Sing, Sing, Midnight!

I wanted to introduce you to a wonderful book written by my friend, Emily Gallagher:

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click above to purchase

Maya is one of the nearly two million American children with an incarcerated parent, and she has a question for her Daddy. “Who takes care of you?” A simple question with an unexpected answer. Sing, Sing, Midnight! celebrates finding your voice, singing out loud, taking care of one another, and family.

We used this book at Grace Camp this summer- a real grounding moment for kids with someone in their family who is incarcerated. Also a great tool for helping kids understand friends who may have parents in jail or prison. I can’t recommend it enough!

Review: The Miseducation Of Cameron Post

My friend Camille Griep recommended Emily Danforth‘s book, The Miseducation of Cameron Post to me recently. I really had very little idea what it was going to be about, other than something about a teenager. In Montana.

meMiseducation is ostensibly a story about a young teen exploring her sexuality in a conservative, evangelical community where homosexuality is viewed as a sin – and in the aftermath of her parents’ death. And that story is definitely in there. What I was not prepared for was the love letter to Montana. The language is beautiful and lyrical and I felt that landscape in a way I don’t think I ever have in a book. Here’s a taste from the first page:

Miles City had been cooking in the high nineties for days, and it was only the end of June, hot even for eastern Montana. It was the kind of heat where a breeze feels like someone’s venting a dryer out over the town, whipping dust and making the cottonseeds from the big cottonwoods float across a wide blue sky and collect in soft tufts on neighborhood lawns. Irene and I called it summer snow, and sometimes we’d squint into the dry glare and try to catch cotton on our tongues.

I am fascinated by the intersection of sexuality and religion, so it will come as no surprise that I ate up the portion of the book where Cameron gets sent off to a residential ex-gay program. I loved how she described the effect of the program, like dust and lint that just sticks to a gummy hand over time and how hard it is to wash it off.

The longer I stayed at Promise, the more all the stuff they were throwing at me, at us, started to stick, just like to those sticky hands, in little bits, at first, random pieces, no big deal. For instance, maybe I’d be in bed during lights out and I’d start to think about Coley and kissing Coley, and doing more with Coley, or Lindsey, or whomever, Michelle Pfeiffer. But then I might hear Lydia’s voice saying, “You have to fight these sinful impulses: fight, it’s not supposed to be easy to fight sin,” and I might totally ignore it, or even laugh to myself about what an idiot she was, but there it would be in her voice, in my head, where it hadn’t been before. And it was other stuff too, these bits and pieces of doctrine, of scripture, of life lessons here and there, until more and more of them were coated on, along for the ride, and I didn’t consistently question where they had come from, or why they were there, but I did start to feel kind of weighed down by them.

I hope you will be as taken with the landscape of Montana and the map that Cameron draws in her explorations as I was.

Jill Seidenstein is a queer femme writer, yogini, swimmer and traveler. You can’t read her scribblings yet, but you can get a taste of what she’s thinking about at www.slowbloom.com/blog.

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“When I was eight years old, I fell in love with Eleanor Roosevelt.”

Bilerico article is here.

blessing

To balance the madness of the world of late, I offer you a poem by one of the great spiritual writers and thinkers of our time.
Because we need it.

Beannacht
(“Blessing”)

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

~ John O’Donohue ~

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close

The Book I’m Reading Now.

And It’s Extremely Good and Incredibly Interesting. Highly Recommended.