No kidding: The Adventure of a Lifetime, “Book Club” (the movie)

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Sometimes joy is as simple as finding a film that doesn’t involve violence and murder. In the midst of a world that is suffering pain and loss in every nook and cranny, I found a wonderful documentary film, BOOK CLUB: The Adventure of a Lifetime.  It’s about a group of women living in the Washington, D.C. area in 1947. They formed a book club that was still active as of 2009, the year the film was released, making the club sixty-two years old. That’s longer than most marriages last, longer than some people live.

Watching this charming film is like opening a time-capsule. There are early references to WWI and the Great Depression. There is the club’s history through the pre-war years, WWII, the post-war ’50s, Kennedy’s assassination and the ’60s, and on it goes into the last decade.

Book Club travels from the weighty tomes the women read initially to “improve our minds” when their lives were focused largely on homemaking and child-rearing and comes to rest on lighter fare,  literary and popular fiction and sometimes nonfiction.

The movie benefits from the strong underpinning of insight born of long life and astute observation.

“No story is the same to us after a lapse of time; or rather we who read it are no longer the same interpreters.”  George Elliot

“I’ll go to the library and say, ‘Yeah! That was a good book,’ and I’ll pick it up and read it again, like Wallace Stegner’s ‘Angle of Repose.’ Things like that when you read a second time with a few more years inside you, you have an altogether different appreciation or understanding of what the author is saying.” 

We walk with the club members through their lives as single women, to marriage and children, to grandchildren and loss and into the wisdom years. We move through good times and heartening memories and into and out of the kinds of heart-break that are universal.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Anaïs Nin

The life-long friendships forged by the book club create a through-line for the film. In life they provided a stability and depth of support that continued to strengthen the women. The only ones no longer attending meetings were those who have passed away.

“Nobody wants to let [the book club] die.” 

“I don’t want to stop it because some of the members aren’t too well. We’d still like to meet when we can.  We may not be able to follow a schedule but I hope we’ll be able to meet when we can.”

If you’re in the U.S. you can watch Book Club on Hulu.  You don’t have to subscribe.  I don’t. I was surprised to find something so worthy among Hulu’s often salacious and sensational documentary offerings.  You can buy the DVD from Amazon or rent it for streaming.  There’s a trailer on Amazon. I don’t do Cable but it might very well be available on-demand there.

“When we came together in that room for a book club meeting, it was ‘well, here we are again.'”

The world needs more book clubs. They are better than wars and conflict. Be the peace and the joy.

Love, Jamie

© 2015, review, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

The BeZine, Nov. 2015, Vol. 2, Issue 1, “At-risk Youth,” Table of Contents with Links

15 November 2015

paint-prints-of-youths-handsWelcome to our first issue that is focusing on at-risk youth. Our mission today in our topical section is to share stories and poems that cause us to think about youth in a different way. Who are at-risk youth? Where are they?

Often, they seem invisible to the world until they are splashed across the news in dramatic headlines. We can all remember the photos of dead children washing up on the seashore…refugees fleeing Syria. And in the US, just a few days ago, a young boy, age 8, killed a 1 year old. Why? Because he was the babysitter in charge and she would not stop crying. I am often appalled at the reactions we have to children with extreme behaviors. What skills do we expect an 8 year old to have?

Sigh.

And so, we, at The Bardo Group, have written of the children of the world that are marginalized and at-risk for a wide range of disasters. This is a special topic for me. I run the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition which provides chaplaincy and mentoring to incarcerated youth. I have included three pieces in this edition that are close to my heart. One, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani. This poem is the first one I wrote in reaction to the stories I heard in detention. I wanted to put the parents, and God, on trial. And so I did. I wasn’t happy with the answer I received! And yet, it gave me so much hope. The second piece, an essay titled Mentoring At-Risk Youth, tells you a little more directly about who I am and what I do. Last, is the poem, A True Story. You may guess that it is a true event and you would be correct! It happened this year and it made me very angry.

St. Augustine says, ““Hope has two beautiful daughters – their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”

Hope, anger and courage have driven me to move through the pain and challenge of working with these particular youth.

A small collection from people I work with that all explore what it is like to work with incarcerated youth. They are all new to the BeZine so let’s give them a resounding welcome! Justin Almeida offers an essay, Finding Life in Detention. Lisa Ashley, MDIV, has a poem, at risk youth, that names what is really at risk when you work with youth in detention—your heart is at risk!  And Natasha Burrowes drops the mic in Untitled.

Closely related to Natasha’s discussion of who is really at risk is Charles Martin’s, at risk… It is a great question. Who is really at risk when we allow our children to be the victims of poverty, crime, and other forces? Is it really just the child? Or is there something larger?

Incarcerated youth, across the board, have increased rates of trauma when compared to other youth. The ACES test (Adverse Childhood Experiences) scores incarcerated youth as having a 92 out of 100. I think I would be a bowl of jello if I had that high of a trauma score. Christina Conroy explores living through a traumatic childhood in her autobiographical poem, Legacy. Also writing autobiographically is Kimberly Wilhelmina Floria in Validating Myself. It made my heart grow two more sizes! Also cracking my heart is Jamie Dedes’ Heading Home autobiographical poem regarding suicide. Sometimes, I wish I knew what that special something is that manages to give children resiliency. Heart breaking. Or I wish I had a magic wand that would right the world’s wrongs.

Also writing from experience is Trace Lara Hentz’s essay, Angel Turned Inside. Lara was introduced to us by Team Member Michael Watson and is new to these pages. Her essay explores the tragedy that was the movement westward in the US and the use of adoption as a weapon against American Indians and First Nations. I am aware of this tragic history because of my knowledge of church history which is horrifyingly replete with church support of taking children from their families and putting them into orphanages.

Knife Notes—a Poem, from Michael Dickel, explores the relationship between the past and the future for Joe. I am especially moved by the truthful reflection of how kids who are hurting treat each other.

“It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.” That is a quote from Washington state’s constitution. Unfortunately, we simply fail our children. John Antsie’s article, Education, Common Sense … and The Future, explores two simple things regarding education-one thing to change and one thing to hope for.

One thing that the youth I work with almost unanimously face is addiction issues. Jamie Dedespiece, scag dancing, explores in vivid, concise imagery the relationship between addiction and poverty.

With “Thinking Continually of Those at Risk,” by Priscilla Galasso, you will be surprised at where she starts and where she finishes! She speaks a truth that resonates, “We can so easily provide food, shelter, and opportunity to our youth with the systems we have devised, but those systems have become mine fields where kids are sabotaged on the journey.”

Sometimes we attempt to sabotage journeys with needless judgment regarding what makes a real parent. John Nooney explores his experience of adoption and the sometimes senseless absorption of people asking, “Have you found your birth-mother?” in his essay, Some Thoughts on Adoption.

In my research of how to interrupt the school to prison pipeline, I have found two interesting statistics. One, children who miss 24+ days of Pre-K or Kindergarten are more likely to become incarcerated. And two, children who personally own five books of their own have better life outcomes than those who do not. I have also recently run across an article pointing towards the importance of librarians in achievement for children. Corina Ravenscraft points out the importance of libraries in These Hallowed Halls of Hope.” Libraries are, indeed, an oasis of peace in a concrete jungle.

One thing is trite but true, it does indeed, take a village to raise our children.

Thank you for moving through my rambling reflections with me. I hope that your heart is moved to consider how we support and work with those who are at-risk.

Shalom & Amen!
Terri Stewart

Theme: At-Risk Youth

Lead Features

Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani, Terri Stewart
Untitled, Natasha Burrowes
Validating Myself, Kimberly Wilhelmina Floria
at risk, Charles W. Martin

Poetry

Legacy, Christina Conroy
At-risk Youth, Lisa Ashley, MDIV
A True Story, Terri Stewart
Heading Home, Jamie Dedes
Knife Notes—a poem, Michael Dickel
scag dancing, Jamie Dedes

Essays/Features

Mentoring At-Risk Youth, Terri Stewart
Finding Life in Detention, Justin Almeida
Education, Common Sense … and The Future, John Antsie
These Hallowed Halls of Hope, Corina Ravenscraft
Thinking Continually of Those at Risk, Priscilla Galasso
A Teenager Who Fled Syria, NPR and World Vision
Rapid Re-Housing Best Available Crisis Intervention for Homeless Families and Youth, National Alliance to End Homelessness

Special Features: Adoption

November is National Adoption Month in the United States

Some Thoughts on Adoption and “real” parents v adoptive parents, John Nooney
Angel Turned Inside, The Fight for Native American Families, Trace Lara Hentz

General Interest

Poetry

How Can I Justify My Life If I Do Not Justify His Own?, K. A. Bryce
Second Light Network Celebrating Anthologies of Women Poets, Jamie Dedes

Photo Essay

Some Early Seasonal Cheer, Corina Ravenscraft

Photo Story

The Secret Object I Keep Hidden in My Underwear Drawer, Naomi Baltick

Essays

Deportment for the Soul, Sue Vincent

paint-prints-of-youths-hands

BIOS WITH LINKS TO OTHER WORKS BY OUR CORE TEAM AND GUEST WRITERS

FOR UPDATES AND INSPIRATION “LIKE” OUR FACEBOOK PAGE, THE BARDO GROUP/BEGUINE AGAIN

MISSION STATEMENT

Back Issues Archive
October/November 2014, First Issue
December 2014, Preparation
January 2015, The Divine Feminine
February 2015, Abundance/Lack of Abundance
March 2015, Renewal
April 2015, interNational Poetry Month
May 2015, Storytelling
June 2015, Diversity
July 2015, Imagination and the Critical Spirit
August 2015, Music
September 2015, Poverty (100TPC)
100,000 Poets for Change, 2015 Event
October 2015, Visual Arts (First Anniversary Issue)

Non-state Terror Attacks, January 1, 2013 – November 14, 2015

Note: I didn’t pull this piece together.  It was created by Michael Dickel and is posted here with his permission.  Michael’s most recent poetry collection, the chapbook War Surrounds Us (Is a Rose Press, 2015), is a moving collection, a cry for peace as is this feature.  My piece, The Poet As Witness: “War Surrounds Us,” an interview with American-Israeli Poet Michael Dickel, is HERE. J.D.

Using a Wikipedia list, even with all of its faults, provides a sobering view of terror in the world. The countries listed below were the sites of at least one and often several terror attacks in the last (almost) three years. Some of those attacks resulted only in injuries, most caused one or more death—victims and / or perpetrators. Many attacks killed dozens of people. A few, one-hundred or more. Not all of the perpetrators are from Islamic groups—many come from other “political, religious, or ideological” motivations. According to the Wikipedia site, the list of attacks that I used to find the countries:

…is a list of non-state terrorist incidents that have not been carried out by a state or its forces (see state terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism). Assassinations are listed at List of assassinated people.

Definitions of terrorism vary, so incidents listed here are restricted to those that:

              • are not approved by the legitimate authority of a recognized state
              • are illegally perpetrated against people or property
              • are done to further political, religious, or ideological objectives

Comments on the Wikipedia listing indicate that it is incomplete and may be biased. Still, I found 56 countries on the list for the three years I looked at, and I remembered the larger attacks from news reports. If it is incomplete, there could be more countries. If it is biased, there could be other countries, as well.

This list should give us all pause—not only for our world, but for the children growing up exposed to this global level of war. This is their normal world. They are at risk on so many levels. As adults, we must stop and remember the children. And we must find just solutions to the underlying causes of this violence that literally reaches every corner of the earth. 

In memoriam a black rectangle vertical next to the list of countries

In Memoriam

Non-State Terror Attacks:
Jan 1, 
2013–Nov 14, 2015

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Algeria
  3. Australia
  4. Bahrain
  5. Bangladesh
  6. Belgium
  7. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  8. Cameroon
  9. Canada
  10. Central African Republic
  11. Chad
  12. China
  13. Columbia
  14. Denmark
  15. Djibouti
  16. Egypt
  17. Ethiopia
  18. France
  19. Germany
  20. India
  21. Indonesia
  22. Iraq
  23. Israel
  24. Italy
  25. Japan
  26. Kenya
  27. Kosovo
  28. Kuwait
  29. Lebanon
  30. Libya
  31. Macedonia
  32. Madagascar
  33. Malaysia
  34. Mali
  35. Mozambique
  36. Niger
  37. Nigeria
  38. Norway
  39. Northern Ireland
  40. Pakistan
  41. Philippines
  42. Russia
  43. Saudi Arabia
  44. Somalia
  45. South Korea
  46. South Sudan
  47. Syria
  48. Tanzania
  49. Thailand
  50. Tunisia
  51. Tunisia
  52. Turkey
  53. Ukraine
  54. United Kingdom
  55. United States
  56. Yemen

Source

From Americans Against Islamaphobia
http://on.fb.me/1kVA7zP