Reena’s Xploration Challenge #248- Excavating History

We have a phrase this week to serve as your writing prompt.

…passing through a doorway in history

There is no restriction on format of the piece. There is no last date either, unless you wish to be featured in the Weekly Wrap. 



Duncan’s head hurt.
His pursuit of truth is a hunger he knows can never be satisfied in a conclusion. He wonders, “Is the past truly a mosaic of endless opinions or is there more?”
To become an observer by passing through a doorway of history would give him more evidence but trusting his eyes and ears has limitations. The “who he is”- a being marinated in modern day culture and sensibilities- would be a tremendous disadvantage to an unbiased reenactment. He knows that the understanding of history is disserved by only studying collections of modern intellectual interpretations after the fact. It needs to be excavated for evidentiary fossils that prove each past moment was once alive and three-dimensional.
So, Duncan reads everything he can find… journals and diaries, essays and articles.
His focus is on the founding of his country. Not from any patriotic duty or political position, as one might guess, but because he has Spatial Sequence Synesthesia, and his personal ‘mental map’ oddly always balances on a fulcrum in the late 1800s. His internal visual timeline stretches to infinity toward the past and future from the 1860s every time he withdraws his focused perspective and tries to ‘see’ all of Time. His ‘gift’ is either a peculiar mental defect or a sign of something special and Duncan doesn’t believe in coincidences, so he feels compelled to understand more. He’s somehow tied to that period.

I wish him well.
He may never find a full understanding, but Duncan doesn’t care as long as he collects knowledge that he can absorb through his 5 senses and his heart, bringing the past alive again.
He’s a guy I’d like to talk with!

Pride and Shame: Is that Diversity?

Anyone else “put off” by the raging efforts to educate people…apparently ignorant people…on diversity?

I’m not pleased by this approach, at all.

First, the masses are considered culturally “stupid” when workplaces insist upon this “training”. Sit, listen and learn, how to feel. Did you know, one is allowed to have racial pride only if they are a person of “color”?

Secondly, the whole effort, seems to me, an active work to divide us. It is pointing out differences rather than our common humanity. Oh yeah, I’ve never found a white citizen embraced by this method either … we are colorless but not shameless or blameless. 😦

Certainly, forcing it upon people adds a “warmth” hard to measure, as well.

The issue of compassion and understanding, had been addressed very well when I was a kid. Anyone remember the Golden Rule?

“Treat others the way we’d want to be treated.”

(Yes, there was and, still is, racial and gender inequality. It has come a long way. I think it is threatening to lose ground because white people fear being called racist or prejudice, if they want to have a share in diversity. We all know, white folks aren’t qualified to have an opinion.)

Makes me sadly aware that there IS a difference between ignorance and stupid!

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Political Correctness

Lesson One:

What’s in a Name?

This is for you guys out there. Something that you may not have considered.

This was inspired by my Facebook connection to my High School graduating class of 1974, since, the women are much harder to identify. It reminded me of something.

The social convention of women taking their husband’s last name is common and seems quite mundane, especially to the husband.

It wasn’t really easy for me, and I suspect, it hasn’t been easy for many women. We create an individuality, a reputation and a persona as we grow up then our “identity” is renamed, changed, in one day.

At first, my biggest fear was accidentally misspelling this name but it felt like I was hiding my true identity for years. Soon, came the ordinary questions from locals about this family, which I really had no history with. Few asked about my “maiden” family because it was hidden but I had been THAT former person all of my life. There was a brand new persona that was in its infancy and I felt a little lost.

In my case, we lived (and still do) in a small city where our families had an equal recognizability. I was not as much an alien, as a bipolar person. For years, I was introduced with two names, by folks who were “in the know”. The old person and this new one…I hadn’t changed a bit though. Creepy when you really get down to it.

I realized that this was a sore point for years, when I uncharacteristically made a snipe at friend of my husband’s family. About two years into our marriage, our first child was born. My husband’s family friend was admiring our beautiful daughter and commented, in jest, “You should had named her Edwina after her father.”

I felt flushed for a moment, then said, “Why would I? She already has HIS last name!”

The rush of resentful emotion startled me, as much as, the poor woman.

Now, I’ve been married for 34 years and I’m no longer the “maiden”. I have built one fine new reputation and persona and I’m comfortable. But when I try to relate to friends who knew me by an ancient name, there’s still a pinch…a moment of mourning, about that not so mundane name change long ago.

23612_411477303827_530328827_5007867_4476253_nSusan

Happy Valentine’s Day… whomever you are?

In The Lake of the Woods- Book Review

41E95Y1K45L._SS500_Just finished this book and I’m in the usual fog that follows. Gripping and disturbing are often adjectives applied to books. They fit completely in this case.

There are historical references, many of which I remember in real-time. The old understood fact, that society is forgetful, certainly has me reeling. I had also forgotten those events.

Forgetting is necessary in order to carry on after atrocities. But when we forget, do we place understanding in the hands of historians? Then again, there are some things, like the recent tragedy in a Connecticut school, that can never be understood. It will never be known how many people were wounded…scarred forever, and the lack of understanding of such events fester forever in our subconsciousness. Never Solved…Never Resolved…EVER.

So what do we do? We wait. Time doesn’t ever heal anything. It just allows for those scarred individuals to, one day, all turn to dust and, with them, the direct, hurtfulness of the unimaginable.

This book returns us to the time of the Vietnam War through the life of John Wade. It reintroduced atrocities that have yet, in 2013, to become dust. It skillfully asks the question, How can we forget? It produces characters that are directly and indirectly victims of things that they don’t understand. Most of those things, they don’t want to understand but the effects are real enough to destroy their lives. The horrific ripples are toxic and live on and keep destroying as if the horrors faced are living beasts attached by an umbilical to the witnesses.

Tim O’Brien obviously was/is one of those scarred by the war. He makes a case for living beyond personal nightmares, especially when they are the only ones faced in a lifetime. But John Wade has endured a piling on of nightmares. His hauntings intermingle and grow larger and fiercer with every attempt he makes to forget them. Not having answers, as an adult, is troubling. Needing answers, as a child, can leave a person hopelessly lost.

I couldn’t put this down. I was a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car. Some might say, the ending asks more questions than it gives answers. I believe this book was about the gray area between what is real and what we cannot understand. It certainly made me feel powerless to ever make things right. Happiness is an illusion after tragedy and the best survivors are merely “magicians”.

Survival: A Balancing Act

The Olympics made me consider the age old formula of having balance in our lives. Even our food choices are best when there is balance. The Olympians were outstanding! Yet, I always wonder about their “inner” health when I realize how much of their existence is focused upon a few days, sometimes seconds, of time.

So, I created a chart of what, I believe, is true of life for human beings. As I was creating the chart, I couldn’t help but think of examples of extremes. As for Olympians, they are dedicated people who make sacrifices that I do not understand but who make me endlessly proud.

First, and foremost, our need is for survival. Whatever we do, survival comes first because everything else simply counts upon it.

There is wealth. I define wealth as anything tangible in excess of what we need to just survive. We all want comforts and wealth is not a bad thing at all. Wealth makes for prosperity and, often, longevity. You may call wealth, “comforts and currency”. Greed is at the center of those who lopsidedly surround themselves in wealth but no one should be ashamed of pursuing wealth. Wealth inspires innovation and progress which, most often, benefit humankind. We can easily name world leaders and professionals who specialize entirely in the pursuit of wealth and they are, in my mind, detrimental to us all.

There is discovery. It could be subtitled adventure. Ah, what would science be without the hunger to discover. Many of our forefathers came to this country from the need to discover. And we continue to question and learn everyday of our lives from the engrained human impulse for discovery. The Olympians fall primarily into the “overindulging in discovery” crowd. Their mission is to discover the limits of the human body and to test its endurance. Although many of them become wealthy, I believe that their excessive commitment belongs to a zeal for personal discovery. On the down side, scientists who ignore the ethics of scientific study are guilty of placing way too many “eggs” in the discovery “basket” and are my example of a dangerous group. I think arrogance is their primary motivation but greed also plays a role.

Finally, there is enlightenment. Religion and philosophy are the tools in this search for answers. Most often religion and philosophy are at the center of what separates us from our id of savagery. Generosity, forgiveness, and introspect all come from our search for enlightenment. When enlightenment outweighs the two previously mentioned needs, we have the jihad. Holy wars even misplace the human need to survive. Suicide bombers seem the best current example of the danger to humankind from weighing too heavily upon enlightenment.

So balance is still the key to the “good life”, and in my estimation, the spread of imbalance is a direct danger to our survival.

Warning…a political opinion from the right!

Cover of "Numbers (Match-the-Flaps)"
Cover of Numbers (Match-the-Flaps)

I dislike numbers…sorry, I just do.

First, there isn’t a poll worth a darn. They are too variable in the way the questions are asked, where and when, as well.

If you agree with the poll, it is a good one.

If the poll is contrary to your belief, well, what do they know?

Another thing, numbers lie. Yup, they do. Darn them!

Go to a bank and ask for a mortgage. Give them your numbers…get the mortgage. Oops…you Can afford the house BUT no birthdays,anniversaries,take-out food,Christmas, auto repairs etc. What the heck?

Numbers can be manipulated more than bleeding heart liberals. You can do the math but why doesn’t it work. Yes, love is NOT the answer to all things either.

Sounds great…who could be FOR war, FOR debt, FOR being poor?

So, why don’t we just all be poor so no one who IS feels left out?

Well folks. That’s where we are headed. I am in political mode today so if you’ve tuned out…I understand.

If you are still listening?

You either agree with me or you are really insulted and want to add another hatefully “paraphrased” rant of the right, just to keep your juices flowing. After all, if you didn’t think the “right” was so evil, you’d have nothing to do but look at the problem?

Ain’t I a stinker?

I just want to know from anyone, how does one continue forever(or happily ever-after), when they spend more than they take-in?

Simple question.

If you answered, they cannot go on forever. What will the eventual outcome be?

Just asking?

Maybe if we spend more money (we don’t have) , we can put off the ugly truth awhile?

Yes, you just may…

OK kids, this is tough. If everyone is poor and the government shares the wealth, what is that called in the encyclopedia?

Fairness? No.

Brotherhood? No.

Can you say Socialism boys and girls?

Ha! Wish it was that simple to explain…our kids will know it all too well one day.

Wish they could see this headline. “Bad ole conservatives tried to ruin your day so we liberals ruined your future.”

I’m spending the weekend in the woods. At least, my head won’t be in the sand…