Monday, July 19, 2010

Some Monday Thoughts (since I missed Friday)

On Friday we traveled, without incident, from Oregon back to Virginia. It was sad to leave, although little j and I were both happy to get back home and most especially to see Big J.

We are now all back in our routines, at least for a few days. Big J is up in DC working on sending people to the oil spill, little j started Girl Scout camp, and I am at a local coffee shop doing some work (or procrastinating). Big J returns Thursday evening so he and I can pack and prep for our week-long beach trip.

Saturday we will be heading to Cape Charles with another family. We've rented a house and will spend a glorious (I hope) week swimming, bike riding, eating good food, and hopefully lots of reading.

Speaking of reading, I've had a string of great books lately: A Darkness More Than Night, Little Bee, and At Home in the Heart of Appalachia. And I am now starting on This Common Secret. I plan to take at least four other books with me on our trip.

A note about At Home in the Heart of Appalachia: I have rarely been moved as much by a book. In fact, I was so moved I thought about writing the author, until I learned over the weekend that he passed away in 2004. Frankly, I'm somewhat devastated. O'Brien did such an amazing job of dispelling the myths of Appalachian culture, poverty, and the "hillbilly" life that I could feel those prejudices draining from me as well. This story we have perpetuated about Appalachian folk is as detrimental as any stereotypes that we continue to apply to African Americans, Hispanics or American Indians. I would argue that this group of people are subject to an accepted form of disparity and racism/classism that we would not not tolerate if said about other minority groups. Based on my own studies, this topic is clearly close to my heart. O'Brien took all those stereotypes and myths and turned them on their head. After reading this book I am anxious to continue my own work in this area; it provided me with a healthy dose of motivation. His book also has made me pause to think about how I live my own life -- am I always working towards something or am I really living in the moment? A good question to ponder.

And that's what's on my mind this morning and I immerse myself back into the world of higher ed, teaching and planning, and home life with little j.

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