Monday, June 22, 2015

What Would You Do If There Were No "Adults"?

I am on an island.  There are no adults.  

My thoughts soon turn to Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, and the 1963 film that so traumatized us in high school.

During the bombing of England, schoolboys were evacuated.  Their plane is shot down and the boys find themselves on an island.

In the beginning, they try to organize themselves and light a fire to signal adults who will surely be looking for them.  They vote Ralph to be their leader, as Ralph has the conch.

Order quickly breaks down though and the fire goes out.  A breakaway sect forms and most of the boys follow Jack, and the gang of hunters.

By the time the adults do show up, Simon, mistaken for "the beast," has been savagely attacked and killed; Piggy has been crushed to death by a boulder; and Ralph is running for his life.

Why can't they all just get along?  There's an island with enough food for all.  It's beautiful and the weather is great.

What happens is this:  the bullies take over the island.

Why do they make us read Lord of the Flies in high school?  They want us to remember this:
  • You better listen to your parents and teachers.  If there were no adults the bullies will steal your glasses and eventually kill you.
  • Without adults, might is stronger than right.
  • Bullies will wreck every paradise (paradise = life itself).  They don't need a reason and even if you try to do the right thing, it won't help.

Perhaps, finally, we are made to read it to invoke us to find an inner adult and give that adult a moral compass to help us find the way.

Do they still teach Lord of the Flies?

What would you do if there were no adults?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Do You See Your Life as a Story?

A student of literature is soon taught to see all travel stories as allegorical journeys.

An allegory is a story ostensibly about one thing, but also about something else:  a symbolic journey that occurs in progressive stages.

Since the story is a journey, it often has a beginning and an end.

Since the story is an allegory, the end signals a new beginning.

Memorable journeys of literature include

Dante begins his journey
·                     the journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in Canaan, a land seen as  home for the Biblical Israelites, a journey of 40 years
·                     the journey of Odysseus from the great mistake that was the Trojan War back home to Ithaca, a journey of 10 years
·                     the journey of Dante, who finds himself in a dark wood in the middle of his life, then travels from the Inferno to Paradiso and to an understanding of "the love which moves the sun and the stars," a journey of 32,000 words
·                     the journey of Dorothy Gale, a rebellious child betrayed by adults, to Oz and eventually back home to Kansas, a film journey of 102 minutes

Along the way, these characters are tested again and again.  The tests reveal to them their deepest selves and the strength of their spirits.

If you see your life as a story, later on, you will see the tests you faced along as the components of your evolving and forming identity, as the way you became your self.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time.
                            from "Little Gidding," T. S. Eliot

Saturday, June 20, 2015

How Do You Start Again?

Start what?

Image result for messy breakup1.  Dating after a messy breakup?

2.  School after several years working?

3.  Exercising after a sedentary period?

4.  Gardening after the winter?

 or - - um - - shift feet nervously, bite lip -- 

5.  Blogging after a ten-month absence?

There might be minor differences among these five items, but ultimately, the main thing is to start.  Fall down.  Get up slowly.  Check for bruises.  Heal.  Start again.  And again.  Don't spend a second reading cheesy quotations about resilience.  Just get started.

And so I have.

But first I checked a cheesy website about starting exercise after stopping.  I wonder if their tips can be applied to blogging (or dating).

1.  Don't break the habit.  I'm only reading this because I did.

2.  Reward showing up.  Blogging is its own reward.  It's a chance to consider new ideas, share, and sometimes begin new conversations.

3.  Commit for 30 days.  Excellent idea, and exactly the length of Ramadan.

4.  Make it fun.  Note:  Fun is subjective.  Thoughtful reflection can be massively fun.

5.  Schedule during quiet hours.  Essential for blogging.  It's presently 6:30 a.m.

6.  Get a buddy.  Perhaps, as long as the buddy is also quietly writing.  Read to each other before posting.

7.  X your calendar.  I can do that.

8.  Create a ritual.  I might have to do that, given my goal of writing for 30 days.

The rest of the 15 tips to restart an exercise routine don't seem relevant.  I checked a website on how to start dating and the final rule was, "Be brave."  Good advice for any endeavour.

The main thing is to start again.  And again.  And again.

How do you start again?  Is there anything you do to help you get going?