Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Fault

In Our Stars, is a popular teenage, or Young Adut, book.
What in the hell is a young adult?
I would consider anyone under about forty years to be a young adult. I certainly don't consider those who've lived less than two decades to fit that category.
But it's a profitable selling point, suggesting that the youthful reader of YA is somehow ahead of what? Childhood? I don't get it. 
In my day, she says with a penetrating stare and righteousnous waved like a banner, once you stopped reading children's books you read adults' books. From which you might gradually absorb adult dilemnas, adult issues, ethics, morals, history, choices.... that is, grow to understand the world you were growing in to.
Not that it worked particularly well for me in the short run, as a matter of fact. In the longer run, yes.yes and yes again.
Flowers in the Attic, The Hunger Games, and such are seductive books. Ripping yarns. Easy reads. Full of the evil of olders, so seductive to teens. "The Fault in Our Stars" is more problematic, to my mind, in that one of its premises is that the protagonist, a teen with terminal cancer, says that the worst part of her prognosis is her parents'grief.
The worst part? Her parents'grief?  Who do we have here Saint....? What unnatural human doesn't cling to life, hope for life, feel that they deserve life? Claw at life? Look for blame in her family?
That seems to me so fundamentally dishonest and deceiving. .Of course a young person with cancer has been cheated, of a life and of a future.Of course they rage. Of course they feel cheated, because they have been. People decades older than this teen rail against the invader. As they should.
How distorting for young readers, to feel quite assured that anyone they know with cancer is only concerned, not with their own sadness, but with the effect on people around them. What a lie.What a huge, distorting, wicked lie. 
You can only wonder why how some writer squares their conscience , and only wonder how much cash they stored up as a consequence.

The world keeps on geting dumbed down.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Privacy? Secrecy?

She was well known of, though I would think that few if any knew her, let alone knew her well. She died in 1977, but I don't know what age she was. Old. I saw her a few times, a tiny dessicated figure tramping around in ancient, ragged clothes, the soles of her shoes flapping. Story was that she was rich: well, that kind of myth often follows that kind of person.
She lived above a small shop front that she owned, and it was the smell of her two dogs, dead from starvation after she herself had died, that attracted notice.
She had hoarded newspapers. Throwing them downstairs was the easiest way of moving them, and that's the only reason that they discovered the banknotes interleaveded through them, floating out as the papers were tossed. Over $1 million.
She'd left it to the Anglican diocese to build a hospital. They combined with the Catholic church to build an assessment/ nursing home. A rare ecumenical project.
When I heard that it was being built in the hospital grounds, I thought it a marvellous idea. Residents would be able to see visitors coming and going: doctors arriving, leaving. Parents going home with new babies. Ambulances. Life.
When I visited someone there I found that it had been carefully angled so that all these were out of sight. Through the one window, all that could be seen was a stretch of lawn. It was depressing to see 30 or so residents propped up in chairs in front of "Days of Our Lives," while in the annex a few, with presumably a bit more life than the others, quarrelled over who got the best view out the window.
Afterwards I asked Judy, the matron and old friend, why they had a large repro of "The Last Supper"at the head of the dining room. This seemed to me neither tactful nor encouraging. She laughed and said that she'd never noticed it.
The story I was told about the original she was that she was the sole child of a privileged family and that she fell out with them because of her chosen beau. As a result she suffered social exclusion, which she determinedly stuck with when said beau vanished, for whatever reason. Whether or not this is true, I have no idea. I googled her and found no results in the first four pages, except in reference to the above facility.
As she avoided people in life, I suspect that this erasure of her by a search engine might please her. But I regret it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Out of the long ago

This century has not been my century.
It began with the death of my oldest sister in 2000, from whom I had been estranged, the way that family members can be. If they are dysfunctional, I expect I should add: but what families aren't? I still miss my sister. Always will.
Her daughter was living with me at the time  because I didn't see that my issues with her mother should spread to her.  "I see her blossoming. Thank you. Thank you", my sister said. While she was dying.My connection with this niece is now one of my joys.
I look back at the rest of those years and remember the several times white ants attacked at both home and work, and how confronting, difficult and bloody expensive that was. and what a problem that is when you are trying to save every dollar you can. The issues when a valued employee attempted suicide and you have to explain that to your clients, spoiled ### that she was.. The issues when a trusted employee bought into an opposition business and spent such an amount of money on advertising that I simply gave up. Why had I lost heart by then? Another, later woman pointed her finger at me before clients and accused me of calling her a liar. And so on and so on.
The way that heavy rain came through my bedroom ceiling  a second time, after being repaired, ruining ceiling, curtains, pelmet, etc. If that was not enough, rain poured in, in deluging sheets, in a different area of the house. I used every towel, every newspaper to try to mop up this saturation. It stank: well after weeks of drying, ancient dog piss reeked through and made this virtually uninhabitable. My son rescued me.
The extraordinary rain at this time led to extraordinary growth; maintaining  the garden was suddenly well  beyond me.
You think that you have coped with some difficulty, overcome it, Yes, and then of course we got quite an extraordinary, unprecedented amount of rain which evidently lodged in the roof moss, had nowhere else to go, and my sitting room was awash , rain poured through the ceiling, down paintings, onto coffee tables, carpets -. By this time one is bowed: the fates have you in their sights. The remorseless hounds of heaven are baying after you. There is nothing you can do,
I sent generous love to my 2nd sister and her son when she excitedly emailed me about his engagement.They had  a small group of guests. I was excluded. As I had put effort into hosting her and her family for Xmas for many years, there was a regretful feel about this. Regretful? I wanted to punch her on the nose.
There was an also a similar issue about my school year's 50 year reunion., to which I was only admitted at the last moment. Because, I understand,  implied criticisms I had printed of the catholic religion,.But what questions and anguish along the way.
I had to fish Puddy's body out of the pool. Dear Puddy, our loved orange cat. I wish I had done better. I didn't. Writing those words doesn;t express the  sadness and the horror.
The white cat defies talking about, but it was far from a  happy ending.I will never find a resolution.
Lucy dog was my daughter's dog: a terrier. Not my type. Doesn't suit  me. I was, in my ignorance, used to dogs lasting about twelve years.Lucy lasted well beyond this, but not as a well functioning entity.Lucy slept  in my bedroom. She needed to go out once or twice a night. That meant that I had to wake up once or twice a night. In winter, face under zero cold, let her out, snuggle back to warmth, hear her scratchings at the door, brace oneself to hit the cold., let her in. Those years like having a baby: never a full nights sleep, For years. it also meant that I couldn't leave home: how could you hire someone prepared to do this? If you judge me an idiot, you may well be correct.It was for love: love for my daughter.  How many fools have said this?
I didn't ever expect to wake up one morning and see Lucy's neck and head at right angles to her body. Horror.  Like a Stephen King novel.What went after was worse.
 I really don't want to talk of this.Or, about quite a lot of other.
This morning an old, once  boyfriend rang,
He has intermittently been in contact since our first chaste connections as 17 yrs olds.
The encounters over the years have been  onesided, from him, many, intermittent... In the early nineties, after my husband died, I felt so plagued as he rang constantly I took to swearing at him at his relentless phonecalls, My solicitor sent messages threatening an avo. All these years later ... it feels different. "Yes, you can write to me,":  I say, which is what he asks, "I don't know that I will reply."
He's sentimental at heart, which our society doesn't allow a man to be. .
I have no interest at all in a romance or even a relationship of any kind, but a connection by mail? Possibly.  I feel quite warm towards him. At a letter's length.
But is this the a turn for the better or a continuation of the negative 2000's? Who knows? I am wary.