BOOKS: “HILLBILLY ELEGY” by J.D. VANCE

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Though not exactly a hillbilly from Kentucky, I could definitely relate to Vance’s life experiences. I grew up both in Northern Maryland and in Pennsylvania, two miles from the Mason Dixon line. White trash seems like a more fitting term, now that I look back at it. It takes a village, really. From my humble beginnings, statistically speaking, I wasn’t supposed to graduate with honors in 3 1/2 years with a major in Communication and a minor in English, and then go on to get a Master’s Degree in Community Agency Counseling, no less. Real life angels entered my life intermittently to help me to get to where I am and for that, I am eternally grateful. Both of my Grandmothers, The Ross’, Jeanine, Craig, Carol ~ these are the ones that have made a huge impact on my life and have helped me to get where I am and continue to go…
I was really poor as a kid, but I never knew it. I look back now and wear it as a badge of honor. It’s when I sit around with friends and look back and realize that the banana, sugar, and milk I loved so much, was because my Mom couldn’t afford cereal, lol! Or the famous mayonnaise and lettuce sandwiches I loved…but didn’t realize then that it was because we couldn’t afford lunch meat. There has to be something said for families that can fool their kids into thinking they’re not poor and are eating really well. Let’s not forget the fried bologny sandwiches. Those must have been the good days when my Mom could afford some meat. 🙂
30apr17.
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BOOKS: THE GOLDFINCH by DONNA TARTT

“That life – whatever else it is – is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch.”
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

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apr/may2014. From Orlando, FL. to Kobe, Japan.

BOOKS: YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN by THOMAS WOLFE

Especially poignant for me at this time as I recently did ‘return home’ to internalize some things. It’s not what it was before.

“Child, child, have patience and belief, for life is many days, and each present hour will pass away. Son, son, you have been mad and drunken, furious and wild, filled with hatred and despair, and all the dark confusions of the soul – but so have we. You found the earth too great for your one life, you found your brain and sinew smaller than the hunger and desire that fed on them – but it has been this way with all men. You have stumbled on in darkness, you have been pulled in opposite directions, you have faltered, you have missed the way, but, child, this is the chronicle of the earth. And now, because you have known madness and despair, and because you will grow desperate again before you come to evening, we who have stormed the ramparts of the furious earth and been hurled back, we who have been maddened by the unknowable and bitter mystery of love, we who have hungered after fame and savored all of life, the tumult, pain, and frenzy, and now sit quietly by our windows watching all that henceforth never more shall touch us – we call upon you to take heart, for we can swear to you that these things pass.”
Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again

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JUN/JUL13. Atlanta, GA – NYC – MD – Beirut, Lebanon

BOOKS: BONFIRE – THE SIEGE AND BURNING OF ATLANTA by MARC WORTMAN

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William Tecumseh Sherman

The epic story of Sherman’s assault on Atlanta described intimately here.

I always try to read a nonfiction account of each place I’m visiting. I believe it helps me understand a place better than just by superficially browsing a travel guide. It was surreal to read this while in Atlanta, and even at one point, reading about a march on Howell Mill road, while I was walking on Howell Mill Road reading the book on my iPOD!

Read JUN/JUL13.