What is it that Robert Burns says about the best laid plans of Mice and Men?
I know perfectly well what Burns said. ““The best laid schemes o’mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” I even know what it means. The very rightness of knowing things has been both a lifesaver and an anchor in many of the storms of my life (How picturesque! I’ve been teaching children to write descriptively and I may have just lost the run of myself as I am wont to do.)
There is a lot on my mind right now. There is even more in my sinus cavity because allergy season and kids around me all day, many of them with various and sundry illnesses. Being around my cherubs reminds me of my elementary school experiences and it makes me watchful because in the anchor and the lifesaver category (world’s worst jeopardy home game) I have a good working memory and have vivid recollections of myself at nine years old and younger. I remember being in Kindergarten and getting into a screaming argument with Sam Honea and Janea Townsend that Ma’am and Mama were two different words. This would not be the first time that I would concede to loud blondes just to keep the peace.
I mostly remember knowing I was right, and not being able to wrap my mind around the fact that these two shrill beasts couldn’t accept that. As I grew up and my intellectual curiosity was encouraged by nuns, librarians and student teachers (Pretty awesome name for a book store/lounge.) I began to ask a lot of what if’s. I remember asking my parents, “What if someone killed an entire classroom of kids, would the kids be buried together or individually?” This was in 1980, and, of course, my parents were shocked by my questions because things like that didn’t happen. There are a few other incidents where I just knew something was right and it was. As an adult I have joked about being the pawn between good and evil and I know I have gone on quite a bit about that. With that power seems to come a bit of Cassandra’s curse (world’s worst Lingerie store) I won’t go into my knowledge of Greek mythology and how Agamemnon should have had more sense to return home after 10 years with another woman, especially since the woman in question spent the entire voyage home warning him that his wife, Clytemnestra probably wasn’t going to be thrilled to see him at all, let alone with a female slave, but, of course, Cassandra was right. Unfortunately, Agamemnon didn’t realize this until after he met the business end of an axe.
Cassandra didn’t get to enjoy her rightness for very long, because Clytemnestra was only slightly more thrilled to see HER than she was her husband. And, of course, Cassandra died.
This whole rambly tumble of words is the preface to what will be part book report, part catharsis and part display of my education. (I have an obsessive need for constant reassurance)
This all came about because I just finished reading:
The Mandibles: A family 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver
The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S.Tepper
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
That kind of explains my mood.