I recently watched a documentary on prolific author Joan Didion, titled “The Center Will Not Hold”. I first imagined a piece of cheese toast, soft and falling apart in the middle. I wondered then, if the title referenced some physics principal applied to structures without enough support to keep them intact…read more
October and pumpkins on porches and cottony ghosts wisping from trees and the Facebook post, “What movie terrified you as a child?” I didn’t have to think. No contest: The Tingler.
I was twelve, mesmerized, as I watched Vincent Price warn against the merciless Tingler that would burrow into my spine, infusing it with bone chilling fear. When, in the bathroom of a woman whose fear had driven her mad, the black and white film exploded into technicolor and blood gushed from the bathtub faucet, I shut my eyes and breathed hard. At the end, a lobster-like creature crawled across the screen, and big-eyed Vincent gasped, “Ladies and Gentlemen! The Tingler has escaped into the theater! Run! Run for your lives!”read more
When I tell people that, for six years in the eighties, I taught psychology at an historically black college near Jackson, Mississippi, they often say, “So you got to feel what it’s like to be a minority?”
As one of the few white teachers at Tougaloo College, I did feel “different”, always aware, if only slightly, of the contrast between my skin and the skin of my students and colleagues. I was mostly accepted, but something of an outsider. “I suppose I did get to feel that,” I’ve answered.
Recently, though, I remembered something that makes me question my response.read more
I used to wonder, reading a novel about Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia, how oppressed and threatened people managed to carry on in a constant state of fear. When I saw them going through “normal” motions, I’d feel wary, off kilter, as if evil were about to burst through the drapes into rooms where people drank tea and knitted scarves and quarreled over petty things and laughed at silly ones. Did those people have some way of turning off the fear? Or were they just braver than I?
Recently, during our annual “Revelry on the River” reunion, I watched our family avoid talking about our country’s perilous state…read more
I don’t know exactly when I began flinching at the sight of an American flag. I know it’s been since last November’s election, as I’ve watched civil rights crushed and truth trampled and our beloved national landmarks turned into private assets. I know these wrongs have dealt me an internal seismic shift, leaving me off balance, angsty, scared. And I know that for some time now, when I glimpse a flag, I automatically assume it belongs to a family or business group of Trump supporters, and I check to see if there’s a billboard close by, blaring “Lock Her Up!”…read more
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