Friday, February 17, 2006

Getting colder...and the Alcotts





Starting to feel a chill...a semi-blizzard kind of wind. More than a chill, I guess. I'm annoyed that I didn't know today was a library day...for the kids to play, etc. I need to check the homeschool website more often. The girls would have liked hanging out with the kids and playing with the puzzles. I guess we'll keep our eyes opened for the next event.

All this cold weather has me achy...I must be totally arthritic. How annoying. The changes from balmy warm to snow driven wind, is odd and very un-February like.

On another note, there are all these juried shows coming up and I want to enter a few paintings. It's going to be a tad costly as the two (possibly three) abstracts I want to enter are a bit large. However, you first have to submit your work, then see if you get accepted. I'd like to enter all the categories but I will just enter the 2-dimensional category. Less stressful.

There is also a poetry contest (locally) coming up and I'd like to try my hand at that. It's a dollar per entry. Don't know if there is a prize but it might be fun to at least get to read in front of a crowd. I'm debating whether to submit my political poems or go more in the nature direction. Actually, that could be political too. Hmmm...things to think about.

Then there are a few side projects (art-wise) I'm trying to finish...a portrait for some friends, two pieces for a children's mag, and one for my sister (a painting of a horse for my niece). I feel a bit behind when I think of this list but it's getting better actually.

Plus, I have two bags of stuffed animals waiting, waiting for faces and features. I'd like to get those down and on-line for purchase.

I have been faithfully putting up my eBay paintings...and have a new batch ready to go for Saturday or Sunday night. Lots of work but it's something I love to do. Even with distractions and small elbow room.

Jon has a cold and feels tired. Got it from me but he seems to be managing. He's on the couch reading "Funny Times". Lydia is up from a nap and is having a snack with a lollipop. Norrie still asleep...a calm family life we're having.

It's been really windy and Mr. Nelson was having panic attacks and barking fits from all the noise. Also, I didn't realize that Norrie was afraid of the wind and she thought the wind was a monster until she overheard me tell Mr. Nelson it was only the wind. This made her feel better and she started saying, "It's only the wind". Sometimes it's funny to hear her articulate words so clearly. I love seeing progress in her speech.



I've been reading about the Alcott’s, or more importantly about Abba Alcott or "Marmee". It's very interesting to read a mother's/wife's point of view in the 1800's. It's amazing how similar aspects of their life are even in this day and age. Certainly, there appears to be a sense of simplicity in their lives but they were just as concerned about money, daily living, having time and using it well. What I like so much about the Alcotts is they didn't prescribe to this notion that one has to be some sort of religious follower. They saw God in the people around them and themselves. Very humble attitude but not with a sense of martyrdom.

As I was reading, Abba comes across as practical and worries about having basic needs met, especially for her children. Her husband, Bronson Alcott, believes that God will provide. Though Abba doubts this, they always seem to get by.

It's heart wrenching to read about their friends (and soon the Alcotts) loss of children and family. Things like lockjaw and scarlet fever that wouldn't kill someone today with treatment, were a death sentence back then. Amazing how much safer we are 260 years later. But so very sad to read about how people suffered from these things back then. Certainly, there are many problems today and around the world. But at least, we have some aid/programs to catch most people (maybe only some programs now, since the "Administration" is now trying to cut off aid for the poor, elderly, sick and public education (so much for no child left behind...more like "kick the child in the back and behind")).

The Alcotts were of a small group opposed to slavery. So much so, that they lost work for it and their anti-slavery friends were banned from publishing houses. Amazing. They stood up for what they believed in and raged against the dying of the light. That's another aspect I was moved by...this rage and insight of knowing they were on the side of justice and the true meaning of Godliness. Amazing and not really that simple in thought and action, actually. I wish there was more of this today...



Another aspect I like about this book, is seeing Abba's "spirit of trying" and working. What I mean by trying is a lot of the time, people will not even attempt to do "X" because of whatever reason. Fear, mostly but letting distractions overwhelm us, etc. She doesn't allow distractions and fear of the unknown to wear her down. And she does what she does standing next to her husband and his ideals.

Another quality I like about Abba is her strength and view that their home can be beautiful. She makes their home charming even with their meager possessions and patched curtains. Also, Abba doesn't make herself into this martyred figure from her poverty. Rather, she thinks how much nicer things would be if her husband (women weren't really allowed to work back then...or very minimally paid jobs...kind of like today, still) had a decent income.

The Alcotts keep trying to create schools and tutor people but all in vain as the schools fail for one reason or another (death, criticism, etc). But even more so is the passage of time and when she see the creases in Bronson's face that weren't there a few years ago and the turn from dark hair, fading to white.

Well, I haven't even finished the book and it's brought me to tears a few times. It's such an interesting account of Louisa May Alcott's parents and their struggle.


2 comments:

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

I may have mist it, but how do you find your work at eBay?
p.s. - do the poetry contest!

Carol said...

That sounds like a good read. I like the illustration you used with it.

Sociable

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