Category: Writing

Memories Made

Andra Watkins has been encouraging her readers to make a memory. I regret it’s too late for me to make any more memories with my mom. So, instead, I’ll share a few.

  • Discussing with two of my aunts my bosom size and how lucky I was to be well endowed. I was TEN.
  • Inviting my boyfriend (if you can even call him that) in the 7th grade and his mother over for tea. So embarrassing. I don’t even think I spoke more than 20 words to him the whole time we went steady, let alone stare lovingly into his eyes. Sorry, Bas.
  • Treating me like a princess for a day. I think I was 7 or 8 years old. Even though I was the only child living at home by that time, my mom still made a big deal out of it.
  • Insisting that I take private Portuguese lessons over Christmas break even though we had just moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and my language teacher had decided not to give me a grade as I was so new.
  • Not insisting that I continue to take ballet or guitar lessons. Thank you, mom.
  • Buying me a paperback copy of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care two months after Christian was born. Perhaps it was her way of telling me I wasn’t doing it right. But, at least, she did not judge.
  • Walking through the snow and ice in Pittsburgh during the winter of 1979 to catch the bus out to Northway Elementary School. It was miserable, but we did it every school day for several months. We had just moved back to the States after 5 years in Western Australia. And, my new classmates were weird.
  • Walking everywhere. All of the time. Mom loved to walk fast.
  • Making and eating pie. Mom used to bake them when I was little, lemon meringue in particular. But, in later years, she was always on the hunt for a competent, made-from-scratch piece of pie.

Writing of these few memories reminds me how my mom taught me to be open minded, to embrace different cultures and experiences, and to love and be loyal to my family. I only hope I can provide my son with half of the memories mom left me.

Mom in Ushuaia, Argentina, 2004

Mom in Ushuaia, Argentina, 2004

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I Wish I Were a Poet

I wish I were a poet.

That way, I could bury my emotions behind a piece of art, of prose. Instead of focusing on me, people would focus on the art, trying to interpret it instead of me.

When facing fear, I fall behind a smile, a laugh…”It’s okay, really.” Afraid to expose my feelings, wanting to scream, “DON’T MAKE ME SHARE!”

I wish I were a poet.

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Prelude to a Dream

MLK

In honor of today’s national holiday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, I took the time to read his speech at the Great March in Detroit.

This was Dr. King’s original I Have a Dream speech. He delivered it two months prior to the March on Washington.

My favorite excerpt?

…For we’ve come to see the power of nonviolence. We’ve come to see that this method is not a weak method, for it’s the strong man who can stand up amid opposition, who can stand up amid violence being inflicted upon him and not retaliate with violence. 

You see, this method has a way of disarming the opponent. It exposes his moral defenses. It weakens his morale, and at the same time it works on his conscience, and he just doesn’t know what to do. If he doesn’t beat you, wonderful. If he beats you, you develop the quiet courage of accepting blows without retaliating. If he doesn’t put you in jail, wonderful. Nobody with any sense likes to go to jail. But if he puts you in jail, you go in that jail and transform it from a dungeon of shame to a haven of freedom and human dignity. And even if he tries to kill you, you’ll develop the inner conviction that there are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they are worth dying for. And I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live…

What Dr. King professed is something very difficult for most people to realize. And though our daily struggles are not as dramatic or deep as the Civil Rights movement, it takes patience and dignity to, if not literally, then figuratively, develop the quiet courage of accepting blows without retaliating.

For more information about today, a national day of service, visit MLKDay.gov

Peace.

What’s On Your Itinerary?

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I thought I would share two articles I read recently in the New York Times.

The first is by Paul Theroux, a writer notorious for his travels. Someone who you would think has been everywhere. But, he hasn’t.

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The second, a compilation of the top destinations to visit this year. (On a side note, kudos to the Times’s web team on an improved interface. Very nice.)

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Maybe I am sharing these because I get to go somewhere this week. And, I am always excited when I get to travel. Giddy, giddy.

Pura Vida

You know, when do you’re doing the most boring, mundane things, that’s when ideas start to ramble. That happened the other morning as I was pulling the delicates out of the washer.

I think constantly about how I should share more on this blog. What better way to find new friends than to share about things that I like or love. My favorite things. I mean, so very many of us like to write about things that we hate, or ‘cilantro’ as Andra would say.

What are some of your favorite things?

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Hotel Capitan Suizo, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Dry Heat

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You know, when do you’re doing the most boring, mundane things, that’s when ideas start to ramble. That happened this morning as I was pulling the delicates out of the washer.

I think constantly about how I should share more on this blog. What better way to find new friends than to share about things that I like or love. I mean, so very many of us like to write about things that we hate, or ‘cilantro’ as Andra would say.

Tomorrow, I’ll share about my most favorite thing.