. A rain is falling that is little more than a heavy mist. Steady. Quiet. Soft. Not cold, just a little chilly. A person could put all her potted plants out on the front steps for a good soaking and not shock them with this weather. (If a person had front steps, a person could do that. My house has front steps that lead up to its front porch ... in my imagination.)

Rain like this is the reason few people in this wet part of the world carry umbrellas. I still want an umbrella - I'm old now, I guess. Not old enough to keep a plastic rain hat thing in my purse like my grandmothers did (one wishes to protect one's weekly trip to the beauty parlor to have one's hair "done," doesn't one?), but old enough for an umbrella. In fact, I want a selection of umbrellas - one for every mood.

But even I wouldn't carry one on a day like this. This is just a damp filter for full sun. It doesn't get anyone wet. Not really.

This is the perfect weather for finishing school work for the season - doing the last bits of things - tonight we go to one of the term end recitals/concerts for one of the young giants. This week I hand in my last essay for the term. Make a plan for the rest of what I want to do with PLA. Two weeks of school before two weeks of Christmas break. And I swear that the very ions and molecules vibrated and jumped about while the house was full of guitars and "you gotta watch this" and "I'll be home late" last week. Today I know why people say "the dust has settled" -- it's not dust -- it's bits of energy that eventually settle back down once the causes of their agitation go back to agitating their own classes and jobs and lives.

This year I feel like all the years of school have come back to me - and I loved school. Today I can feel the rising anticipation of the bus ride home from school. We took the city bus home when we got old enough. There was a transfer spot to change buses from due west to due north, and we waited there, in the damp and spray from the traffic, and I knew that in a few minutes there would be home. Warm. Dry. Lit. And something different from when we'd left that morning because...

Christmas is coming. Christmas in the Pacific Northwest. It smells like this. It feels like this on my skin. It sounds like this - soft - rain on evergreen trees - small hush of wind in the bare branches and across the grass. Christmas is coming. Just a few more school projects, and it will be here.

My mom had a nativity set that - I think - was given to her by our neighbors. It had been a ceramics project - I think. It was all in a lovely brown color and looked like wood. However it came to us, I loved arranging it at this time of the year.

I've started my own. Mine aren't breakable though. I'm adding a piece or two a year, and I'm assembling a village. Someday I will have grandchildren, perhaps. This will be the time of year for assembling the village of Bethlehem. It is that time now. As the rain brushes everything outside my windows today, I'll finish this essay and then get the box out of the cupboard. Tomorrow, Bethlehem will come to the polished wood of the piano's top.

2008/12/01

Happy?

I absolutely love Copenhagen Cycle Chic.
Oh, we buy more candles than any other nation. THAT statistic says more than any other about the simple pleasures. The Danish concept of 'hygge', or cosiness is more telling than any think tank survey. Many languages have a similar word for it - Danes will often say that it is untranslatable but that's not true - but the concept that hanging out at home or at a café is cosy and that it is more than enough sums it all up.

The Monday After the Holiday

What is this? I need to know
the reason for
the tears that wash my face.

I am not bitter. Nor angry. Nor
grasping
helpless
at the fog of passing times.

This time is good.
This life is corporeal
and I hold it
I breathe it in and know
I choose.

The giants do not live here any more.
They stayed and stopped and ate
and draped their wires keyboards frets
released their own enormous sound into the air.
And now they
are not here.
They've gone.

The fridge too full of food
and pies half eaten
sit above.
There is a pint of cream
I did not whip.

I would not hold the giants
here.
They are too large
to fit in their old rooms
or clothes
or life.

I glory in their strength and revel
in the power
of new manhood freed.
I feel their exhilaration.

But this morning
there is a quiet
still
empty.

The giants came
and stayed
and went away again

Today my life is back.

I will eat leftovers.

2008/11/26

Pandora and four candles

I really do like being able to use Pandora. I input a song or artist, click on the choice, and poof! A whole radio "station" on my computer, with only the songs I like. Nice. (See the link to the right on my home page here.)

Now that Sunday is Advent I, it's time for my "QuickMix" at Pandora to include "Veni, Veni, Emanuel" and "Once in Royal David's City" and "Coventry Carol" and all the rest.

I bought candles at New Seasons for my wreath this year. I was there for the Thanksgiving shopping, and I needed them, and had forgotten that I needed them until I saw them under the votives I was buying anyway, so I just went ahead. They're not very churchy looking -- a bit earthy in their particular purple and pink, but they make me happy.

Have kids? Click on the picture and you'll find a downloadable coloring page.

Aaaahhhh... I do love Advent.

A good map


I really like this map of the Personality Types!! I just found it - it's for anyone interested in this thread on my blog.

Ribbit!

In Japan, the kajika goes kerokero. In Spain the rana sings cruá-cruá. A beka would say bre-ke-ke in Hungary. Here in Norway, frosker sier kvakk.

In the knitting world, however, frogs say "rip it, rip it." And that's the reason knitters use the term "frogging" as they merrily unravel their hours worth of knitting.
And in the world of writing - at least, in my corner of it - there is a similar process sometimes necessary. My first two PLA essays were about library stuff. This third one, though, is not. It's a communications course (the irony is not lost on me), and proving my personal experience with the subject matter has made a first draft that is currently a 43-page document that is supposed to be a whole lot closer to a 30-page document. Much trimming, unraveling, disassembling, and reassembling must now happen. Put the needle in to mark the spot - otherwise a true disaster could happen. And then pull on the yarn. And then knit it back the way it is supposed to be.

Then, after I pull out the bits that shouldn't be there, I will still need to compact the thing. Throw it in the hot water and shrink it. This essay needs felting. The individual stitches need to disappear, and the thing needs have fewer airholes. I like the stitching to show. That's what I like. I think there is beauty and elegance in the rhythms and patterns of the individual stitches. But this isn't a beauty contest. This is a task, and the finished work needs no holes. Evaluators aren't judges at the county fair - they want to know if the thing labeled "clog" is in fact a clog, and if it will do its job. PLA essays don't have to be elegant. They have to work.
This is a good discipline. When I have finished writing all the essays I want credit for in this degree, I think my writing will have become less airy. I will still want the stitching to show. I like the way it looks. But in the meantime, I think I will have learned not to put in too many stitches to begin with - or I will have gotten a lot better at frogging. Ribbit! Ribbit!

2008/11/22

ARTELLA!

WOW!!
Artella, the amazing site by Marney Makridakis, heard about from L Tanya Durante, by way of Carrie & Danielle. With a slideshow of pictures from John-Morgan.

Check this out!!!

2008/11/19

Bare branches

The photographer who took this picture is a local guy. (Click on the picture to see more gorgeous photography from realkuhl) You can see by this picture that he really sees the Columbia Gorge - for much of the year, it looks like this.
The green of growing moss and trees and underbrush infuses the very air here, and for most of the year, the whole world is green. At about this time of the year, the color drops back a little. The world plays its cards closer to the vest. The color settles into the trees and the ground, and the bare branches of formerly leafy trees expose themselves to the elements. Bare branches look cold to me - cold and very brave.

This is a suitable time of the year for me to begin to do the hard stuff at school. The first two essays I wrote were about library things - fun to write, semi-boring topics, very utilitarian information. It was like trying to write a user-friendly instruction manual. The kind of writing that is not the least bit baring for the author. I was not exposed.

But now I will be. Now I get closer to my major, and now I have to tell the truth.

I have begun the third essay for this quarter. The third class I am writing for has the somewhat foofy title of Communication of Self-Esteem. I can barely say the words "self-esteem" and take myself seriously. (Is that words ... or just one word?) But I do know, and I know from experience, that what we think we are tends to be what we do, and that what we do effects what we think we are. I can write for this class. I know the stuff.
But the stuff is about me. My branches are all exposed to the biting east wind. (The picture is from Donald Mark - he has lots of the Gorge - just click on the picture.) PLA essays are personal essays. The impersonal academic research style is not used here. Instead, in these essays, the writer says, "I know this. I know what it means, and here is where I learned it in my own life's experience." This is personal.

Personal, but I need it to be beautiful. I cannot stop the compulsion to be artful with the words I use.

And I need not only to be honest, and personal, but I also need to be authentic. Original. I am the only one with my point of view. (Although that's another thing --- if nobody else can see what I see, I am probably standing in a hole. That's a grounding issue - a cue to stop gaping at the landscape and check my feet.) For the writing within my major, I must say clearly what I can see from where I am. No one else is here. No one else has had my life. I am the one responsible for this - responsible for the life, and for what it has taught me. Now I have to put it on paper where other people can see it. This is slightly terrifying.
Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life, and you will save it.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I agree with him. I believe him. This is not really about the credits. This is about serving the Art, and telling the truth about the Artist -- and about me. All I need to do is tell the truth. And trust the evergreen trees and the fact of seasons. The leaves are gone for now, but the water is here. Green always comes back here where I live.