Saturday, June 14, 2008


To cheer myself, as an antidote to the news, I find on my computer every morning a little spirit lifter from Dr. Dictionary, who daily sends me a word; as if I did not already have too many of them. But as there is so little left to believe in, I have decided to worship words. I look to them for Guidance. Today's word is apprise.
Apprise. Look around you. For all the shadows in the world, you are alive. And life is light.
So I am apprising. Because I am trying to ascribe to the philosophy I think I have expressed in my new novel:if you will reach out to help somebody, to interact, you can forget about yourself, and so lose the pain. I have enlisted in GAB, an association called Grandparents and Books, where retirees and even sometimes young vital people, go through a training so they will be fit to read to children in libraries. Really.
There were about twenty in my training group, It started off, in a library in Baldwin Hills, just as elegantly and generously--more so, as it turns out-- than those breakfast meetings at the high end condos of socially ambitious women in Century Woods;. Same menu. Bagels and nutbreads and coffee and grapes and Danish. Sweetly lavish.
The women (no men) were of different shapes, sizes, colors, tongues-- one in my sub-group when we went in to practice reading aloud was a Hispanic, English still a little hard for her, making the woman who trained us say how inspirational that would be to the children, with so many of them being Latinos in this region. We will wear aprons so they know it's safe to talk to us, so many of them being latchkey kids told not to talk to strangers. Big job: to pull them away from the computers so they will love books.
I put my first day's training into practice with Silas, 4, whom I had for the afternoon yesterday, and took to the Santa Monica Library which is pretty paradisical(sp?) Lots of light, spiffy, newly redone, loaded with books and a computer games section which I pulled him past, though he wanted to go there because he said the games go on forever. I told him what also goes on foreveer is the imagination, especially his, so he can think more things while we're reading, and he'll have a whole lifetime of thought to play with. Then I tried to read him The Elephant's Child, the story of how the elephant got his trunk, Kipling, from his Jungle Book which was actually the first children's book-- but the 'O Best Beloved' diction threw him and lost his interest so I seized on the Judith Viorst book about Alexander having a horrible terrible very bad no good day that gives the kids a chance to join in and repeat her magically downtrodden phrase, and also brings up Australia, where Silas has a Grandma and goes to visit as he will in August. It was better than fun. So my own spirits are lifted, and I look forward to being fingerprinted which I will be in the second training session, I assume so they can check I'm not a child molester.
But in spite of all this spiritual enhancement and upliftment, I did read the papers today and see that all the Taliban have escaped from a prison in Afghanistan which seems more than a little sloppy and unfortunate. Then, reading that the Irish were opposed to joining the European Union, I called my good friend the foremer Lord Mayor of Belfast, who disagrees with their refusal to sign the Lisbon treaty. The the Irish believe they've worked too hard to become independent to throw it all away by joining the European Union, and I must admit I rather like that, find it very Irish stubborn and twee. Maybe that will affect the Euro and one day we can go to Europe again. Then I spoke to my daughter the nail technician whose best customer, now on tour, used to be Cindy McCain. Madeleine told me Cindy not only was in Rehab for Oxycodin but actually stole it from a clinic she served on the board of. Oh, I do hope someone is on that for when they attack Michelle Obama.
What a world what a world as the witch said in The Wizard of Oz, though the evil dealt with in those days seems by today's standards, a mere bagatelle, the word from Dr. Dictionary last Tuesday.