Leaving the roof provided by parents to get your own roof for yourselves and your significant other, under which you building your own family and raising them with your own sets of values and beliefs are the most human thing, that has been in practice since the dawn of humanity.
Recently, I with my wife decided to move out from my parents home to live independently and pursue our life goals on our own. This seems very unusual for “kathmandu ma ghar bhako” person, especially when you are the only son living in the house with your parents that too being married. Everyone would probably assume, “something not right at home.” More easy, blame the wife or blame the parents. But I am not in mood to blame anyone. I would like to take the sole responsibility for the decision I made regardless of how the situation unfolded because in the end, if I didn’t want to move out, I could always find a reason to live in the parents home, but instead I chose to find the reason to move and reason being — being a grown-up human. Leaving the roof provided by parents to get your own roof for yourselves and your significant other, under which you building your own family and raising them with your own sets of values and beliefs are the most human thing, that has been in practice since the dawn of humanity. That was the core driving factor for us to make the decision, which both my parents and siblings had understood and supported.
It had only been few years for me living with my parents. For many years, I was outside Nepal and I know the importance and beauty of living independently. All my life, I have always valued freedom and independence more than anything. Of course, it has its own challenges and hardships but in those adversity, life happens. It teaches you to actually be a human capable of taking care of your own shit independently. I have always strongly advocated for every grown-up child to leave their parents’ house once and spend few years away just to go through the process of being a grown-up in actual sense. Anyone who has lived through the process can relate what I am trying to say through this article.
However, it is not that easy for youth, especially youth from Kathmandu. They are kind of entrapped in a social construct. Leaving the “bhaako ghar‘ to move to a rented apartment in the same city is matter of shame for many. It took me one and half years to make this decision because my wife was always against the idea of moving out to live independently, but I knew sooner or later, she would realize the importance of living separately and independently caring less about what others would say. Finally, here we are with our own rented apartment, which is barely 500 meters away from my parents home. This way, I have my freedom and independency and at the same time, a call away from parents to be available for them when they need me.
I have seen many people out there, and also married couples living with parents, forcefully adjusting to fit per their expectations, live per their values that they don’t agree with , and vent out the frustration over social media and social gathering, all because “bhaako ghar chodera ka jaanu…what people will say.” They wish they could move to different city in the name of job, and that way they could escape the societal gossip, but then there is no better place than Kathmandu. What else they could think of to escape the “shame” yet breathe the freedom? “baby haami pani bahira jau na” starts becoming the pillow talk of many couples.
I never understood why go abroad, if it is all for experiencing freedom and independent life, when you can live like in abroad here in Nepal itself? For that, all you need is a courage. You don’t need to go abroad to have a barbeque party at your place with your friends tossing over beers, nor you need to go abroad to wear your desired clothes and roam freely in your apartment. You neither have to go abroad to sleep as long hour as you wish nor you have to go abroad to pack your dinner from a restaurant. Most of the times it’s the parents being the reason for individuals and couples to compromise their way of living but still for that you don’t have to go abroad. You simply can move out to find your own space to exercise your own styles and wishes. That’s what we did.
Freedom is indeed only for braves. It is for people with courage, people who are ready for hardship, people with thick skin ready to face the adversity. It is for people who would like to discover their own values and beliefs instead of forcefully shallowing the values pushed down by elders as the terms to coexist. Many who lack needed courage hide behind the excuse of being “responsible so adjusting and still living together,” but actual fact is they are simply scared. They are scared to risk their entitlement over parental properties; they are scared of what others would think; they are scared of what if worst things happen and have to get back to parents as a loser.
That’s just not me. I can’t wait for my parents to die to live my way per my philosophies and ideologies and values. And I find it very very wrong to expect them to change for us giving up their values and thoughts and practices that they have been living by all this time. They have all the rights to live by the values they grew up with, no matter how stupid and backward they look to me. If they are living by wrong values and dogmas, they are to live the consequences, and upgrade accordingly. So the best thing that every human from across the world practices is what I chose to do and that is to leave the parents home peacefully to pursue our life and relationship goals on our own. I feel sorry for those wives who have to live unhappily living against her beliefs of equality and human rights because husband is scared of moving out. I feel sorry for those individuals quietly tolerating everything that parents set terms over because they are ashamed to move out to live by their own terms. And I also sorry for those parents, who have to fight for living by their own values and thoughts in their own self-built house because the “new generation” don’t seem to agree with. Why create so much of conflict and chaos, disagreements and dissatisfaction, when can simply move out like a grown-up? That’s what we did.
We the urban youth often expect this society to change for us, and be it like every other developed countries, where they value personal freedom and happiness, individualism, cherish each moment, celebrate as it pleases, but deep down, we are scared to lose our privilege secured by our parents. And we end up living through the cognitive dissonance in each passing time and vent that out over social media and over coffee table passively. World does not change through opinions and wishes alone, if there lacks the examples and references. Many of us fear to be that examples and references. We chose to be that example and reference.
It’s been a couple of days now that we have moved to our own apartment. We set our own kitchen and bedroom, created a beautiful living and work space. Cook what we like to eat, sleep when we feel like. No rituals to follow that we don’t agree with. No pressure to fit into the social construct. All day, we go for work; evening we find a way to celebrate. When parents feel like, they ring us and we are minute away to meet them. It truly feels like living abroad yet in Nepal.
“Bidesh yehi chha, bachna jannu paryo.”
How do I manage watching an hour-long interview/podcast
Are you one of the types who like to invest over long-hour podcasts and videos but struggling with the time management? This article is for you.
One of the worst things about the modern world is, it is lost in a mountain of content. There is so much content out there that we have become a Mario hopping from one content to another, one information to another just to end up remembering nothing. From a 20-minute attention span, we have fallen to few seconds that we barely have interest in long reads or hour-long videos. However, most of the useful information and knowledge, stories and perspectives are wrapped in those long reads and videos, and not in headlines and tweets or few-seconds video clips, which means many of us are missing actual information and stories while rushing through headlines and Tweets and 2-min videos. Thus, people today may have heard of everyone and everything but they barely know about the person or thing. People may know about Elon Musk but they barely know about what he thinks or how he became whatever he is now. People may have heard about the Taliban but they barely know about their actual self, how it all started, and many things related to the Taliban, because for that one must have to spend hours reading about them or watching hour-long videos. Thanks to my work. I don’t have the luxury to be the Mario, because as a content creator I have to read a lot and watch a lot on my topic of interest. So how do I manage to defy the curse of modern humans?
If I have to record my life on a camera, I would probably beat all the nerds out there. Hours and hours I seem like endlessly staring on my laptop screen; takes a break in between, grabs food, and sits back to continue the staring. When too bored, lies on a bed with a book. Most of the day times, I am all alone in my apartment. If there was CCTV footage, I would look like a hacker living in a bunker. It’s only at times when someone visits me, I seem like having a life. Basically what happens in those nerdy moments is the act of studying and learning. My laptop is like a window to me from which I observe the world, try to make sense of past and present. My philosophy is the internet has enough information and stories already there that I don’t have to wander around on Earth to collect the same story and information. Like for example, I don’t have to meet Gagan Thapa to learn about him. I can check all the interviews and write-ups, read between the lines, watch between the conversation, pay attention to details and everything that I want to know which is already there. Somebody has already done the job of setting the meeting, spending hours talking to him, record and put it on the Internet or document in a written format. Likewise, there are enough knowledge and views on the Internet that I don’t have to drive all the way to TU to meet a professor to learn about the same thing. So that is what I do on the Internet – I read and watch the contents that should matter to me. This is how I know so much about media personalities and celebrities in depth and details, without ever meeting them in person. Sometimes, I surprise them when I happened to meet them accidentally. Oh! you know so much about me. It often helps me to leave a good impression and paves a path to trust and intimacy needed for strong interpersonal relationships. This was not me always though.
Just like everybody else, I too was a Mario hopping from headline to headline, scanning article to article, fast-forwarding videos, and waste time over few-second long viral videos and clips but live with an illusion of knowing. My problem, just like that of everybody else, was “short attention span,” and my undiagnosed ADD making it worse. But with time, I realized I must take myself away from this pattern of content consumption and take an approach of a researcher, where I don’t consume content to know the gist but to understand and learn. Challenge was I always have something or other to do that I could barely allocate a good hour over one specific topic or person. That would make it near impossible for me to stick to one long video or podcast without feeling guilty for failing to do other things in priorities. I tried strict time management, tried living by routines, tried allocating a certain day over a week; tried everything but nothing worked and the reason being I am simply a butterfly in a human’s body.
So this was my situation – I needed to stick my arse over a long video to genuinely know and understand the topic or person of my interest and simultaneously I always have something to do and no time for hours to spend over a video or podcast. I tried playing them in the background while working on other things but didn’t work because I would zone out in between. I tried allocating certain hours for the activity but didn’t work either. I needed a better approach that’s when I discovered a perfect solution. The solution being Bluetooth headphone/earphone.
Whatsoever, there is always a moment where I have spare times that I spend over my personal activities, like pooping or cooking or washing dishes, which combinely takes couple of hours of my day and Bluetooth earphone is just the right thing to shove inside my ear like a bug that I can listen hour-long podcast or videos while engaging over personal activities that don’t demand my utmost focus and attention. Likewise, while driving or riding around, they work as a radio to play me the lecture or interview video or talks from Ted or Standford. Even while working on mundane tasks, I hook my ears to those podcasts and interviews.
The thing with the podcasts or interviews or lecture videos is that I don’t need to watch them. It’s about what being said and listening will just be enough. Since I discovered the solution, Bluetooth earphones have become an integral part of my life that you can always find it hanging over my collar ready to bug inside my ears as soon as I find a time to listen to my interest of topic or lecture or person. Now I am able to manage listening couple of interviews or podcasts or lecture videos without ever being restless. It’s like a tiny radio inside my ears that accomadtes me while am pooping, cooking or washing or roaming around the city. That way, I manage to miss no interview, no lecture, no talk or podcasts that matters to me.
As said above, in this timeless fashion of content creation and distribution, endless scrolling and refreshing, what we all are missing is the time for ourselves to invest over worthwhile videos and talks, that has so much to offer but many are choosing to be a Mario rushing for quick hits and highs and amusements ending up becoming less informed or misinformed and worst of all, living with an illusion of being known. To those who were looking for a solution, give a try to what I found as a solution. Thank me later. It works.
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Defending Rule of Law in Afghanistan
A story of a former American beauty queen who only left the US to change the Afghan legal system.
Kimberley Chongyon Motley is an international human rights and civil rights attorney from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is also an activist, author, and former Mrs. Wisconsin-America 2004. In a Ted Talk show, she shared her story as an activist and civil rights attorney while her deployment in Afganistan. The following is the transcript from the Ted Talk.
Let me tell you a story about a little girl named Naghma. Naghma lived in a refugee camp with her parents and her eight brothers and sisters. Every morning, her father would wake up in the hopes he’d be picked for construction work, and on a good month, he would earn 50 dollars. The winter was very harsh, and unfortunately, Naghma’s brother died and her mother became very ill. In desperation, her father went to a neighbor to borrow 2,500 dollars. After several months of waiting, the neighbor became very impatient, and he demanded that he be paid back. Unfortunately, Naghma’s father didn’t have the money, and so the two men agreed to a jirga.
A jirga is a form of mediation that’s used in Afghanistan’s informal justice system. It’s usually presided over by religious leaders and village elders, and jirgas are often used in rural countries like Afghanistan, where there’s deep-seated resentment against the formal system. At the jirga, the men sat together and they decided that the best way to satisfy the debt would be if Naghma married the neighbor’s 21-year-old son. She was six. Now, stories like Naghma’s unfortunately are all too common, and from the comforts of our home, we may look at these stories as another crushing blow to women’s rights. And if you have watched Afghanistan on the news, you may have this view that it’s a failed state. However, Afghanistan does have a legal system, and while jirgas are built on long-standing tribal customs, even in jirgas, laws are supposed to be followed, and it goes without saying that giving a child to satisfy a debt is not only grossly immoral, it’s illegal.
In 2008, I went to Afghanistan for a justice-funded program, and I went there originally on this nine-month program to train Afghan lawyers. In that nine months, I went around the country and I talked to hundreds of people that were locked up, and I talked to many businesses that were also operating in Afghanistan. And within these conversations, I started hearing the connections between the businesses and the people, and how laws that were meant to protect them were being underused, while gross and illegal punitive measures were overused. And so this put me on a quest for justness, and what justness means to me is using laws for their intended purpose, which is to protect. The role of laws is to protect. So as a result, I decided to open up a private practice, and I became the first foreigner to litigate in Afghan courts. Throughout this time, I also studied many laws, I talked to many people, read up on many cases, and I found that the lack of justness is not just a problem in Afghanistan, but it’s a global problem. While I originally shied away from representing human rights cases because I was really concerned about how it would affect me both professionally and personally, I decided that the need for justness was so great that I couldn’t continue to ignore it. And so I started representing people like Naghma pro bono also.
Several people heard about this story, and so they contacted me because they wanted to pay the $2,500 debt. And it’s not just that simple; you can’t just throw money at this problem and think that it’s going to disappear. That’s not how it works in Afghanistan. So I told them I’d get involved, but in order to get involved, what needed to happen is a second jirga needed to be called, a jirga of appeals. And so in order for that to happen, we needed to get the village elders together, we needed to get the tribal leaders together, the religious leaders. Naghma’s father needed to agree, the neighbor needed to agree, and also his son needed to agree. And I thought, if I’m going to get involved in this thing, then they also need to agree that I preside over it. So, after hours of talking and tracking them down, and about 30 cups of tea, they finally agreed that we could sit down for a second jirga, and we did. And what was different about the second jirga is this time, we put the law at the center of it, and it was very important for me that they all understood that Naghma had a right to be protected. And at the end of this jirga, it was ordered by the judge that the first decision was erased and that the $2,500 debt was satisfied, and we all signed a written order where all the men acknowledged that what they did was illegal and if they did it again, that they would go to prison. Most —And most importantly, the engagement was terminated and Naghma was free. Protecting Naghma and her right to be free protects us.
Now, with my job, there’s an above-average amount of risks that are involved. I’ve been temporarily detained. I’ve been accused of running a brothel, accused of being a spy. I’ve had a grenade thrown at my office. It didn’t go off, though. But I find that with my job, that the rewards far outweigh the risks, and as many risks, as I take, my clients take far greater risks, because they have a lot more to lose if their cases go unheard, or worse, if they’re penalized for having me as their lawyer. With every case that I take, I realize that as much as I’m standing behind my clients, that they’re also standing behind me, and that’s what keeps me going. Law as a point of leverage is crucial in protecting all of us. Journalists are very vital in making sure that that information is given to the public. Too often, we receive information from journalists but we forget how that information was given.
This picture is a picture of the British press corps in Afghanistan. It was taken a couple of years ago by my friend David Gill. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, since 2010, there have been thousands of journalists who have been threatened, injured, killed, detained. Too often, when we get this information, we forget who it affects or how that information is given to us. What many journalists do, both foreign and domestic, is very remarkable, especially in places like Afghanistan, and it’s important that we never forget that, because what they’re protecting is not only our right to receive that information but also the freedom of the press, which is vital to a democratic society. Matt Rosenberg is a journalist in Afghanistan. He works for The New York Times, and unfortunately, a few months ago he wrote an article that displeased people in the government. As a result, he was temporarily detained and he was illegally exiled out of the country. I represent Matt, and after dealing with the government, I was able to get legal acknowledgment that in fact he was illegally exiled and that freedom of the press does exist in Afghanistan, and there are consequences if that’s not followed. And I’m happy to say that as of a few days ago, the Afghan government formally invited him back into the country and they reversed their exile order of him.
According to UNICEF, there are currently over 280 million boys and girls who are married under the age of 15. Two hundred and eighty million. Child marriages prolong the vicious cycle of poverty, poor health, lack of education. At the age of 12, Sahar was married. She was forced into this marriage and sold by her brother. When she went to her in-laws’ house, they forced her into prostitution. Because she refused, she was tortured. She was severely beaten with metal rods. They burned her body. They tied her up in a basement and starved her. They used pliers to take out her fingernails. At one point, she managed to escape from this torture chamber to a neighbor’s house, and when she went there, instead of protecting her, they dragged her back To her husband’s house, and she was tortured even worse. When I met first Sahar, thankfully, Women for Afghan Women gave her a safe haven to go to. As a lawyer, I try to be very strong for all my clients, because that’s very important to me, but seeing her, how broken and very weak she was, was very difficult. It took weeks for us to really get to what happened to her when she was in that house, but finally, she started opening up to me, and when she opened up, what I heard was she didn’t know what her rights were, but she did know she had a certain level of protection by her government that failed her, and so we were able to talk about what her legal options were. And so we decided to take this case to the Supreme Court. Now, this is extremely significant, because this is the first time that a victim of domestic violence in Afghanistan was being represented by a lawyer, a law that’s been on the books for years and years, but until Sahar, had never been used. In addition to this, we also decided to sue for civil damages, again using a law that’s never been used, but we used it for her case. So there we were at the Supreme Court arguing in front of 12 Afghan justices, me as an American female lawyer, and Sahar, a young woman who when I met her couldn’t speak above a whisper. She stood up, she found her voice, and my girl told them that she wanted justice, and she got it. At the end of it all, the court unanimously agreed that her in-laws should be arrested for what they did to her, her brother should also be arrested for selling her —(Applause) —and they agreed that she did have a right to civil compensation. What Sahar has shown us is that we can attack existing bad practices by using the laws in the ways that they’re intended to be used, and by protecting Sahar, we are protecting ourselves.
We can all do something. I’m not saying we should all buy a plane ticket and go to Afghanistan, but we can all be contributors to a global human rights economy. We can create a culture of transparency and accountability to the laws, and make governments more accountable to us, as we are to them. A few months ago, a South African lawyer visited me in my office and he said, “I wanted to meet you. I wanted to see what a crazy person looked like. The laws are ours, and no matter what your ethnicity, nationality, gender, race, they belong to us, and fighting for justice is not an act of insanity. Businesses also need to get with the program. Corporate investment in human rights is a capital gain on your businesses, and whether you’re a business, an NGO, or a private citizen, rule of law benefits all of us. And by working together with a concerted mindset, through the people, public and private sector, we can create a global human rights economy and all become global investors in human rights. And by doing this, we can achieve justness together.
The video is from 2014, and by 2021, there has been a huge political change in Afghanistan with Taliban back to power. Regardless, her stories have so much to teach and inspire people who dream for a country with Rule of Law and Order. Ms Motley is writing a book about her experiences in Afghanistan which will be published this year.
What reading slowly taught me about writing
In a TED talk, Jacqueline Woodson, an American writer of books for children and adolescents; best known for Miracle’s Boys, and her Newbery Honor-winning titles Brown Girl Dreaming, After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way; talked about why reading is important to be a writer, and more than that, why slow reading is important, without which how reading fails to dive into author’s world through their words.
The following is the transcript from the video. In a lyrical talk, she invites us to slow down and appreciate stories that take us places we never thought we’d go and introduce us to people we never thought we’d meet. “Isn’t that what this is all about — finding a way, at the end of the day, to not feel alone in this world, and a way to feel like we’ve changed it before we leave?” she asks.
A long time ago, there lived a Giant, a Selfish Giant, whose stunning garden was the most beautiful in all the land. One evening, this Giant came home and found all these children playing in his garden, and he became enraged. “My own garden is my own garden!” the Giant said. And he built this high wall around it. The author Oscar Wilde wrote the story of “The Selfish Giant” in 1888.
Almost a hundred years later, that Giant moved into my Brooklyn childhood and never left. I was raised in a religious family, and I grew up reading both the Bible and the Quran. The hours of reading, both religious and recreational, far outnumbered the hours of television-watching. Now, on any given day, you could find my siblings and I curled up in some part of our apartment reading, sometimes unhappily, because on summer days in New York City, the fire hydrant blasted, and to our immense jealousy, we could hear our friends down there playing in the gushing water, their absolute joy making its way up through our open windows. But I learned that the deeper I went into my books, the more time I took with each sentence, the less I heard the noise of the outside world. And so, unlike my siblings, who were racing through books, I read slowly — very, very slowly.
I was that child with her finger running beneath the words, until I was untaught to do this; told big kids don’t use their fingers. In third grade, we were made to sit with our hands folded on our desk, unclasping them only to turn the pages, then returning them to that position. Our teacher wasn’t being cruel. It was the 1970s, and her goal was to get us reading not just on grade level but far above it. And we were always being pushed to read faster. But in the quiet of my apartment, outside of my teacher’s gaze, I let my finger run beneath those words. And that Selfish Giant again told me his story, how he had felt betrayed by the kids sneaking into his garden, how he had built this high wall, and it did keep the children out, but a grey winter fell over his garden and just stayed and stayed.
With each rereading, I learned something new about the hard stones of the roads that the kids were forced to play on when they got expelled from the garden, about the gentleness of a small boy that appeared one day, and even about the Giant himself. Maybe his words weren’t rageful after all. Maybe they were a plea for empathy, for understanding. “My own garden is my own garden.”
Years later, I would learn of a writer named John Gardner who referred to this as the “fictive dream,” or the “dream of fiction,” and I would realize that this was where I was inside that book, spending time with the characters and the world that the author had created and invited me into. As a child, I knew that stories were meant to be savored, that stories wanted to be slow, and that some authors had spent months, maybe years, writing them. And my job as the reader — especially as the reader who wanted to one day become a writer — was to respect that narrative.
Long before there was a cable or the internet or even the telephone, there were people sharing ideas and information and memory through stories. It’s one of our earliest forms of connective technology. It was the story of something better down the Nile that sent the Egyptians moving along it, the story of a better way to preserve the dead that brought King Tut’s remains into the 21st century. And more than two million years ago, when the first humans began making tools from stone, someone must have said, “What if?” And someone else remembered the story. And whether they told it through words or gestures or drawings, it was passed down; remembered hit a hammer and hear its story.
The world is getting noisier. We’ve gone from boomboxes to Walkmen to portable CD players to iPods to any song we want, whenever we want it. We’ve gone from the four television channels of my childhood to the seeming infinity of cable and streaming. As technology moves us faster and faster through time and space, it seems to feel like story is getting pushed out of the way, mean, literally pushed out of the narrative. But even as our engagement with stories change, or the trappings around it morph from book to audio to Instagram to Snapchat, we must remember our finger beneath the words. Remember that story, regardless of the format, has always taken us to places we never thought we’d go, introduced us to people we never thought we’d meet and shown us worlds that we might have missed.
So as technology keeps moving faster and faster, I am good with something slower. My finger beneath the words has led me to a life of writing books for people of all ages, books meant to be read slowly, to be savored. My love for looking deeply and closely at the world, for putting my whole self into it, and by doing so, seeing the many, many possibilities of a narrative, turned out to be a gift, because taking my sweet time taught me everything I needed to know about writing. And writing taught me everything I needed to know about creating worlds where people could be seen and heard, where their experiences could be legitimized, and where my story, read or heard by another person, inspired something in them that became a connection between us, a conversation. And isn’t that what this is all about — finding a way, at the end of the day, to not feel alone in this world, and a way to feel like we’ve changed it before we leave? Stone to hammer, man to mummy, idea to story — and all of it, remembered.
Sometimes we read to understand the future. Sometimes we read to understand the past. We read to get lost, to forget the hard times we’re living in, and we read to remember those who came before us, who lived through something harder. I write for those same reasons. Before coming to Brooklyn, my family lived in Greenville, South Carolina, in a segregated neighborhood called Nicholtown. All of us there were the descendants of a people who had not been allowed to learn to read or write. Imagine that the danger of understanding how letters form words, the danger of words themselves, the danger of literate people and their stories. But against this backdrop of being threatened with death for holding onto a narrative, our stories didn’t die, because there is yet another story beneath that one. And this is how it has always worked.
For as long as we’ve been communicating, there’s been the layering to the narrative, the stories beneath the stories, and the ones beneath those. This is how the story has and will continue to survive. As I began to connect the dots that connected the way I learned to write and the way I learned to read to almost silenced people, I realized that my story was bigger and older, and deeper than I would ever be. And because of that, it will continue. Among these almost-silenced people, there were the ones who never learned to read. Their descendants, now generations out of enslavement, if well-off enough, had gone on to college, grad school, beyond. Some, like my grandmother and my siblings, seemed to be born reading, as though history stepped out of their way. Some, like my mother, hitched onto the Great Migration wagon — which was not actually a wagon — and kissed the South goodbye. But here is the story within that story those who left and those who stayed carried with them the history of a narrative, knew deeply that writing it down wasn’t the only way they could hold on to it, knew they could sit on their porches or their stoops at the end of a long day and spin a slow tale for their children. They knew they could sing their stories through the thick heat of picking cotton and harvesting tobacco, knew they could preach their stories and sew them into quilts, turn the most painful ones into something laughable, and through that laughter, exhale the history a country that tried again and again and again to steal their bodies, their spirit and their story.
So as a child, I learned to imagine an invisible finger taking me from word to word, from sentence to sentence, from ignorance to understanding. So as technology continues to speed ahead, I continue to read slowly, knowing that I am respecting the author’s work and the story’s lasting power. And I read slowly to drown out the noise and remember those who came before me, who were probably the first people who finally learned to control fire and circled their new power of flame and light and heat. And I read slowly to remember the Selfish Giant, how he finally tore that wall down and let the children run free through his garden. And I read slowly to pay homage to my ancestors, who were not allowed to read at all. They, too, must have circled fires, speaking softly of their dreams, their hopes, their futures. Each time we read, write or tell a story, we step inside their circle, and it remains unbroken. And the power of story lives on.