Great reviews Are Coming in! Get Your own copy! Tell Your Friends!

Hey there friends of Bluff Island Rescue Service –

Well copies have been for sale at this site here – so please get yours!  And Please, if you’ve read the book and liked it – please recommend it to your friends – and perhaps even your blogger friends ; – )

Also we have tee shirts!  When ever I see someone with a tee shirt it is so great!

So: here is the latest review:

“I read your book (practically non stop) the first weekend after I received it. I loved it. It made me laugh many times and it filled me with tears many times. I am going to read it again. There were so many places where your insights really rang true to me and helped me understand myself better.”  Jane Player Vancouver

And I’m happy to come to your book club or speak at your group!   Just let me know!  Best, Stephanie.

25

08 2010

Celebrate the New Publisher for BIRS

Hey there all, Blackfoot Press of Los Angeles will be the publisher for Bluff Island Rescue Service!

We are starting to sell books here on the blog – so if you’d like please order now.

If you are in Los Angeles, please join us for the first reading, a special sneak peak for our Blog Friends –

Monday 7 pm August 16 in Hollywood – please send me a message for complete info!

27

07 2010

Bluff Island Rescue Service Tee Shirts!

Hey there BIRS folks –

I have tee shirts!  Please let me know directly if you’d like to order one  – and – even more excitingly – if you’d like to host a reading at your house!  Just invite your friends or book club, and we’ll get it going!

Oh, and of course, I’d love to hear your marketing ideas!  As viral as possible.

Love to you all, FYI – I just read through the whole book again – and I’m so excited to share the whole thing with you – may I say, it only gets better as it goes. ; – )

Thanks so much!

Stephanie.

07

06 2010

This should go on the cover….

a sail on Dulcibell

Tell me what you think…….

Tee shirts coming soon!

02

06 2010

Photo from Duck Island Trip.

Looking out to sea

12

05 2010

BIRS UPDATE from the Author

Well readers of Bluff Island Rescue Service, that is the end of Part 1.   Thank you for your kind comments and for reading this far. It means a lot to me.

Much exciting stuff happens in Parts 2, 3 and my favorite Part 4.

My plan has been to only put Part 1 on the blog.

When the book comes out –  I am planning to come to do readings/book parties in San Diego, throughout Los Angeles, in San Francisco, Bend, Oregon, and Seattle.   Additionally I will be doing events in Syracuse, Cazenovia, Toronto, NYC and Washington DC.    I would love to come to your house or town.  If you’d like to invite your friends who might enjoy the book, and have me come to a reading with books, please email me and we’ll set it up.   Again, huranghu@gmail.com.

Spread the word, and thanks again so much for your support.

08

05 2010

Chapter 19 SMS

It is fall.

We are spending more time in Syracuse, and my parents are fighting. A lot. My father goes away by himself for the weekend, up to the River, and my mom lies in the bathtub for hours. When he comes home she tries to cook his favorite dinner but has left piles of laundry on all the sofas in the living room. So they start to fight.

“I’m having a nervous breakdown.” She keens in a high sobbing moan, “Why don’t I just kill myself?”  She lies on the floor, her wide, soft body made repulsive by the distortions of her mind.

“You’re nothing but a useless, fat, stupid cow,” he tells her.

Then she peels herself off the floor and starts to throw her other pair of fat pants into a suitcase.

“I’m leaving, I’m leaving!” she screams. She has said this many times before, but this is the first time that she’s dragged a suitcase downstairs. And this is the first time Rufus and I think she might really go. As she pulls her suitcase behind her through her front hall, Rufus grabs her leg and screams, “Mommy, Mommy, don’t go Mommy!” She drags him across the floor towards the door to the front porch as Jake ridicules her.

“You’re not going to get very far.  You’re fucking psycho, just like your mother.  You can’t even drive.”

“I’ll take the bus,” she says. I always thought I wanted her to stay, but tonight I just want her to get away from Jake. The coat closet is right in front of the door. She pauses there to pull her ugly thrift store coat off its hanger, and put it on. It is greenish brown with a huge weird collar and a strange plaid pattern. It is the ugliest coat in the world, and I love my funny sad mom and run across to give her a little hug and hold Rufus’ hand while we stand on our little porch watching her walk halfway down the block into the dark towards the bus stop dragging her suitcase. Then she is gone.

I let go of the breath I’ve been holding, and step back inside. I can’t look Jake in the face; instead I start to pull Rufus upstairs to go to bed. But before we get to the first landing, she stumbles back into the house, falling defeated just inside the door again.

“You’re back, fat cow.” Jake says. She walks past him.

I hesitate on the landing, looking down at them…three, two, one, they are on the floor fighting, the house is shaking and I turn the corner with Rufus and take him to his room. I put on one of his records to block out at least some of the noise.

The next day, I come home from school, and the house is quiet. I walk through calling softly, “Mom. Mom?” My insides clutch as I walk into each room: living room, sewing room, bedroom. I keep thinking I will find her, that I will walk into the room where she is hanging by her neck, swinging slightly, her face unrecognizable. I sit alone on the love seat in the living room watching the room get darker and darker. When she comes in and cheerfully tells me she’s been at the neighbor’s, I am angry with her because I was so worried. Whenever she is a little bit happy, I’m mad at her about it.

After dinner, the phone rings. “I’ll get it!” my father calls out gaily as he takes the stairs three at a time, up to his attic. He picks up the line, then runs back down the attic steps and slams the door to his study shut, just across the hall from my room. I can hear him run back to pick up the red phone at his desk. “Hello, how are you?” I hear the intonation through the heating vent that connects our rooms. I curl up on the floor near the vent, realizing that the mumbles of what sound like a long tender conversations have become a pattern this fall. His sweet voice continues and I stare at the pink gingham wallpaper my mother chose for my room in the new house. Jake’s voice comes through the vent soft and loving. I close my eyes and pretend he’s speaking to me.

Now it is the third Saturday in October. We are at the Island. It is so cold, Jake even says maybe we won’t come back for Thanksgiving, but I know we will. Mom is far in the back of the house, in the kitchen. I am bundled up, sitting at the bar in our living room, drinking my own little glass of sherry that Jake has given me while he tries to help me have some friends:

“Making friends gets a lot simpler when you’re old enough to drink.” I watch him as he looks out at the gray water through the window.

“You just have to say, ‘wanna go for a beer?’ and that’s it, people either go or they don’t.” I’m optimistic about this strategy because it’s working already. Here I am sitting up at our bar and Jake is talking to me. I spin on the spinning bar stool while he is talking, then I see it: it is a silver lighter. Like a Zippo lighter, the kind army guys have in movies. I pick it up and open it, while Jake says,

“If they don’t want to be your friend, fuck ‘em.” The manly lighter has very girly fancy engraved initials on it: SMS. Who would spend money on that? Who is SMS? And how did SMS come to leave a lighter on the bar of Bluff Island?

“What’s this?” I hold up the handsome brushed stainless steel into the dirty late afternoon light of the room. I expect him to walk over to me, look at it in my hands, and shrug maybe. Instead, he lunges at me, moving faster than he runs up the stairs for the phone, and grabs the lighter from my hand.

“Give that to me.”

I look at him. What he has done has told me everything. Suddenly I know.

“Who’s SMS?” I ask.

“A guy from the marina,” he lies. I know the guys from the marina. Guys from the marina don’t have girly shit on their Zippos. The voice on the other end of his phone is SMS and he is bringing her here. We look each other in the eye, and he realizes I know. He has a big secret and now I know it. As he stares at me, he does not say, “don’t tell your mother.” He doesn’t need to.

I look him in the eye. I slide down from the bar stool and walk through the dining room, down the scullery hall, towards the kitchen. Towards Mom. I can feel him watching me. I am willing him to tackle me, to take me down, then I can start screaming. Mom will come out of her fog in the kitchen, and his injustice will enable me to tell all. But still, I don’t hear him behind me. Not yet. The warm air hits me as I push open the heavy swing door into the kitchen. Mom is sitting in front of the heater, wearing a sweater and a coat, huddled over a thick Daphne DuMaurier novel as if that’s what’s warming her. She squints up from it, pushing her glasses up on her nose to see me. The door closes behind me,

“Hi, honey,” she says. Her hair is sticking out.

“Mom…”

Now that I’ve come all this way there is something I must tell her.

Daddy talks on the phone. Daddy grabbed a strange lighter from me.

I cannot say that, he would ridicule that away.

Mommy, Daddy brought someone here who left a lighter and I know something is going on.

How am I supposed to talk about something I have no idea about except from movies?  Instead, I say it again—

“Mom…”

Now I hear Jake’s footsteps sounding down the scullery hall. His footsteps stop just on the other side of the kitchen door. I feel the lighter in his pocket through the door. Telling her about it would help her finally leave him.

She smiles at me. I love her crooked smile. I don’t want her to go away.

“D’you want something to eat? A snack?” she asks me.

I want to tell her now, but I am afraid. I am afraid of her darkness, afraid of what Jake will do to me, afraid that saying anything will cause one last fight, will cause everything to change forever.

“What have you got?” I ask her even though I know there are three chocolate-covered grahams in the freezer, and two bananas on the counter.

“Well…” She puts a little scrap of yellow paper in the DuMaurier, and stands up, pulling her coat around her, and goes to the refrigerator. I know he can hear me now, but I will not be afraid of him, I will not be afraid that he will hit me. I do not care, because it would be so wrong.

“Mom…” I start again, talking to her butt, which is sticking out from the refrigerator.

“Um, Mom…”

Jake pushes the swing door in like he and the lighter haven’t been listening. Mom starts talking, half to herself.

“How about some potatoes. Is it too early for dinner?” She looks across our heads at the clock on the wall.

“Hey why don’t we get started on those steaks?” Jake says, the most cheerful ever. “Let’s make a fire.” He smiles and holds open the door for me into the hallway to the dining room. Cold air rushes into the kitchen as I hesitate. I turn back to see her pulling tomatoes out of the fridge. She is happy we are getting along. I pass under my father’s arm, out into the cold little hallway. I walk back into the dining room and kneel in front of the huge fireplace. I pull apart a newspaper from the summer and start scrunching up reviews of films we didn’t see, scores of games we never knew about and listings of events we’d never consider attending. My dad surprises me by kneeling down next to me.

“It’s nice when your mother’s in a good mood, isn’t it?” I nod. By not saying anything, I can keep them both happy. The tension in me pushing me to tell gives way to a weakening wash of gray betrayal that flows into my stomach. So what if I don’t tell my mother? So maybe my mother won’t know he’s making a fool of her. I turn and look at him. He is pulling logs off the pile, logs we chopped together that summer. Did he know SMS then?

I ball up a story about Nixon and throw it into the fireplace. My father hates him. Then I ball up a picture of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. My mom loves them. As every second passes that I don’t tell her, the gray seeps into me deeper and deeper, convincing me that acquiescing is the better course. When the wood and paper are stacked according to our scientific configuration, it is time to light the fire. I lean back on my heels, and look at the weight of something, the lighter, in Jake’s jacket pocket. But he doesn’t reach into his pocket. Instead, he reaches up, over my head and pulls down the cardboard tube of long matches. He hands them to me; he thinks I’m grown up enough to light the fire. Even though I used to beg him to be the one to light the matches, today I don’t take them. Not at first. Then I do.

I stare into the flames as I light the fire: first here, then there. In an hour or two we will all sit and chew on our steaks, and they will taste good. Mine will taste different, because now I’m holding Jake’s secret. Mine will taste different because now I’ve done it; I’ve picked a parent. I should never have to do it, but now it is done. There is no going back, and really, no matter how many times I do think about it, I can’t let myself think twice about it. I must be ruthless. Besides, if mom ever really finds out, it will push her over the edge, and I don’t want that to happen.

Maybe SMS is just a guy from the marina.

End of Part One


08

05 2010

Chapter 18 Johan Lloyde

Like a prisoner, I secretly hold on to what I want to do, and who I want to be, but I hide it, deep inside, like Terry Malloy, I hide to survive until Karl Malden shows up to give me a pep talk.

This summer day, we have been waiting for hours in the mainland heat at Mercer’s Marina. I have looked at all the silly boat names, walking along the maze of narrow little docks: their names are things like Dor-Dic 5, Our Escape or Splendor. I could never imagine my parents combining their names into anything—Jake and Aleta—would spell Jak-Al. Nope. Sometimes people combine their kids’ names: Stufus?

Our boat—his boat—is coming. This is the boat Jake is going to build the interior of himself. It’s called a sail-a-way package. That means the boat is set up to sail, but has no cabin.
“You’re going to put the cabin in?” I ask him.

“And you’re going to help me,” he says.

“Can I name it too?”

“No, the new boat is going to be called Johan Lloyd.”

“Why?”

“Johan Lloyd was the true first person to discover America.”

“I thought that was Columbus.”

“Actually, long before Columbus, there were the Vikings, but after them, Johan Lloyd discovered America, and I have written an article about him.” He pulls out an ornately tall narrow book. It’s a hardcover magazine called American Heritage. He opens the magazine to his article: “Johan Lloyd: The True Discoverer of America.” And now Jake is going to call our new WestSail 32, a 32-foot cutter with a sloop rig, Johan Lloyd.

Something about this new boat gives me the courage to ask Jake why we can’t have clothes that aren’t secondhand:

“We know what is really important,” is what he tells me. And here comes what is really important…. Standing in my rotting sneakers, nothing prepares me for the sheer height of a  twelve-ton boat with a twelve-foot draft elevated on blocks on a trailer truck. It is hard to understand that all this is for us. Well, for Jake. It’s hard to understand what it must have cost to bring this truck all this way with his boat on it. Still, she is the most beautiful boat I have ever seen, and I love her more than I have ever loved a thing.

Jake has chosen her to come with red sails. Deep, dark brownish red sails that go with her teak trim. Johan warrants its own boxes of perfectly polished antique brass lamps on gimbals, GPS systems and sheets of four-hundred-dollar marine plywood. And the reason she needs all this as Jake slowly but surely builds her interior (with my assistance) is because Jake will be sailing her solo transatlantic. Everything must be “capable of withstanding a north Atlantic gale” he says again and again. He is building his dream, and his dream is to be away from us.

08

05 2010

Chapter 17 Drama Class

When we get back to Syracuse, Mom has gotten the insurance money.

Uncle Ronnie made her his beneficiary when he went to Vietnam, and he didn’t have time to change it to the baby, everything happened so fast. So Mom buys a house with the money. Once I hear her talking to her first friend in Syracuse, our neighbor, Sherry Tyler, about having her dead brother’s son come live with us, but nothing happens. My parents are still calling each other names, still wrestling each other to the ground frequently. Mom threatens to kill Jake or herself a few times a week.

But now Jake has started teaching a night class, on Wednesdays. He goes out to the bar afterwards with the graduate students. So Wednesdays the house is quiet and Mom and I can watch movies. One day she calls me in to see On the Waterfront. It is the best movie I have ever seen.

“Mom,” I ask her, “who made this?”

“The director,” she says. All I can think of is Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy pulling himself into that warehouse, blood all over his face. The director. The director. That is what I want to be. The director. That and, even though he’s kind of like a truck driver, I’d like to be a director and married to Terry Malloy.

“Mom, how do you get to be a director?”

“Um…I think a lot of people get into directing from acting.”

“Mom, how do people do acting?” The idea of being someone else is very appealing.

“They take acting lessons, I guess.”

The YMCA where I have been taking swimming lessons also offers drama classes, and since I’ve done all the levels of swimming, now Mom takes me on the bus every Saturday to acting class. My teacher’s name is Anne. She has short black hair and smiles at me like I’m not wearing thick glasses. I can be myself in her class. One day we do what Anne calls a trust exercise. She takes the kids in the class to an abandoned upstairs floor of the Y, and we blindfold each other and wander from room to room sensing what is in each room. When I take the blindfold off, the brightness of the piles of discarded costumes burns itself into my eyes. The Drama Class makes life at home with my family feel a little more doable. This winter, I have a friend in Anne, and am having my own little bit of an adventure with acting.

When the YMCA wants to do a commercial for their summer program, they ask Anne to recommend a young performer to star in it. She recommends me. When she tells me they want me to do their commercial, I can’t believe it,  and I’m instantly disappointed because I’m so sure I won’t be allowed to do it. And just as I was surprised by the color after the blindfold, I am shocked when my mother gives me permission, and even takes me on the bus to the television studio out in Liverpool where they will record me.

I wear my favorite outfit—my uniform really—a red and blue striped t-shirt, and my one pair of blue jeans. Anne tells me to spin around and to imagine I am seeing all sorts of different things here and there. They will put in the graphics later, she tells me. I spin and turn and gesture at invisible words and pictures with abandon, and I have a blast. Mom takes me home, and I never think anyone will see it. But a week later, the commercial starts turning up during the local programming—a lot. I am spinning and smiling and gesturing at cheesy graphics in my unfortunately horizontally striped shirt and geeky glasses several times a night throughout the dinner hour. I gird myself against the onslaught of teasing I feel sure I’ll get at school. But I am surprised.

“Is that really you?” kids ask.

“What’s it like to be on TV?”

“You were really great in that commercial.”

I come home with a bounce in my step. I really like this acting thing. At home, I am talking with Mom about what I want to do next.

“Mom, maybe I can try out for a play or something,” I say.

“Maybe,” she says and smiles. Jake, I’m sure, must be very proud.

“What do you think of the commercial, Jake?” I ask.

“Ah—No Opinion.” He says it like a headline, and like he definitely has an opinion.

“So Mom, Anne says we can start doing whole plays now…”

“That’s nice honey.” Now Jake chimes in again.

“We’re going to start going to the Island in a couple of weeks.”

“Do we all have to go?” I ask.

“You can’t stay here,” he says and goes back to his Newsweek. I look at Mom. She shrugs. I want to argue, present facts and figures, be in two places at the same time. Everything I want to say piles in on itself into a collapsing heap. I get up and walk upstairs to my room and close the door and pick out one of my grandma’s quilts from Oklahoma, and walk into my closet and put the quilt down on the elevated part behind the hanging rack and climb onto it, and sit there, cross legged, willing myself to be anybody else.

Later, we all sit down to eat dinner. I swallow during a pause in my parents’ conversation. Jake cocks his head like he’s just heard the sound of the rare puzziwuddle bird.

“I hear corks,” he says, looking at me.

“Corks?” I say, taking the bait.

“Jake,” says my mom, like he shouldn’t be naughty.

“You didn’t hear that cork?” he said.

“I don’t know,” I say. I don’t know what he’s talking about.

“When you swallow, it sounds like you’re swallowing corks,” he says.

“What?” I say.

“Jake, leave her alone, she’s a tongue thruster.” This is my mother’s attempt to defend me; the dentist attributes my overbite to the fact that I am part of the small percentage of the population who pushes their tongue against the back of their front teeth when they swallow. “Well, tell her not to make a bloody great noise when she swallows.”

I decide to eat my dinner no matter what he says. And I take another bite, and try to swallow during the conversation, but before I can, my elbow is on fire. Jake has chopped it with the side of his hand. He has smashed my elbow.

“Get your elbows off the table.” And I look at him looking at me. I’m holding my elbow and I don’t know if I’m crying because he hit my elbow or because I don’t understand why he is attacking me, or because I’m so goddamn mad I wish he would just stop this, this crazy mean shit. I wipe my eyes and take a deep breath.

“You’re eating like a trawler man,” he tells me, and then goes back to his plate. “What’s a trawler man?” my brother asks. I stare at Rufus as if to burn him while Jake mockingly demonstrates,

“A trawler is a fishing boat, and the men on it have to eat at sea,” he hunches over his plate, protecting it, his elbows on the table. “So they hunker over their plates like this.” And he distorts his face trying to look like a stupid lunk, putting his head close to his plate and shoveling in his food. “I want you to have good table manners,” he says. “I don’t want you to be swallowing corks the night the man you love is going to propose. Because then you’ll swallow and he’ll change his mind.”

“What’s your problem Jake?” I don’t cry, I just stare at him across the table. My mother shrinks in her chair. My brother pushes away from the table. Jake puts his fork down.

“You’ve gotten a big head over this commercial thing,” he says.

“What?” I don’t understand.

“You’ve gotten a really big head.”

“What do you mean, ‘big head’?”

“It’s when you think you’re better than everyone else”

“That’s not true,” I say.

“It is,” he says.

“Well it’s a good thing for me to feel better than I have been. I’m glad I have a big head.” I can see he wants to smack me, grab me, but instead he speaks.

“Only you would have a big head over such a stupid commercial.” And he goes back to eating his dinner. Pushing the food onto his fork with his knife with a little smile on his face. I stand up and leave the table. The door swings behind me,

“Get back in here!”  he says.

I stand in the dark hallway and wipe the tears that won’t stop no matter how much I want them to. I can’t wipe them all away.

“Get back in here.” He is bellowing now. I stick my chin out and turn around. I march back into the kitchen and sit in my seat, staring at what is left of my food. I pick up my fork to eat. He stares at me:

“Big Head is definitely a problem,” he says. I start eating and try to swallow silently.

He has chosen me to be him. He has chosen me to be hurt in the same way he has been hurt. I dream his memories: in a duffle coat on an old English train, by myself with sixty other kids, with a small bookpack, and I look out the window, and the grass is green, very green, English green, but I blink and I see the gray rubble of what I’m leaving behind, the steaming rotten buildings still too hot to search. And I am six years old, and a little Polish girl sitting next to me can’t stop crying. Her name is Stephanie. And when the man across from me wants to propose, my table manners won’t matter because he will be hurt the same way I am being hurt right now. Even though I don’t know that yet, I do. And that is what I will say when I am being married:  “I do.”

08

05 2010

Chapter 16 The Dory

Jake’s new project towards sailing solotransatlantic is building the dory.

A dory is a small rowing boat that was first used down river near Quebec, then migrated with fishermen out to the North Banks. If you’ve ever seen the Winslow Homer painting of a man with a large fish in a rowboat, that’s a dory. Jake says he is going to make his own sailboat to cross the Atlantic, so he is going to start by making a rowboat capable of crossing the North Sea.

He has found ancient directions that have him start by cutting out a boat shape for the floor in pink fresh cedar. Next, I hold the yellow waxy oak ribs while Jake drills and chisels and screws them together. Then, using cardboard forms, he works out the sizes of the side planks. Jake takes me with him to the lumberyard. I become his second as we accrue boaty sawdust secrets on how to crack the dory code. The old timers say the toughest wood for the side planks will be mahogany. The lumberyard man is happy to see me in my work gloves, loading our boat with five hundred and sixty-two dollars worth of mahogany boards.

“What’s your son’s name?” he asks my father. I freeze with a plank clutched in my gloves, and cringe into my t-shirt and Wranglers. I look up at Jake, standing on the dock above me, and wait for him to answer. Jake makes a gesture to me, inviting me to answer the man, who expects me to say “Greg” or “Mark” or “Lionel.”

“Son?” The man is now leaning forward, as if to help me speak.

“Stephanie.” It comes out of me, a dry husk, barely audible as I look at the sawdusty toes of my ugly cheap sneakers on the lumberyard dock.

“Oh,” says the man, and I sneak a look up quickly enough to see a shadow creep under his smile as he stares a little hard at my father. Jake laughs, and they wander away to discuss the next phase of the project while I keep loading the boat with wood, hoping that the tears dripping on to the planks won’t ruin them.

On dories, the stern and bow are very narrow, but the middle part of the boat is wide. Now we must curve the mahogany sides around her ribs. We cut the mahogany to match the cardboard forms, and then put the cut planks to soak in the river, tied to the dock for a week or two. We pull the bottom plank out wet, then screw the first end to the stern. Then I watch while Jake forces the wood to curve to the first rib. To force the wood to the second rib, he runs up the hillside by the house with a steaming teakettle, holding it like an ugly biting octopus, then runs steam all over the mahogany. Then Mom and I hold the wood down while he screws in the next set of one-inch brass screws to hold the wood in its new position against the next rib.

My father embodies the British Empire with his delicate to-ing and fro-ing of teakettles and his bullying of exotic wood. He is great, and I am proud of our work, but I am lonely. More than ever, I want to walk around the shore to the Nadlers. I watch them all the time this year, padding up and down between their dock and their house in bare feet and wet swim trunks.

Now that I’m eight, I’m allowed to play a little outside the yard. Most of the time, I imagine that I am Bevell the Wolf Girl. Bevell has been raised by wolves like Mowgli, and lives alone in the forest with her beautiful wolf companion. To practice being her, I run barefoot along our rocky shoreline, planting my feet precisely on the sharp shards of lichen-covered granite. When I am Bevell, I don’t make up stories about her, I just am her, running back and forth, from the dock, around the shoreline, cutting up, across the rocks, to our front gate then back again. Like a dog on a chain, or a wolf in a pen, I circle around and around practicing my footwork for some future foray into the forest.

When the dory is finally done, Jake chooses the color—iron gray—and her name: Loon. We launch The Loon, just us, Mom, Jake, Rufus, and me, with a little ceremony. Right after the ceremony, Jake shows me how to row her. And as he gives me permission to row The Loon around the harbor by myself, I know that now I have a way off the island without having to go to any neighbor. It would be very far, and dangerous for an eight-year-old to row four miles to town, but, technically, I can do it. Still I won’t. Slowly, instantly, yesterday and forever, I am part of his creation. He is creating his family, people isolated with him, who respond to him with fear and yearn for his positive attention. We are his prisoners but he is our savior, only he can give us permission to leave.


03

05 2010


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