the Unreliable Narrator loves stories–customized to his specifications. i’ve become his enabler, his amenuensis, for stories he tells such as Owl and the Magic Carpet (“it can fly without no wings”) and Owl and the Magic Frog, in which said frog makes a rather belated third-act appearance. i’m delighted by this new development in his imagination. HB and i race to set down his tales on paper. later, we’ll type and print, and have the Unreliable Narrator make some drawings to go with them.
i’ve also written about TTE fanfic which the Unreliable Narrator commissions me to write. it’s a way for my to culture-jam a world he likes but i have reservations about, and rig it with my own more contemporary values. (i know there’s a story involving thomas and percy and a chinese dragon, but i’ve never read it.) i present herewith:
myanmar, what’s going on? shooting monks, chasing down protesters? it’s heartbreaking. stop–stop!
i think everyone in the world is begging you to just stop. it’s hard to witness a country tearing itself apart.
it’s times like these you need to look around you and find something that does work. something redeeming and hopeful.
why i don’t like chinese people even though i am one, part 2.
it would be hard to invent something so hateful as this: pushing needles under the skin of a baby. a baby girl, of course.
twenty-six needles, to be exact.
and people act as if misogyny in chinese culture is something feminists overstate.*
One [needle] in the top of her skull could only have been stuck there when the bones in her head were still soft.
when i read this i had a visceral reaction. the kind where you almost double over in pain. because not only did they stick needles under her skin in the hopes of piercing her innards so she would die, and do this—repeatedly—but clearly the men in the family starved the women of love.
been thinking about my yo-yo documentary and the toys in china that are made with tainted lead paint.
now, none of the yo-yos dating back to 1928 were ever manufactured with lead paint that i know of. but competition among yo-yo manufacturers to be profitable was and is a big part of the story i’m telling. and working on the documentary is an occasion to muse about the rise of family-owned businesses that become wildly successful (as the duncan family experienced with duncan yo-yos) and how inevitably part of the narrative of success is that an even larger corporation buys them out and the enterprising family members cash out (or literally “sell out”) and then kick back on the beaches of cabo (or wherever) and live the good life.
what’s interesting is that the duncans never got to the stage where they were bought out by a huge toy corporation like hasbro or mattel. but they were easily on that trajectory.
we signed Cutie Nubbin up for a parent and me chinese-language learning class. last saturday, it rained all morning during the 50-minute long class. i knew we were in trouble when we walked through the community center’s courtyard, past several gleaming yellow tonka dump trucks… and up the steps to the dreary classrooms and even more dreary teachers above.
the teacher is a perfectly nice if completely ineffectual teacher named E. that day, she’d brought her own daughter who is about 5 years old to our class. apparently the dance class E. wanted to enroll her daughter in was cancelled. so the poor thing had to sit through the entirety of a class of 3 squirming 2-to-3 year olds.
dreary E. teaches the class as if her toddler students are 1) deaf and 2) adult learners of a second language. plus, she has the distinct disadvantage of being from the mainland and so therefore is incapable of subtlety, humor, a sense of fun, or any flexibility whatsoever. even the games she invents are tedious and the skeptical toddlers are like, “give me a break, i’m not chasing strangers around a cold, sterile classroom.”
well, when repeated and loud incantations of “EYES! NOSE! MOUTH! EARS!” in chinese by E. failed to stimulate responses from the tots (altough the grownups dutifully chanted along), one little girl lay down in the corner and moan-cried for 10 minutes straight while Cutie Nubbin went to the fire exit door and tried to pry it open–”mommy, go outside! play bulldozers!”
the capper was when E.’s own little girl burst into tears because she wanted to get her mama’s attention and E. kept ignoring her.
E. needs to get some plastic farm animals and let the kiddies play with them and help them learn things through play. bring in some food items and kitchen toys so they can play with those, and name those in chinese. at this age they’re very much into playing with tangible things they can manipulate.
this “repeat after me” stuff only works with 7 year olds who can sit still.