started more than once -- have never finished Last book you read: started more than once -- have never finished

By jack on Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 11:10 pm:

    *atlas shrugged

    *gravity's rainbow

    *the brothers karamazov

    *infinite jest

By Nate on Monday, June 19, 2006 - 03:35 am:

    fucking gravity's rainbow.

By Karla on Monday, June 19, 2006 - 12:13 pm:

    Hawking's "A Brief History of Time."

By semillama on Monday, June 19, 2006 - 01:50 pm:

    Finegan's Wake.

By Spider on Monday, June 19, 2006 - 11:28 pm:

    Already mentioned:

    *Brothers Karamazov
    *The Idiot (I am determined to triumph this time, though)

    *When She Was Good (Roth)
    *As I Lay Dying
    *Angle of Repose (Wallace Stegner)
    *A Burnt-Out Case (Graham Greene)

By sarah on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - 05:40 pm:

    spider, are you going to school?

By Spider on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - 11:59 pm:

    Yes, in September.

By droopy on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - 02:01 am:

    *Waneta Belle Meadows -- As I Recall It (by Waneta B. Morgan, a memoir by the 84 year-old 3rd wife of my 89 year-old great-uncle.)

By sarah on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - 05:28 pm:

    what are you studying?

    i used to know, but i've forgotten a lot.

By Spider on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - 05:28 pm:

    Was it that bad?

By Spider on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - 06:04 pm:

    Oops, that was for Droopy.

    I haven't started yet. I'll be studying library science, with a concentration in archives managment.

    Right now, I'm finishing my second year as a volunteer teacher's aide at an elementary school on an Indian reservation in Montana. Well, school ended June 2, and I and my community are running summer school until July 21. Then I leave for Philadelphia on July 22 and it's going to be agony leaving this place and my students and I can't think about that any more or I'll start crying.

By sarah on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - 06:09 pm:

    i understand, i really do. montana is a hard place to leave. i imagine your work must be really interesting and challenging and fun.

    did you make it to glacier?

    are you going to school at carnegie mellon?

By Spider on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - 06:43 pm:

    No, I'll be attending Simmons College, right on the Fenway.

    I did make it to Glacier -- twice! Pictures from this past trip in June. (Those are bear tracks in the last one.)

    I have changed so much just from working with my students. They are such awesome kids, and some of them have such terrible family lives. I have one student who, today, complained about having to read to some of the younger kids, saying, "That's the most despicable thing I've ever had to do in my life!" and I nearly cried, because I know her history and know why she's been in foster care since she was 6 and, no, sweet girl, that's not the most despicable thing you've had to do. She was trying to make me laugh, and I just couldn't laugh.

    I get so many hugs, so many drawings...they make me laugh real belly laughs, they fight over who gets to sit next to me at lunch and who gets to help carry my books.... I have never received so much affection in my life.

    I had hair that reached to my hips, and I myself cut over a foot off its length on the last day of school, in mourning, after I had said goodbye to most of my students. I know this sounds overblown and overwrought, but I truly love those kids: it's true and honest love, not fondness or anything less. And it's a punch in the stomach when I imagine what their lives will be like when, or if, they grow up. One of my kids told me on the last day of school, as his bus was pulling away, that he'd see me in Boston. Oh, I hope so.

By sarah on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 03:46 pm:

    spider, you are so wonderful. you should know that you most likely changed many of their lives.

By Spider on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 05:30 pm:

    Aw, thanks.

By Spider on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 06:08 pm:

    You know, that girl I mentioned yesterday...she's such a handful. I have a hard time knowing what line to take with her, because she's really mean to the other kids and is very manipulative and says inappropriate things and lies -- she's incredibly disruptive. On the other hand, I understand why she is the way she is and how all these behaviors are ways for her to get out and on top, so that she doesn't feel like a victim, so I empathize with that. And on the third hand, I'll be damned if I let her hurt some of these other kids, who are incredibly sensitive and don't have the means to defend themselves.

    We always take the kids swimming in the afternoons and yesterday she said she had an ear infection and couldn't swim, so she sat with me at a picnic table for 1.5 hours. Most of that time was spent touching my face and ears, drawing me, trying to tell me stories that veered off into inappropriate territory, etc. I know that the sexual abuse she endured has totally ruptured her sense boundaries, and living in a wildly chaotic group foster home for about 4 years hasn't taught her appropriate social skills, so I (perhaps mistakenly) let her (mildly) violate my boundaries and personal space because I took what she was doing as her way of showing affection and didn't want to reject her.

    Maybe it would be better to be firmer with her and try to teach her boundaries, but she *is* in counselling, and I don't think I could reach her really (she's a pretty hard case), and I think -- for myself, in the position I have -- it's better for me to be too soft than too hard. My roommates don't all agree with me on that, which causes tension...we actually had an argument about yesterday's pool behavior last night, because they thought I was letting myself get played. I try always to be on top of her bullying and not let her get away with backtalk towards myself or my roommates, but I feel you have to be responsive when she (awkwardly) tries to express affection or relate to you personally. She's 9, and she's dealing with her life as a 9-year-old and a messed up one at that, so you just have to cut her some slack and be extra nice to her when she's being good.

By Spider on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 06:09 pm:

    I don't know why I just told you all of that, and in this thread of all threads. Make of this what you will.

By Karla on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 08:03 pm:

    poor kid. She'll probably remember you forever. You were there. you have to trust your instincts.

By dave. on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 09:25 pm:

    spider, 2 years ago, when you started this, i figured you'd either mostly love it or mostly hate it. i also stand by my suggestion that you not go to a place like tacoma because, out in the boonies of montana, you'd pretty much have to face all the issues you've undoubtedly faced head on. in a city, you'd be tempted to just go out somewhere and distract yourself from your experiences.

    or maybe not.

    i think every young person should have to spend a couple of years serving the community/society. they do this in many countries and those countries are so much better off for it.

    i figure it'd take a whole generation, about 15 to 20 years, to get a program like that off the ground. the first 5 years would suck but, once the little kids grew up seeing their older brothers and sisters doing it, it'd become more natural. american kids can be so spoiled and selfish. i know i would have hated it if it got sprung on me when i was 18 or 19. hell, the mandatory selective service enrollment was almost too much to take.

    as long as it wasn't run like a slave trade, like roosevelt's ccc was, i'd wholly endorse it.

By sarah on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 12:26 am:

    sounds like in her own way she feels like she can trust you. she probably can't and/or doesn't trust many people. not being a hardass with her all the time probably helps engender that trust. it's good for her to learn that she can.

    sounds to me like you know what you're doing, even though you doubt some stuff? either way, you're doing good things.

    and i second what dave said about being in a city and finding distractions.

By agatha on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 12:31 am:

    Spider, I'm so proud of the growing you've done this last year/two. I feel like you're my baby sister who's turning into a remarkable young woman. Or something.

By J on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 11:24 am:

    I think Spider has always been a remarkable young woman:)

By Spider on Friday, June 23, 2006 - 03:36 pm:

    I totally feel the love. Thanks, guys!

    I agree, Dave. Everybody needs to do something like this in their youth. It's really changed the way I conceive of humanity, and it has given me a sense of purpose that I've always lacked.

    Plus, I love it when we go on retreat with the other Northwest-area volunteers, and I get to be surrounded by people who care about being good people and making the world better for everyone. I have spent so many years hating humanity, it does me a world of good to be around good, driven people with a passion for social justice.

    It has also made me certain that I want to work with or near Jesuits, maybe at a Jesuit college, in my future, because those are the most awe-inspiring, incredible, and radically loving men I have ever encountered.

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