Advertisement

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

grammar, and other things that have taken their proper (less important) place

grammar

via Google

I’m finishing up the editing details on a short essay. So of course I did grammar check. Now note: I teach writing. So I’m well aware of grammar. But, as a poet, I’m also aware of style. And style trumps formal grammar.

For instance: don’t begin a sentence w/ ‘And,’ as I did above. Nor should I use fragments. Even for rhetorical emphasis. :)

Advertisement

What’s even funnier than the stuffy pedantry of grammar check is realising that I don’t care. As Tulsa’s once-upon-a-time Grammar Hotline (if you called the paper, or the university, with a grammar question, they transferred you to me :)), that may be heresy.

But it’s true: I am confident enough these days that I don’t care what grammar check tells me. I know the rules. Ergo? I can break them when I choose.

via Southern Poverty Law Center

via Southern Poverty Law Center

Advertisement

Don’t do this at home.

Seriously, though:it’s a kind of Buddhist mantra, if you think about it. Know what’s  expected, and then decide if that’s appropriate. If it suits the time, the context, the need. Like I once heard a Unitarian minister say (and he might have been a Buddhist, as well — some are): don’t let ersatz tolerance be your excuse for not getting involved. “Tolerance’ may sound good, unless you’re tolerating injustice. Hate.

Letting people get by with horrible behaviour is not tolerance. That doesn’t mean you have to whack them (although I’ve often wanted to!). It does mean we’re thinkers — we’re supposed to question. Questions lead to well-thought-out answers (if we’re lucky, and think long enough…).

Like grammar, it’s a question of style. And mean doesn’t work for anyone.

Advertisement

stardust and tirade exhaustion

image Some days, it helps to remember that we’re all stardust. Really — what we’re made from is cosmic. And that counts for something, surely.

So when it’s 96 degrees the first days in June, and the air conditioner is busted (1st world problems…), and I forgot to pick up stuff for a dinner I’d actually enjoy, and my arthritis is killing me, and the new air conditioner is going to cost THOUSANDS we didn’t budget?

Stardust. Each of us. All of us. Everything. Even the hot air I’m breathing.

That’s pretty cool, when you think about it. A guaranteed chill-out for what ails me. Maybe you too.

Advertisement

the children are still hungry

hungry child

via Google

In a country where we throw away edible food to the tune of 133 BILLION pounds annually, we still have 1 in 6 Americans hungry. And 1 in 4 of them are children. Little kids — like my adored (and well-fed) grandson.

You read those figures correctly: “In the United States, 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten.” As for the 1 in 6 Americans? “As of 2012, about 50 million Americans were food insecure. This was approximately 1 in 6 of the overall population, with the proportion of children facing food insecurity even higher at about 1 in 4. One in every two children receive federal food assistance.” (Wikipedia)

Advertisement

FIFTY MILLION Americans. One-FOURTH of all our children. And we’re cutting the safety net. For children, America. For our children.

As my grandson picks up his Cheerios in one hand on FaceTime, and his cheese and veggies in the other, mashing them into a delightfully colourful (but nourishing) mess, I think of other parents and grandparents, with hungry babies in their homes. I wonder how many of them watch as children cry. dorothy parker quote

When my grandson’s uncle — my younger son — was in first grade, his teacher visited with me about how many of the other children in his class came to school hungry. This was before many schools had free breakfast. In a ‘good’ Oklahoma neighbourhood, 3/4 of his classmates were eligible for free lunch. THREE out of FOUR. What’s ‘good’ about that? That’s TERRIBLE. This is America, land of opportunity, folks. NOT the land of ‘the opportunity for children to go hungry.’

Advertisement

And yet my home state, Oklahoma, just this past month voted to further cut tax revenues. Further cut benefits, further cut education. And we never did expand Medicaid so that the working poor could have access to health care. If you’re poor in Oklahoma, you’re basically just hosed.

via Google

via Google

All of this is bad enough. But somehow, sending little kids to bed hungry strikes me as one of the worst of these many insidious evils.

Advertisement

I donate to several charities, most of them environmental or hunger-related.  Because first, you need a healthy planet where we can live, breathe, and eat. And then? We need to feed our most precious resource: our children. And then each other. Because otherwise, it’s all just lip service. If we let our children go hungry, we do NOT care about them. We care about money.

And that’s not enough for me. It leaves me hungry. For social justice.

Advertisement

birth day memories

mother and nathan at birth 001

Today I celebrate two births: my elder son’s and my  mother’s. Bittersweet, remembering how happy Mother was when Nathan was born on her birthday (the REAL Memorial Day, you know!).

Family. What really matters. More than almost anything, to those in mine. Of course, we define that wider than blood: the dear friend whom I sat by yesterday at a symposium, the man who was too late to join us at the table. The BFF in California, the mentors who have woven their own bright threads through my life’s tapestry. The almost-brothers, the not-quite-aunts.

Advertisement

And of course my mother, my father. My sons, my wonderful husband. My sisters.

But today? It’s son #1 and Mother whom I celebrate. Today I’m  remembering the ‘real’ Memorial Day. And that there has never been better mother, dearer friend than she was. How grateful I am my mother lives on in her grandson, whose smile is much like hers — wide and spontaneous, if less frequent. And how I wish I believed she could see the great-grandson who is so much like each of them.

Where ever the dead go, where ever their fragile souls wing after death, I’m sending love to my funny, incredibly beautiful, smart and vibrant mother. And to the son and grandson who take after her.

Happy Birthday, Mother. Happy Birthday, Nathan. You are two of my life’s brightest lights.

 

Previous Posts

saving the world
I can't save the world. And it makes me crazy. I can't even save individual people. Or cats & dogs. And that makes me crazy, too. Because I'm a fixer, ...

posted 7:51:19pm Feb. 04, 2016 | read full post »

a happily full-isa calendar, and a thank-you to Jimmy Carter
My calendar for the next few months is filling up quickly. And while usually that makes me feel overwhelmed (and I confess to moments of that still!), my ...

posted 9:25:31pm Jan. 31, 2016 | read full post »

temper temper
I don't have a terrible temper. I can take quite a bit of hassle, as long as it's just about me. No one will agree w/ you all the time, nor will everyone ...

posted 3:16:38pm Jan. 27, 2016 | read full post »

beneath winter
In winter, much happens out of sight. Magic is uncurling beneath piles of frost-blackened leaves, beneath the glistening canvas of snow. In dormant hives, ...

posted 1:30:36pm Jan. 22, 2016 | read full post »

the art of interdependence
I love reading my horoscope. I won't go so far as to say I believe it, but often it really does hit the nail, etc. Spot-on, as a Brit friend of mine would ...

posted 2:15:50pm Jan. 18, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.