In every revolution there is a period when people are silenced or oppressed. Sometimes they choose to go underground rather than betray who they are.
Well, it seems that the time has come for me.
I am starting a new blog, Mining Nuggets. For I am a writer and this medium, blogging, is very good for me as a form of self-expression.
If you have the time, energy, will or desire, please contact me for the username and password needed to read it.
My e-mail address can be found in my about page, or under my photograph on the left.
Don't you love it when very little children put their hands over their eyes and play at: "if I can't see it, it doesn't exist?" In child development terms they are learning about object permanence. They play with it naturally during the egocentric phase of their development, those infant-toddler years, when children truly believe that everything that happens must be about and because of them ... a sort of magical thinking. So, "If I close my eyes," they reason, "it is simply not there."
When we are children, "peek-a-boo" is necessary, fun, natural ... and a bit disconcerting ...
When adults do it ... I think that's called delusion ... and it's comforting ... just for awhile ...
... boo-hoo ...
The Carnival of Moms or Limerick of All Mothers Marathon is up at Limerick Savant! Many of us were invited to contribute. Happy Day to all who celebrate, especially to Limerick's Mom.
I awoke to white spring flowers from the life partner.
I also received a wonderful card from a dear friend with her story, shared memories, and words that made me weep.
Sojourner Truth, daughter of Elizabeth Mau-Mau Bett Baumfree. Activist. From her address "Ain't I a Woman?"
I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me - and ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children and seen 'em mos' all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with a mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?
Anita Doreen Diggs, daughter of Gladys Haigler-Smith. Author of Talking Drums and Success at Work.
Get a good education because knowledge is power, and once you have it, no one can take it away.
Anna Julia Cooper, daughter of Hannah Stanley. Activist and educator. From A Voice from the South.
Woman, Mother - your responsibility is one that might make angels tremble and fear to take hold!
Maya Angelou, daughter of Vivian Baxter, Educator and author. From My Soul Looks Back. 'Less I Forget.
Maya Angelou, daughter of Vivian Baxter, Educator and author. From My Soul Looks Back. 'Less I Forget.
Africa is herself a mother. The mother of mankind. We Africans take motherhood as the most sacred condition human beings can achieve.
Alice Walker, daughter of Minnie Tallulah Grant Walker. Author from In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens.
And for the three magic gifts I needed to escape the poverty of my hometown, I thank my mother, who gave me a sewing machine, a typewriter, and a suitcase ...
Rosa Parks, daughter of Leona McCauley. Activist. From I Dream a World.
My mother believed in freedom and equality even though we didn't know it for reality during our life in Alabama.
Marian Wright Edelman, daughter of Maggie Leola Wright. President, Children's Defense Fund. From Measure of our Success.
Never work just for money or for power. They won't save your soul or build a decent family or help you sleep at night.
Dora J. Wilkenfeld, daughter of Marilyn Nelson Waniek. Nine years old and brilliant!
Mama always said, "Always remember these words of wisdom which I am about to impart to you, my dear ..." and then she started snoring!
And this one I heard from Oprah Winfrey:
They can lift your heart and shatter your nerves, make you push the hair out of your eyes, and eat broccoli.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY USA ...
... Tamarika said that ....
Letting Go of Those Not in Recovery from The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations for Codependents by Melody Beattie
Picture a bridge. On the one side of the bridge it is cold and dark. We stood there with others in the cold and darkness, doubled over in pain. Some of us developed an eating disorder to cope with the pain. Some drank; some used other drugs. Some of us lost control of our sexual behavior. Some of us obsessively focused on addicted people's pain to distract us from our own pain. Many of us did both; we developed an addictive behavior, and distracted ourselves by focusing on other addicted people. We did not know there was a bridge. We thought we were trapped on a cliff.
Then some of us got lucky. Our eyes opened ... because it was time. We saw the bridge. People told us what was on the other side: warmth, light, and healing from our pain. We could barely glimpse or imagine this, but we decided to start the trek across the bridge anyway.
We tried to convince the people around us on the cliff that there was a bridge to a better place, but they wouldn't listen. They couldn't see it ... They were not ready for the journey. We decided to go alone, ... because people on the other side were cheering us onward. The closer we got to the other side, the more we could see, and feel, that what we had been promised was real. There was light, warmth, healing, and love. The other side was a better place.
But now there is a bridge between us and those on the other side. Sometimes we may be tempted to go back and drag them over with us. But it cannot be done. No one can be dragged or forced across this bridge. Each person must go at his or her own choice, when the time is right. Some will come; some will stay on the other side. The choice is not ours.
We can love them. We can wave to them. We can holler back and forth. We can cheer them on, as others have cheered and encouraged us. But we cannot make them come over with us ... if we have already crossed and are standing in the light and warmth, we do not have to feel guilty. It is where we are meant to be. We do not have to go back to the dark cliff because another's time has not yet come.
The best thing we can do is stay in the light, because it reassures others that there is a better place. And if others ever do decide to cross the bridge, we will be there to cheer them on.
(Update: Picture of the cake is in - many thanks to one of the students)
Walking into class. Feeling sort of quiet. Last day to meet with students, collect their final papers and bid them farewell as I take off for the summer and a new fall college position. Open the door and there they are. Bright and shining faces smiling back at me. On my table a party spread. Brownies, Rice Krispie treats, Frito's, veggies and dip, M&M's and lots of all kinds of pop/soda (?).
In the middle of it all a beautiful white cake frosted with yellow, green and purple flowers, and swirling letters that say: "Good Luck Dr. Jacobson."
"Oh my!" I begin to squeak and squawk and then "ooh and aah" and finally I am yelling. Tears are welling up in my eyes as I look out at all of them. I notice students from different classes are present as well. All have come by to bid me farewell. There is a gift - a card signed by all: "Good luck!" "Best Wishes," "Thank you for everything and a great year," "Congratulations," "We will miss you," and much, much more.
In a different card three students share the greeting and say, " ... But your students will never compare to us ..." I look back at them and think, "Never fear that. Even if I enjoy teaching other students I will always remember you." And I say, "I will never forget you."
The gift is "a little something for [my] new office," a framed piece by Genie Graveline:
Teaching is ... A commitment to instill knowledge in the minds and hearts of all students. It is so much more than just a job. It requires a love of humanity, a belief in the human spirit, a dedication to excellence, and a resolve to make a difference in the lives of others. It is the foundation upon which all forms of progress are based. Those who were destined to teach, spend their lifetimes investing in the dreams of their students, and in so doing, their own dream invariably comes true. To enlighten, to awaken, to inspire all of those, whose lives they touch ... this is their dream!
Yes, dear students of WCU, this is, indeed, my dream, and I think (with excitement and joy) that perhaps it has become yours too. I am so grateful for each and every one of you. Children are going to be so fortunate to have you as their teachers. Good luck to you too. And thank you from deep in my heart.
And so here I am early in the morning, up with the robins and little Ada Mae. She sprawls on the table close to my fingers as they tap, tap, tap on the keyboard. She wrestles with a piece of string that lies next to her and every now and again licks her paws. My little buddy early in the morning. She has been up most of the night staring out of the window at the great Fairmount Park. Who knows which animals she sees strolling by under the shadow of the moonlit trees. Her knowing eyes widen to look at me every now and again. Blog - Ada - Ada - blog - tap, tap, tapping ...
A friend and I talked about me and my blog just the other day. We were sipping different beverages. She a cold, chocolate drink and me chai tea. Both munching on some kind of Kellogg's Styrofoam, strawberry-tasting snack bites. "L., I have to give up my blog. I just have to," I said. "No, you must not," she replied, "It is good for you. It helps you. You feel strong and confident after you write in it." Munch, munch, crunch, crunch. Finally she says she cannot eat anymore of those Styrofoam-tasting snack bites. "Can I leave them and not finish them?" She asks politely. Of course! I understand completely. She continues about how at some weblog sites people get into fiery debates about stuff but at mine somehow comments are always kind and supportive. "You need that," she explains.
I think about our discussion this early morning. How kind my blogging community is to to me and ... is it strength and confidence I feel after writing? Sometimes writing a post helps me understand confused feelings. At others I simply love sharing a thought or two out there in space somewhere. Of course, comments are always a special treat. Acknowledgment and validation. But more than that, comments give me the feeling that I am connected to some kind of community. I recognize that the blogging community has served to fill a void that I felt so excruciatingly as I arrived in Philadelphia over a year ago, after leaving my home of 18 years.
Blogging has also helped me process the many years of therapy with Bob. I have gotten to know myself as I share my journal ramblings with cyberspace. Putting it down in black and white for others to read along with me, bear witness and validate, has helped me sort out, confront and face down some of my deepest vulnerabilities. So no doubt about it. Blogging feels like a life-saver.
On the other hand my most productive writing hours are early in the morning and I seem to spend them blogging or reading others when I could (should?) be writing books, articles, other things ... I sense that time is drawing near for me to let go of this kind, virtual community and plunge myself into reality. I am indeed stronger and more confident. So much has become clear about who I am and why I do, think, feel the way I do. Naturally I realize that if I stop blogging I will disappear like a puff of smoke. No one is indispensable and although among my tiny readership some will undoubtedly miss me a tad, the cyber world will happily roll along without me.
And so, my dear, tiny readership, here is my blog-a-doodle-dandy plan. One more week until I depart for a ten day vacation to Greece. While there I will take a break from blogging. When I return, a decision will be made. So, let's have fun together this week. Mother's Day is coming up and other stuff is bound to appear.
The count down begins ...
Just in. An e-mail from L.
Hey, Tamar, I read your blog today. Have you read people's comments yet? They are still supportive. What a nice crew! I will miss you and them.
I received an e-mail from a colleague today:
This is, indeed, very disturbing. I think we should try to get the word out about this right away through all our channels. We also need to find a way to track any other such censorship that gets brought to other educators or children’s authors. Any ideas?
I think it’s time for a major mutiny around this No Child Left Behind business. Note the close links with major publishing houses.
Who will take a stand against this type of things? How can we join our voices in protest, not only over this, but the larger issues of the direction our profession is headed?
from Patricia Polacco
To All Educators, Librarians, and Media Specialists
Regarding the cancellation of my appearance at the IRA in Chicago for May 2 and 3, 2006
A few months ago I was approached by The Buchanan Associates in Dublin, OH to appear at the International Reading Association Conference in Chicago on May 2 and 3, 2006. I was to be part of 5 events. Speeches, 'meet and greet' and book signings.
I was happy to accept the invitation which, I assumed, was coming from the I.R.A. and my publisher. It is always such an honor for me to speak and interact with teachers and librarians from around the country.
But, then, a very disturbing turn of events transpired. My staff started receiving phone calls and emails from this firm in Ohio requesting that I furnish them with a detailed written outline of what I intended to include in my speeches. I assumed, of course, that this was asked so that a synopsis of my content could be included in a printed brochure furnished to the conferees.
You can imagine my astonishment when I finally called this firm and learned that this was not the reason. They requested my written outline because their 'client' wanted to make sure that I would not discuss my deep concern about NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND MANDATE...as well as my concern that there is a link between this mandate and the SRA/McGraw Hill Company who manufactures, prints, and profits from the sale of these tests to school systems all over our country.
It was then that I closely reviewed all of the emails (I had not up until this time because I had been doing school visits and was not home until now) I then realized that the "client" that this firm referred to, but never names, was indeed, SRA/McGraw Hill! I also learned from the Officials of the IRA that SRA/McGraw Hill was indeed sponsoring the event that I had been invited to. I was shocked!
This "firm" insisted that my speech be "upbeat, non-controversial, and non-political"...I countered with the fact that the plight of the American teacher is far from "upbeat" and they are caught in the vice grip of the most controversial and political LIE that has ever been perpetrated on the American teacher.
I was also quite mystified as to why SRA/McGraw Hill would even select ME and invite me to be a part of their program knowing how strongly I feel about this entire situation.
My speeches certainly do inspire teachers...I truly believe they are among the last heroes we have in our country... but I always mention the destructive path that is laying wasted to our schools and that is the No Child Left Behind Mandate! I did mention to them that I considered this broaching "censorship" and a violation of my freedom of speech.
Finally, after receiving numerous emails from this 'firm' that got more and more 'insistent'...I finally sent them a written refusal to alter my speeches in any way. Certainly I can moderate their length, but I refused to alter the content. I made them aware if they truly had a problem with this, then they could "un-invite" me to be part of their event.
Needless to say, SRA/McGraw Hill cancelled my programs within the hour!
My main concern here, is that I very much fear the conferees will be led to believe that it is I who cancelled this event. The cancellation was the choice of SRA/McGraw Hill and was generated by a blatant attempt to CENSOR my remarks and the content of what I say to teachers. Which is a clear infringement of my constitutional right to freedom of speech. I pride myself on being an advocate for America's teachers as well as being one of the most reliable speakers at conferences in our country.
My lawyers and I have sent a formal request to SRA/McGraw Hill through their representative, The Buchanan Associates in Dublin, Ohio, to post the following signs outside of each venue at the conference where I am schedules to speak:
DUE TO PHILOSOPHICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SRA/McGRAW HILL AND PATRICIA POLACCO, SRA/McGRAW HILL HAS CHOSEN TO CANCEL ALL OF PATRICIA POLACCO'S APPEARANCES AT THIS EVENT
Call anyone you know that was either going to attend my events, or that did and was disappointed and tell them why this happened.
I am very disturbed by this on may levels. It seems that we Americans are losing, by leaps and bounds, our constitution "guaranteed" rights. I am insulted and very offended not only on my own behalf, but also because of these various organizations that seek to profit from the misery for our teachers and school children. Profits and money seem to matter much more that truly making changes to our educational systems that would truly help our children. I have to admit that I have a certain amount of pride in taking this stand on your behalf.
— Patricia Polacco