‘Tis – Book #27

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'Tis (Frank McCourt, #2) ‘Tis by Frank McCourt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This memoir picks up from where Angela’s Ashes ends with young Frank arriving back in America at the age of 18. It takes him all the way through to the death of his parents and the spreading of Angela’s Ashes back in her native Ireland.

This book is not as much of a downer as the first as Frank has finally removed himself from the truly bone chilling poverty & misery of Limerick. However, there is a repetitive theme as he takes over the role of the adult who truly cannot seem to get his head out of own ass. In the first book, that was his father, and sadly, young Frankie did not learn the lesson. Rather than rejecting that pattern, he repeats it. Not quite as badly of course. His wallowing in self pity & constant paranoia (his classmate sure nailed that) about what everyone thinks of him drives him to drink more than he should for sure. He risks his relationships over it. He loses one girlfriend and then nearly loses his eventual wife. She is, at least, the only one who tries to get the message across to him that his misery is not unique, but other than him retelling the tale, you never get the idea that HE gets it. He has flashes of gumption though. He successfully fights off urges to chuck his education (thanks to the GI bill) and finishes school to become a teacher. Then he fights off the urge to walk away from that career. You do get a hint of an idea that he must have been a rather inspiring teacher. I imagine many of his students looked to him as a great mentor. However, since he truly reflects someone with not an ounce of self worth in his writing, he does not brag in any way about his teaching success. Even late in his career, he writes from the eyes of someone still so overly self critical of what he is doing and how his students view him that you really do wonder how he got out of bed every day!
Frank McCourt was a complex, sad soul. He certainly loved learning & was a very good writer. I love the way he laments that everyone had to be “from” somewhere and had to self identify with their ethnicity. He seemed ahead of his time in that respect & he so longed to just be an American & not be saddled with the labels & expectations of being an Irish-Catholic. But it also struck ME that while he wrote just around the edges of breaking through his history – he refers often to a ‘darkness at the edge of my brain’ – he never does get there. At least, if he did, he never wrote about it.

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Note to Mother Nature

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57 and arctic gale force winds at 11am on May 22nd is NOT acceptable!! Sitting at my son’s baseball game with three layers of jackets, a hoodie over my hat, a blanket & gloves should NOT be necessary!!! Yeah, the sun makes it LOOK warm – but it’s NOT! The parents were a bunch of frozen Popsicle sticks at the end. Those who stayed anyway. One smart mom retreated back to her car to read her book. I shoulda done that. My cheeks are still cold!

So since my digits are too numb to type – lemme just give some love to my other blogs where I put in a bit of effort late yesterday:

Can’t you just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – don’t worry not really a partisan political rant at all, more of a communication & leadership rant.

May 22, 2010 – a pretty long slide show from yesterday’s hike – before the northern winds descended! It was actually pretty pleasant out there yesterday!

Blog post of the week – a thoughtful conversation

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First of all, I highly recommend putting The Women’s Colony in your RSS feed or your Google Reader or whatever system you use to read blog posts. A delightful blend of writers who cover topics large & small, personal & global. Plus, some very nice eye candy pics in The Cabana room (rowr).

This week, my friend Jenn wrote a post on immigration. A very hot topic these days thanks to Arizona. Jenn & I share similar views on this issue, but that is not why I loved her post. I love how she presents it. In A Portrait of “Them” she describes real life examples of immigrant families and how seeing their struggles play out impacts her views on the issue. But it’s not just the post itself that is worthy of reading. Dig into those comments. A really respectful discussion unfolds detailing many of the complexities of this issue – thankfully without the passions & anger & ultimate name calling that often derails this debate. I learned more in that comment thread that I have on any news site or other blog post or cable news show about the issues!

Grammy time!

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Do you love classical music? Do you follow the Classical Music awards category for the Grammys? Well, if so, then you need to be following Miss Music Nerd. She was chosen to be an official Grammy community blogger for the Classical Music category. It’s pretty cool because they found her (it was not something she applied for) and they chose her because her reviews are always positive. She doesn’t trash anyone, just highlights music/composers that she loves and why.

Did you know there are actually 12 categories in the Classical range? That means she will be familiarizing herself with 60 recordings between yesterday (when the nominations were announced) and awards day on January 31, 2010. It also means she gets to take a break from the depths of winter in Massachusetts in January for some LA sunshine 🙂

Personally, I have known Miss Music Nerd for 3 years now. She’s my most awesome roommate for the Netroots Nation gatherings and an accomplished musician and composer herself.

Miss Music Nerd

New blog recommendation

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Everyone take some time this weekend to check out the essays of one of the best damn writers anywhere.

My Imperfect Truth

The writer is a lady who started referring to me as her Cyber Twin when we first ‘met’ on the MotherTalkers site. Being on the east coast she would be commenting on topics many hours before me – and almost ALWAYS saying exactly what I would say! I would just drop in and say “ditto what Katie said” and leave 😉 Recently Katie started writing these wonderful essays on Face book and some she would post at MT. And they floored me. For here is where we part ways. Girlfriend can flat out WRITE. She pours her heart out in such a clear and concise way with descriptions that take you right *there* with her and often up piercing your heart in the process. She lives out in New Hampshire and I’ve been no where near there since our cyber meeting, but one day I WILL meet this fantastic woman and her family.

I promise you will be mightily entertained!