Michelle's Eyebrow-Raising Confession

Rad note » this entry originated from another page. It was moved here because the subject drifted far enough to warrant its own, separate page, which also lets me reference more easily and directly the provocative concept under discussion here.

At the end of this entry (that you're reading now) I have included a link that will return you to the exact place from where this entry originated. Here ya go ...

Michelle's Experiences Growing Up in Altadena & Her » Eyebrow-Raising Confession

For example, most recently I have returned to my 'Exploring' entry [ january 2013, page 2/4 ] .. particularly to the section where I discuss people who would rather have NO children (both men & women) ..

Childless by Choice in Altadena.. <pause for effect>..

.. than to bring up a child in a home like the one in which they were raised.

Where I added a link to Michelle's article about being Childless by Choice .. particularly where she said »

I have friends from families long ridden with addiction, abuse and poverty ..

.. who have become loving, responsible, sober parents and made safe, calm homes for their children.

So why did neither my sister nor I ever want to "do it right" and live in a family of our own making?

Even as I learned that not all families were like this » I didn't trust myself not to recreate what I had known.

I believe it was no coincidence that I waited to marry until it was biologically impossible for me to have children. [ the author ]

Michelle's documented experiences of growing up in Altadena illustrate beautifully what I was trying to say, and her article reveals that it is not only men who feel this way.

I knew that women, also, felt that way .. because I heard them tell me so. And yes, I was surprised.

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••• today's entry continues here below •••

If you've ever been to the Huntington Library and botanical gardens there in Pasadena (actually located right next door in San Marino) ..

Tournament of Roses in Pasadena.. or if you've ever been to the Rose Bowl, or to the parade there on New Years day ..

.. then you've hung out in Michelle's backyard.

Jan & Frank live in that area .. in Sylmar. Where I spent some weekends with the Film school girl. (Jan & Frank were film people, too .. like Zack-n-Deb.)

So I know the area. Lots of horses. Need to watch your step. Ah, the aroma early Sunday morning.

They had a nice patio garden, where you could sit outside under the big tree and drink your coffee .. while reading the LA Times, and while Frank cooked brecky.

Could that boy cook. Made it look easy, too. "Hey, I whipped up a little sumpthin. Wanna try?"

» A Brave Woman

Michelle is a brave woman. I dont know many people who could do something like that.

Such things are usually whispered among the closest of friends, but rarely documented for public viewing. I mean, I have never seen such a confession documented.

[ It is unrelated, but, like Michelle, here is a place where I did not trust myself, either. ]

Michelle's story reminds me of what Hemingway said about » the "best early training" for a writer. Stendhal would probably concur.

I do love, btw, her 3x3x3 pairings at the beginning of the passage I quoted:

  1. addiction, abuse, poverty (friends from families who grew up in homes with)
  2. loving, responsible, sober (parents they became anyway)
  3. safe, calm homes (they made for their own kids)

Very nice. You know how guys love geometrics.

» Surviving Toxic Parents

Boy could I ever craft an interesting entry that encompasses those 9 subjects. I'm sure it would be titled something like » Surviving Toxic Parents.

If you read only the passage from Michelle's article that I copy here, you may get the idea that it is » No Big Deal .. for a person to come from a toxic, dysfunctional home ..

.. and become warm, kind, thoughtful, loving, patient parents themselves. But you would be » wrong. Because it's NOT easy. No, sir. Not by a long shot.

If fact, it's something of a rarity. Which kind of surprises me. Because you would think that a person who grows up in a shitty, toxic, dysfunctional home ..

.. where the parents are little more than big kids themselves (with a driver's license) .. you'd think that these people would learn everything there is to learn about what NOT to do .. in the raising of kids to be happy, healthy, highly-functioning adults.

But this is not the way it works. Most of the time the person who grows up in such a home learns all the toxic, dysfunctional behaviors.

But instead of rejecting the behaviors, they (rather) » adopt it for themselves. It's like they are saying » "Hey, it worked great for my crazy mother, so I'll just use the technique as my very own."

Sometimes they even improve on the technique, making it even more damaging to their children.

So rare is this generational reversal .. that I have much respect for anybody that is able to pull it off. Because I know how hard it can be.

Dostoevsky is one such person who overcame the dysfunction of a shitty parent .. to become a good one himself. (Marshall is another.)

» Taking Things to Next Level

This has become one of the first entries posted in the new & improved Ye Olde Rad Blog v5. Usually when I fire up a new blog, I try to take my writing & entries to the next level.

Curvature of Spacetime by a Gravity-containing ObjectThat was nice of Michelle .. to help me take things to the next level.

It is unrelated to the topic at hand, but I mention another California Michelle » here.

Related to the topic at hand » Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, by Meghan Daum. [ Amazon. ]

Regarding the taking of things to the next level, and the curvature (or 'warping') of spacetime by gravity-containing objects ..

.. notice how the following passage (which was copied from » this page) seems to suggest that » this changes everything.

"In 1906, soon after Albert Einstein announced his special theory of relativity, his former college teacher in mathematics, Hermann Minkowski, developed a new scheme for thinking about space and time that emphasized its geometric qualities. In his famous quotation delivered at a public lecture on relativity, he announced that,

'The views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical. henceforth, space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.'

Think about it.

» Context of the Context

The original context for mentioning Michelle's article was how I will return to something I've already written (.. such as in January 2013, for example) ..

Building Blocks to Make Bigger, Cooler Things.. to include a link to something published today ..

.. if it will help to support a claim I've made or to underscore a point I'm asserting.

With these individual entries, I am looking for little-known truths that I can use later as building blocks for even better entries.

As platforms to help launch and propel my future entries even further into experimental territories.

This way .. instead of spending time detailing some point I am trying to make, I can now simply drop a link to a page that explains the thing I am asserting.

Dostoevsky did much such referencing to other works .. because he was well-read.

But he didnt have the hyperlink. If a reader hadnt read the particular works to which he was referring, then they failed to hear the full music of his story's message.

But we do. You and I here in the twenty-first century do have the hyperlink.

I recall Hemingway writing (.. tho I cannot find the exact spot without doing lots of rereading) that he felt it would be a good idea for him to ..

.. » write something about every subject that he knew about. He felt this would be a "good, severe writer's discipline" .. if my chemo brain recalls correctly.

I have much to say about this idea .. and what it does for the writer .. particularly when you combine such a thing with the hyperlink and with the always-on feature of the Internet.

Tho now is not the time.

Along these lines however, I would like to call to your attention to a paragraph near the end of this article, irresistibly titled » Dirty Talk and Dostoyevsky on the Night Shift (by Suzanne) ..

.. where she seems to be saying something very similar to what I am trying to say here. See if you agree »

The Artistry is in the » Stitching Up

I did not write a best-selling novel about a girl working in a seedy part of London, but I learned how to write without pressure and self-criticism, and as a consequence I began to generate material that would later become a first draft of a short story. That story, many years down the line, expanded into a novel. I learned that the larger pattern only comes with the creation of small segments and that all the artistry is in the stitching up.

[ I stitch together my segments with » the hyperlink, which makes things easy. ]

This girl (Suzanne) has writing in her blood, in her genes, in her soul. And she has gone » all in. Sold the family farm, so to speak. I admire that. Very much.

Anyway, I think that a musician, or a group of musicians, who had spent considerable time-n-effort creating a sizable inventory of popular songs ..

.. would know what I am trying to say here. When they perform in concert, the could summonn the magic of their individual blocks .. in whatever order they choose.

The end. ■

» Blow Provides a Similarly Confirming Example to Update a Completed Entry

Update 13 April 2015 (one month later) » Charles Blow at the NY Times provides me today with another example .. of a reason to return to an old entry (August 2013, my too clever Not Talking About Writing entry) ..

Skittles: Trayvon's Last Meal.. and to inject a new hyperlink that confirms or supports something I have already written.

Notice how the words there » who was on trial .. now contain a hyperlink.

That wasnt there before today.

An article needs to really make my socks run up-n-down my legs .. for me to go back and code it into an article that I've already completed.

Doesnt Charles seem to be confirming the very thing I was saying? (in my comment about the Trayvon Martin shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by an older white dude packing deadly force.)

Because I feel it does. And by some unknown wizardry of digital technology and language arts .. I feel that his article compliments mine, thereby adding to its value.

Beyond the obvious parallel between his title and my theme .. I like that Blow is black. That gives him more credibility to speak on the matter. (Or am I talking about authenticity?)

Locked Up in America | Solitary NationI felt the same sense of 'inadequacy' when I began to write about » Solitary Confinement ..

.. after spending only a few days locked up with my thoughts ..

.. as I did when writing about the verdict in the Trayvon shooting trial.

Nevertheless, you must admit that when a man LIVES a particular thing (blackness, gayness, catholic-ness) ..

.. he » brings more _________ (« something) to a conversation on a particular topic (whatever that topic might be) ..

.. than the man who  brings (merely) » an external survey.

This seems intuitively obvious to me. And I would normally omit even mentioning it .. if there werent those who would beg to disagree.

I also thought about returning to my (2011) entry titled » Our Long, Slow Slide into the Drink .. to include a link to this article, titled » At Global Economic Gathering, Concerns That U.S. Is Ceding Its Leadership Role.

[Who was it that said » "A house divided against itself must fall" ? Lincoln, maybe?]

But I decided against it.

Qualified to Speak » Giving Weight to Words

I actually find it a little strange .. that I am so big about this 'qualified to speak' thing.

One part of me could care less about being 'qualified' ..

Christ the Redeemer | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.. while another is very much conscious of some unwritten rules of speaking through-out the ages.

I mean, I never heard anybody say anything about not speaking on a subject if you werent 'qualified'. Ever.

The closest thing I can think of .. came during one of my first days in court .. about custody in Family Law court ..

.. and I remember the judge doing this cool thing where he » establishes the Court's right (jurisdiction) to RULE ON my particular case .. number thus-n-so.

[[ Of course, that was the last cool thing I would see there. Little did I know the chamber of horrors the courtroom would become for me .. well, except for the short period (too short, much too short) during which that lady-judge sat the bench. She was a graduate of Harvard Law and was very smart. You could see it in her eye and hear it in her voice. When she was the judge, the only thing I had to say was » "That is correct, your honor."

She was on the bench during the only time I brought the Bug to court with me. You are not supposed to bring your kids to court with you. But I had no other option. And he was still pretty young and did not want to be left in the day-care down on the second floor. So she let me bring him into the courtroom with me. I very much appreciated that. The court stopped, we came in, I put him in a chair behind me and opened a picture book and put it in his lap and told him not to talk and we'll be done in a few minutes. He was great. As we walked out, I said, "You did great, punkin'. Let's go get some ice cream at Dad's"

When I received a letter from the court informing me that she had been moved (promoted) to another court, and that my case would be assigned to a new judge, I felt a sinking feeling inside. ]]

» Range of Authentic Influence

Visually, this authority-by-living-credential feels something like .. there are all these circles out there .. and we all occupy any number of them.

And when you speak (or write) about shit in YOUR PARTICULAR CIRCLE .. that gives more weight to the things you say. Does it not?

Sure it does. More so than some other dude from another circle. "What does he know about shit in this circle? He doesnt live here and the fucker visits only rarely."

This is why people lend more credence and listen more closely when Obama talks about the treatment of black men in America .. than they do with someone like, say, Bill O'Reilly.

It's not because Obama is the president. Rather it's because his skin is black and he is naturally going to have experiences authentic to the black man and see things from a perspective that a white man never will.

[ Oh, look .. here's a great example of what I am talking about. Can you feel the weight of authenticity? Michael Eric Dyson weighs in here.

Hillary goes to Columbia and weighs in here. I give her points for that. Blow throws down here. (Which I address » here.)

David Simon speaks here. He would know. He is an impressive dude. My seat-of-the-pants ratings system puts him up there with Alex Gibney, who is near the top of my list. These are tough fuckers.

David Brooks weighs in here .. which the NY Mag calls bullshit. ]

Anyway, one such circle might be named » Catholic. Talking about and discussing things going on in the Catholic cicle are more 'weighty' coming from a person who actually lives there. They carry more weight.

We're talking about the opinions of the people who live in those circles.

Another such circle might be named » Gay.

I am soo laboring the obvious. I would apologize .. if I didnt feel there were some redeeming destination in store.

» Writing About the Times' Opinion Writers (In One Place)

Speaking of redeeming destinations ..

NY Times Business Card.. I have had, for some time now, an urge to write a piece on the opinion writers there at the NY Times.

I mean, I have read them all. Many times.

They are all different, so I cant really number them 1, 2, 3, 4... (Tho I could, if pressed.)

Opinion writing at the NY Times .. you have to be well-hung, so to speak, to get a gig like that. You know what I mean.

From the perspective of expressing creatively thoughtful opinions .. as a writer .. what better avenue, what better vehicle .. than the NY Times?

Sure there are other great writing gigs. I hear, for example, that the best writers work at The New Yorker. But these are not strictly opinions. (John Cassidy is my favorite at the New Yorker.)

And I've always admired the work of Vanity Fair and a number of others. And sites like the Guardian can offer a foreign perspective.

For news & info the Dog's favorites are The Nation and Salon and the Atlantic.

A handful of folks at the coffee shop were fond of Democracy Now!. They talked about Amy Goodman like she was their mother. Their wise mother.

And speaking of mothers .. we can't forget the nice folks over at Mother Jones.

My point is that .. you might consider an opinion gig writing at the Times the ultimate ego-stroker.

Think about it .. opinions. If there is one thing that everybody has .. it's an opinion. Am I right? You know I am.

The opinion writer is basically giving the reader a piece of his mind. "This is what-the-fuck I think about thus-n-so."

Now normally, you would pay people money .. for them NOT to give you a piece of their mind. Admit it.

Now I do this myself, sometimes, and give readers a piece of my mind. But because I am not a stud at the NY Times, I must include » WHY .. I feel the way I do. Why I have this particular opinion. Why I am not full of shit.

So what makes these dudes at the NY Times so special that they get to write their opinions for the NY Times?

Well, that is another story. Maybe. But I would enjoy it. Comparing and contrasting. Strengths and weaknesses of the Times' opinion writers.

Update » this section that deals with the Times' opinion writers has been moved to its own page .. see here » My Opinion of the Writers Who Write Opinions for the NY Times.

(That's a good-looking title, no? Fitzgerald would totally be jealous.)

At the end of that entry, I have included a link that will return the reader back here, to this exact section.

The end, again. ■■

You can return to the exact spot from where this entry originated .. see here » Michelle's Experiences Growing Up in Altadena & Her Eyebrow-Raising Confession. [ in the March, 2015 archive ]

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