My mind works on facts. Things need to make sense to me in order for me to accept these facts.
I am a rule follower! A fellow teacher once gave me a page out of her Wild Words From Wild Women calendar that featured a quote from artist Jenny Holzer, "You are a victim of the rules you live by." She was angry at me that day, because I insisted on "signing out" of school when going out for a quick lunch. "They don't need to know everything you do," she yelled. "It's the rule," I replied indignantly. She huffed off, grabbed her calendar and ripped out Ms Holzer's quote.
My friend was correct! I did...do...follow too many rules. I have kept that quote taped somewhere on every desk I have used during the past twelve years. I want to break the rules, but my personality makes that difficult.
Mostly, however, I am a dreamer. I used to frustrate Arthur and my friends with my "Pollyanna" ideas, but I really do believe that most men and women are good by nature, and we can work together to make this world the best of places. That belief helped me see the good in all of my students, and it helped me make them see it too.
It helps me believe that even someone with ideas totally opposite to mine has a good reason for those beliefs, and I should respect the person, if not the belief. A caveat to that would be anyone who does not believe that ALL men (women and children) were created equally and should be treated as such.
I adored John Lennon because he was a dreamer. His poetry, his music and his beliefs proved that about him throughout his life. His dreams were cut short thirty-five years ago on December 8, 1980 by Mark David Chapman, but he left a legacy of dreams for the generations that followed.
Mark David Chapman left his mark on me too. After he shot the famous Beatle a number of times, he sat there reading J. D. Salinger's coming of age novel, Catcher in the Rye. He said that Salinger's novel, the one I had re-read enough times that it needed replacing, was his statement. How could he have found something in that novel that caused him to break the hearts of so many people? What was I missing?
That was when I came to the realization that we all get different things out of our readings, because we all bring different things to the experience. I might recommend a book to you as wonderful, and you might not like it at all. We reviewers (book, travel, food, electronics, etc) are only giving you our opinion, born of our taste. The rest is up to you.
Speaking of books that I enjoy, Robert B. Lowe's book, Divine Fury, tells the story of a newspaper reporter who uncovers political sabotage. The author takes many of today's headlines and weaves a story that is perfect for today's political climate.
P. J. O'Roarke's book, Holidays in Heck, gives us another reporter's perspective. This book of essays is filled with O'Roarke's blend of cynical humor and interesting facts. Although it is shaded with his republican leanings, he does a pretty good job of telling an even-handed story. The book will introduce you to his family, and best of all it will make you smile.
As always, full reviews on both books follow this blog.