Star Wars: Continuum

It’s been a fair month since I blogged last. NaNoWriMo overwhelmed me (I still have some final words to share on that front: like many things in the present, they’re presently forthcoming) and I started a new medication in November that knocked me out entirely. I held onto the end of my first semester in grad school by a thread, and I’ve been using the time since for some much-needed recovery.

No, “recovery” is a bad word. There was nothing to recover from, but I needed to relax.

I had a pendulum of posts swinging through my mind this whole time, but they came and went and I rose and slept and nothing came to fruition. But hardly more than a week ago I pulled up outside a theater with my friend for Star Wars VII and that has been a moment that has stayed with me more than anything.

Don’t worry, there’ll be no spoilers here, but maybe something deeper.

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Sloom

Sometimes I wonder what damage those fairytales we were told as children left imprinted in our psyches. Forget the idealized yet ignorant gender norms portrayed in every romance. Forget the blind hopefulness of always waiting for a happy ending. Forget the unbridled belief in magic and myth and mystery.

Maybe there’s a deeper damage to all those Disney dreams.

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The First Rainbow

Long before rainbow colors signified the LGBT community for me, they signified Reading Rainbow: a children’s program I watched growing up that helped inspire me to read. I remember watching as they turned the pages, illustrations seamlessly becoming animations, and always wanting to get these books to read myself.

I never did, but just knowing about them made me eager to read–made me look forward to library trips and the discovery and adventure awaiting inside each and every book.

I grew up and Reading Rainbow was replaced by other shows, my interest in children’s books replaced by young adult series, and I never thought about that iconic theme song that still brings me back to my youth. Then, not so long ago, I stumbled across this Kickstarter campaign to bring Reading Rainbow back to kids everywhere.

Immediately I became a backer.

But there’s still more to do, more children to help Reading Rainbow inspire. I would not have become the person I am today if not for the books I’ve read, and I might not have read anything if shows like Reading Rainbow hadn’t encouraged me to read and made books as much fun as any action figure or play set. Reading is the foundation of all learning, and to help our country–to help the world–be all that it can be, we must help our children learn to love reading. And I believe Reading Rainbow can help us achieve this goal.

Will you please help us change the world, one child at a time?

Click here to make a $5 (US) donation, or here to visit the campaign’s Kickstarter page.

When you back Reading Rainbow, let me know! As a campaign volunteer, they’d like a tally of how many backers I recruit, but more so I want thank each of you individually..

F is for Father’s Day

Father’s Day for a boy is full of wonder: I’m celebrating my dad–the man who took me camping with Cub Scouts, the man who eats chips and salsa with with me, the man who reclines on the weekends and is sure to answer “yes” to anything.

As I child I couldn’t imagine Father’s Day any other way. I didn’t stop to think, what will I do for my brothers after they have kids? I never considered what Father’s Day would mean when I have my own kids–or the obstacles I’d have to face to get there.

Father’s Day as a man is all of these things–and most of them are anything but wonderful.

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Bye, Bye Bully Time

Last night a speaker came to campus to talk about bullying. She said a few words–I probably could’ve counted how many–and then she started asking questions. And when we didn’t willingly answer, she stood in silence waiting. And if we still didn’t answer (this only happened once), she walked up to someone and asked him directly.

This wasn’t a typical lecture. It went both ways.

And that got me thinking: bullying goes both ways, too.

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Throwing Eggs on the Floor

Part of N.C. State’s motto is being globally engaged but locally responsive. For most students this probably remains an abstract concept, fuzzy words that don’t mean much from one day to the next, but for those in the Alternative Service Break program, it’s engrained in every trip: Not only do we have a service project in diverse parts of the world, both domestically and abroad, we also have a service project in our local community.

Last year, before my team went to Belize to build a drying rack with cacao farmers, we spent one weekend helping rebuild a house with Habitat for Humanity. The work with hammers and nails was certainly invaluable experience to get us started.

This year’s service project no doubt has prepared me just the same for Alaska.

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Sharing the Love of Learning

It’s no secret I love learning, but if you press me to share the most memorable moments that made learning come alive, each of them would share a common theme: a teacher who inspired me. My favorite Hebrew school teachers were understanding and compassionate, sharing stories of living in Israel and talking to us in Hebrew. My favorite math teachers humanized abstract concepts and spoke to us as equals, helping us not only to learn, but to love. My political science teachers have made dull topics exciting by impersonating polar bears flopping around on the ice or breaking the tension with a sarcastic comment that leads the class into laughter; writing teachers have given encouragement, honest feedback, and shown an intimate interest in helping me to grow.

It is no small task, the work and effort I’ve put into my education at every level–from my earliest memories of being homeschooled through today–but if not for the passion my teachers showed me, all of this would have meant nothing.

So wouldn’t it be amazing, if only for a few days, I could inspire others as much as my teachers have inspired me?

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Of All the Drying Racks in the World

Our service project began on March 4–a Monday that should be the role model for all Mondays: We were excited, put in a great effort, and ended eager for the rest of the week. It became the cornerstone of our experience–the story’s climax, the man’s epiphany.

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Vehicles of Change

I began interning with NCPIRG in November and just days ago I joined the steering committee for the Resolve to Fight Poverty Annual Conference. I joined during our New Voters Project with the hope of helping out where needed, especially with our sustainability projects.

Life surprised us with a reshuffling, and to keep working with our campus coordinator, we pulled together behind the No Hunger, No Homelessness action kit–which was great. We raised a fair amount of money for Feeding America through the National Hunger Clean-Up, and now many of us are coordinating a national conference. That’s not something most people can brag about–not that I’m bragging.

Not only this, my NCPIRG family is just that–family–and I want to keep working with them and helping our group to grow and make a difference, on campus, in our community, and in our entire country. Which is all good and great, mind you, except that since I joined the group, I’ve been struggling to answer a pretty important question:

Why do I care?

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