Posts Tagged ‘identity’

Parenting Manifesto

June 19, 2010

The true history of all society is the history of parenting.

Parents have always seemed to be in charge, but every generation has faced a revolution of children growing up and taking charge—only to be usurped by the next generation.

To end the entrenched strife of anxious children and unhappy parents caregivers must see that they are as much child as parent—and that parenting (i.e. caring for others and the world) is enlightened Self-interest that sets us free via an expanded consciousness.

Thus a parenting attitude brings feelings of harmony, community and more widespread stability and well-being.

In order to liberate parenting from the yoke of experts and materialist exploitation of insecurity about the most important job any of us ever do, and which we so deeply yearn to get right, caregivers must unite in a common consciousness that sees all children as all of our collective children.

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350 in dog years

June 18, 2010

I entered the world like a trickster

Coaxed by the smell of barbeque

But the Jewess princess was

Drugged and passed out

By the time I arrived

Into Cold male hands and

Even colder light


At five I nearly barfed

At Kiddie Land

The “fun” fire truck

An overwhelming howl


Ten brought Slimy wood

And barred breath

Trapped under a dock

Sunlight like candy behind

Nose-pressed glass

As men neared the moon

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Adulthood begins at 27

June 16, 2010

This is a season when the dust is starting to settle around all our recent graduates, ranging from kindergarten to graduate school.

I have long argued in my own writing that adulthood no longer actually occurs in our culture at the point that most of us say that it begins (twenty to twenty-two).  A recent New York Times article by Patricia Cohen, Long Road to Adulthood is Growing Even Longer bears this out with an accruing host of facts and figures.

Social scientists and policy makers are noticing that there is a newly emerging phase in many Americans’ lives in which they are no longer adolescents and not yet adults.  Obama’s shift to allow children up to twenty-six to be on their parents’ health insurance plans, as well as shifts in the average age for marriage now (27 for males, 27 for females) underscore the late blooming trend.

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When writing gets leathery

June 15, 2010

Deep in the matrix of my psyche I associate writing with leather.  Not because of leather-bound volumes in oak paneled libraries, but because of coats—leather coats.

When I was a kid my dad had a friend who had a leather factory on the far south side of Chicago, near to where my dad had grown up.  The old Jewish quasi ghetto had morphed into an African American quasi ghetto.

Being middle class Jews trapped in some never-pay-retail internalized racism, it happened that my family once rode forever through a Chicago winter, arriving at a freezing warehouse filled with dead cow skin sewn into every variation of a coat that a pimp could want.

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June 13, 2010

I’m soon to be fifty, but right now I’m still 49, and so I must admit that I was slightly deflated to receive my AARP Card in the mail (or at least my “offer,” of one—not that I don’t appreciate how the sample card is twice as big as any regular sort of card that would currently fit into my pre-retirement wallet—and with letters so big as to be not blurry to aging eyes).

Still, when I think “retirement,” I think luxury; Janice Ian singing, “I learned the truth as seventeen, that love was meant for beauty queens and high school girls with clear skinned smiles who married young and then retired.”

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My kid the… squatter?

June 12, 2010

A recent article in the New York Times Magazine by Jake Halpern, The Freegan Establishment fascinated me from a parenting perspective.

It is about several people, who seem at first glance as lost souls, who have squatted in homes and worked to create an alternative approach to living—eschewing money, yet working diligently to fix up a crumbling and abandoned mansion while dumpster diving to secure food.

The squatters open the house to residents who contribute, and to drifters who are welcome for a day or two, but who must apply to be accepted (based on bottom line contributions they can make via work) if they wish to stay longer.

Several things intrigued me about this social experiment:  the history of a Brit who fell upon hard times in the 17th century and formed a short-lived utopia free of money which he later wrote extensively about, which in turn inspired the “digger” movement in 1960s San Francisco, which all relates to Thoreau, Marxism, materialism, communism and a host of great social, political and psychological questions.

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Paying loving attention to attachment

June 2, 2010

Lindsey at A Design So Vast wrote a recent post, “There is something holy in authentic presence,” that got me thinking about attachment.

Lindsey’s post is about the intense power that authentic presence has on people, as evidenced by artist Marina Abramovic who has a piece going at Museum of Modern Art in New York right now.  The “art” or “performance” or whatever one might call an authentic human sitting and giving full attention to whoever cares to sit across from her at a table in a taped off square in a busy museum space.

Person after person eventually ends up in tears, profoundly moved by Marina’s authentic and unflinching presence to them.  The photos of these people’s faces are fantastic—with tears coming down their eyes, each one is so extraordinarily beautiful, and in a way rather different from features and symmetry and instead revealing the universal beauty of the soul when it has a chance to shine from within the body.

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Between Pruf and a hard rock

May 23, 2010

Let us blog now you and I

With new world words set out against virtual sky

Like a still-corded baby upon a belly;

Let us surf through certain half-deserted tweets,

The stuttering retweets

Of restless nights in one-post cheap no-tells

And no-comment days and reader swells;

Posts that meander like a convoluted love quarrel

Of theatrical intent

That leads us to an overwhelming question…

Oh do not ask, “What the fuck?”

Let us go and try our luck.

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Learning how to see

May 7, 2010

I found myself rather choked up recently listening to an NPR profile of a new book—Dorthea Lange:  Drawing Beauty out of Desolation.  The strange thing was that I was moved by the story of an artist who made a difference for all our collective children… at the expense of her own children.

Something about the angst, the drive, the ambition, the woundedness struck me as more deeply human than might a story of a more conventionally “good” mother.  I have often been struck by the pain of parents who were unable to optimally care for their children, sometimes due to psychosis, sometimes to economics, perhaps even from narcissism… yet I have always glimpsed the anguish peeking out from the nearly drawn shutters of the psyche.

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Snowing the Monkey

May 6, 2010

While watching an episode of Life with the family recently we were suddenly all feeling rather sad to learn that Japanese Snow Monkeys do not share their volcanically heated natural Jacuzzi.  While the matriarchs decide who’s in and who’s out (enforced by bouncer monkeys), the outsiders are literally left out in the cold.  My older kid said that he wished he hadn’t seen that image and all of us felt disturbed by the sight of excluded and freezing monkeys in contrast to the cozy monkeys blissfully hanging out in their mountain spa.  Days later the image still keeps haunting me.

And it makes me think about being in the mountains of New Mexico working on a friend’s NYU thesis film.  It might have been the exhaustion of having just completed shooting my own thesis project the week before; it might have been the spirit of that place where Georgia O’Keefe had hung out back in the day (her former Native American driver was helping on our project, and told tales of trucks stalling out on a certain mountain pass and then rolling… uphill); it might have been the blazing sun and the biting fire ants, but I ended up getting quite sick.  For several days I lay on the floor of the little adobe shack where we were staked out while the rest of the crew went out to shoot, eventually the Native American spirits came and circled me.  I guess I was hallucinating, but I could swear I saw those guys as clearly as one can see with a high fever.  One of my friends realized that even though we were guys in our twenties, the right thing to do was to gather me off the floor and drive me down to Santa Fe.

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