November 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm (art, culture, education, history, Indigenous People, Native Americans, photography, random)
Tags: 2012, Alaska, Alaska Native, American, art, culture, education, heritage, history, Indian, Indigenous, month, National American Indian, November, people, poster, random
God’s Hotel, check in and explore– A Doctor, A Hospital, and A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine with Victoria Sweet.
June 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm (history, Writing, culture, life, humor, creative writing, publishing, random, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, education)
Tags: history, Writing, random, education, books, reading, San Francisco, American, exploring interconnectedness, review, Book, Roxie's Blog, Middle Ages, God's Hotel, medicine, Victoria Sweet, doctor, Laguna Honda, Hospital, piligrimage, Hildegard, of Bingen, humors, four humors, health care, memoir, patients, garden
I discovered Victoria Sweet’s book God’s Hotel, A Doctor, a Hospital, and Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine via one of Roxie’s Two for Tuesday highlight offerings. The photography book, Infra, which was the primary interest draw for me still eludes my grasp, but Sweet’s tome was already strutting around the shelves of my public library awaiting my call–unlike most modern doctors of my experience. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to explore Sweet’s pilgrimage even when I put in the book request that would pull it from an inner city branch of the library to the eastern library outpost of my territory. The cover art online certainly did nothing to attract anyone’s attention–in my opinion. Nor was I really in the mood for a full course meal of the intellectual arrogance usually found with the profession that produces God complexes galore. But two things enticed me into giving God’s Hotel at least a ten page reading chance: the location of Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco and the concept of seeing the human body as “a garden to be tended.” I’ve spent just enough time in San Francisco to enjoy its quirky quality so a possible exploration of more quirky was enticing (Ahh the joys of discovering the quirky and dark side of Portland, Oregon as revealed by Chuck Palahniuk’s so-called travel guide of the city complete with rogue Santas. Reader beware–Portland will NEVER seem the same after you read Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon). The concept of the human body as a garden is a very old one which has always made perfect sense to me–though I’ve never met a living physician espousing this view–until Victoria Sweet. Though I’m not sure reading her book really qualifies as ‘meeting’ her at all. Written text is one thing and a person in the flesh is quite another. At first I wasn’t too sure about how far I’d venture into God’s Hotel with Sweet as guide. Luckily her own venturing into the world of Hildegard of Bingen’s Medicine evoked my curiosity about Victoria Sweet’s mind and I continued reading until convinced God’s Hotel offered more than a self-centered memoir. Guess what God’s Hotel really really is. Come on, take a moment before reading further and guess just what this book about a hospital for the poor actually is. Not a fair question because you’ve not read the book–yet? True. So I’ll let out the delightful strange and wonderful secret–it’s an indictment of the entire medical system as currently practiced en masse in the United States. Yes, it really really is. It’s not billed as such. It’s not marketed as such. I seriously doubt any medically connected reviewer would dare describe it as such. But at its very heart that is precisely what God’s Hotel presents in the best possible manner using the element of direct personal engagement with people over the course of time as the means for presenting the case that damns the current practice of medicine as a service industry. As such God’s Hotel is a GREAT book. Why? It’s a learning experience that teaches, informs and gently demands serious questioning of what is generally taken for granted in the medical profession–and the damned medical insurance industry with its factory minded drones.
Sweet manages to do something very difficult–she actually takes us on her own journey to enlightenment via not just her own experiences and explorations but the life stories of many other people met at Laguna Honda. Dr. Sweet is a learner and grower and a woman with an interesting mind curious about the practice of medicine before all the gadgets, hard metal toys, and purple pills for everything under the medical sun. Her learning experiences are vital and vibrant. You will learn a great deal just from the patients she encounters and cares for at Laguna Honda. Oh my, did I use the word ”care” in the same sentence with a doctor? Oh hell, yes I did. Will wonders never cease? I suppose NOT.
So please do give Sweet’s book at least a chance. I think at the very least you’ll be very glad to meet “Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet, and Dr. Merryman.” Oh yes there is a good dose of quirky in God’s Hotel. Such is the nature of humans engaging in self-determination. If you aren’t aware of Hildegard of Bingen’s existence you definitely will be via Sweet’s intellectual and physical pilgrimages. I daresay God’s Hotel could be a most excellent foundation for any discussion of the health care system in America that is in such dire need of evolution.
“I had changed, too, but in a diametrically opposed way. Back on the admitting ward, meeting my old self, I discovered I did things differently, I saw things differently.
I took back to the admitting ward the lessons I’d learned from Mr. Bramwell and Mr. Bramwell’s sister-in-law, from Mr. and Mrs. Teal, from Paul, and from so many others, and, somehow medicine no longer seemed so complicated.”
Oh hell can the medical profession in the United States find its own beating heart? Maybe it can. Might require a few transplants though.
Victoria Sweet’s website http://www.victoriasweet.com/
Roxie’s Blog http://roxieh.wordpress.com/
Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon via Powell’s Books–Portland’s HUGE glorious independent bookstore http://www.powells.com/biblio?show=Hardcover:New:1400047838:16.00
May 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm (creative writing, culture, entertainment, fiction, humor, life, literary fiction, publishing, random, Writing)
Tags: American, Book, book review, books, creative wrting, culture, entertainment, fiction, Ghost Lights, humor, life, literary fiction, Lydia, MIllet, publishing, Pulitzer, random, reading, review, Writing
I picked up Lydia Millet’s Ghost Lights at a time when my brainpan needed serious distraction from stewing in its own juices. “Pulitzer finalist” on the book jacket caught my eye and I wondered what sort of contemporary work of fiction would fit that bill. Hence I decided to give the tome a chance even though the first pages concerning a three-legged dog did nothing to capture my interest. Now perhaps I’m missing something here as this is touted as the second book of a trilogy. Hmm. Okay well I am going to continue missing that special something that comes from the second book in a trilogy of which I have not read the first installment. I’m going to continue the ‘missing’ because I’ve no intentions of reading the first part of the trilogy, How the Dead Dream, in order to get up to speed on whatever I’m missing. Nor do I have any plans to read part three. Why not? It’s not because MIllet can’t write–she can. The prose flows easily across the pages requiring no effort from the reader at all. I’m not going to read any further backward or forward because there are more interesting books to read and for the following reasons directly related to Ghost Lights:
I do not care about middle-aged men who work for the Internal Revenue Service.
I do not care about middle-aged men who are upset to learn that their wives are being sexually active with males other than themselves.
I do not care about a wife having sex with a younger man than her husband.
I do not care about a middle-aged man who learns his crippled daughter is making a living doing phone sex.
I do not care that a crippled woman has found that phone sex is the most lucrative way to support herself.
I do not care about a middle-aged Tax Man who goes off to find a man he doesn’t even like just to get away from his issues.
I do not care about Tax Man going agog over a beautiful German woman and her husband and two boys.
I do not care about Tax Man having his dream of ‘sex on the beach’ with beautiful German woman come true.
I do not care about Tax Man having no clue what mess he’s walked into by his weak efforts to find the missing T-man.
I do not care about ignorant man befuddled by German woman’s ignorance of the issues of the Indigenous Guatemalan population.
I do not care about any of these characters because Millet provides absolutely no reason why I should care about them. Beautiful breasts of German women do not engage my interest. The three-legged dog seems to have been some sort of red herring. The crippled daughter operates as a sort of sympathy plea. The adulterous wife is so much shallow contemporary American woman that the character construction isn’t worth the effort to sneer at her. The Tax Man — is–well he’s the Tax Man nursing a Tin Man’s heart of sorts. Did I miss something of vital importance between the hardback covers of Ghost Lights? Did I? If so and you know what it is please drop a line and tell me. I’d really like to know. –Oh and NO the concluding pages of the book will not suffice. I’m NOT buying that at all. Btw, if any of this book was supposed to be funny–I didn’t laugh. There are many types of humor–but I don’t recall stumbling over any form here. Perhaps I need to update my humor catalog?
Ghost Lights– link to excerpt http://www.lydiamillet.net/ghost_lights.html
November 5, 2011 at 7:58 pm (art, culture, education, entertainment, ethics, history, humor, Independent film, Indigenous People, life, movies, Native Americans, random, Uncategorized)
Tags: American, Cree, culture, documentary, education, entertainment, film, genocide, heritage, history, independent journalism, Indian Country Today, Indigenous, life, movies, Native, Native Ground, Neil Diamond, news, people, random, Reel Injun, Sundance, The Only Good Indian
It’s November and that means “official” Native American Heritage Month in the US of A. Folks it’s time to get down with the genocidal history of the United States of America. Before the Japanese were sent to camps for being Japanese in America, the Indigenous people were forced onto reservations which I consider prisons without walls. Genocide in America is ongoing to the present for Traditional Indigenous people who have endured the theft of their land and children and destruction of their culture for several hundred years. Columbus Day does not engender warm fuzzy memories for everyone now living in the Americas north, south and in between.
To kick off my observance of Native American Heritage month here are two trailers and clip from a new film, “Reel Injun” by Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond. Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/11/native-american-film-festival-highlights-history/
We all love movies, don’t we? Think about how films have formed your view of Native Americans and history. Consider how those often called “the losers” view the same events–and the portrayal in films. For those of you who adore the movie “Dances With Wolves” ask yourself why you like the film? And please think about why “the Only Good Indian” never got on the national movie theatre circuit in the United States of America. Yes, you can find it in parts on the tube of you. Time to get beyond stereotypes and into reality.
August 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm (Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, culture, education, ethics, history, Indigenous People, Lakota, life, Native Americans, politics, random)
Tags: 1922, American, Cherry Creek, Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, culture, education, Elizabeth Eagle Feather, history, life, National Archives, Native American, people, Record Group 75, South Dakota, women
These documents, and others like them posted here, are in the public domain. They are available from the National Archives, Kansas City, MO branch. All can be found in Record Group 75. This material is posted here to make it available to those who might not otherwise have access to it. It is also posted to inform and educate about living conditions on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in 1922. If there is a family name on the index that is of interest, please post a comment requesting a posting.