A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Duplicity & Rude Awakenings
Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sometime around 1973 I remember vividly that I had just written on the blackboard of a private school where I was teaching in Mexico City. The class was a grade 9 class made up mostly children of rich Americans from American companies, the American Embassy and a few from the CIA whose parents masked their positions as librarians in the United States Information Service Benjamin Franklin Library, located in the inappropriately-named Pink Zone.

The principal of the school was a well meaning middle-aged woman and an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was pro Nixon and had the completely unfounded idea that I was a commie.

This is what I had written on the board:


While performing the part which is truly ours, how exhausting it is to be obliged to play a role which is not ours: the person you must really be, in order to fulfill your task, you must not appear to others to be, in order to be allowed by them to fulfill it. How exhausting – but unavoidable, since mankind has laid down once and for all the organized rules of human behaviour.


I asked the class, “Who do you think wrote this?” The principal abruptly opened the door, read what I had written and answered, “Che Guevara!” With a bit of smile on my face I corrected her, “No it was the Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld.

I had learned duplicity in the Argentine Navy. I was either going to be at the mercy of career Argentine Marine Corps corporals or I could learn to manipulate them and get what I wanted.

Duplicity has served me well. I am now attempting to use it in order to trick a loved grandchild into reading.

Up to know I have been successful with plain honesty. I bought Kirsten Geir’s Ruby Red (translated from the German) recently and presented it to my granddaughter Rebecca, 14, she read it and to my amazement her mother, my daughter said, “I’m reading it, too. We both love time travel books.” I found another in the same vein and that also went well. But I should have known better. From the public library I took out Madeleine L’Engle’s time travel classic A Wrinkle in Time and last year’s Newbery Medal winner, Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me. These two, it seems have been rejected.

Today Rosemary and I passed by Chapters on Granville and Broadway. We were not there to buy any kitchen accessories, knick knacks or stuffed teddy bears. We were there to see about books for teens. I found Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austin Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler. It was not in the teen lit section but it looks light enough and the plot involves time travel from London's Regency period to contemporary LA.

The tack I am going to use here is that I am going to give the book to my daughter Hilary as a gift. You must surely be able to figure out my true intention!



     

Previous Posts
Oh And Colin Thomas Not Colin James! Hehe

The Light In The Piazza - A Florentine Cinderella ...

My Roses Wave Their Hats In Goodbye - Perhaps Not

You Say Tomato I Say Xitomatl

Independence As It Slips Away

Fall Arts Preview

A Happy Ending To Summer's End

A September Morning

Toby Ball's Scorch City - The Vaults Continue

Waking To The Hard Light



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11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17