A New Curse Word

Laura Grace Weldon

 relax your words,

We hear it all the time. Chances are we say it all the time.

I swear (hah!) it’s the curse of our era.

What’s up with you?

Busy

How’s work?

Busy

How are the kids?

Busy

What was your vacation like?

Busy

What’s next week like for you?

Busy

Ack!

We are busy, pulled in so many directions that we don’t have words powerful enough to describe how time starved we feel. Swamped, hectic, rushed, hurried, slammed, or crazy busy can’t come close.

I suspect that we aren’t busier, in terms of obligations using up our time, than someone our age might have been 100 years ago. Chances are those folks kept the house warm with coal shoveled into a furnace; worked long hours for poor pay in factories, mines, slaughterhouses or worse; traveled at low speeds to get where they were going; struggled to stay healthy in a…

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A New Curse Word

Laura Grace Weldon

 relax your words,

We hear it all the time. Chances are we say it all the time.

I swear (hah!) it’s the curse of our era.

What’s up with you?

Busy

How’s work?

Busy

How are the kids?

Busy

What was your vacation like?

Busy

What’s next week like for you?

Busy

Ack!

We are busy, pulled in so many directions that we don’t have words powerful enough to describe how time starved we feel. Swamped, hectic, rushed, hurried, slammed, or crazy busy can’t come close.

I suspect that we aren’t busier, in terms of obligations using up our time, than someone our age might have been 100 years ago. Chances are those folks kept the house warm with coal shoveled into a furnace; worked long hours for poor pay in factories, mines, slaughterhouses or worse; traveled at low speeds to get where they were going; struggled to stay healthy in a…

View original post 303 more words

The First of My Fairy Godmothers

Present Ghost

In a department store formerly known as Kaufmann’s, I met my first fairy godmother. Instead of glass slippers, she gave me tan knee-high go-go boots. If I am to be more precise, she didn’t give me the boots but she affirmed my right to wear them, which is far more important anyway.

My father and I were on our way out from the mall, and as we were passing the women’s shoe department, he told me we should stop and take a look around for sales. During high school, I hated casual shopping almost as much as I do now, so I objected and he insisted and won.

I pretended to be browsing while my dad rummaged through stacked boxes. From a few display tables away, I saw him lift an enormous box and shout, “What about these? They’re a deal!”

When I made my way over to him and…

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Blurring the Lines of Feminism: A Criticism of the Criticism of “Blurred Lines”

Polémique

Dear capital-F Feminists, Please Stop the Slut-Shaming. Love, a lower-case-f feminist. 

The first time I heard the funky beats of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” emanating from my radio, I did what any normal, able-bodied human being would do…I boogied my ass off. But just days after the song’s meteoric rise to the top of the charts, scathing criticisms began to arise, citing sexual harassment, slut-shaming, and victim-blaming among many of the artists’ apparently blatant offenses. Because I could never QUITE make out the words behind Thicke’s panting falsetto, I decided to do my own research into the lyrics and see what was really causing the problem. What I found was shocking. I began reading the words fully expecting to arrive at the bottom not only incensed at their content, but also ashamed that I had ever bopped my head and shaken my buns to the beats.

What shocked…

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Reflections of a Failed Writer

bohemiaspeaks

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I by no means whatsoever claim nor ever will that what I write has any special significance or inherent value to anyone but myself. I do not claim nor ever will that I am a uniquely talented writer and do not really think so. However, after recently attempting to publish some of my poems in the form of an E-Book and failing to attract that much interest from the world I realized that most writers these days and people in general are constantly thriving for the approval of others and for some sort of recognition or appreciation for what they deem so great and worthy to share.

The bottom line is that throughout history the greatest artistic creations were rarely recognized or appreciated only to be picked up many years later by revisionists – analyzed and dissected. Added to that of course, is the great amount of competition writers are forced…

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Touched Out

momaste

20130923-084341.jpg

My life was mostly touch in those days. . .  All day long I touched the clean plates and bowls as I put them away, and the children’s heads slimy under shampoo in the tub, and the softness of their faces, and the scrape of poop off their goose pimpling backsides, the hot noodles, the heavy wet laundry as I threw it into the dryer, and the brick front steps as i sat reading to myself for eight minutes while they played just beyond the page in the prickling new grass, and then when one of them fell down I touched the grass and the mud and the scraped knee, and the sticky Band-Aids, and the wet cheek, and my jeans, and the dangling shoelace.”  —  Elizabeth Kostova, The Swan Thieves.  

I used to think of myself as an affectionate person.  At least I don’t remember being repulsed…

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Waiting to Exhale

letters from nairobi

Westgate

Six months ago, Kenya was prepared for violence.

All across the country, from the savannas of the Rift Valley to the sea-drenched sands of the coast, people were bracing themselves for the possibility of bloodshed following a tense and highly disputed presidential election. Four and a half years earlier, post-election violence left more than a thousand corpses in its wake and hundreds of thousands of families homeless, many of whom still reside in ‘temporary’ resettlement tents that dot the countryside.

In the days leading up to the election, cupboards were stocked, barrels of drinking water tucked away, and emergency supplies inventoried. Countless foreigners and expatriates fled to neighboring countries as a cautionary measure at the same time that international journalists and election observers flooded in. There was a palpable collective inhale of breath as votes were counted, re-counted, and re-counted again. For days, the capital city came to a standstill…

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Graffiti: the stories we tell

Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

Bortusk 1I found a new Bortusk poster in Amsterdam today. A slightly torn and weathered neon monster staring out at me from the side of a skip as i cycled past. I think that brings to about fifteen the number i’ve found around the city this year. Sometimes i go back to visit them, watching as the paper gets more torn, dirtier, overlaid with graffiti and stickers, or simply weathered away by the Dutch climate.

Bortusk is enigmatic: his colourful monsters placed seemingly for no other reason than to brighten up your day, a task they fulfil perfectly for me as they smile, wave and dance into sight on a rainy morning as you cycle past. For some, they are probably just graffiti: rubbish cluttering the street. For others, something to make you smile.

For me, they tell a story: a story about creativity, about sharing, about meaning…

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Manifesto For The Uncensored

Mindless Productivity

It was after 1984 when I read the novel of the same name, hiding under the covers, reading by the dying light of a 50-cent flashlight as Winston and Julia performed more unspeakable acts under their own sheets; Winston apprehensive of Big Brother’s all-seeing eyes, me fearful of mother coming in to ask why I was reading something so vulgar at such a young age. When asked what I thought of the book, it didn’t take a bucket of rats to make me cast Winston aside…instinct alone inspired me to decry the book as “all right, but the sex was pointless and unnecessary.” And life continued as normal, the irony of my betrayal reduced to nothing more than an uncomfortable rattle at the back of my mind that has never left me to this day.

But forbidden fruit and verboten vegetables leave an aftertaste in the back of the throat…

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