August 26th, 2007

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Good Morning!!

Elaine has stepped into the online page and commented on the last post.  I doubt it was painful for her, though she might have preferred to be reading a book and that, too, is a most valuable, useful and enjoyable use of her time.

In my reply to her, I got wound up on one of the keynote talks at the Writing for Change conference, the one by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, whose latest book is How Good People Can Go Bad.

He says on the subject of writing to "Talk less and write more."   That is how he wrote his many books.  I think he has written seventy of them.  He's the one who created the Stanford prison experiments in the 70's.  He said anyone familiar with those would have known what would happen at Abu Ghraib when you put bored guards in charge of prisoners with no supervision or guidance from above.  He testified at the trial of the guards because they are not "bad" people, but they were put in a situation where this was guaranteed to happen.  The abuses are horrible.  I had avoided looking at the pictures when they came out, but I looked yesterday, and I thought any court in the world would sentence those responsible to death and those responsible are at the top, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield.

Here is his website where you can learn more or refresh yourself on the Stanford Prison experiment and, also,  his work with shyness.

Zimbardo feels that heroism is the main antidote to evil.  His book is about how to resist group influence.  He says we need theology blogs, perhaps one called Lucifer Goes to Church.  His idea is to develop the heroic imagination in children.  He says we now have Superheroes and Super Bad Guys, neither one of whom children can relate to for their own guidance.  We need to teach them there is no obvious good or bad, but there is a place where a  Hero says, "Take action now," and jumps right in.

We each need to find that place of action in ourselves, and the key to our children's future is to start  developing it in them right now.

That is the place to stop a Hitler or a Bush.   You crush the injustice as it begins, rather than waiting for a full-out assault.

May the Heroic Imagination rise and thrive.   It begins in us.  The ego recedes into the background and fear dissolves.

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On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was declared in effect.

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Book sales -

According to Scott Jordan of Polipoint Press, the average book sells 500 copies.  I don't know where he got that statistic, but he says numbers are low because of declining literacy rates, busy people,  and declining disposable income.
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Evening -

Chris and Frieda are formally engaged.  It is beautiful and sweet as can be and now I have my second daughter and I am more than pleased.  What did Frieda want to do when they were in Sausalito?  Find a book store.  Perhaps that says it all.   It makes my engagement gift so easy as she LOVES old books.  I have the childhood books of my mother ready to wrap.   The Book House will go to them.  They have been eyeing them and it has been hard for me to let them go.  They have been with me my whole life, and they will still be with me, as they move into the beautiful home Chris and Frieda create.   Chris planned the weekend well.  He made reservations at the Casa Madrona in Sausalito for Friday and Saturday night.  They took the ferry over from the city.   Saturday afternoon at 4:30 a limo brought them to the seaplane port.  In the limo, Chris gave her the ring.   They took the sunset flight and flew over Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, Chris's childhood home here in Mill Valley, and Frieda's childhood home in the city.   They shared all the places of their early lives.  Chris shared Paradise Beach with her where I took him and Jeff when they were young.  It was "our" place, because we all could swim and I didn't have to worry too much in the bay waters.  It was not like the ocean.   They saw it all from above, all those years perused in a seaplane flight.

They went to El Paseo for dinner.  Steve and I have celebrated many of our anniversaries there.  Chris had explained to them he was going to ask Frieda to marry him that night.  It sounds like El Paseo, with their new owners, gave them the most wonderful evening imaginable.  I highly recommend El Paseo for special occasions.    They returned to Sausalito for the evening, and took the ferry back to the city this afternoon.  

Chris had left his car there while Frieda had taken Bart over, and  now they are home.  I am deeply touched.   I wonder why it feels so safe.  Perhaps it is a circle complete when your child finds their mate.  It is a most pleasing evening for me tonight.  I am warm, happy, pleased  and safe.

Chris said how much he wished he could tell "Grama Boop."   As though of you who follow me know, she died two years ago.   We both know she is here for this special occasion.  We both know how much she would adore Frieda and we both miss her so much.

Sleep tight.   Sweet dreams.   Use shadows like steps to rise on light.

Ah, Chris made a special book just for Frieda.  I look forward to seeing it and I must say, this wonderful woman - her laughter shines even more brightly than the beautiful diamond he worked so hard to find for her.   She is like a princess in a fairy tale with her laughter ringing out like jewels.   They bought an old copy of Alice in Wonderland in Sausalito.  I will also give them my copy.  I remember well when I was about eight and my grandmother took me into a book store on the corner of the University of Indiana campus and let me choose any book I wanted.  I chose Alice in Wonderland. 

Ah!   Dreams come true.  Dream bright and may your dreams sound with the twinkling laughter of Frieda and delight.