September 21, 2020

When you don’t have much to say…

When writing, I have to fight the urge to not say something when I have nothing to say…

There is nothing fully formulated in my brain that is worthy of a full post, but here are a few snippets that I have been thinking about during the past week.

1. My Dad was given a 20% chance of surviving his 9th surgery last Sunday night. He made it! He is not ready to come home just yet, but he is getting closer. We have certainly appreciated everyone’s prayers.

2. Empathy is not my strong suit. I wish it was. But, “until you have walked a mile in a man’s shoes…”. So for the most part, I have been leaving comments on the current events in the U.S.A. recently to others. I COULD write something, but I feel that it would come across as empty rhetoric.

3. I had also been thinking about writing about White Privilege. But then again, when you come from a family where an aunt and an uncle died of starvation (in Canada no less), and my own grandfather shoveled coal on a Navy ship to escape poverty, I think that anything that I might have to say would not sound genuine. I don’t deny that it exists, but except for a couple of incidences that I can point to, it is not really my lived experience.

4. Covid-19. I think there is both good news and bad news here. I think that social distancing can be effective, and we that can start to get on top of it, just so long as we don’t have any mass demonstrations.

5. Just a couple of kilometres from where my parents live a farm owned by the nephew of their dog-sitter, had 164 cases last week. Those who were hospitalized were taken to the small country hospital where my dad is recuperating. So, some cause for concern there.

6. I have book review coming. Musick for the King by Barrie Doyle. Probably next week. It has been an excellent read so far. Here is the cover summary:

He could go on no longer. George Frederik Handel was staring debtor’s prison in the eye; he was depressed and suffering from various illnesses. Now, faced with crushing verbal, intellectual, financial and even physical opposition, he was ready to quit. That he was the visible pawn in the vicious and hate-filled political and cultural dispute between King George II and his son Frederick, Prince of Wales, added to his woes. Britain’s most famous composer considered leaving Britain forever.

Two encounters altered everything. And changed music forever. A strange, revolutionary text for an oratorio and an invitation to Dublin, Ireland rejuvenated him. Handel threw himself feverishly into the new work, Messiah, completing it in only twenty-four days.

Vicious opponents still sought to destroy him and drive him out. Some in the church rose to prevent Messiah from seeing the light of day; they objected to his hiring a singer disgraced in a sordid court case and objected to sacred music performed in a secular location with secular performers.

Through it all, Handel slowly realized that the music and the story it portrayed was bigger than him, bigger than any performance, bigger even than the King. His struggles to present Messiah to the public mirrored his own internal battles to understand and eventually revolutionize his own beliefs. He was determined to succeed!

A superb sweep through the creation of the magnificent Messiah and the fascinating characters—real and fictional—that influenced the story.

7. And to top it off, I have been under the weather the last few days. Please pray for me, as I have a lot of work for work, plus I have fallen behind on my own house work, plus I have to head out sometime early this week get my Dad from the hospital and help my Mum look after him.

8. I have however almost finished up giving my back yard a cottagey feel. It is not like we are going anywhere this year!

As usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Comments

  1. Christiane says

    I know of one strange and terrible way that black people were still tormented in the deep South after the Civil War freed them. Go to any old antebellum town and visit the library and ask for micro-fiche slides of newspaper articles from the early 1900’s or earlier, if possible, and there it is:

    in print, gruesome accounts of lynchings recorded with all the horrific details of what was done and ‘why’ (usually some perceived departure from ‘the norm’ by ‘acting uppity’ in some way). And yes, included were gruesome descriptive words of the terrible suffering of the victim of the lynching who was tortured prior to being killed. So WHY such graphic writing?
    Was it a way to remind our black citizens not to think that their ’emancipation’ included the right to be treated as well as their ‘white’ neighbors in the town? Maybe. Likely. But there these articles are, in black and white, stored for all time as witness to ‘intimidation by the printed word’ in the local newspapers of those old Southern towns.

    White privilege? well, go and read for yourselves, but not before a meal or if you are easily upset by gore. It’s an education in our sad history of how ‘the media’ of small Southern enclaves ‘used’ these writings as intimidation aimed at people of color. Reading in the library of my mother’s family’s town of Plymouth NC shocked any preconceptions out of me that I might have had about ‘fairness’ in that town long ago, where no descriptions of white people being lynched are recorded, only ‘black’ lynching victims are ever mentioned. White privilege? My God, have mercy!

    • Robert F says

      Why the graphic writing? It, along with the lynchings, is called terrorism. Domestic terrorism was waged against African Americans for hundreds of years, including after the Civil War. And the local governments, judges, newspaper editors, and pillars of the church community were thoroughly involved in that terrorism. There has never been a more expansive and long-lasting program of terrorism, with more victims, conducted on American soil by any foreign or domestic group.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Go to any old antebellum town and visit the library and ask for micro-fiche slides of newspaper articles from the early 1900’s or earlier, if possible, and there it is:

      I remember reading about someone who was doing research in a newspaper morgue in Florida and got gobsmacked when he came across this 100-year-old headline about a lynching::
      A GOOD TIME IS HAD BY ALL
      AS N*GG*R IS PUT TO DEATH

      And there is a Lynching Memorial in Mongomery Alabama Eight hundred man-sized blocks of rusting steel — one for each county where a lynching took place, with the names of that county’s victims engraved on them — dangling from an overhead roof, dripping red in the rain:
      https://museumandmemorial.eji.org/memorial
      https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/lynching-memorial-montgomery-alabama/index.html

  2. Christiane says

    Hello Mike Bell, we certainly will continue to pray for you and your family during this difficult time of your father’s medical situation. If you know people are praying for you, it will strengthen you . . . I know this now myself. God Bless!

  3. Robert F says

    Covid-19. I think their is both good news and bad news here. I think that social distancing can be effective, and we that can start to get on top of it, just so long as we don’t have any mass demonstrations.

    Yes. The virus doesn’t give a hoot about the justice of the protestors’ cause. Hundreds of thousands of protestors jammed shoulder to shoulder for hours on end, tear gas deployed by brutal police causing prodigious amounts of contagious saliva to be dispersed among who knows how many people, everybody going back to home to spread the virus among family and friends. In tandem with that, across the U.S. counties and states have quickly been reopening from their lock down measures, even though cases are still on the rise in many of those places. No, the virus gives not a hoot about the economy or social justice. America is doing all the things that will un-flatten the curve. I guess the impact will be known in a month or so.

  4. Gratitude and continued prayers for your father. Also appreciation for your honesty and integrity in not writing something just to fill the page.

  5. Klasie Kraalogies says

    Actually I think your post is incredibly important. Because it is real. So much of what we are expected to do, write or say is nothing more than performance. Even asking for help or confessing weakness is turned into performance. This makes a lot of people feel inadequate and even depressed because frankly speaking, the ability to perform is limited, and for some it is permanently beyond their reach.

    It is like the idea that we should always be happy and smiling, and if not, either angry or in deep lament.

    Sometimes, no most of the time, we just are. And that is perfectly fine.

  6. Continuing prayers for your dad.
    In another note, seems like you had a fair bit to say for someone with nothing to say. The yard work always gets done eventually and so does the work work. Hang in there!

  7. Robert F says

    Whenever somebody says they’re feeling under the weather these days, I feel especially concerned and say a quick prayer for them right away. I hope you come out from under the weather soon, and without complications, Mike.

  8. Empathy is not my strong suit.

    I’m there. Now layer on top of it pattern recognition issues that makes it almost impossible to pick people out of a crowd or even recognize someone I haven’t seen for a year or so or has changed their hair or similar.

    It has only taken 60 years but I’m better a keeping my mouth shut when the urge to speak enters my brain. Mostly. Sort of.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Better stay quiet and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

      “Open Mouth, Insert Foot, Repeat.”

  9. Good hopeful news about your dad. I’ll continue to pray.

    And those hostas look happy.

  10. Burro (Mule) says

    There is nothing fully formulated in my brain that is worthy of a full response.

    Empathy is not my strong suit, either. My almsgiving is as mechanical as a vending machine. I really don’t want to hear their “stories” (BS).

    I’m glad about your father beating the odds. May he continue to do so.

    Getting reliable data about the coronavirus’ extension into our local population is harder than finding TP at Target. My daughter was tested when two people who attended a private party began exhibiting symptoms, but the rest of the family has been blocked from testing since her results came back negative.

    Living in a black neighborhood during these polarizing times is oddly comforting. On one hand, I’m more aware of my whiteness and vulnerability. On the other, I haven’t noticed any difference in how my neighbors treat me, I had been toying around with putting a BLM banner on my lawn, but decided against it because I would hope that my Black neighbors would already know by my actions that their lives matter to me. Also because the White Muslim Kosovars across the street would be excluded from this display of concern, with no small internal agreement on my part.

  11. White privilege: This is not, as is sometimes imagined, a claim that being white means you glide effortlessly through life. Rather, it is that whites get through life with less friction than do blacks, all else being equal. There are many sources of friction in life. We all have them: social, economic, educational, etc. If you are black, you automatically have that, on top of everything else.

    My glib summary of white privilege is that when a cop calls me “Sir,” he very nearly means it.