A couple of posts ago, I wrote a book blurb for Lisa Ricard Claro's Book Blurb Friday. The book cover "blurb" was about a real-life 4th grade boy (Franklin) and his 2nd grade sister and kindergarten brother. They live in another state; they are students of a friend of mine.
Franklin and his sibling were being forced to perform unspeakable sex acts on each other and the boyfriend of their mother. Franklin had told his teacher last year; this young boy's behavior was off the chain, and justifiably so. It was then reported to the principal, and the appropriate officials were called in. When the boyfriend denied it (what a surprise!), the authorities closed the case. And the boyfriend resumed picking up the children from school...everything back to "normal" for these no-longer innocents...
This young man felt like he had been tricked...duped. He had done what everyone tells all children: tell someone you trust. Keep telling them until someone listens. People had listened, but still nothing had happened.
The family then decided to move--to a new school district where no one would know what to keep an out for--and last Friday was going to be their last day at my friend's school.
Just this week, my friend reported that her principal had called in the police and threatened to call the local news channel. When that didn't have an immediate impact, he promised he would kidnap the children and take them to his own home. When the police said, "We would have to arrest you if that happened," the principal replied that it would be on the news then, which would be the desired result.
It appears that the mother had told the children to lie when the authorities originally investigated; this caring, loving mom protected her kids by promising them she would beat them if they told anyone. Sadly, children who are abused remain strongly connected to their parents, because even sexual abuse and beating is attention. Neglect is what severs the connection, screwing up a kid's ability to bond...The children said nothing.
Right now, the children are still at my friend's school. They are living with another relative. I would not call them permanently "safe" because anything can happen with parental rights and lying sacks of shit and court dates. However, Franklin knows that--finally--someone really listened to him.
(Author's Note: The names, location and details have been changed to protect the guilty--those who are guilty of blogging about something that could cause them to lose their job.
And who do I hate worse--the mother or the boyfriend? The mom, hands down. I despise perverts, and I know they are all around us. But a mother who has given birth to children and then condones her kids being forced to perform oral sex on each other and an adult male? I just wish I had three minutes alone with the two of them. I could kill two birds--birds that are nastier than pigeons, more damaging than hawks, more ugly than turkey buzzards--with one stone.)
The Pyrenees---Southern France
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
|photo by Lauri Johnston|
This evening I went to a special class at our city's art museum. About fifty of us--teachers, artists, writers--were going to explore Monet's art in depth.
The museum was closed to everyone else. We had a quick meal in the cafe, then began our workshop. At one point I needed to use the restroom; another woman and I went at the same time. A guard was there when we got on the elevator, and a guard was there when we got off and went directly into the bathroom. The rest of the museum was off-access.
The cloak of darkness was upon us. The elevator was large enough to comfortably accomodate a painting or two. For a moment, the Walter Mitty in me came out...What would it be like to try and lift a priceless painting? Probably more exciting than wrestling with my students and their stuffed animals (It's "Hugs Not Drugs" day tomorrow.)
Of course, I did not conjure up Pierce Brosnan ala "The Thomas Crowne Affair," nor did I branch out on my own and become an art thief. But I did think about it for a split-second.
This evening we looked at Monet's Waterlilies using homemade viewfinders (an index card with a small rectangle cut out of the center) and decided on a spot of our own, we drew what our spot inspired in us, we chose a sound that we "heard" at our spot and created a symphony of sounds, and we wrote poetry about the paintings. Even though I did not get back until close to 9 (making it a 14-hour day for me), it was a marvelous night.
The bit of writing advice I got out of this experience: look from afar, and then look closely (make your own handy-dandy viewfinder), and then back up again and look from a distance. If you're writing about a character, and you know a person who has the same hair as your character, ask to look at their hair with the viewfinder. You'll see things differently. You'll see the variances in color, you'll see more texture than you would otherwise. Look at your house with the viewfinder. You'll be focusing on parts, which will nudge you into thinking in unique ways.
Try it. You'll be surprised...