Fellow blogger Dan Antion at No Facilities visited my classroom. YES! Meeting a favorite blogger is a big deal. We connected like we’ve been friends for years.
Well, yes we have. Lucky me.
Dan is the guy with tools who loves to work on projects, from his shed to furniture. Woodworking is a skill children need to learn. I asked Dan to come to my class and introduce hand tools. Toys don’t handle the program. They need real tools. Real.
When Dan arrived, he walked into the classroom and saw Gloria.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Children were eager to greet and meet Dan. He was welcomed with high fives and big smiles. We sat together on the big rug and Dan brought over his bags of tools. Wow! They were big and heavy, children were fascinated. He started with measuring, from tape measures to a very…
I am delighted to share that my poem “Everlasting” has been published in the Smoky Quartz Tenth Anniversary Anthology (2022) sponsored by the Monadnock Writers’ Group. I’m particularly pleased that the poem was chosen by a New Hampshire-based publication because the poem combines my two favorite themes, family and place, particularly New England.
Ronald & Velma
Cape Elizabeth Cottage
“Everlasting” is one of several poems I’ve written that were inspired by a particular event which I included in early drafts. However, by the time the revision process played itself out, the inspiration had disappeared from the poem.
The impetus for the poem was a visit to my grandparents’ Cape Elizabeth, Maine cottage with my mother and my daughter in the 1981/82 time frame. By that time, my grandmother Velma had died and my grandfather had married one of Velma’s close friends, Ethel.
I am honored to welcome Cap Parlier as the newest member of the U.L.S., The Underground Library Society!
In an earlier First Year Class at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, The U.L.S. — The Underground Library Society — was created. It is in the spirit of the Book People from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. In that novel, all books have been banned, and a few people “become” books by memorizing them, in the hope that, one day, books will be permitted to exist again. Those who join write a post about a book they would become if such a time was happening.
Please enjoy reading Cap Parlier’s entry.
In these tumultuous times, I struggled with what book to choose as my inaugural submittal for membership in the Underground Library Society (ULS)—a spiritual tribute to Ray Douglas Bradbury’s seminal dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953). So many books, known and peripheral, qualify in my mind and reading experience. Yet, there is one book that persistently floods my conscious thought for selection for this purpose.
Eric Arthur Blair wrote his last novel toward the end of his life and in ill health. That book would become his magnum opus, published in 1949. Like the centerpiece basis of ULS, the book is a profoundly dystopian novel offering a very dim view of humanity’s future [if we were (are) not careful]. Blair had survived the Spanish Civil War, witnessed the Great Purge in Stalin’s Soviet Union, and watched the violent oppression of Hitler’s Nazi Germany. He had plenty of real examples for his imagination to consider. Blair’s nom de plume, adopted when he began writing while serving as a member of the Indian Imperial Police in Burma (Myanmar), was George Orwell.
My choice to join the Book People and ULS is Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. The book represents a prescient glimpse of what might be when we embrace authoritarian governance. The central character, Winston Smith, works in the Ministry of Truth in Airstrip One, a province of Oceania, one of three super-states, including Eurasia and Eastasia. The three super-states remain in an environment of perpetual war, and the Party and its leader Big Brother must control all information and thought to keep the populace focused on the objectives of the State. Winston joins the resistance under the Party’s threat of execution and obliteration. Yet, the massive billboard on the Ministry of Truth building succinctly consolidates the essence of the Party’s oppression.
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
The story revolves around the resistance and their clandestine absorption of scraps of knowledge they can collect. They recognize the truth and the oppression of Big Brother. In telling the story of Winston Smith and Oceania, Orwell created highly descriptive terms three-quarters of a century ago that surprisingly apply to contemporary life—Big Brother, Newspeak, Thought Police, Memory Hole, Doublethink, and Thoughtcrime. Censorship in its myriad forms is the cornerstone of the Party’s domination of Oceania. So many elements of the Party, Big Brother, and Oceania display the traits of dictatorship and other authoritarian governmental systems. We do not know how Oceania reached its state of oppression, but we see what it has become.
There is no indication that Orwell knew of Lord Woodhouselee’s 1787 lecture “The Fall of The Athenian Republic,” but Nineteen Eighty-Four portrays the citizens of Oceania on the full circle of the Tytler Cycle back to bondage. Further, the Party’s doublethink dicta sought to interdict the collective thoughts required to break the bondage. Big Brother sought servitude. Winston and his brethren wanted freedom.
Orwell brings the world of Oceania, the Party, and Big Brother into vivid clarity. We see through Winston Smith the nightmarish, terrifying domain of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell’s tome should instruct us today and most definitely should serve as the negative metric we use when we decide who we are going to vote for, i.e., who not to vote for. If we vote diligently for candidates who will do their part to protect our rights and freedom, we can maintain the republic and avoid Oceania or anything even remotely resembling that dismal state.
In the related and relevant category of ‘whoda thunkit,’ today (March 2023), multiple nations, including the United States of America, face the forces of authoritarianism in its Medusan forms. The suppression of books, the restriction on schools of what can be taught to our children, the denial of history, the mantra accusation of ‘Fake News,’ the direct invasion of a woman’s fundamental right to privacy in controlling her biological functions, ad infinitum ad nauseum, these are the phrase an authoritarian regime (or at least wannabe authoritarian people). Yes, indeed! Nineteen Eighty-Four is the most appropriate book for all of us to read and re-read to understand the signs and characteristics of authoritarian governance in any of its myriad forms. We may not be wise enough and sufficiently perceptive to halt our decent back into bondage. Yet, 74 years ago, George Orwell gave us a clear vision of what can happen if We, the People, do not protect our individual rights and freedoms. They are too precious to lose. Whenever we prepare to vote, we should remember Nineteen Eighty-Four. Most importantly, the Book People must preserve the words of George Orwell and permanently remember them.
Again, thank you to Cap Parlier for joining the group!
Please enjoy these beautiful photographs from Cindy Knoke.
In rain soaked (tap to enlarge), Southern California. The Carlsbad Ranuculus Fields, are a blooming, glory. Spring is dancing, blooms are bursting, plants are happy, and birds are singing! Sending California’s blooming beauties to you, with Cheers and Hopes for Happy Spring ~
“I was never into horror or novels focusing on paranormal activity. This book was truly captivating, with many moments that subverted the reader’s expectations. With this book containing themes also found in other gothic literature works, I became more intrigued about analyzing the connections I noticed. I was required to read forms of gothic literature before, but this book, in particular, really made me want to keep reading, with there being a significant capability for literary analysis.”
“I have such an appreciation for how the author was able to create personality in every character. The book was very unique which made it enjoyable to read as the characters work together to fight Maledicus.”
“I am not typically a reader; yet, upon picking up French’s Maledicus, I was hardly able to put it down. The story is told beautifully, and the way that French weaves together two seemingly unrelated storylines and settings into one creates an especially interesting and thrilling read. In particular, Maledicus’ actions from the “In-Between” and the men’s actions in the present to counteract them are well described, with the author frequently moving from one place to the other in successive chapters in order to see the two perspectives, seemingly in real-time. The chapter length contributes to how well the story flows–the chapters are broken up frequently to naturally allow for this kind of time-hopping. Furthermore, as someone who grew up in the Lehigh Valley, I enjoyed seeing many details of my hometown in the fictional town of Bethburg. Overall, the novel is a thrilling read that is thoroughly enjoyable not only because of the plot itself but also the manner in which the story is told. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!”
Sam was mad. Really mad. I watched him on the playground. He was playing a game that mapped out all the pathways and running areas. One place, alongside the dinosaur den was a ‘danger zone’, so anyone who ran across was sternly warned that it was not safe, and to find a different place. No one payed heed to Sam, so things escalated. It was not good.
A little backstory…
Sam isn’t in my class, but I see him on the playground. He’s big, he loves physical play in a fun way. He’s verbal, and likes to take charge with ideas. He doesn’t always understand when a classmate is upset if he accidentally hurts them. He is impulsive, yet he has a big and kind heart. I have watched Sam run and chase, play rough and tumble play. I have watched Sam dig a deep hole in the sand, collect…
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”
“Bigotry must never be accepted, must always be confronted, and must never become the way of our country. We must always recognize its past and the consequences of its present existence, and we should always strive to eliminate bigotry, in all forms, from the future.”
I'm glad I learned to express my thoughts clearly and everyone loves to read them. Sometimes it takes a lot of thinking power to think about the surroundings. Someone who likes it, someone who enjoys it, appreciates that he is writing very well. Reading and commenting on the post I wrote would give me a lot of bullshit and I would get new ideas to write new ones.
I'm really glad I got your response.
This is perhaps the least specific blog you will find. A variety of DIY projects, book reviews, health tips, yoga poses, fashion ideas, recipes or something altogether different depending on my current mood. I've never been pigeon-holed into one category so neither is my blog. Strap in and enjoy the ride!