anne sexton’s toxic love, wildflowers arizona wallpaper, magic and the scientific method

This letter from writer-poet Anne Sexton to her daughter in 1969 is sad, though sweet as well. I know, Mother, I know

Dear Linda,

I am in the middle of a flight to St. Louis to give a reading. I was reading a New Yorker story that made me think of my mother and all alone in the seat I whispered to her “I know, Mother, I know.” (Found a pen!) And I thought of you — someday flying somewhere all alone and me dead perhaps and you wishing to speak to me.

And I want to speak back. (Linda, maybe it won’t be flying, maybe it will be at your own kitchen table drinking tea some afternoon when you are 40. Anytime.) — I want to say back.

1st, I love you.

2. You never let me down

3. I know. I was there once. I too, was 40 and with a dead mother who I needed still.

This is my message to the 40-year-old Linda. No matter what happens you were always my bobolink, my special Linda Gray. Life is not easy. It is awfully lonely. I know that. Now you too know it — wherever you are, Linda, talking to me. But I’ve had a good life — I wrote unhappy — but I lived to the hilt. You too, Linda — Live to the HILT! To the top. I love you, 40-year old Linda, and I love what you do, what you find, what you are! — Be your own woman. Belong to those you love. Talk to my poems, and talk to your heart — I’m in both: if you need me. I lied, Linda. I did love my mother and she loved me. She never held me but I miss her, so that I have to deny I ever loved her — or she me! Silly Anne! So there!

XOXOXO

Mom

Since I first came across the posting of that letter they updated it with this article-book review from the NYT that notes Sexton’s words, lovely, warm, caring – did not match her behavior according to her daughter, A Daughter Revisits Sexton’s Bedlam

Now, we have before us another account of that tempestuous life, from the point of view of her older daughter and literary executor, the novelist Linda Gray Sexton.

Given Ms. Sexton’s cooperation on the Middlebrook biography, there is little new in this book in terms of factual detail. What makes this memoir so powerful and affecting is its candid, often painful depiction of a daughter’s struggles to come to terms with her powerful and emotionally troubled mother. In these pages, Ms. Sexton grapples not only with her mother’s sexual and emotional abuse of her, but also with the psychological implications of her mother’s writing: the fact that Linda’s own childhood and youth were routinely mined for dramatic material by her mother, the fact that her mother spilled their family’s domestic difficulties for all the world to see.

One could say that Ann’s daughter Linda Gray Sexton got some justice by way of her own revelations. I think writers using very personal stories, their own lives and willingly or not the lives of their family and friends for literary fodder is an interesting issue. Most writers do so. Thomas Wolfe ( sometimes called the American James Joyce) did so famously in Look Homeward, Angel. Not only did he include his family in that thinly disguised semi-autobiography, he used the whole town ( Asheville, North Carolina) which was angry at him for years. In writers workshops and creative writing classes they all encourage honesty. Of digging down and committing to telling the truth as you know it. Our truths tend not to exist as islands. How does a writer reveal themselves and protect others while also maintaining that commitment to not gloss over the unpleasant, or embarrassing or tawdry.

american landscapes, nature, mountains, wildflowers, west

wildflowers arizona wallpaper

An intriguing way to get students interested in science. Might even for on friends as well, The Science of Magic Series

The concept is simple: perform a magic trick for your students, and then challenge them to figure out how it was done. In the process they will learn about and/or apply the scientific method.

They will observe the magic trick and then form hypotheses about how they believe it works. It’s not enough for them to think they know the solution; they’ll have to design experiments to test the validity of their hypotheses then present their results, positive or negative, to their peers. Since magic tricks can be complex, a single experiment will rarely be enough to completely reveal the secret. The students will have to refine their knowledge and repeat the steps while building on their own work, and that of their peers, to continue narrowing in on the correct answer. Along the way they may even discover or invent new techniques or even create whole new magic tricks based on the knowledge base that they have been building.

I think one of reasons conservatives and libertarians generally have contempt for science is that part of the scientific method is testing to see if what one believes is true can be supported by concrete evidence. Believing in things can be illuminating. They can be an integral part of the creative process. In science they tend to lean toward using the word intuitive. You might imagine first how something works, an extraordinary process. Though it is a process that is guided bu logic based on an accumulation of knowledge. When the German chemist Friedrich August Kekulé ( who had memorized the periodic table and knew the known properties of each as all good chemists do) was trying to unravel the shape and bonds of a benezene ring it is said ( only anecdotal evidence exists) that he first imagined that it might be like a ring of snakes, each biting the tail of the next.

black and white small boat on a lake

I don’t like burned biscuits either but come on, Cops Bust Dad Over Burnt Biscuit Rage

Incensed over a batch of burned biscuits, an Illinois man allegedly grabbed a meat cleaver, placed it under his son’s neck, and threatened to kill him, police allege.

The biscuit dispute Sunday morning resulted in the arrest of Harry A. Woods III, 43, for aggravated battery. Woods is jailed in lieu of $20,000 bond for the alleged attack on his 24-year-old son, who is also named Harry.

The biscuits (and some gravy) were intended to be part of breakfast for Woods and his family, according to Sergeant Charles Keshner of the East Alton Police Department. The 6’, 350-pound Woods is pictured in the above mug shot.

According to police (and a criminal information), Woods became angry after the biscuits were burned in the oven of his East Alton home. The biscuits had been placed in the oven by Woods’s teenage daughter, who told family members to keep an eye on them before she departed for a relative’s home.

Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) – Thinks Government Subsidized Education is OK for Him, Not for American Moms. Gov’mint programs are only for white conservatives, preferably male. Others, in this case a mother with two children trying to play by the rules and get ahead, need not apply.

Obama Administration Comes Out Against SOPA And Protect IP. Now if they just stay the course.

Obviously – see above – good cops come in handy. Bad cops are a nightmare – Seattle Police dash-cam video shows questionable conduct by officers

Mitt Romney and the Curse of Blackness

And no, I’m not talking about a single ambiguous, cherry-picked verse, either. I’d much rather that were the case. The sad truth is that the Book of Morman says it explicitly and in numerous passages: black people are cursed by God and our dark skin is the evidence of our accursedness.

Great photo essay that no one will click over to. Do I get blog credit anyway – America at Work.

Some things cannot be escaped – Road rage, big fish and space aliens. Written and Directed by Nick Khoo

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