Spoiled Children of Divorce

Poem in Your Pocket Day – Pat Schneider
April 23, 2012, 12:12 am
Filed under: creativity, Mentors, poverty

While driving through a town on the California coast I stopped off at the local library to use the Internet. The library had put together an incredible display for Poem in Your Pocket Day at Poet’s.org. The librarians had printed out a bunch of poems, rolled them up with rubber bands and set up a sign instructing people to put the poem in their pockets.  On April 26 we’re supposed to share our poems with other people.

Following is the one I received. I had never heard of the poet before and really love this one.

The Patience of Ordinary Things

By Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes.  How the soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soak dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

From Another River:  New and Selected Poems. 2005

Pat Schneider is a writer and teacher of writing who goes out of her way to help people living in poverty remain connected with their souls. She has held a workshop with single mothers who are living at homeless shelters and in jails.  She has written a book called Writing Alone With Others.

I’m not sure if Pat Schneider’s parents were ever married.  Her website talks about how she spent her early childhood in the country and moved with her Mother to the city when she was around ten years old.  Her family was destitute and she eventually ended up in an orphanage.  In spite of this story she managed to obtain a Master’s Degree and has raised a family, write and teach.


More of Pat’s poems are linked to here.

Great inspiration.

Being a Guest In Your “Own Home(s)”
December 14, 2010, 6:20 pm
Filed under: creativity, Happiness, Healing, Health, Mentors, Religion

So, Child of D, you can’t get locked out of your parents’ houses because you learned how to pick the locks long ago.  Carrying around all those keys gets really tiring, after all.

But, Child of D, you feel strange.  They keep telling you they love you, but, for some reason, deep down, you know that they don’t love anyone all that much.  There’s no unconditional love in split homes.  Not really.  Just parents who are told by experts on TV that if they tell their children they love them they can go off and do their own thing.  And those dates they bring home?  Well, you gotta love it.

But, Child of D, what about yourself?  What about the Holidays?  How to deal with this month of overextended horrors of scheduling and hugging and hanging out with strangers who want to love you, they really do.  How do you protect your heart in this time?  Your heart is a very beautiful thing.  Well, hang out at your friends’ houses.  Or turn to books and great thinking.  Realize that what you are feeling in part is grief and grief is what teaches us to have great depth of understanding and empathy towards others.  I remember hearing an interview with Bill Clinton who was discussing how he got through having his last public affair exposed, the one with White House Intern Monica Lewitsky, he said that he spent a year going for counseling and searching for answers in books.  Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar who studied at Oxford, so not only did he have the best Western Education a person can have, but he was intelligent enough to understand what he was reading.  But, still one can seek answers through philosophy and religion and poetry and art.  That’s why we turn to these things.  I remember hearing the poet W.S. Merwin say that the first poem was about grief.

This wasn’t supposed to be babbly.  Of course, Bill was married to Hillary, and Hillary went to Yale which is the second best education in the Western World that one can have and so Hillary has more brains than most of us as well.  And Hillary decided to stick with Bill because, well, for one, they are rich and can afford to own two houses and probably only see each other at tax time, and also I remember hearing Hillary talk about the affair and say that she was aware that Bill had suffered much abuse during his childhood.  She understood how difficult this is to deal with as an adult.  When you read about Bills’ childhood you sort of get it that his childhood was really bad.  His Father was a womanizer as well.  He was on his 4th marriage at age 32 (or something like that) when he died in a car crash along with some other woman.

So, if this ramble doesn’t make you feel better about being a Child of D during the Holidays, assuming that you are unhappy, that’s certainly not a requirement, but if you’re happy you’re not going to be reading this blog because it’s focused more on the downers.

I found this awesome poem by Rumi called “The Guest House.” Translated by Coleman Barks.  It’s about how we need to treat all of our feelings, the good ones and the bad ones as guests within our beings.  We need to show them our best hospitality.  I think that’s what it means.  If not, correct me.  Thing is, if you study what you are feeling you can gain distance from it and learn from it.  (You don’t need to live in denial of it the way your Mommy’s shrink is, although that looks like a very lucrative business.)

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Clifford Geertz

I’ve found my first openly outed Child of D from off the Guardian’s Top 100 Intellectuals (2005)! Honest to God, I was about to give up, this is so time consuming.

Clifford Geertz, anthropologist, Child of Divorce. Divorce didn’t phase him a bit. Attribute this either to good genes or to the fact that he was passed off at Age 3 to be raised by a 60-year old “Foster Mother” named “Nana. Early on he realized that he was highly intelligent and that this would be his ticket out. In High School Geertz wanted to become a writer.  At Age 17 he joined the Navy in World War II. And then went directly to College where he found an inspiring teacher who helped him develop.

I know nothing about Anthropology (am having a major backspace dance with spell check trying to get the word spelled out correctly.) According to this obituary (unfortunately Mr. Geertz passed away in 2006) http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20061103/ai_n16824591. Geertz wrote the “Most famous single essay in anthropology which sounds a bit like a fore-runner to a Chuck Palachiuk novel. It’s called “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight.” This is supposed to be an excellent example of a concept developed by Geertz called “Thick understanding.”

Geertz was married twice and divorced once. He spent much of his life living in other cultures, most notably in Indonesia and Morocco.

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Bobby Fischer
January 20, 2008, 3:44 am
Filed under: Exemplary Children of Divorce, Mentors

Bobby Fischer, the first U.S. World Chess Champion has died in Reykjavik, Iceland.  A Child Prodigy, Fischer became the U.S. Chess Champion at Age 14, Grandmaster at Age 15, and World Champion at Age 24.  For the last 30 years of his life, Fischer became an eccentric recluse, moving from Country to Country.  He was weird and paranoia but some of the stories about what he had to go through are the types of things that really can make a person paranoid.  According to Wikipedia he was arrested once in Los Angeles for committing a bank robbery and then again arrested in Japan and held for nine months for defying rules about playing against Boris Spassky in 1992.  What got to me was the part where he was anti-semitic, but Jewish.  Born in the U.S. Fischer had his citizenship revoked.  All this repeat loss/rejection of home makes me wonder if this is some sort of Fall Out from childhood issues. Fischer had one older sister. He was admitted to the Chess Club when he was 7 and found some solid male mentors there.

The obituary, of course, did not mention that Fischer was from a Divorced Family, just that he had been raised by his Mother and lived with her.  So I’ll mention it here:  Bobby Fischer was from a Divorced Family.  There is some dispute about his Father.  The man listed on the Birth Certificate was a German biophysicist. His Mother was married to the German and they divorced when Fischer was two. The Other Man may have been a Hungarian Physicist, a Jewish Guy which makes the anti-semitic remark(s) seem more logical.

Listed quote in the newspaper, gnarly Divorce type thinking for sure:  “Chess is war on a board…the object is to crush the other man’s mind.”