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Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

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© 2013 Eliza Murdock

FA LA LA
LA LA LA
LA LA LA

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year
to all the straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, asexual, questioning,
brown, Asian, black, white, multi-ethnic,
middle-aged, teenaged, old, young,
religious, atheist, agnostic,
people out there!
Sing we joyous all together
Fa la la, la la la, la la la

Except the assholes.

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…that you could only read 7% of the internet.

Imagine if you couldn’t understand most of what was posted on youtube.

Imagine if you were cut off from most global news.  Or worse, cut off from even understanding news about your own country or community from an outside (let’s say for the sake of argument, less biased) source.

Imagine if you couldn’t take free online college courses because you couldn’t read the lessons or communicate with the teacher?

How much knowledge would you be denied…

…if you didn’t speak English?

 

I don’t think it’s enough to have one common language to bring us all together.  I think we need to all understand and strive to communicate in multiple languages.

Language isn’t just a set of words and grammar rules; it’s a reflection of culture, belief, ideology, philosophy, history, and modern influences.

There is a reason that some phrases, some ideas, can’t be translated from one language to another, there is no common frame to draw from.  There is no common belief to relate to.  There is no common philosophy which binds these two languages together.

When we attempt to distill human language down to common denominators, when we try to make all other languages subordinate to one, we lose more than we could ever realize.  We lose phrases that can not be expressed, we lose understandings which can not be shared, we lose cultures which see the world differently.

It’s a shame that the US does not teach second or third languages from birth.  It’s a shame we live in such an overwhelmingly mono-linguistic society.

If you are multi-lingual, I would beg that you teach that to your children.  If you have a chance to learn another language, jump at it!  If you could preserve the diversity of language in the world, you can help preserve the diversity of cultures, too.

Imagine if you couldn’t read this post…

 

The painful irony is that I wouldn’t be able to.  I know less than the most basic Spanish, I know a few smattering words in Swedish and Hebrew.

And when I come across pages written in other languages, even other writing systems, I always wonder what it says, what I’m missing by being unable to understand.  I wonder if perhaps some beautiful wisdom or humorous anecdote  is lost to me because I know only one language.

Of course, I speak English, 95% (if not more) of the internet is open to me.

But what if it wasn’t?

I can’t help but imagine if I was denied the vastness of this body of human work because I couldn’t understand it.  Because I wonder if, in that 5% that is closed, there may hide some marvelous revelation that I have missed.

Or maybe it’s just more cat pictures.

I don’t know.

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We’re always reminded in one way or another to appreciate what we have before it’s gone.  Sometimes we get the reminder in quite unexpected ways.

I’ve been working on a story in which the main character is experiencing a world where modern life has collapsed, electricity is gone, etc.  She knows just enough to get by for now, but winter is on its way and she isn’t sure she’ll survive.  In the midst of all this, she’s hanging her laundry outside and singing when she realizes she’s forgotten the next line of the song.

And she has no way of finding it again unless she can simply remember it.

There are no computers, no smart phones, no apps that she can look the lyrics up on.  She realizes in that moment that for all she knows, what she’s forgotten is forgotten forever.  For all she knows, no one else remembers it, either, and those words are lost to time.  This should be an entirely insignificant moment in her life, given all that she’s facing, but for her, it’s devastating.

It is this moment that prompts her to sit down and start writing out as fast as she can everything she can remember and doesn’t want to forget.  Every scrap of lyric, poem, saying, story, history or myth, anything she can bring to mind she writes down because in the whole of her small world, she has become the keeper of all that has been, of all that has come before.

The more we move towards computers being our connection to all that there is, the more we risk losing if that technology should ever fail us.  Perhaps not to the extreme that my story shows, but especially with so much music being downloaded, the lyrics aren’t conveniently printed on the inside of the CD cover any longer.  There isn’t a booklet inside the tape case or record sleeve.  There is a lot we may very well lose, to some degree, if we ever lose our modern technology.

It makes me want to breathe new life into the customs of storytellers, of minstrels and bards, of those who memorized or kept vast quantities of songs and stories to tell, passed on from one generation to the next so that it would not be lost.

It makes me want to start a written folder called “The Fall of Technology” and keep all my favorite songs and pictures tucked inside, “just in case.”

In my story, she does end up remembering the line she forgot.  Writing it down manages to bring it to mind and she gets at least that one song out fully.  But how many more has she forgotten?  In my story, she feels the weight of every word she’s missed.  There is a quote from a National Geographic that talks about an age where the entire language of a people was in the vocabulary of the best story teller.  A time before dictionaries.  A time when a word forgotten was lost forever.

Perhaps it isn’t as tragic as losing that last chance to make amends, or tell someone you love them, or the loss of a species… but maybe if we realize that even the small things can be gone before we realize it, then we’ll be more attentive to the big, important things in our lives, too.

Do something today that needs to be done, don’t put it off until it’s too late… you never know when it might be gone forever.

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I am likely one of the few women in the history of this world who actively wants to turn 60.  If I was offered the chance to turn 60 tomorrow, I might well take it if not for the fact that many of the reasons I want to be 60 would be lost in that 25 years I’d be skipping.

I want to turn 60 because while other girls dreamed of being the princess, I wanted to be the old, wizened, grandma woman living in the woods who the young princess or prince or king or peasant never listened to, but she always turned out to be right.

I want to be the woman that children come to for advice because nothing they could possibly say would shock me, but many things I might say would shock them, and for that they’d listen in wide-eyed wonder as I recounted days gone by, or the way their parents acted at their age, or how to make Fairy cookies to make wishes come true.

There aren’t many things that I equate with success in life that aren’t likewise exemplified in the woman usually labeled as ‘witch’.  Despite not being wiccan or pagan or any such religion, still the concept of the witch in the woods is very appealing to me.  The old woman living on her own in a rustic cottage in the trees, in much greater harmony with the world than those living around her.

Natural medicines, healthy cooking, and many cats and other critters serve to round out the mental image of perfection that accompany the wisdom and wrinkles.  Of course, this mental image exists in a far more mythical European setting than is generally practical or possible in modern day America.

When I turn 60, I will no longer have a mortgage.  When I turn 60, I hope I will have children and grandchildren at last.  When I turn 60, I hope I will actually know who my neighbors are.   When I turn 60, I hope I will at last have the time to devote to these dreams.

So I guess really what I want to be is known as a person who helps others, who has both medicine and advice to give, but both only in very small doses.  I want to be the person that people come to because I haven’t lost the art of cooking and sewing and working hard with my hands and bless the dirt that is on them!

I suppose I really don’t have to wait until I am 60 to achieve those things.  But I think the wrinkles would definitely help things along.

I suppose what I really wonder is, by the time I turn 60, will I still be needed?  I am torn between wanting to be, and hoping I won’t be.  I want the world to have gained wisdom, health and contentment by then, but I fear it won’t.  In which case, I want to be wise, healthy and content so I can teach those around me.

Well, I have 25 years to find my way there.  I hope I arrive on time.

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