not finished

I have been thinking about strong and weak personalities.

In the novel, Wonderstruck, the main character's Mom keeps this quote on her refrigerator.

I am drawn to strength in people.

The strength that interests and attracts me is not that obvious.

Here’s a story that Louis Erdich tells Bill Moyers about her inspiration for her novel The Blue Jay’s Dance.

“It was a blue jay’s dance of courage in front of a hawk. I saw it from the window as I was nursing my baby. I kept feeders, and all sorts of birds came down. I saw a blue jay. And then a hawk swooped down on it. The blue jay knew it was doomed, but it started to dance at the hawk. And the hawk was startled. The blue jay was confusing it. This dance of an inferior bird against a superior raptor finally so mortified the hawk that it flew away.” Louis Erdich in Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues

It is a strong image. A nursing mother witnesses a doomed bird that dances its way to freedom despite overwhelming odds.

My wife and my daughters strike me as strong people.  Sarah who is visiting from England and I had a conversation yesterday in which she expressed frustration about many people she sees there who seem to be caught in a vapid and  materialistic approach to life.  She seemed to be wondering  how can she find the people who see life more the way she does? A difficult question for the thinking individual and one I am afraid I have bequeathed to my daughters since it’s definitely one I share.

In the same Moyers book, Nikki Giovanni, the poet, talks about dealing with the fact that Seung-Hui Cho, the English major at Virginia Tech who abruptly killed 32 people and wounded 25 before killing himself was actually a pupil in one of her poetry classes. She was asked to speak at a memorial service for the victims and gave a deeply strong and comforting speech.

“And this thing that happened at Virginia Tech, it was an incredibly sad time for us. The only thing I could do to make sense out of it was to connect these dots. The only thing to connect the dots was love. Because no matter what else is wrong with you, good wine and good sex will make you feel better. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that on this show.

You are granted permission.

Well, good, because you know, sixty-five-year-old women are not finished.”

Nikki Giovanni in Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues

I found both Giovanni’s and Erdich’s interview inspiring examples of strength as I do talking with my daughters and wife.

And as a sixty-year-old man, I like to read about sixty-five-year-old women who are not finished.


Ron Suskind’s ‘Confidence Men’ Focuses on Obama – Review –

Suskind is a former Wall Street Journal writer that I admire and read. This book looks interesting.


Senegal Rappers Emerge as Political Force –

I love the spirit of these musicians.


Economic Bleeding Cure –

Krugman keeps quietly making sense to me. I have been reading him for years and have followed his transition from economist to political commentator.


Fill In the Blanks –

Bill Keller has another excellent mind. Here are some intelligent comments about Obama.


Recipe – Cucumber Kimchi –


How Dick Cheney Reined in Presidential Power –

Cheney is in the news. This is another perspective on his actions in regards to insider struggles in the Bush administration from an insider.


About admin

This information box about the author only appears if the author has biographical information. Otherwise there is not author box shown. Follow YOOtheme on Twitter or read the blog.

2 thoughts on “not finished

  1. Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey:

    I had sat down to rest with my back against a stump. Through accident I was concealed from the glade, although I could see into it perfectly. The sun was warm there, and the murmurs of forest life blurred softly away into my sleep. When I awoke, dimly aware of some cornmotion and outcry in the clearing, the light was slanting down through the pines in such a way that the glade was like some vast cathedral.

    I could see the dust motes of wood pollen in the long shaft of light, and there on the extended branch sat an enormous raven with a red and squirming nestling in his beak. The sound that awoke me was the outraged cries of the nestlings parents, who flew helplessly in circles about the clearing. The sleek black monster was indifferent to them. He gulped, whetted his beak on the dead branch a moment and sat still. Up to that point the little tragedy had followed the usual pattern.

    But suddenly, out of all that area of woodland, a soft sound of complaint began to rise. Into the glade fluttered small birds of half a dozen varieties drawn by the anguished outcries of the tiny parents.

    No one dared to attack the raven. But they cried there in some instinctive common misery, the bereaved and the unbereaved. The glade filled with their soft rustling and their cries. They fluttered as though to point their wings at the murderer. There was a dim intangible ethic he had violated, that they knew. He was a bird of death.

    And he, the murderer, the black bird at the heart of life, sat on there, glistening in the common light, formidable, unmoving, unperturbed, untouchable.

    The sighing died. It was then I saw the judgment. It was the judgment of life against death. I will never see it again so forcefully presented. I will never hear it again in notes so tragically prolonged. For in the midst of protest, they forgot the violence. There, in that clearing, the crystal note of a song sparrow lifted hesitantly in the hush. And finally, after painful fluttering, another took the song, and then another, the song passing from one bird to another, doubtfully at first, as though some evil thing were being slowly forgotten. Till suddenly they took heart and sang, from many throats joyously together as birds are known to sing. They sang because life is sweet and sunlight beautiful. They sang under the brooding shadow of the raven. In simple truth they had forgotten the raven, for they were the singers of life, and not of death.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.