Magical Realism, Witches Brooms, and Lillies of the Valley.

Hello fellow bloggers. I feel like I’m tip-toeing into another post here wondering if there is any fallout from my last post. I do believe I have a mature readership and that alternative perspectives are not beneath this group even if they are not agreed upon. For that, I thank you. I don’t feel banished. I do feel as if one person was feeling what I was throwing down. You are a kindred spirit my friend. Thank you for empathizing with me.

I started this blog with a goal to have 100 followers by the time I obtained my Bachelor’s degree. I’m happy to report I made it. I feel like I should put a cake on here with a big 100 on it. You did this really. I’m trying my best to conjure up something profound to mark this centenarian. Even though numbers aren’t necessarily my jam, I do like the sound of a hundred.  I have been guilty of self-sabotage from time to time and according to Murphy’s law, this generally happens right before reaching an anticipated goal. Why this is I can’t really say.

Anyway, I am not going to overthink this. As usual, my thoughts are all over the place. First of all, it’s been all about the cloudy ⛅️ weather. I was starting to wonder if I was experiencing some Frankesteinian year without a summer. Some literary critics believe it was odd weather from a volcanic eruption that birthed Mary Shelley’s novel.

Part of me has been wondering what this strange weather could birth for me. I, for one, have enjoyed the rainy days and how it has greened things up around here. I am in no hurry to move towards fire restrictions and everything turning back into a tinder box. My lilacs and apple blossoms have not been more lovely.

 

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I have not been a Game of Thrones watcher, but I am determined to become the mother of snapdragons. I have tried many different flowers in my front garden beds and very few have thrived. Sometimes I don’t think you pick the flower, they pick you. Is it any surprise that when I pick up flats of snapdragons at my local IFA that they have tabs on them that say HARDY?” I can grow nasturtiums too. Whoopee! I read an article once that said the secret to this flora is “to be nasty to your nasturtiums.” Go figure!

I have also recently joined another dragon group that I am not at liberty to discuss at this time. Imagine 🐉 Dragons is the best clue I can give and this image below. I am navigating new terrain with a loved one and feeling somewhat lost. It has been ineffable. I had to use a thesaurus to look that word up. I really can’t define what I am feeling right now. I feel as if I have a compass in my hand and it is reeling all over the place. I just want more than anything for my dearest gems to be okay. This is the fiery breath of a mother’s heart.

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Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

 

Moving along…I’ve got some grass growing in my backyard that has grown so long from the rains it’s ridiculous. Utah is officially reaching it’s wettest year in recorded history. My daughter Ember seized the opportunity to make a homemade witch’s broom out of our grass to sweep the treehouse with. It comes complete with dusters and everything. I was so impressed with it that I felt it should be featured on the blog today.

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Since this is a sort of centenarian, I feel like I should share one of my fantasies with you. I am a Hoffman reader, and I have really come to embrace magical realism in Literature. My English major has a non fiction emphasis, which I do not regret, but I wish I had explored magical realism more. So, this is on me.  Oh PLEASE no 😱Don’t TELL me I am going to have to read magical realism for PLEASURE?!

I think I can handle it.

Anyway, this broom reminded me of how much I adore Practical Magic. My secret wish is to own a coastal white clapboard house like the one the Owen sisters grew up in. I’d die to wear a Lilly of the Valley shirt like the one Sandra Bullock (Sally) wore in her herb shop. Check this out, or THIS.?

I must say, I have never had the most practical imaginary wardrobe. I am conspiring to sew a Lilly of the Valley shirt for myself that is similar and why not? One of the underlying joys of recently turning 46  is that I am finding it more excusable to do whatever the hell I want.

In case you are not familiar with magical realism, I think Wikipedia provides a decent definition of this genre. According to Wikipedia, magical realism is also associated with the terms fabulism and marvelous realism, and “paints a realistic view of the modern world while adding magical elements.” Apparently fabulism has European and German roots that relate art to literature. However, magical realism’s flourishing roots are primarily attributed to Latin American Literature.

According to an article I have read on BookRiot, magical realism from Latin American authors sometimes questions structures of reality under the genre of political subversion. Alternative realities are contrasted with accepted realities, thus, creating “an incredibly powerful tool against political regimes.”

One of my goals after completing my Bachelor’s degree has been to not submit to complacency and to keep the literary process flowing. The joy of this is that my required readings have now been replaced with reading of my choice (Wa-hoo), and right now I’m really digging magical realism. So, if any readers out there are familiar with this genre I am open to suggestions. I did run across this list, so if any of you have read any of these, or have any other recommended favorites, I am all ears.

While I am on the subject of magical realism and Practical Magic, I just want to say I have found some peace with my last post. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the movie Practical Magic or Hoffman’s book, but the movie does have a lot to say about unintended consequences when it comes to murky decisions.

There is a part of the story where the two main characters, Gilly and Sally, bring a dead man back to life with good intentions.  Anyway, I shared a few thoughts about how I felt about these stringent Alabama and Georgia abortion bills in regards to women in my last post, especially with the message the Alabama bill gives to female survivors of sexual abuse and rape.

Like Gilly and Sally tampering with bringing a dead man back to life, certain lawmakers  want to resurrect and reinstate cryptic laws that many believed were dead and buried with the intention of realigning some moral compass that they thought had gone askew. It is still debatable whether or not this was done with the best of intentions. This, of course, is dependent on who you are talking to. Some view this as liberation for the innocent, others perceive it as oppressive.

I could also have gone on a tangent about how the Georgia bill makes women properties of that state but will not. Anyway, for me,  the dust has cleared some since these shocking bills have hit the news. Partially because nothing has come into law as of yet, but I am sure this will kick up another dust storm if and when this day arrives.

I feel these bills aren’t going to be the “quick fix’ to any moral dilemma that their inventors intended them to be. If these laws come into effect, I believe there will be many unintended consequences that the drafters of these laws did not foresee even when crafted under the banner of good intention.  I foresee numerous court battles on the horizon. Like everyone else, I can only watch and see how this plays out over time.

Meanwhile, there are other court battles that are brewing in New York City, and who knows what is going on with (Gulp) impeachment or oversight. Many of us live in the same country right? We don’t exist beneath a rock, although sometimes I wish I did. No wonder magical realism seems so appealing at this juncture. There are a few things that have struck a chord in me over the last few weeks.

  1. My friend sent a video of a band she really likes with a song. The song was titled, Turn off the News and Plant a Garden. By far, that is the best piece of inspired advice that I keep coming back to time and again. I don’t know why I have to keep beating myself over and over with the same stick. When it all gets too heavy…just go outside and plant a garden.
  2. I read some words of wisdom recently, that had a lot to say about the news. First of all, I realize I hunt the news for signs of hope. It’s like pulling for straws sometimes. Yes, I do find it here and there. I’ve also been finding a great deal of peace from watching Tales by Light on Netfilx (I highly recommend it if you have Netfix). Anyhow, I read something recently that was along the lines of “Stop searching the news for signs of hope, be the hope that you are searching for.” I am trying.

I’ve had a few great private conversations with friends that have brought some peace. I highly recommend discussions over arguments and conversing privately with those who are open to shared perspectives if you are struggling with these current issues as I am. Public arenas are not the best place for this. Has anyone noticed lately what a field day public comments have become in public arenas? All very negative and from opposite poles.

I am avoiding these like the plague. There is so much back and forth, trolling, and people hiding behind masks. None of it feels progressive. Another piece of advice that I have been trying to follow: “Before you argue with someone, ask yourself, is that person mentally mature enough to grasp the concept of different perspectives. Because if not, there’s absolutely no point.” -Amber Veal

Here are some other words that I have found to be profound that I have come to appreciate. “I don’t mind being wrong because another perspective is exhilarating when well explained.” Sadly, a vast majority of people will fight for their beliefs even if they have been proven wrong, choosing a staunch stance over humility or reciprocation. I too, am one of these people.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a friend share her wisdom and experience with me on the concept of unintended consequences which she studied in her coursework on law. She learned that laws don’t always do what they are intended to do by their designers and many times have unexpected and unforeseen outcomes. When learning about crafting and creating public policies in graduate school, she stated that many of her professors stressed the importance of accounting for unintended consequences whenever possible because they could undermine efforts to address the social issue that laws were designed to solve.

This lead to further discussion with a friend who confided that her multiple sclerosis flared so badly after giving birth to her last child that she had become incapacitated and could not care for herself, her baby, or her other children. She absolutely loves her children without regret, but empathized with why some women would make the choices they do under certain circumstance.

Regardless of how one feels about democratic contender Pete Buttigieg, I believe he made a valid point about choice when it comes to debilitating and devastating medical circumstance when he stated: “Decision[s] [are] not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made.”

Another talking point was made by a friend who declared themselves to be progressive with the caveat that although they did not agree with these new radical abortion laws, they could see how this pendulum shift transpired when these last resort and emergency procedures were taken too casually and frequently with an heir of indifference to the point of becoming just another form of contraception.  She perceives that this has emboldened certain individuals to reclaim what they believed to be a moral standard.

Either way, these types of conversations have given me a better appreciation for communicating and receiving opposing viewpoints when they were communicated in a thoughtful and reciprocating way. I was also made aware that these types of conversations are rare.

While going outside to plug into my garden, I’ve really pondered the idea of unintended consequences and being mindful about communicating with others in ways that are less toxic. Some days, I know I’ve engaged socially where I just know the whole entire interchange is going to be toxic with absolutely no take away for anyone. I’m learning to recognize the pitfalls and traps, and when it is best to socially disengage because it is a waste of energy, or the energy dynamic is going to have me feeling deflated or spent, or worse yet, turn me into something I am not. Hence, I become the toxic one.

These are two brilliant talking statements I have come across for disarming others when I perceive their approach to be negative:

  1. I’m sorry you feel that way-this way I’m not agreeing with what another is  saying and I’m not arguing with them either. DONE. I’m acknowledging their reality which really has nothing to do with me. This approach kind of pisses them off because I’m not becoming intertwined in their tango.
  2. I’m not responsible for your anger-this one speaks for itself.

I really wish I could remember the name of the You Tuber who taught me these, because I’ve used them from time to time, and they really have been valuable to me over the last few years.

I also wanted to leave you all with a link to a great article I recommend that has really hit the nail on the head for me when it comes to alternative perspectives, what we hold onto, and how far we are willing to bend when it comes to the things we value and are impassioned about.  This article is a good one and has given me a great dose of humility in these times of polarity. I believe this article offers a great deal of wisdom and insight into how one chooses to perceive or condemn what is in front of us. So I leave you with this my friends. I hope you get as much out of it as I have.

Thank you for reading!

Rachelle Whiting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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