Bad Boys in the Attic: October 2008

Stealthily, I am sneaking my ancient computer into the attic, aided and abetted by Barry's brawn. My 64K Morrow Micro Decision and its domestic partner, the daisy wheel printer, are being saved from the evil ThrowitOut Monster. After all, Great-Works encoded on floppy disks may someday be important. Yes, it still works. We checked. Ignoring years of snide remarks about computer graveyards, I ascend the upper reaches.

I don't come here often. Taking-things-to-the-attic is a job for males. A large rat guards the light switch. Black plastic dangles from the rafters. Rubber snakes and plastic spiders leer through stretched cotton webs. Ghoulish faces painted on paper plates float in the air. Ah yes, I remember now: my college student son and his friends spent many an elementary school/jr. high hour turning the attic into a haunted house. Obviously reversing the process has not been on anyone's priority list.

We find a quiet corner off the beaten track and dump the computer. There, atop a basket which I suspect holds my unfinished sewing projects from pre-pregnant days, is a scurrilous black and white magazine, Mummy Horrors. It is reminiscent of the mimeograph Steven King describes printing when he was in Jr. High--sold like hot cakes until he got busted by the principal (see On Writing; a Memoir of the Craft). Obviously this Mummy never approved that magazine, which someone snuck into the house under the dark of afternoon. Oh Horrors!

Descending the attic ladder I marvel once again at the mystery of the male. What was God thinking????

"Being a woman is a terribly difficult task since it consists principally in dealing with men." -Joseph Conrad

My daughter-in-law, who actually finishes sewing projects, sent me a tote bag she made which has outside pockets sized perfectly for books--trade paperbacks, mass paperbacks--and a big inside pocket too. This was after I showed her the computer bag I was making which had been stalled for about a year and a half. She was undoubtedly trying to encourage me. In the appropriately sized outside pocket she'd put Roald Dahl's Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, a collection of short stories that would be more appropriately titled, Bad Boys on the Farm. I can easily see 11 year-old boys reading these stories and saying "eeuuw...gross" is that particularly satisfied 11 year-old "eeuuw..gross" tone of voice. What I can't so easily see is why she sent the book to me. She also likes Steven King's books. AND she edited a scary story collection. What is this world coming to? She must be in training for my grandson.

"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." -Theodore M. Hesburgh

It is a great trial to have two daughters-in-law that finish sewing projects. I go up to Seattle and find my other daughter-in-law sewing felt leaves on a lovely baby hat. I will resist the urge to send all of you a picture of Grand-baby in Hat. (Although if anyone wants one...) While in Seattle my son insists I read Princess Bride. I point out that I'm sure that movie was background music in our house several dozen times; I eveng vaguely remember watching it once. He says, "Yes but you'll enjoy the voice of the narrator in the book." Operating on the theory that if I read the books he suggests, he'll read the ones I suggest, I jump out of the frying pan, into the fire, off the coals into the flood, out of the water into... He's right, the voice of the narrator is great fun. Although I must admit I skimmed through the final pages at dizzying speed, having had enough marauding adventure to last at least 6 months.

"There would be no society if living together depended upon understanding each other." -Eric Hoffer

Rita loaned me the other book I read in Seattle: Juicy Pens Thirst Paper: Gifting the World with Your Words and Stories, and Creating the Time and Energy to Actually Do It. The coolest idea for me in this colorful book was what author Sark called "micro-movements." Do one tiny thing everyday to move your writing forward. I'm currently applying the idea to housecleaning. Meanwhile, the coolest pages are emerging in our Illuminated Journaling class. What a delight to gather weekly with these dynamic women for creative exploration! If anyone would like an Illuminated Journaling presentation for an assembly or small group, I'm sure a couple of us would love to come and share. Hit reply, write words.

"The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think." -Edwin Schlossberg

My airplane book for the Seattle trip was Listening is an Act of Love; A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project. Steven loaned me this collection of interviews edited by David Isay. The StoryCorps Project started a few years ago in New York, with booths at Grand Central Station set up to record stories of ordinary people. The problem is, of course, that we're listening to T.V. instead of to each other. Later Airstream trailers crossed the country with facilitators and recording devices. People would show up in pairs and one would interview the other for 40 minutes. My favorite story so far is from a hospital chaplain who talks about the people in the bowels of the hospital who assemble the instruments for every surgery; some of them pray for each patient as they box up that surgery's instruments.

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being." -Johann W. von Goethe

I enjoyed reading Merlin Carothers' Walking & Leaping. He's the Prison to Praise guy and we got several of his books in some boxes full of leadership, evangelism and church planting books. Walking and Leaping is one of those exciting, inspirational stories about a praying, praising bunch of believers who built a church for thousands with unskilled labor and no money. Hallelujah!

Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. - Mohandas K. Gandhi

When Michael finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, he said, "Wow! I've just finished reading two great books in a row. That's really unusual." He had read Three Cups of Tea right before. I won't carry on about these books here. (See Eventually Archived Newsletters on Web Site.) I'm just reminding you.

"You have to fall in love before you get married. Then when you're married, you just sit around and read books together." - Kids' Definitions of Love.

There's this nutzoid idea floating around that we're not supposed to vote according to what we believe out of respect for those who believe differently. I'm wondering whether this is one sided, or across the board. I mean, is everybody going to not vote for what they believe or just people on one side of the issue? I am reminded of a trick that my sister used to play on me when we were little. "Let's have a race to see who can finish their ice cream bars first," she'd say. Being younger and gullible I'd chow down mine, only to have her wave her half eaten treat under my nose and taunt me with, "I still have some left." I'm not so gullible anymore. I'll vote my conscience.

"In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your Count that votes." --Lexophiles

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