Tag Archives: books

Beat the odds by learning a language? These ancient Literate Ladies did…

Ask Tamar, Ruth, and Scheherazade.
רֶגַע… Rega… Wait, you say:
Scheherazade is not in the Bible, she is from the Thousand and One Nights, originally in Arabic, or maybe partly in Persian, but certainly not in Hebrew;
This, you remember!

Ok, point taken, her book was not in Hebrew, but Arabic is a sister language.   More on this shortly…

Tamar was a Canaanite woman, and so had to learn Hebrew, or Judah’s dialect of Hebrew at the very least.
Ruth, a native of Moab, had to learn the Hebrew of the time of Naomi.
Scheherazade, at the palace, had to learn the hardest languages of all: the languages of heartbreak, of story, and of love.

So, you see, Scheherazade’s story is the same as that of her Biblical sisters: she was a clever woman faced with a survival situation in a man’s world. And she, like her sisters, had to learn a language in order to survive.

Each lady had to live by her wits in difficult times, and to use the tools available to her at that time. Nowadays, they would surely go together to the Public Library to learn to use the power of modern tools like computers and smartphones, especially using Unix to navigate this new world. And as they succeeded then, so would succeed again, using adaptability, daring, and hope.

Hope for us all.

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19
ShiraDest

April, 12020 HE

image: By Wikimedia – Wikimedia commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55282489

How a missed trash can led to Formation Tortue, but learning languages can help treating childhood trauma

Why did that paper ball flying over my head make me dive for the floor?

Shortly after I turned 51 years of age, a young coworker launched a simple balled up bit of paper at the trash can in front of me. It missed. What I saw was not a mere bit of paper becoming litter, however. Out of the corner of my eye, something came flying at me from behind. I reacted instinctively: by ducking. Since this was not the normally appropriate behavior for a 51 year old woman in an office environment, you can well imagine my embarrassment. My coworker apologized profusely: the poor thing had simply missed a trash can with a tiny bit of paper. What he saw was a reaction out of an earthquake drill. I also apologized profusely, but the damage was already done. For the rest of the day, coworkers eyed me suspiciously and slowly walked over to place their trash in the bin. The awkwardness was palpable, and I was grateful when some of my Mexican coworkers began talking and joking in Spanish, drawing attention away from the incident.

As I sat on my afternoon break with a cup of hot water, I suddenly recalled a time I haven’t thought of in over 40 years. Another object was flying over my head from behind me, but it was not a simple bit of paper.
It was a belt buckle.
Pandemonium had broken loose as an old man bellowed his wrath, and swung his belt. I was the only person in the room not running away. For some reason, I could see the old man, the belt, and the other kids in the room. All looked either furious or frightened. But it all seemed to be happening somewhere else, with me simply frozen in place. The sounds were there, but muted as if in an old fashioned film.

It suddenly hit me that this event was from a time that I had worked very hard to forget. I’d been 9 years old, in the house overnight of a babysitter who was rather negligent. I told my mother, yet she did nothing. So, I forgot. But I never knew why objects flying over my head made me panic; until today.

Spanish, in particular Mexican Spanish, has always been my favorite language to switch into when I need to move my thoughts out of English. As a child, I’d always wished that I had magical powers to allow me to fight, or that I had a fairy sister to defend me, but the reality was that I was thrown back upon my own resources, so hiding or being ready to run usually seemed to be my best option. Hiding from my own thoughts was fairly easily accomplished, even in my dreams at times, by singing or thinking in Spanish.

It turned out that I could not hide from myself indefinitely. Things we’d rather not remember have a way of springing up, in the end. As I began to get therapy for events from my childhood it turned out that hiding and forgetting was not an effective way of dealing with those events. I had to relive them, again. This was probably more frustrating for my therapists than it even was for me, as I was told again and again that pushing away the memories would only make my #C-PTSD worse. But the focus on just being functional made it easy to ignore, once I was back in a job where I could pour my time and attention into something complex. (This 13-26 week cap that Medicaid puts on the number of sessions is yet another reason that we need full #UniversalHealthCare for everyone. Complex cases of many illnesses require long-term therapy that, when covered, will make for a healthier work force and population, not just the functional-to-panic-back-to-functionality roller coaster that kills so much time and so many people, in the end…)

The final straw arrived when the regional economy took a dive, sending myself and the vast majority of people I knew out of work. Some went to California, and I went overseas for work. In a new country and environment, stress flared up, and so did my panic anxiety. But this time I had to talk to a therapist in a language I was only just beginning to learn. As it turned out, I was finally able to access a good bit of the emotional content, while remaining present and able to stem the tide of anxiety during each session. As we began to unpack more of the childhood memories I’d been avoiding, being forced to express myself in a language I was still learning appeared to keep me emotionally distanced enough to prevent being pulled completely into the pain of the original event. When I came back to the USA, I found in California that having a Mexican therapist allowed us to switch from my native English, which was required to access the full emotion of the memory, into Spanish. So when she needed to lower the intensity level of the session, but keep me in the memory, she would switch into Spanish, distancing me just enough from the experience to process it. Who would have thought that #learning a #language could help in this case? But, it did.

So, what would Astérix do? He’d ask the Druid Panoramix, who would say: Il faut #ArreterdeFumer tout de suite !!

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure & #‎StopSmoking for COVID-19
ShiraDest

April, 12020 HE

Alonso, por Omar R. La Rosa

Learning languages to read EMdT fanfic, or to get a better job (with health care): both are long-term good things, verdad?

Link and artwork used here by permission.

The image above of Alonso de Entrerríos, 16th century Spanish soldier and 21st century secret agent, is from a wonderful piece of fan fiction, written in Spanish, which is based on the series El Ministerio del Tiempo.   Learning a language gives one access not only to the joy of seeing historical settings come to life in the hands of skilled writers like the author of this serial work of fan fiction, Omar R. La Rosa, who continues to inspire “Ministericos” as dedicated followers of the series are called, but also gives one another advantage.

If you take the time,”about a year,” to learn a language that may or may not come in handy later, like Cmdr Ivanova, you too could end up commanding an elite force of future paladins dedicated to protecting the vulnerable and saving the galaxy!!  Maybe also saving the entire planet earth from COVID-19 by explaining to them in their own languages that smoking makes it worse, and why everyone needs #UniversalHealthCare! 🙂

“¡Por Santiago y por España!”
“We live for the One, we die for the One”

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

April, 12020 HE

Learning a language would help Hakan defeat the Virus: how? Ask the Loyal Ones…

#COVID-19’dan, nasıl kazanacayız?

How do we win against the #CoronaVirus?

Potansiyelim var.”  ==  “I have potential.”

Hakan, “The Protector” of Istanbul and of all humankind, argues that despite his lack of formal education, he has the potential to do just as well as any university-educated person, even to solve problems like a deadly virus epidemic.  And, in the end, he manages to do it.

(Hermione Granger y Amelia Folch would run to the #library to get the book Karakalem ve Bir Delikanlının Tuhaf Hikayesi by Nilüfer İpek Gökdel, to read about how one deadly virus was defeated by Hakan and the Loyal Ones, after learning Turkish, of course!)

Each and every person, Protector or not, has potential.  And every person has the human right to an opportunity to prove that potential.  But everyone needs education in order to bring out and fulfill his or her potential.   Hakan was given that education by Zeynep, his most Loyal One, but we all have a world-wide educational system that currently only works in favor of those who can either afford to pay, or have the opportunity to get scholarships.  Scholarships and education require enough stable housing to be able to study.  That requires at least enough food, clothing, and shelter to be able to concentrate or get safely to a library and concentrate for a few hours per day in safety.

Public transit often plays a crucial role in this, but this post will focus on the need for every person to have a free opportunity to gain education.  Whether it is a university education, or on-going adult education regarding consumer rights, legal rights of other kinds, like tenants rights and worker’s rights, or financial and debt-related rights, everyone needs training.  While most states do have some sort of free adult education, workshops on local laws, for example, most states do not have nearly enough resources available for all of the hard-working students who would like to attend university but cannot afford to.  I have a proposal for helping them to reach their potential, and thus helping us all to reach our fuller potential as a society.  And you don’t even need to learn #Turkish (although that will open windows on the wider world to you, should you choose to accept the challenge)!

What if every diligent student were offered free study texts and allowed to sit an entrance exam for free university studies, in exchange for the promise to help by giving back to the local community as payment for his or her studies?  For example, let everyone be given free SAT prep classes, and then, any person passing the entrance exam for university studies for free.  Suppose one passes the exam and studies accounting.  That person must first agree to teach free tax preparation courses every tax season, at least during the time he or she studies at the university.  Let everyone with a bachelors degree be given free LSAT prep courses, but then if admitted to a free Law School, agree to teach free courses on consumer rights, give free workshops on state debt laws, etc.  Let paralegal students study for free, but pledge to teach free seminars on local renters’ rights and let the MBA students study for free, but teach free seminars on investment and business planning or small business marketing planning in the local area, while studying for that free Master’s degree.

Meanwhile, remember: “Bu bir masal değil.”  “This is not a fairy tale.”

So, #LearnALanguage, compare the studies in various languages, and #StopSmoking!!

Let’s #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail while  improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure and #languagelearn,
ShiraDest

April, 12020 HE

COVID-19: What would Astérix do? (Learn a language to find out!)

Que ferait-il #Astérix le Galois dans ce periode de cris ? What would Asterix the Gaul do during this time of crisis?

Undoubtedly, he would call upon the esteemed local Druid, Panoramix, to teach
the villagers what to do. And certainly, Panoramix would say:

“Il faut absolument pas fumer, parce que ça agrave beaucoup les maladies respiratoires !”
“‪Absolutely #‎stopsmoking‬, because smoke makes respiratory illnesses much worse!”

Then, the renowned Druid would undoubtedly mix up a batch of his famous Potion Magique as a universal cure for the entire village, to assure the health of all. Of course, the villagers have the forest to hunt sangliers and grow their local organic food, so they don’t need a Universal Basic Income to continue to stay healthy, but we do.

Don’t believe me? Just watch Astérix et Obélix : Mission Cléopâtre -it is worth learning #Français (#French) to watch!

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure and #languagelearn,
ShiraDest

March, 12020 HE

Why #Libraries are so important for all of us, middle and upper classes included, as part of our #PublicDomainInfrastructure.

Comment: especially numbers 5 and 6: reading fiction helps re-wire the brain to build both empathy and compassion…

Right from childhood, many of us have been taught about that reading is very important, and perhaps one of the best hobbies we could have. That said, you may often wonder- how exactly does reading help, and precisely how it helps change the brain. Well, here are some ways reading changes your brain. 7 Ways […]

via 7 Ways Reading Changes Your Brain — Everyday Gyaan

Review of a Young Adult book on Slavery still relevant today: Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Chains (Seeds of America, #1)Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am so glad I spotted (#Coverlove!) this book in the library, my second read by wonderfully supportive author Laurie Halse Anderson. This first person, past tense Young Adult historical coming of age novel was amazing! Halse Anderson does an excellent job of distinguishing indentured servitude from slavery from hired service while characterizing the main characters quickly and effectively. An excellent and poignant reference to the Memphis Garbage Workers’ Strike via a slave father’s sale is just one of the many places in this work that moves to tears, both of terror and of joy, in the end. Please read this one, as I know I shall, again and again.

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

April, 12019 HE

View all my reviews

Black Women Writers at Work: Review of an older but very persistently worthwhile book

I am so glad I happened to see this book Black Women Writers at WorkBlack Women Writers at Work by Claudia Tate
at the public library.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was moved with both recognition, and with fear, at Audre Lorde’s comment that “it’s scary because we’ve been through that before. It was called the fifties.” Then I was moved with that stirring to act, upon reading in print what I have known and been told in different words since Dunbar (High School): “My responsibility is to speak the truth… with as much precision and beauty as possible. … We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”
And we must not remain silent while the blood of our sisters/brothers/neighbors/communities/fellow human beings is shed.

Sherley Anne Williams reiterates this responsibility of a writer to write as well as one can and to “say as much of the truth as I can see at any given time.”

Although this book is dated, and does not include my favorite author (Octavia Butler), I am so glad that I read this book in spite of my initial misgivings. From Bambara’s hope that “We care too much … to negotiate a bogus peace,” to DeVeaux’s “responsibility to see,” I find my own compulsion to write validated by the responsibility of a writer to render individual expression into a universal expression, and to give voice to the voiceless/unseen/erased. To show the unspoken and to “empathize with the general human condition.”

Society needs all perspectives because without those perspectives, we are missing vast parts of what our society actually looks like, which leads to deep problems. Writing, as was pointed out, must transcend individual experience, but it also comes from and is filtered through individual experience, so we desperately, as leaders from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to Octavia Butler have pointed out, need every point of view.

Last note (not in my GR review): I think that this book has helped me to see that my intended audience has two possibly conflicting sections –
I. those who have endured traumas in early childhood or also in adulthood, particularly due to structural racism, and
II: those who can change that situation.

View all my reviews

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

April, 12019 HE

Persist: review of a good but difficult book

Stronger Than You KnowStronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This first person #YAlit novela (a bit short for a novel, I imagine) was both very hard-hitting in its accuracy, and very hope-giving, if a bit too much so, perhaps, in the ending. I find myself agreeing with another reviewer about the timeline being too short for certain things, but I can understand or imagine that the author wanted to give hope and encouragement, and teenagers have very short attention-spans and time-line perspectives, in general.

For me, this was a difficult read emotionally because it had me reliving events from my own early childhood and teenage years, and the earliest were the worst, as the ending of the book brought the external and internal conflicts together in ways that confirmed my own experiences very uncomfortably. But this is a very important work, and it is crucial to persist.

View all my reviews

Review of a book worth reading

The Female of the SpeciesThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, #TheFemaleOfTheSpecies, written in first person and present tense for all three PoV characters, is a book which is both difficult to read, and also cathartic. There are also some really good zingers, funny lines and situations, believe it or not, and some really spot-on descriptions of the humanity of one of the main characters from whom you’d not expect human warmth. I can only hope that I can make such a contribution one day, but if I manage to publish a book half as good as this crucial work by @MindyMcGinnis, I will feel my writing career to have been worthwhile.

I noticed that this was not her debut novel, and that the author seems to have had a bit of a time getting her agent to push for this work, which spent 15 years in a drawer. That tells me that these types of books are either coming into their time, now, after the ME TOO movement, or that I’d best better start with more light and fluffy novels until I get established as a fiction author. Either way, I am grateful and glad that McGinnis kept this work, and got it to see the light of day after all those years in the dark. In publishing this book, she has also helped many of us to believe that we can come out of the dark, as well, if not entirely whole.

(Reminds me of the female MC of Purgatoire des innocents English review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show… )

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