Friday, December 05, 2008

Glass Castle - the Lecture

In some far earlier blog, I raved about my "find" of Jeannette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle. Last month I discovered, somewhat by accident, that she would be giving a free lecture as a part of the Humanities Lecture Series at KU. As luck would have it, my evening was free and I got a prime seat - middle center. I was as enamored by Walls in person, as I was by her book, and managed to scratch out a few of the more quotable quotes. I can't guarantee that I recall her words exactly, but I think they are close. I pass them on for anyone who needs an extra "pearl" for the day.

"In protecting children from obstacles, we may deprive them of the gift of learning to navigate those obstacles."

In reaction to her observation of a friend she envied for his food and heat, whose father hit him on the head for drawing, she commented:
"We might not have had food, and we might not have had heat, but my parents would never have made fun of my dreams."

Regarding her shame growing up and her need to write the memoir . . .
"Secrets are like vampires. They can suck the life out of you, but they only exist in the dark."

"Don't be ashamed of your scars. Scars are a sign that you survived."

Her mom's comment when Jeannette questioned how she could have had a "good day" because she fell off a horse. . .
"Anyone can ride a horse. It's knowing how to fall off that's the real talent."

Throughout, she reaffirmed that she learned how to dream from her dad, and learned to be optimistic from her mom.

My favorite - After she got her first big journalism job, she was constantly afraid people would find out about her past and did her best to hide it. One of her co-workers, who had grown up quite privileged and went to private schools, asked if she would like to join her on an Outward Bound experience. She said she didn't know what it was, and asked the girl about it. The girl replied, well you spend several weeks roughing it in the wild, no plumbing, no electricity, foraging for your own food . . . She looked at her and thought, "The first 17 years of my life were an Outward Bound experience." She could hardly wait to call her brother and tell him, "You won't believe this, but rich people actually PAY to suffer!"

1 comment:

  1. "In protecting children from obstacles, we may deprive them of the gift of learning to navigate those obstacles."

    Love this! can take out the word "children"...we all fit this theory. Unfortunately, the scars from LEARNING how to better navigate life obstacles, are what we can wear proudly. They attest to our Survival! :)