family

Get Caught Up in Minutiae or See the Texture

Get Caught Up in Minutiae or See the Texture

"When we get caught up in the minutiae, the details that make us all different, there's two ways of seeing that. You can see the texture of that person, the qualities that make them unique. Or you can go to war about it – say, That person is different from me, I don't like you, so let's battle."

~ Mahershala Ali

The Conditioned

"Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho was homeless in São Paulo, Brazil, for nearly 35 years, and became locally known for sitting in the same spot and writing every day. In April 2011, he was befriended by a young woman named Shalla Monteiro. Impressed by his poetry and wanting to help him with his dream of publishing a book, she created a Facebook Page to feature Raimundo’s writing. Neither could have expected what happened next."

The Conditioned from Facebook Stories on Vimeo.

Coming Home

"Coming home to someone is many things. It is a literal action, an abstract idea, a physical feeling. It is more than the sound of the key turning in the door and the voice that calls from the porch. It is a choice, a promise, a declaration. It is a return, not as a person to a place, but as oneself to another. It is one individual saying to another: ‘You are the one I choose’."

~ source unknown

Stories We Tell

Sarah Polley in conversation with Elvis Mitchell on KCRW's The Treatment about her new documentary Stories We Tell (May 22, 2013):

There were so many moments, I think, where I wanted to back away from it for all of the sane reasons why someone would, and not the least of which was [while] many documentaries people make about their families or personal documentaries are fantastic and enlightening and insightful, so many of them are totally narcissistic and self-indulgent and I felt that this film was absolutely in danger of those same problems. 

I think, for me, what kept me going was I was so actually fascinated myself in like What is it about us as human beings that needs to tell stories? Why are we so desperate to have narrative? Why is it so impossible for us to live in the mess?

We have to create this kind of neat arc of storytelling around the events in our lives, otherwise it's just too much. It's just too bewildering. 

Acceptance Takes Time

"Love is something that ideally is there unconditionally throughout the relationship between a parent and a child. But acceptance is something that takes time. It always takes time."

Andrew Solomon

See also: Solomon, A. (2012). Far from the tree: Parents, children and the search for identity. New York: Scribner. (library, Audible)

Not Pretending

The Vintage Life by Mikela Prevost

The Mother of the Poet
by Matt Cook, from The Unreasonable Slug

The other of the poet is probably tired
Of explaining to people that her son is a poet.
Her son probably should have made more of an effort
To be involved in something that was simple to brag about.
The mother of the heating contractor does not
Have the same problem as the mother of the poet.
When the mother of the heating contractor talks about her son
It's usually understood, from the beginning, that her son, 
The heating contractor, is not pretending to be a heating contractor. 
When the mother of the poet talks, the listener will
Begin with the assumption that her son is pretending to be a poet.
The mother of the poet spends a good deal of energy justifying her son.
The poet, of course, did not mean
To put his mother in this difficult position.
Or did he?  

Follow Matt Cook on Twitter: @mattcookpoet

All These Years

For Samantha
by Daron Larson

As with everyone I have ever loved,
I have imagined your death too many times to count,
yet what a gulf remains between my imagination and reality.

Who would have thought to imagine such heat,
the persistent threat of rain, the pink blanket,
or the completeness of your naive trust in us.

One of the things you have taught me
is how easily and willingly I’m able to create
stories of danger and loss in the absence of either.

Let’s not pretend that you were ever a gifted meditator.
Such frequent restlessness and distraction,
even in the absence of verbal thoughts!

But you were a brilliant meditation teacher,
helping me to see that not all of nature’s sounds are pleasant,
and the danger in needing them to be.

You were able to embody focus — demonstrating how
one hundred percent of one’s attention can be trained
on eating, on greeting, on scanning the world through the glass in the door —

and joy,
multiplied by how many of us
returned home to you: 1, 2, 3.

It’s been so long since you could hear
the sound of food hitting your bowl,
or feel the thrill of the flight down the stairs to devour it.

You gave us a glimpse at the origins of language
by demanding — in pained, near-human vowels — permission
to clear the yard of harmless invaders.

We won’t ever be able to forget
how you became each day
the full expression of yearning, of savoring, of exhaustion.

The only thing you loved more than
eating and smelling and chasing
was to shadow us as often and as closely as possible.

All these years,
and leaving you has never gotten
the slightest bit easier —  

not today most of all.

Samantha White (November 11, 1996 - July 5, 2012)We can never express enough gratitude to you
for giving us more reasons to care about this world
apart from our own needs.

Thank you for living with us all these years,
for helping to make a home out of our creaky house,
for never turning down a nap,
and for insisting that it was time for life to begin again every day.

You are alive forever
in the story of our family
and in our hearts.