S. T. Fleming

Language. Education. Literacy. Creation.

Still Possible

A few days ago I was asked why I am worried about a Trump presidency.  The asker was not an ardent supporter of Mr. Trump but believed that Mr. Trump was a better choice than Clinton.  I am not an ardent Clinton supporter but believe that she would have been a better choice than Mr. Trump.

When I think of the United States, the country where I was born and raised, I think of possibilities.  I believe that it is possible for people of different racial/ ethnic backgrounds, different religions (or no religion), differences of many kinds to come together for the good of the whole.  I believe that it is possible to rise above tribalism to create something better than any of us could create alone, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  I believe that the United States of America is possible- that all are created equal.

When I hear Mr. Trump make racist comments I worry about his presidency.  I worry that people who are already on the fringes of society will be further marginalized.  There are many ways to be in this world.  We can celebrate those ways, accept those ways, without saying “my way or the highway.”   Someone’s difference is not a threat to me  (although violence is a threat that needs to end) if I am secure in my identity.  Maybe Trump’s comments were made in order to get elected; if so, those who support him because of those comments worry me.  Do they seek to limit the identity of the United States to those who are like them?  Do they seek to rid the country of difference?

When I hear Mr. Trump make sexist comments I worry about his presidency.  Anyone who knows a woman worries (or should be worried) about this type of violence.  Denigrating anyone is offensive.  Would I want someone saying such things about my mother?  My wife?  My daughter?  Would I want my son or my students at school to learn this behavior? If not, then it is not OK for Mr. Trump to say those things.  Maybe Trump’s more recent comments were made in order to get elected; if so, I worry about those who support him because of those comments.  Referring to people as objects is dehumanizing.  If we are all created equal then let us raise one another up instead of pushing some down.

When I hear Mr. Trump  speak against immigration I worry about his presidency.  Friends of mine have been told that, “Trump will kick you out, send you back.”  These friends are U.S. citizens.  Students have been cornered by groups of other students who shouted, “Build the wall, build the wall.”  The adopted daughter of a friend of mine asked her mom if Trump was really going to send her back to her birth country, a place she has not been since she was a few months old.  Maybe Trump’s anti-immigration comments were made in order to get elected.  Right now they are having an immediate effect on the lives of people who do not look white.  I worry about the people who supported Trump because of these comments.  This country is a country of immigrants (some of whom who added terrible violence to the lives of many of the original inhabitants of this land).  My ancestors came from Ireland.  The whole southwest used to be Mexico until the border crossed the people and included them in the United States after the war.  To suggest that the United States is a white nation is to ignore history.  We can welcome the stranger.

I believe in the possibility of the United States where we define ourselves as all of us.  I believe in the freedoms, rights and responsibilities that belong to everyone in the United States.  I believe in the gray areas, the messy areas, where life is not a dualistic either/ or, open/ shut, us/them.  Together we can navigate the muddy waters of gray, together.  Let us, then, rise above, come together to continue creating a welcoming, bountiful community where all are welcome and all is possible.  Let this be a place where violence and discrimination are shunned in favor cooperation and courageous conversations.

For now, I will wait and see.  I will never completely write off anyone.  Because you asked, though, those are some of the reasons that I am worried about a Trump presidency.

P.S. A self-described single issue voter asked me about abortion and how I could support someone who is pro-abortion.  To begin with, I do not know anyone who is pro-abortion (in the sense that a person believes everyone should go out and get one in the way someone might be pro-chocolate- I am pro-chocolate).  I do know that in countries where abortions are/ were illegal they still happen in very dangerous conditions making a bad situation even worse.  I also know that the number of abortions has been dropping since the early 1990’s and is down to numbers not seen since the early 1970’s.  Perhaps we can continue to improve education and situations so the number of abortions continues to drop.

Strange the Change

I pencil my schedule long-range
Knowing planners, the times, they’ll exchange
So I mix a new fix
Til’ the change gets the nix
Is the un-change of change still a change?

Let’s Write

A bit of motivation for the NaNoWriMo writers (sung to the tune of Rawhide)

Writing, writing, writing,
With the page I’m fighting
Keep them pencils writing
Let’s Write!

Through problems and solutions
Ironic resolutions
Pen to page all through the night

The dialogue they’re talkin’
From scene to scene they’re walkin’
Revising will help me get it right.

Think it up, write it down
write it down, think it up
think it up write it down
Let’s Write!

Read it out, editin’
Editin’, read it out
Read it out, editin’
Let’s Write

Still

I still believe we welcome the stranger

How we treat the least among us
holds a mirror to our soul

The peace we are and the hope we live
outshine violence, blanket fear

My kitchen table has extra space
for there is enough when we share

It’s not us and them
It’s just us, all of us

I still believe we welcome the stranger

Julio Papá

Arguing with the television,
turning it down, loudly,
eating fresh rosquitas and offering them
to everyone.

Wanting to share in the wine
But too methodical to do so.
Keeping life’s rhythms and rhymes.

Patterns that matched his shirt.

Setting his watch by casino,
Punching the clock at the café as if going to work,
Paying without comment.

Community wherever he was.

Welcoming you, as you are,
Who you are,
Supporting your dreams,
Take a nap if you want to, fix the world if you want to…
But how about a sandwich at 8:40,
And could the doctor’s appointment be after breakfast and before the café?

Missing
You
Deeply

Watching the Cubs in Lima

The last time I watched a baseball game was… never.  The last time I went to a Major League Baseball game was in 1986- a road trip to Wrigley Field in Chicago with Chris, Pete, Baz and Jim.  Tonight I am glued to the TV here in Lima watching the Cubs take game 7 of the World Series.

This has nothing to do with baseball.  This is all about being connected.  After a challenging few months, energy flows strong and I am reconnecting.  Reconnecting with culture and language, life and spirit, hope and future.  And part of that, oddly enough, is baseball.

Part of being bilingual and bicultural is occasionally missing the other language and culture.  If I were in Minnesota I would not be watching the game.  I would wait until morning and find someone like Mr. Sports, Mr. Action, Mr. Jim Ed Poole who “knows all and tells only some.”  Someone who would let me know who won.  That’s all.  But that is not tonight.

Tonight I root for language and culture.  I root for connectedness and feeling at home wherever you are.  I root for hope and life and spirit.

Go Cubs!

Self Publishing 

What are your thoughts about self publishing?  If I have a book ready to go should I invest the time to send it to publishers or use a service such as Create Space to make the text available now?

All thoughts are welcome. 

Dreams of Writing

Creativity comes in odd forms late at night on Halloween.  Wishes and hopes and dreams and fears.  We remember not to believe everything we read and take with a grain of salt that which is not supported.  We shake a good belly laugh and try to believe…because we want to.

The broken window and the thieves who came in to steal the broken heart.

The missing money that was later found painted orange down by the lake, not quite frozen.

NaNoWriMo and writing ideas that flow and laugh and get stuck in the drain.  I will try to write more frequently but remember the power of fiction and the poetry in a good night kiss.  

Let’s write!

NaNoWriMo

It is almost time to write a story- National Novel Writing Month is here!  We’ll see what we can do this month and in all of the months to come.  

Heading Towards…

A writer who wrote had a dream:
Tell stories to feel, think and scream.
“I’ll motivate reading,
Young minds I’ll be feeding,
With wonders that aren’t what they seem.”

I have known “writers” who don’t write and folks who say they are not writers but who, in fact, write.  Me?  I like to tell stories about kids who are similar to my students, typically 4th through 8th graders with dreams and worries, hopes and inhibitions.  Soon I will join the legion of writers who take up an MFA program in writing.  It is a low residency program at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota that focuses on writing for children- it is a perfect fit for me… and they accepted me.

In order to complete the program I will travel twice a year to Minnesota from my home in Lima to learn, write, reflect and revise.  My previous studies in the last 20 years have been to find or keep work.  I have enjoyed earning each of my teaching licenses and the learning that came with them.  This one, though, is for me and my students… and I am really looking forward to it.

If you know of any sources to assist with funding please send them my way.

In the meantime it is almost November and that means NaNoWriMo.  But who needs an excuse to write?

Post Navigation