Food for thought…

Sometimes we deviate on our path. Today is such a day. With thoughts of our fellow blogger and friend, Mary Smith utmost in our minds. When I read the following quote, Mary comes to mind. She was a light that shone in the windows of so many hearts. Yet she has gifted us with her light and we can simply read her wonderful words and know her spirit is with us. Thank you, Mary.

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“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” – John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

Thank you, Léa

The journey continues…

There is much more to education than sitting in classrooms for years and absorbing the facts or stories presented. Despite earning a Master’s Degree in Psychology, I must state that most of what I’ve learned in this life has come from observation, personal experience, and books. I am grateful to all that contributed along that path. There are some excellent teachers, alas, there are also a number of them that may do more harm than good. Perhaps it is their materials, methods, but a good teacher has their heart invested in the outcome. If you find yourself inspired by this or any of the other quotes in this series, and decide to create a post, please let me know. I should enjoy reblogging it. Thank you, Léa

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“The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on — because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.”
― Noam Chomsky

A few more breadcrumbs…

As this journey continues, I do hope that some of the quotes offered will resonate and perhaps one or two, inspire you to look at things differently or to explore the thoughts behind them. As before, if anyone chooses to respond to the featured quote, it would be my privilege to reblog it.

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“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”  –  Leo Tolstoy

Grief Songs by Elizabeth Gauffreau–A Review

Well done Liz and thank you Charles for posting this review. I shall have to order a copy for myself.

charles french words reading and writing

grief songsGrief Songs by Elizabeth Gauffreau is a beautiful and compelling collection of poetry and photographs.

Gauffreau is a skilled story-teller, and her poetry and pictures create moving portraits of her family that draw the reader into her lovingly created images and remembrances.

Gauffreau uses the traditional Tanka form for her poetry, and she shows great skill in weaving her stories and memories together. For those who love poetry and family, this book will engage them and make them want to find their own family photos.

Grief Songs is an excellent book of poetry, it is lyrical and lovely, and I give it my complete recommendation. It will capture you and move you.

Beautifully done!

Grief Songs is available at Amazon

Please visit her wonderful website: lizgauffreau.com

5 stars

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The journey continues…

With lies falling about us like torrential raindrops, it is necessary to interject truth and sanity. My love of philosophy leads me to consult greater minds than my own. It is their words that we need to hear. As before, if anyone cares to take on the challenge of expanding on any of the quotes offered here, it would be my privilege to reblog them. Léa

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“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” – Isaac Asimov

The respite from exile continues…

A more current voice speaks to us today. It doesn’t diminish the power or truth of her words. Please feel free to take the concept and run with it. I would be honored to reblog such an effort. Thank you, Léa

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”There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”  – Arundhati Roy

To blog, or not to blog… perhaps a temporary respite from exile?

Despite the reasons for my long-term absence, it has become impossible to remain silent. I shall share some of the wiser words I’ve been reading. The current state of things forces me to at least offer some words that I hope will be read and reflected upon. For many, these quotes will not be a revelation. For others, they may be a bitter pill. The best thing they could be is food for thought. I shall keep to the brief quotes that I share. They will be short but rarely sweet. Perhaps some will even be inspired to expand on the thoughts I bring to the table. Thank you. Léa

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“The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity.” – Voltaire

#BookReview of WRITEDOWN by Margaret Elphinstone et al #Lockdown #Galloway #Scotland #RBRT

I’m only a few pages into my copy and already recommending it to friends and family. And, I haven’t even read any of Mary Smith’s words yet… I love the whole idea and hope that others will pick up the gauntlet in their communities.

Barb Taub

In my last post here, I talked about the ‘forgotten’ flu pandemic of 1918. The coronavirus seems an overwhelming force across the globe, and I wonder what its legacy will be. After reading the incredible new group lockdown diary, Writedown, one thing I’m sure of is that this pandemic will live in our collective memory. 

One of the contributors to Writedown is also one of my favorite writers, Mary Smith. (If you haven’t had a chance to read her incredible Afghan adventure serial diary, give yourself a treat and start with this one, take a look at some of her funny and heart-tugging books here, her blog series My Dad is a Goldfish about caring for her father with dementia, or most recently her ongoing cancer journey.

I invited Mary to describe the Writedown project, and here’s what she shared.


Author Mary Smith, one…

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Quotations on Intellectualism

Thank you, Charles. In the midst of the insanity around us, the reason is whispering its message.

charles french words reading and writing

 

 

Isaac_Asimov

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

                                                  Isaac Asimov

 

George_Orwell_press_photo

“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy.”

                                                   George Orwell

 

Philip_Plait_2007

“I’m tired of ignorance held up as inspiration, where vicious anti-intellectualism is considered a positive trait, and where uninformed opinion is displayed as fact.”

                                                      Phil Plait

 

“For democracy to…

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Echos From Shadows of The Past…

“The Law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don’t understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it.” – Bertolt Brecht

“A man who sees another man on the street corner with only a stump for an arm will be so shocked the first time he’ll give him six-pence. But the second time it’ll only be a threepenny bit. And if he sees him a third time, he’ll have him cold-bloodedly handed over to the police.” – Bertolt Brecht

In 1933 the Nazis seized power, and like many German dissidents, the writer Bertolt Brecht had to leave. After several moves, he ended up in Denmark where he and his family accepted the offer of a house in a remote village. It was there that he penned an essay which quickly began appearing in different European cities. The journal responsible was Unsere Zeit (Our Times). It was even smuggled into Germany and distributed under a plain cover. The title “Statutes of Reich Association of German Writers.”

The actual title of this work was “Funf Schwierigkeiten beim schreiben der Wahrheit,” which translates to “Five Difficulties in Writing the Truth.

Brecht went on to say that if one chooses to oppose lies and ignorance, and to write the truth, there are five difficulties that you must overcome.

The real title of the essay was “Fünf Schwierigkeiten beim schreiben der Wahrheit,” or “Five Difficulties in Writing the Truth.” Brecht wrote:

“These days, if you want to struggle against lies and ignorance, and to write the truth, you must overcome at least five difficulties. You must have the courage to write the truth when everywhere truth is repressed. You must have the wit to recognize the truth, though everywhere it is concealed. You must have the skill to make the truth into a weapon. You must have the judgment to choose those in whose hands the truth will be effective. And you must have the cunning to spread the truth among such people.”

While the obstacles he faced were epic under fascism, they are also present in the lives of writers who have suffered exile, had to flee their homes and also for those who live in countries that claim to be democracies when they are not. Today we live in a world where fascism is rearing its ugly head. In some countries more than others, it is quickly become the rule of law in some parts of the world.

I believe that it is time to dust of Brecht and to committ to exactly what type of writer each of us will strive to be. Remembering his circumstances and reading his words, I shall endeavor to follow his ideals.

The Courage to Tell the Truth

It seems obvious that, as a writer, you should write the truth, in the sense that you ought not to suppress or conceal anything or deliberately write things that are untrue. You ought not to bow down before the powerful or betray the weak. It is, of course, very hard not to bow down before the powerful, and it is highly advantageous to betray the weak. To displease the possessors means to become one of the dispossessed. To pass up paid work or to decline fame when it is offered may mean being unpaid or unknown forever. This takes courage.

Any truth worth writing is one that those in power do not want you to tell, and the enemies of truth will try to exact a price. They will leak your personal information to the press or to your enemies. They will dox you. They will try to make it embarrassing or frightening or dangerous to tell the truth. A man who corrupts whole countries gets less prison time than a woman who votes by mistake. This is what power means.

In times of oppression, there is usually much talk about elevated matters. To write that you are “in the resistance” feels dramatic and important. You can get the feeling that you are a truth teller, because truth ought to feel dramatic and important. What is this feeling of drama? Surely, it must be the truth. In such times, it takes courage to write of low and boring matters such as food and shelter, access to healthcare, the rights of refugees.

When every channel is blaring the message that strong feelings trump knowledge, and that a man without compassion is more deserving of attention than one who cares for others, it takes courage to ask: Who profits? When all the talk is of who is a real American, it takes courage to ask: Who is unreal?

It also takes courage to tell the truth about yourself, about your own defeat. You lost. They are drinking your tears. Many of the oppressed lose the capacity to see their own mistakes. It seems to them that the persecution they suffer is itself the greatest injustice. The persecutors are wicked simply because they persecute; the persecuted suffer because of their goodness. But this goodness has been beaten, defeated, suppressed. It was therefore a weak goodness, a bad, unreliable goodness. For we cannot accept that goodness must be weak as rain must be wet. Weakness is not goodness. Goodness is not a weakness. It takes courage to say that the good were defeated not because they were good, but because they were weak.

Naturally, in the struggle with lies we must write the truth, and this truth must not be a lofty and ambiguous abstraction. When we say of someone, “She spoke the truth,” we imply that some people said something that was not the truth—a lie or a generality—but she said something practical, factual, undeniable.

It takes little courage to mutter a complaint about the triumph of barbarism in a place where complaining is still permitted, even prized. Many writers pretend that the guns are aimed at them when, in reality, they are merely the targets of influencers, trackers, and ads. They shout their generalized demands to a world of friends and followers. They insist on a generalized justice for which they have never done anything. They ask for generalized freedom: Alexa, make the government change.

These writers think that truth is only what sounds good. If the truth turns out to be difficult or dry, they don’t recognize it as such. Because what they crave isn’t the truth but a feeling and a status: the feeling of truth, the status of being a truth teller. The trouble with them is: they do not know the truth.

Upcoming Post: The Wit to recognize the Truth

Bisous,

Léa

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