Finish your book or people will starve in China


Reader response to stories without a resolution

Yesterday I told you that I forced myself to read through a book of short stories even though I hated most of them. After one or two disappointing stories, a reasonable adult would have closed the book and moved on.


That’s my problem. You have to be a reasonable adult.


Somewhere on the way to adulthood, I got lost. My body has stayed doggedly on the path and looks it. The me inside the body has been lollygagging around for years, sleeping under the stars, and taking as many detours as possible. Every time I see one of those billboards on the highway to Adulthood with the sophisticated grown-ups standing in front of their shiny homes or boats or cars, I feel compelled to paint big black mustaches on their smiling faces.


So I fail in the adult part. That leaves the reasonable part because it’s possible to be a reasonable non-adult. I fail there too, but it’s not my fault. I blame it on my mother. First, she’s not here to defend herself; and second, she made me clean my plate.


Beware of beans that accuse

When I was growing up, we had strict rules at the dinner table. You had to try a little of everything. Even if it made you gag. And you had

to eat everything on your plate. You all know why it was necessary: the starving people in China. They would not have food on the table if I did not eat the food on my table that made me gag. When I was little, this made perfect sense, but as I write about it now, the logic seems a little fuzzy. (Mom, if you are reading this blog in heaven, please contact me as soon as possible and explain.)


From an early age, I learned that if you have a serving of mushy green beans from a can (yuck!), do not try to roll some of them over the edge of the plate to hide under the rim of the plate. When you are required to lie say, “Thank you, I enjoyed my dinner; may I be excused?” you will have to take your plate into the kitchen. Then, each of the spurned green beans will rise up and say, “J’accuse.” (They are French green beans.)  Your callous little heart will be exposed, and everyone at the table will know that you really don’t give a whit about the starving Chinese.


Now do you understand how important it is to finish books you start? Books are like mind food. If it’s on your plate, you eat it. Even if it makes you gag. And you do it for the Chinese because that’s the kind of person you are – kind, compassionate, always putting others first.


So, thank you internet reader, for reading this blog and conquering your gag reflex. Every word you read puts food on the table of someone in China.

Are You Carrying Secrets?


As a child, when you first begin to carry secrets, you hold them externally, like a package of eggs, always conscious that you mustn’t drop them. Sometimes you forget that you have them, but if the conversation heads in a certain direction, you panic, check to see that none are cracked, and become once again painfully aware of your charge.

Later you internalize the secrets. If you brood over them too much, they may hatch and breed.

By adulthood, most of the eggs have cracked, been dropped, or lobbed at someone. It can take a lifetime to clean up the mess.

I remember a story on NPR’s “This American Life” about a choice of superpowers, either invisibility or the ability to fly. One woman said emphatically that everyone, if they were honest, would want to be invisible so they could spy on others. She obviously had never been privy to very many secrets. I have heard enough, carried enough, and still carry some that I wish I didn’t have to.

So now I blog. And what are most personal blogs but a whispering of secrets.