Monthly Archives: December 2012

Taming, Part 2 (more accurately, Part 1)

My thinking on taming actually began on a much more personal level, and I’d thought last week that I could lay, side by side, the public and private views, the macro and the micro. But as I chased my thoughts down the gutters of religion, my own behaviors seemed somehow meaningless or irrelevant by comparison—something that I could chalk up to simple human nature. But then, there it was—the side street of my thoughts, or maybe the highway—human nature. Continue reading


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I teach middle school language arts, and last semester, as we took on some short stories by Margo Lanagan, we took on the theme of patriarchy as it’s played out in story and in the world. After reading an article on the origins and meanings of patriarchy and its accompanying value set, students mapped four actions mentioned in the article—conquer, control, protect, dominate—and the behaviors and qualities associated with each. They found overlap, especially with ideas like oppression, war, fear and exploitation, and then there were some interesting ideas that came up like laws and taming. Continue reading


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I am just off the plane from Texas, a quick holiday visit with my family when it was just a little cheaper to travel. By necessity (it’s past 9:00 on a school-night), this post will be quick.

No doubt, the Connecticut tragedy holds many of us in a grip of conflict, confusion, and overwhelming sadness. I’ve spent the last couple days thinking about all the vulnerabilities… of children and security in our schools; of a public without adequate gun legislation; and, perhaps most of all, of a mother and her troubled son. I was sick listening to an interview with the shooter’s neighbor who described the family broken by divorce, the child odd, and the mother too strict, and I wonder… had I been the parent to open up to such a neighbor, only to find blame and criticism and righteous indignation, would I have closed the door, plastered a smile, and pretended like I had it all under control, leaving myself, my son, and a piece of the world more vulnerable than I could ever imagine?

In the months ahead, we will no doubt hear a million different takes on what should happen to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. But for me, right now, I am thinking about openness and trust. What kind of neighbor and friend would I have been? Could I be?

And I am reminded of another TED Talk by Brene Brown who says it all so perfectly. It’s worth a visit.



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Pa-pa’s Voice

I wanted to be like my grandmother; I’ve been told I’m like my grandfather.

My grandmother (we called her Nanny) was all tenderness and giggles, pushing her glasses up on her nose while she planned her next card trick. She filled her house with Cajun aromas steaming from creoles and gumbos, and sitting in the refrigerator waiting for me each time I visited my grandparent’s home in a small town in South Louisiana was my favorite dessert, cherry mousse. She sewed matching Easter dresses for my sisters and me, painted ceramics, and crafted odd dough flowers and decoupage trinkets during afternoons with her friends, grandchildren peaking in on the action between runs on farms or around moss-laden Cyprus. Continue reading

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A Reflection on Reflecting

I spent this morning getting reacquainted with myself. On the suggestion of a friend, I looked up Susan Cain’s Manifesto for introverts… for anyone, really, but it’s a view that’s especially relevant to introverts like me. The link to the whole creed is but I’ll reflect here on a couple of her points: Continue reading


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