Hypergraphia is a condition that causes people to transcribe their thoughts uncontrollably. I don't suffer from it in the clinical sense, but I may be borderline. My blog is the cyber-wall where I spray paint my thoughts for all to see. By the way, if you came here directly through blogger --if your page has no yellow frames and no pretty pic of me in the top left corner -- you may want to visit my main site at www.hypergraffiti.com, where you can read this blog and much much more.
- Name: TrudyJ
I'm Trudy Morgan-Cole, a writer from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. My books include "The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson," "Esther: A Story of Courage," and "Deborah and Barak." I'm also a married mom of two, a teacher in an adult-ed program, and a Christian of the Seventh-day Adventist kind. I blog about writing, reading, parenting, teaching, spirituality, and shiny things that catch my eye.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
It hardly seems possible that we've been together less than a year. What wonderful times we've had -- going right back to those shy early blogs when you helped me build my confidence to today, nine months later, when I feel confident calling myself a "blogger" (just like you! I've even taken your name!)
You've always been good to me. I have no real complaints, and I've treasured our time together. Sure, we never became a "hot item" with dozens of comments piling up under each post, but you've given me the freedom to express myself, and I think my friends and family have enjoyed spending time with us.
But now ... I have to go.
No, no, it's not you -- it's me. I've -- well, I'd better just be honest -- I've met someone else.
It was just a fling at first ... just checking out another site, seeing what it had to offer. I didn't think it would be any harm to register. Just an innocent little flirtation.
But I have to admit, my new love can offer me things you can't. No, it's not your fault -- it's more that my needs have changed. I've learned to appreciate a lot of qualities I didn't even know I needed. For the last couple of weeks I've been spending all my time with this new love of mine. You must have noticed I haven't been around as much. Did you suspect something was wrong?
I could stay with you and pretend to be content, but we'd both know I was living a lie. It's better if I leave so we can both start over. I'm excited about this new relationship and I can't keep it a secret any longer. It's time to go public, let everyone know where my heart is -- and that means saying goodbye to you, dear Blogger.
Thanks for the wonderful times. I hope you'll be very happy. You're a special, special piece of software and I know others will appreciate you just as I have.
Meanwhile, if anyone's got their bookmarks for my page set to www.hypergraffiti.com , you're already seeing the new site. If your bookmark is set to http://hypergraffiti.blogspot.com , you'll need to change it to www.hypergraffiti.com or http://trudymorgancole.wordpress.com --either one will take you to my new and beautiful WordPress site, where I'll be blogging from now on! Can't wait to see everyone there!!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
That's what we had last night, after two or three weeks with no snow, some milder temperatures, and snowbanks melting all around us.
The landscape outside my window this morning looks as white and wintry as January.
Given that this is my 42nd year of life and I lived away from home for eight years, this is my thirty-fourth experience of Newfoundland "spring." I'm quite used to it -- the false hope, the ugliness of the melting dirty snowbanks and everything that's revealed beneath them, the storm that hits just as you've unzipped the inner lining from your winter jacket. I know that what passes for spring here is really the long, slow, painful death of winter, struggling back to life long after we'd thought it gone for good. I enjoy springlike days in March and April, but I don't get my hopes up.
In my last blog post I reviewed the movie Reign Over Me and commented that I liked the realistic way it dealt with recovery from grief. We have such an expectation (fed by media and fiction more than by real life, I think) that recovery from terrible experiences, or any kind of change in life, is a spring-like process. People get better gradually but certainly, moving from a dark cold winter of pain and loss into an inevitable and radiant summer, becoming a little stronger and happier every day.
I teach young people who are trying to finish their high school program after dropping out -- sometimes because of physical or mental illness, or addiction, or abuse, or the aftermath of grief and loss. Watching my students last year as we slogged through "spring" semester towards their June exams, it struck me that making changes in life is less like our ideal picture of spring, and more like a Newfoundland spring. We make two steps forward and one step back -- if we're lucky. Good days and bad days. Whole weeks when you think the worst is over, you begin to hope, you shed your protective layers and walk around enjoying the sunshine. Then the bad things (whatever your personal "bad things" are) hit like a storm, snow and blowing snow whipping around in front of you, and you try to move forward through zero visability and wonder if it will ever end.
Even the good days have their share of ugliness -- the melting snow piles reveal layers of dirt and garbage and dog poop underneath. When the frozen layers that protect us start to melt, there's a lot of stuff beneath them we'd rather not look at. Sometimes it's easier just to retreat inside while another load of snow gets dumped on top.
Recovering from grief or loss, abuse or addiction, or just finding your way in life when you've been lost, is not like spring in the movies. It's not like spring in America, or some idealized picture-book spring with crocuses blooming and robins hopping about on the grass. Change, healing, recovery is more like March in Newfoundland, a hard dirty slog, days of hope punctuated by setbacks.
But a snowstorm in late March is not like a snowstorm in February -- the roads have been cleared, the huge mounds of snow melted, so that even though the visability is poor you have more space to maneuver; you can see where you're going. It's hard to remember in the middle of a March snowstorm that summer is coming -- it seems to remote and unreal. But we're closer to it than we were a month ago. Two steps forward and one step back still puts you ahead of where you were. Change is slow, dirty and frustrating. But it happens. Summer comes, every year.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Another Good Movie
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Tragic ... but Stupid
I hate to criticize someone who has suffered the worst tragedy a person can suffer - the loss of a young child -- but I don't understand why the police are calling this a terrible accident no-one could have foreseen, and I don't know why the outcry is all around the dangers of power windows and how car manufacturers should install more safety features.
This parent left a six-year-old and a two-year-old alone in a car with the engine on. Not for a couple of minutes while she ran into the store to get milk either -- although even that would be ridiculous to do with the engine on -- but long enough to go into an office building (where she presumably couldn't see the car) and run an errand. Long enough for the six-year-old to unbuckle the restless two-year-old from her carseat and then, apparently, long enough for the six-year-old to fall asleep in the front seat.
Seriously, this woman has suffered a terrible loss, and it's awful that a moment's carelessness can result in the ending of a young life and such tragedy for the family. But let's call it what it is -- carelessness. Not an unforeseeable accident, not a design flaw in the power windows. You just don't leave two small children alone in a car with the engine turned on. Why would anyone even think that was OK?
Supposedly we live in a society where parents have become hyper-vigilant and everyone is making parents feel guilty about everything they do. And yet every so often something like this comes up in the news and you wonder if anyone is paying any attention to child safety at all??
OK parents out there, in case it didn't occur to you before ... kids don't belong alone in cars with the engine running!!!!! Power windows are only one danger ... there's also the possibility they could put the car in gear and drive into another car, or a building or ... it doesn't bear thinking about. Before we rush to blame the car manufacturer, let's exercise some basic common sense.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Getting Up In Front
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Giving or Stealing??
Jamie's reflection on this experience (and yes, I have his permission to quote him and use his thoughts as a springboard for my own), continues: "So no team ball for me. It wouldn't be the last, or the worst, thing my religion robbed me of."
Reading these words yesterday really stopped me cold. I am raising my children in the Adventist church -- we are perhaps more liberal than a lot of SDA families, but one of the things we're pretty conservative about is Sabbathkeeping. Last night my kids missed out on attending a Fog Devils (local junior hockey) game which was a big fundraiser for their school. Their school competed with another school to see who could sell the most tickets to the game, and at the game there were going to be lots of fun activities for the schoolchildren, including the principal of the losing school getting a pie thrown in his face. It was just the sort of fun community event we would have supported 100% had it not been held on a Friday evening.
I realize there's a lot of room for debate even among Sabbathkeeepers about what constitutes proper Sabbath observance, and some Adventists might be quite happy with attending a hockey game on Friday night. That's sort of a particular in-group argument, and not really the point I want to pursue here. Let's just take it as read that this hockey game, while a fun and positive event, is also the sort of secular and commercial event that would be out of tune with how we, as a family, observe the Sabbath -- and explore the question that's really bothering me. By raising my children in this particular religious paradigm, am I robbing them of something? Will they someday resent us for the hockey games and other events that were "stolen" from them because of our religious choices, imposed upon them?
We've had some lively discussions over at Ship of Fools on whether parents have a right to "indoctrinate" their children in their religion, and the general consensus (not that there's ever anything much like "consensus" on the Ship) is that everyone, even atheists, passes on their worldview to their kids whether they want to or not. But if you observe religious practices, particularly ones that are rigid in some ways (and Sabbathkeeping can certainly fall into this category), then you're leaving yourself particularly open for the charge that you've forced your children to miss experiences they would have liked, and to live through experiences they didn't like (my son has an opinion on 45-minute sermons!), in the name of your religious beliefs.
The thing is, there's no way to know how they will view this without knowing what their own spiritual journeys will be like as adults, and that's the one thing I cannot know. I look back on my own upbringing in the church and I am so grateful for it. I think growing up with solid and unquestionable spiritual practices lays a foundation for those practices in adult life. I can think of two things -- taking a day of Sabbath rest every week is one, and tithing 10% of your income is another -- about which I often hear people say, "Oh, that's a wonderful idea, I'd love to do that, but I just couldn't fit it into my lifestyle, even though I'd like to try."
For me, there's no question of "try" -- these things have been a part of my life since I before I was aware of them, and so I don't have to make any effort to fit them into my life: my life has been shaped around them. (I will point out that my husband did not grow up with these practices and is arguably more observant about both Sabbathkeeping and tithe-paying than I am, so it is obviously possible to adopt such practices as an adult, but I do think it's more difficult). Despite the odd few interesting classes or concerts I've missed because of Friday night or Saturday scheduling, I am deeply grateful for a non-negotiable day each week which is completely dedicated to rest, worship and renewal. It's the reason why I can sit here blogging, guilt-free -- or, earlier this afternoon, lying by the fire reading -- when I have the hugest pile of dirty dishes you have ever seen in the kitchen sink downstairs. (We had family over for dinner last night, and the water buffalo is not doing his job!) Sabbath rest is simply a part of how I live, and so I view the fact that I was raised with it as a gift, rather than something that was stolen from me.
But I can see how I could so easily have turned out with the opposite view. I know far too many people who have been scarred by a fundamentalist or conservative religious upbringing, people who were made to carry a huge burden of guilt for trivial "sins"; people who have struggled to emerge from a worldview that simply didn't fit them; people who are angry about having been baptized as infants into a faith they have never accepted as their own. And people who are angry about having been raised with no faith at all, and left to figure it out all on their own.
It's a big question mark for parents -- what isn't??! -- and all we can do, I think, is to teach kids the things we think are important, try to do it with love and not harshness, and give them the critical thinking skills and the permission to seek and find their own truth as adults.
I don't know what my children will come to believe. I would be happy if they both grew up to be active but fairly liberal Seventh-day Adventists, exactly like me and their father, but honestly I know the chances of them adopting our exact same views are slim (and who knows if that position will even be a valid choice in 20 years?). I want them to be interested in spiritual things and pursue a relationship with God in a way that's meaningful to them. I am prepared for the possibility that they will be angry with their parents for some of the religious observances we imposed upon them. I hope they will be grateful for some, too. I even hope they will be mature enough to be able to say, "I haven't chosen to follow exactly the same path as my parents, but I am grateful for the foundation they laid down for me; they taught me what they thought was right."
They weren't too cut up, in the moment, about missing last night's hockey game. They seem to have already accepted "things we don't do on Sabbath" as part of who we are as a family. Last night we had various relatives over for dinner and they had a good time and didn't brood about what they were missing. My dad taped last night's hockey game off the local cable channel for them and we're going to watch it later to see if the pie-throwing and other hijinks made it to air. And tomorrow we're going to a Fog Devils game with some friends from church, which I hope will help make it up to them.
I hope they won't feel I've robbed them; I hope I haven't. But it basically boils down to the perennial parental hope that we're not messing up our kids too badly, and as we all know, only time will tell.