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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Killer Clothes


Recently I watched an HBO film called Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory. It's about the West Memphis 3, three teenagers convicted of the murders of three eight-year-olds, and the story of their conviction, sentencing, long incarceration for murders they didn't commit. Why were they suspects? Basically, because one of the kids, Damien Echols, looked creepy. Black tee shirts, witchy drawings, cigarettes, maybe drugs...the hoodlum accoutrements. Echols was given a death sentence, and the other two life in prison, in spite of much exonerating evidence. It's best to watch the film if you want to find out what happened to them and why. I've been thinking about them ever since the news of the Trevon Martin case came through the feeds...the story of a teenager killed because he looked scary. He was wearing a hoodie.

I know lots of boys who wear hoodies and black tee shirts who have lots of assumptions made about them. Some of them are stopped by police, and arrested, for how they look. Kids wear these clothes to speak to each other, not to adults. Probably some boys want to look tough or scary. But it's up to adults to find out what they mean by their clothes before we incarcerate or kill them. How about some communication? Ask what's with the hoodie, the tatt, the all black clothes? How do you feel when you wear this stuff? Don't be surprised if the insightful kid tells you he feels safe.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Circadian Calm

My priest, the last one I had, used to say, when wrangling someone to serve on a committee, we each have the same 24 hours. My mind would cry out, but I am busy! When it did, I had made his point.

We each have the same 24 hours.

I hadn't caught up with Modernism when I wrote my first novel (in the drawer). I thought it was my idea to write in 24 hour segments. Well, it was a good idea.

I always had a sense of the day as being the big picture. Nature impressed it, I suppose. I deeply believe in dailiness, in its value. If you want depth, attend to your relationship, your book, your muscles daily. Two minutes, ten minutes, ten hours, that isn't important. It is doing something in the period of one circadian rhythm that matters.

Interruption is toxic.

I just had a week alone, at VCCA. I kept my head down and worked. I had a week of days. Each morning I woke up and lay in bed for a while, listening to the birds. I made coffee in the nearest kitchen, and wrote for a couple of hours. Then walked over to the dining room for breakfast, which I ate as silently as possible. More writing, thinking, reading. Lunch--a plate taken back to my room, not meeting anyone's eye. A break after lunch, phone a friend, go into town to Lou's Antiques, a walk at Sweetbriar. Back to the desk until dinner. Then back to the desk until my final step outside to look up at the sky, and to watch the horses in the dark.

Did you get a lot done? I wrote pages, revised pages, planned. The main thing, though, is that each day I poured from my sleeping self into my waking self completely, the way a tidepool is filled and emptied.