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That Christian Man Selling Child-Training Whips Is Back

When I was a pre or early teen, a traveling home school family, with a traveling home school family business of “rods” made a stop in the area. The homeschooler moms in our area had, like, a tupperware party of thing to beat your kids with. Many of them brought their kids along to the presentation- including my mom.

The mother of the family described how she would go quietly through the house and watching to see if the children were performing well enough. If they weren’t, she would surprise them with a sharp little snap on the legs or buttocks.

In retrospect- holy fucking christ! Are you kidding me? Forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a perfect recipe for Complex PTSD?

The beating-ware party was decorated in the horrible overly floral pseudo-Victorian style that I remember seeing a lot in the homeschooling version of the ’90’s. The man of the family was clean cut and slimy. He didn’t say as much but he handled the money. The woman gushed about her product. Her ten or twelve children didn’t talk much unless the script or social niceties required them too. They stood in the back ground with wide, matching smiles, brought out their instruments and played music when they were required to. Hung back and smiled again.

I remember hanging out in the entry room of the house with some of the local group children. One of the boys told the rest of us quietly that he would run away from home if his mom started doing this.

There were strawberries dipped in chocolate on silver trays. The moms were all talking and laughing. And giggling.

Homeschoolers Anonymous

CC image courtesy of Flickr, Pimthida.

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Libby Anne’s blog Love Joy Feminism. It was originally published on Patheos on May 18, 2016.

The above image is an advertisement that used to run in Christian homeschool magazines. “The ideal tool for child training,” reads the test below an image of a long, thin shaft with a handle, a rod intended for whipping children. “The means prescribed by God,” it reads. And there’s a poem: “Spoons are for cooking / Belts are for holding up pants / Hands are for loving / RODS are for chastening.” This “flexible nylon rod” with its “cushioned vinyl grip” was marketed by Steve Haymond, and was primarily purchased by Christian homeschooling families.

By 2006, the internet and the activism of several concerned homeschool parents had taken its toll on Haymond’s whip-selling business. Raymond had advertised his whips in Christian…

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End of the Endless

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My father died on Monday. He was buried on Friday. He had an aggressive cancer that he left untreated because “God told him” that he could heal it himself by taking extra Vitamin C and by giving himself enemas with coffee.

His dad had a similar cancer a few years ago.  He had a doctor advise him on treatment, instead of God. Grandpa is alive and cancer free to this day.

One time, before he got so bad, I argued with dad about his decision. The books and articles “God was using” to direct his treatment sounded distinctly like conspiracy theories to me. The conversation ended when he told me I was making him think he was crazy and roared at me to GET OUT.

Which I did.

I was very angry.

I was in the process of moving out already. Not because I had enough money.  I just couldn’t stand being home anymore. It was too crazy making.

Towards the end, when it was clear that he was going to die, he wept pretty frequently. About even little things. It’s possible the tumor was growing into his brain. It had started in his throat, after all. One day he wept and told me he was so sorry he had yelled at me- that day when we argued.

I was sad too. I didn’t give a flying fuck that he had yelled.

The evening after his death I went to see my family. The front room, where he had been all day every day for the past week, hallucinating and begging to be allowed to get up, had been cleaned.

The furniture had been brought back in. The hospital bed had disappeared.

The spring peeper frogs were singing in the ditches. A night wind was flowing through the fields around the house. Someone had set a jar of lilacs on the dresser. Words and phrases from a poem were eddying in the back of my head, but I couldn’t recall them all or fit them together.

The dresser is an antique. I believe it came from his mother. I never knew her. She died in a car wreck when my dad was- 19? Hit by a drunk driver.

He was angry at his dad about something then and moved out.

Dad was born in March- like me. His mother died in May.

The drunk died in the wreck.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers…
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow 
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
                      Frisch weht der Wind
                      Der Heimat zu
                      Mein Irisch Kind,
                      Wo weilest du?
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
“They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Oed’ und leer das Meer.

-T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland, The Burial of the Dead

The Fish in the Mirror: Get Out While You Can

I first published this story and picture on my other site. The story is based on a story in Louis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings- which I highly recommend. I wrote it hearing it in a British accent, if that makes any sense, and my apologies to Great Britain.

There have been times in my life when I thought I should be trying to save the world. I came to find out that the underlying reality of both my self and the world were quite different than I had thought them to be.

I ended up having to save myself. From salvation. yaaaaaay.

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Sophie

A long time ago, when the world had just begun turning, mirrors were different then they are now. In those days, mirrors weren’t just looking glasses- you could walk right through them- into another world. And the people who lived on the other side could walk right out. They might sit down and take tea with you, if they felt like it.

But it happened that they didn’t feel like it. I don’t know how it began, but they say that the mirror people decided that they would like to live in two worlds, not just one. They gathered up all their armies, and came pouring through every mirror on earth. It wasn’t going well for our earth people, I’ll tell you that.

It was then that the Great Yellow Ancestor arose. The Ancestor was the Emperor, all the way over in China, across the sea. He made a wyrd, a mighty spell, and changed their fates. His magic took hold of the mirror people and swept them back into the mirrors.

It did more than that, too. He put a curse on them. From that day forward, instead of coming and going in their own world as they pleased, they were forced to mimic the ways and clothes of the land they had tried to invade, as punishment. It was so bad that they couldn’t even look like themselves. They had to look like us, in our world, and copy us exactly in whatever we said or did.

That’s why, when you go and look in a mirror, a mirror person comes and looks out at you- looking like you do. It’s the magic of the Yellow Ancestor at work.

Fredrick

Oh come on, Sophie! I asked you a serious question! This is too much, even for you! No one listens to ‘wives tales, or wherever it was you heard that. You’re acting dense.

Sophie

Well it’s not a ‘wives tale, Freddie! A learned man wrote that in a book, after he read it in a book that the learned men in China wrote, who were probably told it by Confucius himself! You’re the one who’s dense.

Fredrick

Well at least I’m being serious.

Sophie

You aren’t either. You’re teasing me to see if I can answer. You don’t really care.

You should care, you know.

Fredrick

Why on earth would I care about mirrors?

Sophie

Humpf.

Fredrick

If you’re not going to answer, I’m not going to stand here and watch you pout.

Sophie

Because of the Fish.

Fredrick

The fish? What are you talking about now?

Sophie.

The Ancestor’s magic isn’t going to last forever, Freddie. One day the Fish in the mirror will wriggle free of the spell. He’ll swim out into our world.

And then it will begin again.

There won’t be any Yellow Emperor to save the earth this time.

Fredrick

More nonsense! Can you imagine? People like us getting free!

The Garden and the Creature: Clay

He took a lump of clay, once

He rolled it in his hands

poked and twisted

He showed you.

this was called ‘a shape’

He pointed out on you

it has a leg, you have a leg

it has a leg, you have a leg

it has a joint, you have a joint

it has a head, you have a head

 

It’s like me!

 

Yes. Just exactly like you!

 

You made it!

 

Yes. Just like I made you.

 

You looked around, suspicious.

 

What else did you make?

 

Everything.

 

(He surely knows everything. He’s answered every question. The Serpent asks you questions, but he never tells you. Not like He does.)

(He’s kneeling to talk to you- like grownups do when you’re a baby and it’s so important)

 

His eyes are shining.

 

That’s right. Only I know everything. That’s why you have to do what I tell you. Only I can keep you safe. Hidden from… monsters. And lions!

If you disobey me, little one, it will make me sad. Very sad. Because you’ll die.

 

What’s ‘die’?

 

This.

 

The clay crumpled.

Spurted through His fingers as He closed His hand.

The Good Wife

She was on the phone, puttering around the kitchen and living room. Cleaning up.  People, kids, around.  Like always.

I was in the door to the mudroom, peeling off my boots. And the mud.

Dad was somewhere in the house, slowly dying.

They had waited too long. When it had been discovered, a surgery could have removed the cancer. ‘God had lead them’ to treat it with extra vitamins and by having a biological dentist dig out his root canal, and by going this one time to sit in a hyperbaric chamber because that’s what the atmosphere was like before the Flood of Noah and people lived hundreds and hundreds of years before the Flood so this would fix it for sure.

When the tumor on his neck was the size of a Florida grapefruit, or larger than both my fists, they decided it was a swollen lymph node. From his body killing so much cancer.  When it peeled itself open and started gushing and dribling fluids, that was his body expelling the cancer.

When he couldn’t turn his head without pain and his right arm and hand swelled with edema to twice their normal size from being pinched by the tumor- they finally broke down and went to a doctor.

But at that point it was too late. It was everywhere.

She was talking to a friend. I couldn’t tell which one. Her voice was animated and eerily enthused. She was talking about his now inevitable death.

“At least he’s had a wife who served him. Not many men can say that!”

She’s fixed him sandwiches whenever he told her. She treats what he says as God’s word for her life- finding reasons for him to be absolutely correct even when God express irrational fears about surgery and then nose dives into conspiracy theories and quack medicines.

And now he’s slowly dying.

Funny.

Many men have wives who are sad when they die.

 

 

 

 

The endless growth of death that is life and shit.

Which is to say that I’m going to try to clean up the blog in the next few weeks. Maybe even posting- god. Fucking weird idea.

I’ve started another site for fiction and non biographical stories.

Body and Blood: Part I

Here’s some fucking vampire writing.

Also I’ve gotten depressed about having posted that video of Avicii’s cover of that one song.  Wake me up. Apparently the song was by a black dude called Aloe Blacc.  Avicii did a cover and the cover became widely popular and all the stations were playing it. It’s like Eminem and rap. White America. I’m telling you.

Here’s the original.

I like it.  Aloe’s got more feeling in his singing than an average pop song/than Avicii’s cover.  I mean seriously.  I like the cover and the video Avicii put with it still makes me cry, but after I heard Aloe I realized how… industrial? Avicii’s version was.  Like he has no emotional connection to the song but is still singing it because he’s being paid per word.

Or maybe I’m just crabby. I AM really crabby.

Don’t Shame Those Bringing Darkness to Light: Elliott Grace Harvey’s Thoughts

Homeschoolers Anonymous

Sculpt and Photo Credit: Jason Benner

Some of the comments I come across regarding human rights issues blow my mind. I’m talking about the things that become a major source of dissension in social media and personal conversations.

A movie about kinky sex.

Discrimination towards the queer community.

Gender inequality. Rape culture and its many representations.

“No,” I protest, trying to kick him off. He stops. “If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet too. If you make a noise… I will gag you.”

An overwhelming theme I see emerging is an attitude of annoyance. Frustration that we’re talking about any of this. That whatever the topic is, will go away and we should stop discussing it because “controversy” is what makes this an issue.

“I have an overwhelming urge to cry, a sad and lonely melancholy grips and tightens round my heart. Dashing back to my bedroom, I close the…

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