Showing posts from 2015

How Asheville Can Win The Battle of Busk

When a friend asked me while we dined on salads what I thought of the busking situation in Asheville, I almost choked on my salad.  "We have a busking situation?" He told me he'd seen the article in the New York Times . Again: almost choking, "New York Times is writing about buskers in Asheville?" I love this so much for so many reasons. The fact that we are in the 9th most food insecure city in America, the fact that people can walk around this town and not know we have a large African-American population scuttled away on the outskirts as a result of demolishing 2000 homes in the city center, the fact that we don't have affordable housing in town, all this aside: we make the Times for our "busking situation." This is why I love Asheville. This is why you really should move here: we have a busking situation. We have music everywhere. We have music outside t-shirt shops that print quotes by great songwriters on their organic cotton and

Free Time

Remember in elementary school when after an in-class exercise was completed the teacher just said, "Now you can have free-time?" Maybe it was just three minutes, but the idea of it felt like a patch of blue sky through a firmament of cloud. During free-time, I could doodle without being told not to. I could lay my head on my folded hands on my desk, I could talk with my best friend quietly in our third row seats. My daughter mentioned free-time to me yesterday. Having completed a two-hour standardized test in less than one she had two hours of free-time in which to de-standardize. Disallowed markers for drawing, she was permitted a book, which she was happy to have some quiet time read. She also folded her blue sweatshirt on her desk and took a little nap. "It was nice to have some free-time." I had forgotten about free-time. I have had unscheduled time. Plenty of it. As a university professor my classroom time is far outweighed by what has become nearly c

Kissing the Water (an excerpt from a memoir about my grandmother who'd been in a prison camp in China)

. . . Three days a week we did this. I did it for a whole semester until one day I didn’t wake up and meet the van outside. I let it just go the way I let the balloon rope go once the burner had filled the silk. I never gave any of the team my phone number. Arthur had no idea which dorm was mine. I wish I could say it was because I didn’t need it anymore. I did need it more than ever. Everyone needs it--those early mornings of blackness, that uplift of seeing heat raise something so enormous simply by being itself up into the sky. There was a “move” I learned about in one of the very few conversations I had with my balloon people. We parked the van with a view of the balloon just as it lowered toward the earth. Normally, when we saw it descend, we tumbled out and started the most violent 500 meter dash over thorn bushes and yucca and pyrocanthus and every other miserable Florida plant that Florida produces to seize the ropes the Captain tossed down to us and which we

Cinderella and the Glass Hearing Aids

It's been a while since I've written about deafness. When I started this blog some seven years ago or something, that's what it was about. In the in-between years, I've gathered my life up and moved it into a new life, a quieter one. Things about deafness that frightened me then don't anymore: I can sit through dinner parties and not get much of the conversation and still honestly say I had a wonderful time. I have good hearing aids that let me hear my students read their work. I can take them out at the end of the day and have a very quiet world. For most situations I have accepted deafness into my life. That is. Until I have a horrible exchange with a young woman working at the cinema over the quality and performance of assistive listening devices after watching Cinderella. Cinderella keeps saying "have courage and be kind and all will be well." But I found myself today in a situation where I understood why "the disabled" are grouped

Through the Beloved We Talk to God

“Where there is sorrow, there I dwell. Where there is grief in the world, love has its dwelling.”  ― Mir Sayyid Manjhan Shattari Rajgiri,  Madhumalati: An Indian Sufi Romance The world is frightened tonight of the last thing it said. My daughter tries on her first Valentine’s dress. When asked what color it is she said, “It’s the color of the galaxy.” (We found the jewelry to match on the moon.) I read tonight about the Muslim man who when the extremists took over the kosher grocery store in Paris hid the Jews he could in a freezer and turned out the light. The largest part yet of a fallen airplane was found in the sea, having flown where it wasn’t supposed to. The tree is still up. Each year I am more reluctant to take it down. This is not a religious statement but a statement on the art my daughter has made and which decorates all the branches. Each year I want to hold her closer than the last. Each year I let her go into the world a little bit farther.