Monday, August 2, 2010

Week in Seven Words #26

The sky is a dim gray-white, with rumbles of thunder running through it. Now and then lightning flashes; sometimes in the diffuse distance, other times in a sharp bolt to the ground close by.

At the National Constitution Center, a mother unwisely brings her toddler into the theater for the 17 minute show on the origins of the Constitution and highlights of its contents. The toddler is fussy even before the show starts, and when the room goes dark and the host's voice springs out loudly to the accompaniment of a bright pattern of images, the kid makes recurring noises of frustration and discomfort. Various audience members remain as patient and tense as a slowly stretching rubber band before finally unleashing a flurry of "shhhhs" at the mother, who stays until halfway through the show, when she finally gathers up her strident child and creeps up the stairs to the exit. An interesting mix of issues here related to courtesy, common sense, and the contentions that arise when people's personal freedoms and choices are at odds.

It's taken me three weeks to finish reading a journal article. It's not a badly written article, and it's on a topic of interest, so I don't understand why I keep putting it down and letting it sit, half marked-up, on the corner of my desk. This week I finally get to the end of it, and it feels as if a weight has slipped off my back.

One thing I remember from an exhibit about the influences of ancient Rome on the founding of the U.S., are the pen names colonial rebels used in their letters. Abigail Adams took to signing her name as Portia in letters to her husband, John, whereas before that her pen name had been Diana - also Roman, but without the political symbolism of Portia; in ancient Rome Portia was the beloved wife of the politician Brutus, who along with other conspirators killed the increasingly powerful Caesar. The phrase "sic semper tyrannis", which is often attributed to Brutus, became the state motto of Virginia. (It also cropped up later in American history, when John Wilkes Booth shouted it out to the crowded Ford's Theater after killing Lincoln.)

Early morning, a soft gray light from the window; I'm in bed with a book and everything seems quiet and intent.

I don't look at the story for a while. Then I come back to it and find new things to change. Afterwards I put it away. At some point it calls for my attention again, like a small child tugging at my sleeve, and I revisit it. Still some more things to change. And then there just comes a time to send it out and not think about it again for the next short while.

Cool almond milk, sweetened slightly, swimming out of its carton and into my cup.


John Hayes said...

I love what you've done with "percolate"--I believe I'll be thinking about that for some time. & I'm very fond of "charged" & "slosh" as well. Good luck with the story.

naida said...

I can relate to 'dragging'.
I like the image you creating with 'poring.'
Great week in words as always.

Lucy said...

I would probably quite quickly have grown impatient with the child in that case, though my impatience would have been tempered by a reasoned sympathy with the mother who presumably wanted to attend but had no option but to bring the child. I can't imagine she thought the toddler would actually enjoy such an event!

'Dragging' becomes a matter of pride to get it read, doesn't it?

Relyn said...

You mentioned Lincoln in percolate, and that reminded me that you wondered about our trip to Springfield, IL. I have to say, you must go. MUST GO! It was marvelous, amazing, wonderful, exciting. Just superlative. Can you tell? The Lincoln Presidential Museum made history so accessible. As a teacher I was in awe and delighted because though it made history very accessible, it in no way glossed over or dumbed down. It really was remarkable. I do hope you'll go.

HKatz said...

I love what you've done with "percolate"--I believe I'll be thinking about that for some time
Thanks - there were a lot of connections to consider, and I'm also still turning them over in my mind. (Also thanks for your kind wishes about the story.)

I like the image you creating with 'poring.'
Thanks - I like those quiet early morning hours (provided I don't sleep through them on account of, well, going to bed in the early morning hours).

I can't imagine she thought the toddler would actually enjoy such an event!
Nope, especially when he was giving indications from the beginning that he'd rather be elsewhere :)

'Dragging' becomes a matter of pride to get it read, doesn't it?
Yes. I wasn't able to enjoy reading that article anymore. I just wanted it finished, to soothe the sense of shame in how long it (inexplicably) took me.

It was marvelous, amazing, wonderful, exciting. Just superlative.
I'm glad you enjoyed your trip; the museum sounds fantastic :) One of these days, I plan to make a trip around the US... I'll mark that down as one of the stops I should make.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!