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THE EAGLE TREE: The Remarkable Story of A Boy and A Tree ~Ned Hayes

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

An environmental love story, takes place in my hometown, is a great voice for autism and potential.  Peter March Wong is a fourteen-year-old boy who loves to climb trees – at least 3 everyday.  He is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about trees and he is a gifted scientist.

March and his mother have moved into a smaller house, because Dad has moved to Arizona.  This move is very unsettling to March and he needs to climb a tree, a very tall tree.  He does not follow the rules because he discovers an extremely tall, old tree in the distance, when he was up in the new neighbor’s tree.  He spent too long up in the tree and his mother is worried and concerned….everything is new and different…. March explodes into a screaming and hand flapping experience and the police arrive to take him to a hospital for observation.  Now March needs to learn new behaviors as he comes into adulthood and in order to stay with his mother.

The huge EAGLE TREE is also under attack, as a developer wants to clear-cut the area and put up houses and apartments right at that very spot.

“Intertwining themes of humanity and ecology, THE EAGLE TREE eloquently explores what it means to be part of a family, a society, and the natural world that surrounds and connects us.” (cover)

I so enjoyed the comments in the book that praised our wonderful schools and the commitment to assisting children to be their best.  March’s mother will not move to Arizona because there are no programs like here and no commitment to education for all.  Washington State has amazing schools.

I knew nothing about this book when TLC Book Tours sent me a copy for review. I am so pleased to share this story with you.  It was a wonderful read; a hopeful read.

The Librarian I was working with last week said he had the book on his list and he was #15 for check out; he could hardly wait for his turn.

I want to share two cover quotes that I believe are significant in sharing this book with others:

“Every human experience is unique, but THE EAGLE TREE provides insight into one distinctive and uniquely important perspective.  The descriptions of climbing in EAGLE TREE get deep into the mathematical pattern-based sensory world of a person with autism.  The experience of navigating a tree climb is described in detail with mathematical and sensory detail that seems very authentic to me.” Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

“A gorgeously written novel that features one of the most accurate, finely drawn and memorable autistic protagonists in literature.  The hero of the book is like a 14-year-old Walt Whitman with autism.  Credible, authentic, powerful.”  Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.

I enjoyed every single page of this book and cheered for March’s growth, passion, and determination.  This book should be required reading at least for our whole city and will bring a sense of pride and button popping spirit for our community and our efforts in behalf of our natural resources.

From the cover:

“Ned Hayes holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.  THE EAGLE TREE is based on his past experience working with children on the autistic spectrum and on family and friends he knows and loves.  Hayes lives in Olympia, Washington, with his wife and children.”

Ned Hayes Facebook
Ned Hayes Webpage

Temple Grandin
When Women Were Birds

NO LONGER AND NOT YET: Stories ~Joanna Clapps Herman

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

“Death, when you weren’t actually faced with it, was something like that.  A small boat in a large body of water going toward a vague line that never came any closer-death always the same safe distance from your boat.  No matter how long you moved toward it, it continued to move off ahead of you.  Then when someone you knew died, death appeared in your boat, and you were supposed to contend with its abrupt, confusing arrival, for which you had no talent, no gift.  It was never as if you came to believe it.  You were just very confused.  Full of refusal.  After a time of stunned confusion it moved back out there far away where it belonged.  And wasn’t considered again until it had to be again.  The horizon what is not yet.”  (Page 102)

NO LONGER AND NOT YET is a collection of 26 stories which are all connected to the Upper Westside of New York City. As of late, I have been reading a number of books that for varied reasons keep me reading long into the night and wanting to savor and finish them right away.  As much as I love short stories and like to read one a day when partaking, this was an exception to my rule for the fact that I have a fixed review date and because the stories touched each other in ways that made the reader want to know.

Tess, Max and eventually Paul were the thread that held the weave of the stories together.  Tess has a wealth of friends right in the neighborhood and they then became their own stories and found connection back to Tess for advice and support.  Tess told the stories of living and what she is aware of and then interpreted these ideas to the reader to get the whole picture.  Her best friend Naomi lived in a building on Riverside Street and the residents within added the breadth of the friendships. The reader is able to get a clear picture and attend to the day’s experience.

It made a section of NYC cozy and connecting and the writing and details brought clarity with the exquisite use of words. The reader is connected and feels present; for me particularly about the “mother thoughts” going on inside each woman during her day or excerpt.  The problems seemed normal and not overblown and were infused with moments of wine, a sigh of relief and laughter.

These are everyday stories which make sense in our everyday and yet we are privy to the thinking and the actions in a way which reminds us that we are not alone.  There are others living plain lives and having questions and concerns just like ours and yet they are drawn together because of their communications and sharing.  The words tighten the threads of connection and understanding.  There are two thinking about the crazy flower woman in the park and two attempting to help the box man not freeze to death on a rare cold snowy night.  Can you imagine being the only mother and son playing in a NYC park – no one else on the swings?  Is the teacher always right or does she say the wrong things to your child?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and it was so wonderful to have a summer rainy day to wander and walk through years with these delightful characters into their lives and resolutions.  NO LONGER AND NOT YET is a 5 star read.

tlc logo  TLC online book tours  sent me a copy of NO LONGER AND NOT YET for review and it was a pleasure to share this book with you

“Joanna Clapps Herman teaches creative writing in the MFA Graduate Program at Manhattanville College and at the Center for Worker Education, a division of City College of New York, CUNY.  She is the author of THE ANARCHIST BASTARD:GROWING UP ITALIAN IN AMERICA, also published by SUNY Press; coeditor (with Carol Bonomo Albright) of Wild Dreams: The best of Italian Americana; and coeditor(with Lee Gutkind) of OUR ROOTs ARE DEEP WITH PASSION: Creative Nonfiction Collect New Essays by Italian-American Writers.  She lives in New Your City.” (Cover)

Joanna Clapps Herman Online 
Joanna Clapps Herman on Facebook

I am counting on folks sharing this review – please share and like – Thank you – Sharing is a good thing to do.

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Integration of Ideas

Thursday, March 10th, 2011


First thing this morning, I fell asleep during my prayer and meditation time, next I opened all the cupboards in the kitchen in search of stimulating foods, then I paid a couple of bills and started my laundry. It was raining too hard for a walk.   I stared at the computer monitor for nearly 20 minutes and I know why I did all these distractions.   Sometime yesterday, all the pieces of the questions integrated into the big picture. I know that once I have seen and studied the big picture I cannot go back.   I am free to wander back and forth through the doorway, but I am not able to stay on the historic side.  I have moved on and I am surveying the landscape but have not taken the first step.   Writing this morning is the first steps.

This is a giant thing I have integrated and my steps are tentative and not balanced or coordinated.  I received several confirmations that what I was experiencing was true and that indeed I had made a leap of faith and landed on solid ground.

One question that I was asking was why are “they” attacking women’s issues and women’s health.  The “they” being conservative politicians.  It is primarily because it looks like they are balancing the budget by taking irresponsible, loose women off the agenda and forcing them to be responsible, also if they can keep women fighting with other women they can go about their agenda and women will not notice what is going and focus on the controversy.  That is one of the oldest tricks in the playbook – keep them distracted by fighting with each other.

You might want to peruse TIME’s 16 Notorious Powerful Women

Another question surfacing is why are the folks who created the biggest budget deficient in history, loudly proclaiming that “It’s all about the budget?” This just makes me take a bigger look at what is going on with the budget and the people’s money.   As far as I can tell, it is not anything about the budget, it is all about paying the price for taking so much corporate money to get into power and the promises made to achieve the perceived powerful reference point.  The Supreme Court already gave corporations more power than individuals and Wall Street is once again running its own show – bypassing the new regulations, why would they be yelling about budgets? Distraction.   It is because folks have heard about budgets during their whole lives, but most of them do not know how to use them and count on others to take care of it. Economics is hard to understand. The people are made to feel like they did something very naughty and now they must pay the price. Bring on the taxes because Bad Behavior is not to be rewarded. We deserve this.

Since most of the teachers are women attacking the teacher’s union, schools and rights was a fairly huge mistake.  I was so happy to see that the people responded and spoke loudly and clearly – you may not have our rights.  Were there enough people watching?  Understanding?   It is particularly important now that we understand that is was not about balancing the budget, but it was about taking away millions of dollars from schools, teachers, and power from unions in order to give corporations more millions of dollars in tax breaks.    The public outcry produced the researchers doing their homework and getting out the word.  Now I had an answer to why these states’ Governors were being so foolish, and I was relieved to see that at least one is denied access.

Then to top it off I am seeing the fear machine working overtime to keep turmoil going and more and more individuals being demonized into the OTHER .

So here am I on the first day of Lent, with a 40 day carbon fast lined up, and my spiritual practices lined up and the disciplines of my routine in order and I am still avoiding understanding what my actions need to be.  I feel a tremendous responsibility because I can see the big picture.  What is my next step? Steps?

My Father understood what was going on over 50 years ago and he watched carefully the empire building in South America and the disastrous takeovers in Poland and Eastern Europe.  He saw how it played out in education circles and human lives.  He hungered for discussions and was always teaching me to listen and think. He felt education was the key.  One cannot allow themselves to think that these actions do not involve me, because we are all one and the same on one planet.

Never stop learning, endure the heat of the desert, always listen, trust yourself and the next steps will be revealed.

When do you know you are avoiding?  How do you take responsibility for your knowledge and actions? Will you take action?  Do you Confront? Educate? Or Reward?

Looking forward to your great comments

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Related reading:
12 Reasons I want People to read this Book
Don’t Think of The Elephant by George Lakoff
Agenda for a New Economy