Adolescents in the System: HINDSIGHT, p. 30

If there’s one thing Hindsight: Coming of Age in the Streets of Hollywood, by former student Sheryl Recinos, is making self angry about, it’s about the way children are treated as pawns by the juvenile system.

Recinos was one of five siblings. One of her brothers was given to foster care when he was 13 (Why? Because the parents needed money and took a German exchange student in his place). Recinos never saw her brother again.

She was sent to an adolescent psych ward at 11. The timing is suspicious: it was the start of summer vacation, when she’d be home all the time. She and her new stepmother did not get along.

The other patients in the psych ward were teenagers. A boy named Keith was kind to her.

p. 30:

Keith left. He was sent away to a boys’ group home a few hours away. For boys with anger issues. I’d never seen him angry. He probably had a fake diagnosis, too. After all, we were in the land of TV commercials showing how you could “fix” your difficult teens by shipping them off to a hospital.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Tim Dee

Landfill: Notes on Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene, p. 21:

  • Early morning Bristol. The bars, along the street where I live, recycle their glass empties of last night.

She knew nothing about Tim Dee before she began this book.

His writing is SO beautiful.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Motto For Life

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Beginning a new book deserves some kind of pause, a marker.

The new book would have been Diane Setterfield’s Once Upon a River if she had managed to snag a copy in Prague (Self has always got to be reading something; she feels bereft if she lets a day go by without having a book she can say she is “currently reading”).

Instead, she’s reading Tim Dee’s Landfill: Notes on Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene. So far, she’s only on p. 1 but she keeps getting distracted (last afternoon tea with Irene! A walk to the Spanish Synagogue for a concert).

She also likes the drawings that start each new chapter. The bookmark she’s using is a quote she copied from a restaurant in Fowey (Dear Fowey: What a special thing it is that she was able to attend this year’s Festival of Art and Literature!). It’s by, of all people, Ernest Hemingway, who she hasn’t read in AGES. But it is written like a prose poem. Don’t dear blog readers agree?

DSCN0187

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

This Is War

Arnhem, the Battle for the Bridges, 1944: pp. 129 – 130

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Illustration 45: American paratroopers under artillery fire during Operation Market Garden

  • A unit of Reichsarbeitsdienst teenagers from a heavy flak detachment had been waiting in Arnhem station to return to Germany. Late that afternoon, on learning of the airborne landings, their commander, Hauptmann Rudolph Mayer, had gone to the town commandant’s office to find out what they should do. He returned to announce that they would be armed and that they would be coming under SS command. The boys were marched to a nearby barracks where they were issued with old carbines. The bolts did not work properly and the only way to open the chamber was to knock them against something hard. “Their morale was not high, but it really hit the bottom when they saw these old guns,” one of their officers recorded. That evening they had still received no orders and no food. In fact they had not eaten for nearly forty-eight hours, because of the delay at the station.

Best writing in the book (so far): Chapter 12, Night and Day Arnhem, 17-18 September

Absolutely gripping.

That night, there is an absolutely murderous battle between the boys and British paratroopers, in pitch dark. “At close quarters, British Sten guns killed more efficiently than the antiquated bolt-action rifles issued to the teenagers. Almost half” of the boys were killed.

Stay tuned.

Bicycles, the Netherlands

Arnhem, the Battle for the Bridges, by Antony Beevor, p. 10

There had been 4 million bicycles in the Netherlands at the beginning of the war, half as many as the total population. The Wehrmacht had commandeered 50,000 at the beginning of July 1942, and now thousands more were headed for Germany, most of them loaded with soldiers’ equipment and booty as they pushed them along the roads. With no rubber for tyres, pedaling them on wooden wheels was heavy work. But their loss hit hard.

 

Books, Sunday Observer, 21 April 2019 (Easter Sunday)

Self is interested in reading the books on the list below:

  • Small Days and Nights, by Tishani Doshi (novel)
  • Don’t Touch My Hair, by Emma Dabiri (nonfiction)
  • The Road to Grantchester, by James Runcie (mystery)
  • Hey! Listen! by Steve McNeil (a journey through the golden age of video games)
  • The Price of Paradise: How the Suicide Bomber Shaped the Modern Age, by Iain Overton (history)
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton, by Sara Collins (debut novel)

Rising, p. 160 (in which #metoo meets #climatechange)

On p. 160 is — big surprise — not some genuinely hair-rising fact about how we’re all going to be wiped off the face of the planet by rapidly rising ocean levels, but an account of how Rush was sexually harassed by a senior colleague.

This is really brave of Rush. Because her whole message about climate change comes dangerously close to never seeing the light of day — not that the harasser was necessarily *that* powerful, but she was assailed with self-doubt (Did I invite his advances? Is this all my fault?)

Eventually I tell Samuel that I cannot continue our professional relationship and I tell him why. First he says, “Oh my god.” Then he says, “I had no idea.” Followed by, “I don’t remember.” And then, “I had no further intentions.” He says, “I love my family.” And, “let me know when you get over it.” The words spill out of him fast like floodwater.

Nice parallel, words with floodwater.

Samuel and the author are about to take a swim somewhere near Pensacola, Florida when he stops her by putting both hands on his shoulders, turns her around, and presses his lips to a tattoo on her back (The tattoo is a quote by e. e. cummings)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

RISING, p. 50

It used to be that we thought earth’s climate and its underlying geology changed slowly and steadily over time, like the tortoise who beat the hare. But now we know the opposite to be mostly true. The earth’s geophysical make-up doesn’t tend to incrementally evolve; it jerks back and forth between different equilibriums. Ice age, then greenhouse. Glaciers covering the island of Manhattan in a thousand-foot-thick sheet of ice, then a city of eight million people in that same spot.

RISING, DISPATCHES FROM THE NEW AMERICAN SHORE, p. 45

Lately my feeling is that I need time to just be here before I can decide whether to stay or not. My guess is that I will tap into so much gratitude for my life alongside this marsh that I may just become an old lady who drowns right here.

— Laura Sewell, resident of Small Point, Maine

Rising, p. 34

In the photo Chris shows me, his father stands surrounded by pastures. You can even make out a black cow in the upper right corner. In the sixty years since, the meadows where the cattle used to graze have all slipped beneath the surface of the sea.

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