Friday, January 2, 2009

So, who wrote this thing anyways?

And I say it again - I love to read. I've taken to keeping a book at work that I can read on those days I don't have errands to run. I don't like carrying my "main" book back and forth, because either I'd forget it somewhere, or I'd never get any work done, because I'd be sneaking to the bathroom to read it. Not a good way to keep a job. Besides, the bathrooms are disturbing. More on that, later. Another time, when I haven't just eaten.

I've found that biographies and autobiographies are good at-work books. Mysteries are out, because I want to know what happens next. Same with suspenseful books of any kind. And I'm not much for chick lit. But a biography? There aren't many that you can't pick up and put down again.

Right now, my book of choice at work is "Love, Lucy." It's perfect. I love Lucille Ball - always have, always will. She was an amazing actress and comedienne. I can watch reruns of 'I Love Lucy' and always LMAO. Always.

It's a great little book, written some time before her death. Her children found it after she passed and had it published. She dictated the book, and you can hear her voice in every sentence. It's not too long, just under 300 pages. Each chapter is a gem.

Today a co-worker followed me into my office after lunch, and saw me put the book down. "What's this?" "An autobiography of Lucille Ball." Wait for it......

"Who wrote it?"
"It's an autobiography."
"Oh, wow. So who wrote it?"
"She did. An autobiography is a book written by a person about their own life. Lucy dictated it, and someone transcribed it, and it was published after her death."
"Oh. Wow. There's a lot of words in here."

I didn't make this up. It's true. Granted, she doesn't have the kind of job that requires many written words. And her spoken language isn't the best either. Her speech is littered with "I seen...I done...ANYWAYS" You get the idea.

She grew up here in Redneck Heaven. She's happily married, and a mother and grandmother. I AM NOT WRITING THIS TO MAKE FUN OF HER. She is a really nice person, and I would be heartbroken if she knew that her speech makes me want to start drinking at 8:00 in the morning. Even if she read this blog, which she won't, because she doesn't know how to get to a website that isn't already saved in her favorites. I know this, because I help her every day.

I am just continually disturbed that someone in this day and age (and she's not very old...people in this part of the country have children young - she's younger than I) can graduate from high school and be functionally illiterate. When I lived in Sonoma County, I worked as a literacy tutor, helping adult women learn to read and write. I know their stories, I've seen their pain. It happens, but it makes me want to cry.

Anyway, I've decided that I'm going to try to find some time and find a good literacy program and volunteer again.

Any recommendations?


B.Rubble said...

Annie. I play a video game that takes waaay to much time, but I play it online w/others from around the country. (no, not I play w/a age group from about 18-50 yrs old...There is a definitive, noticeable lack of speech/writing capabilities starting w/the generation after mine. We talk about it all the time. We even have a name for it.."pub-school failure"...Not fair, but funny. I suggest finding a at-risk youth program or perhaps an adult education program to volunteer at. I find more recent immigrants speaking better English than Kids who grew up here/attended school here..And by here, I mean America, however Redding does seem to have it's share of language abusers...

Unknown said...

Hey, B.Rubble! The program I worked with in the bay area always matched me with immigrant women who were learning to read and write English to keep up with their kids. They were intelligent and educated, just not in English. It was fun, and they learned quickly. I grew up in a home of immigrants with what could be called quirky English. I still sometimes ask my kids to open the the light, only to have them laugh at me. But in these pub-school failures I see something far different. And I know it's not pervasive - I communicate daily (twitter, blogs, etc.) with lots of folks under 30 who are extremely well-written. I think at-risk youth programs are a great idea, and you've reminded me I know someone who actually runs one of them! Thanks!

B.Rubble said...

Funny, but there is a "gap" that I see. I play that game w/some people who really need to use the keyboard to share what they know and love. They're well written, well spoken, and incredibly smart.A large part of their contemporaries though...WOW. I've heard language abused before but, WOW...This is gratuitious abuse..
"wha happen" is a common response...thats right, response..As in "you know, uh, um and the favorite, so like.." Then they look at YOU like you've grown another limb when you ask them WTH DID YOU JUST SAY?...sigh. I don't know. I thought computers would make us smarter. All it seems to have done is point out the one's who can/will learn, and the rest of them we have to use the computer to figure out wth they're talking about!

Unknown said...

Oh. I know so many people like that. I actually wince a little bit when they're talking to me. Also, I'm going to pick up the Lucille Ball book...I always loved her :)