Sunday, June 11, 2006

The 68th Edition of the Tar Heel Tavern

Welcome to the 68th edition of the Tar Heel Tavern! It has been a while since I hosted our Carnival of writers who live in or write about North Carolina, but I have come home today because of the benefit I gained in working with this forum. The first time I hosted, I had no idea how to write HTML code for including links within an article and instead had included full URL addresses. My friends here helped me out by suggesting coding examples that I could use to clean up my article, and as a result, I was able to produce a piece that more closely approximated the high standards that other writers from North Carolina had attained before me. I have since applied these skills in my own blog and have seen my work improve with help from our community. You made me feel that I belonged, which brings me to the proposed theme of this edition of The Tar Heel Tavern: Belonging.

However, I would like to start with the items that were submitted off-theme, because I want to finish up with a powerful post on-theme. As such, let me start with a couple of submissions from Coturnix who has launched a new blog. First, at his old blog Science and Politics Coturnix submitted the entry entitled New York City Trip Part IV: Ceres in which he recounts the experiences of his family at a NYC Barnes and Nobles and at the Ceres Gallery art show.

From his new website, A Blog Around the Clock, Coturnix continues his diary of the trip to New York City, Part V: Central Park. Central Park is always an interesting place to visit, I have to say. It is quite beautiful to find a natural oasis surrounded by all those skyscrapers and brownstones. For those who are curious about the origin of his name, Coturnix has also posted an entry that explains it all. Who would have thought his name would be derived from the avian equivalent of the lab rat?

Alex Wilson of Alex Wilson Studios, LLC proves he is multitalented in a submission of his studio’s commercial, Trade Up for the Mozilla Firefox browser. Not only did Alex write this commercial, he is one of the actors. I hope there haven't been any complaints, yet, Alex, for the subject matter. I have to say about the Tar Heel Tavern that Mozilla helped me get it up a lot faster.

Ok, ahem, on that note, let us come back to the theme for this week. I proposed the theme of “belonging”:

“When have people made you feel loved unconditionally, a part of the crowd, one of the crew, a family member and so on and when have they not. Isn't belonging what we all seek on so many levels? Perhaps if we all felt more like we belonged, we wouldn't need so many divisions in this world right now. Idealistic of me? Yes, but we have to strive for better or life won't be much to brag about, eh? If anyone just wants to submit out of theme, though, let them come. I am an all-inclusive, equal-opportunity provider!”

This is a broad topic that becomes broader as you consider the many ways that people have of fitting in or not. A number of our writers have taken me up on the proposal to write about belonging. It may not have been an easy topic, but we have a number of very good entries. As an introduction, Anonymoses took a sidetrip into the linguistic origin of the word longing, slipping from that into belonging and then logically into shortening in his article Longing, Belonging and Shortening. He finishes up with a thunderstorm booming outside his home, discussing the nature of shortening. I can tell you this, if you take some shortening and make a poundcake from it for a stranger, they will feel as if you have made them belong. Try it sometime. I do it frequently and highly recommend the experience. In the meantime, here are our remaining articles on the topic of Belonging:

First, we have a couple of entries about the politics behind the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA). Whether you agree or not with the idea of gay marriage, there are many factors that have people concerned, primarily the idea of using the US Constitution to enshrine discrimination against a class of people. As I have written in the past, our founding fathers erred in their compromise over slavery by counting African-Americans as only 3/5 human. It took a Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, multiple Amendments to the US Constitution and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s to overcome that error. As a result of these struggles, we have a Constitution that currently guarantees and provides rights to US citizens. The FMA would change the basic nature of the Constitution. We have an entry from Gordon of Scrutiny Hooligans entitled Stand Up For Americans, America that explores "those who would work politically to create the opposites of belonging - marginalization and division." Gordon wins the early-bird award this week for submitting before I had even written my own entry!

Jude of Iddybud Journal also takes up this topic and submitted an articled entitled Belonging – Remember a Rose. In this touching post dedicated to her mother, Jude states "Keep the beauty of freedom alive, or all of the beautiful who have strived for justice - every last rose - shall have lived in vain. Hate and bigotry do not BELONG in a society of people who cherish love." I concur with Jude and hope that we can achieve the goal of inclusion as a value for our society in the near future.

Laura N. of Moomin Light considers Father C of her church to be someone who goes out of his way to welcome others and to make them feel that they belong. Her post Welcome highlights some of his actions that speak louder than words. I am happy that someone of the faith community contributed to this topic, because there are so many people in the world who find their sense of belonging in Church. Sadly, the opposite is true of many others. It is a blessing to be made to feel welcome and I am happy for Laura that she is so blessed.

Erin, my sweet friend and cohort in humor and poetry submitted Belonging Where at her site Poetic Acceptance. It is intriguing to see that even though our issues were similar and that there were some items where we differed, we both seem to have come to self-acceptance as a means of finding the places where we feel we belong. I would like to take a brief second to encourage you to support Erin in her campaign for heart disease awareness and support.

My own post Belonging details the early age at which I learned that I didn’t feel I belonged to any particular part of society. As in Erin’s post, it took a lot of introspection and a lot of change in my lifetime to come to terms with myself. I hope that you can read about what it was like for me to come to terms with being gay with compassion. I am not trying to rub my difference in your face as much as I am trying to highlight how the apparent differences we experience are borne through similar circumstances. Perhaps there can be unity through diversity if we learn to see how we all evolve as we face life’s challenges. I also bring up the acceptance that I felt from the film crew of 1 Giant Leap when I joined them in New Orleans in January, 2005. As I last heard, I will be included in their upcoming film, due out in 2007. If you want to experience an excellent documentary that highlights how we are similar despite our differences, I encourage you to see their first film, the eponymous 1 Giant Leap. It is available through Netflix and at some rental stores. I suspect many of you will want to own a copy once you have seen the film.

In a "better late than never" post, Gingerivers writes about how her son is celebrating his 18th month of being clean in NA. On reading the cards that were given to him in honor of this occasion, she has learned how much he is admired, how much he touches others and how he belongs in his world. She must be a proud mom. I know I would be proud of my child in such circumstances.

Ogre of Ogre’s Politics and Views may well have submitted the most compelling argument for our need to see ourselves as united in our belonging. He said, on submitting this post, "I was looking through the things I'd written this week to see what might fit in with the theme. I found a good fit, but it's rather short...about one line...with a link. I'm not sure it's up to the standards of the Tarheel Tavern, but I do think it fits. I included it because you asked about belonging and this one shows pictures of the earth from space -- and what better way to feel like a part of something, even something so HUGE, than seeing so much at one time. If you think it will work, I'd thank you for including it."

I think that Ogre’s submission is perfect for this theme. These images are truly amazing and even if you find it takes a minute or two for them to all load up, please be zen about it while it loads. You will not be disappointed. Ogre, I am indebted to you for this post. It is certainly up to Tar Heel Tavern standards, without a doubt.

I hope you feel you belong and that you extend a welcome to others that you may not have come to know in the past. Either way, please visit us again next week for the 69th edition of the Tar Heel Tavern at Erin Monahan’s Poetic Acceptance.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Erin said...

'Tis a thing of great beauty Ron. Seriously, excellent post, wonderful Tavern! Thanks for hosting this week!

*hug*
~E

6/11/2006 03:52:00 AM  
Blogger coturnix said...

Gorgeous! Wonderful! Thank you so much!

6/11/2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Ogre said...

Indeed, thanks for hosting and thank you for the kind words!

6/12/2006 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger MLight said...

Wonderful Tavern!

Thanks!

6/12/2006 02:20:00 PM  

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