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The Things They Carried WRITTEN BY MIMI NOTHACKER
5:00 pm | Wednesday, Sept. 8
The Northshore’s Best
Alike WRITTEN BY DR. MARY W. SPEED
I AM ON a multi-leg trip and am writing this article somewhere over an ocean. So far, the legs have included three countries and nine cities. In each airport, I go through security points and immigration checks as do the thousands of others also boarding planes. Security checks and clearances allow us to enter designated areas and other countries. Our documentation proves we are who we say we are, and not someone else. Yet for all of our language and customs differences, we are traveling for the same reasons. We are moving about countries because of people or work, or some combination of both. And, we have another similarity despite language barriers and expression—we have the same emotions. We note the emotional states, and based our perceptions, decide to approach or distance from others. Some emotional states are: anticipation—studying faces, looking for familiarity in someone or someplace. How I looked in Guatemala waiting for my son, David. Sadness—how I was as I left my newborn grandson, Jet, in Guatemala. Happiness—looking up, smiling, arms open. How I felt arriving in Canada. Fearful—how a non-native, Englishspeaking, fellow traveler looks asking about connecting flight information. Anger, manifested with knitted eyebrows and agitated movements. Paranoia, or always looking behind. How a few people look going through security. Calm with relaxed features, quiet voices. How we look settling in seeing the unlighted seatbelt sign. Keeping one’s emotions in check allows for a happier travel experience. What this trip is teaching me overall is that allowing ourselves ample time for connections helps us get along better, and that neither the boundaries of language nor miles are impermeable.
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Sophisticated Woman | August 2012
THE THINGS THEY CARRIED, a work of fiction by Tim O’Brien, is a fascinating collection of interrelated short stories about war, each building upon each other. The book begins with stories of physical objects that soldiers carry, but as the reader becomes more immersed in the daily lives of the infantrymen, he can feel the psychological weights that the soldiers accumulate and carry as the days pass. The well-crafted descriptions of events in these stories carry the reader into the confused, emotional darkness of soldiers’ psyches, particularly those who seem to be suffering from post-traumatic stress. The veracity of the stories is a result of the author’s experiences as a foot soldier in Vietnam. In the book, he appears as one of the characters of the Alpha Company. Other characters appear as the platoon leader, the medic, and the radiotelephone operator. Others appear only in the soldiers’ reminiscences. The Things They Carried was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and won the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger. It is a book that begs to be explored, and fortunately St. Tammany Parish residents will have the opportunity to discuss it during September, as the parish participates in a program called “The Big Read.” Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried is the featured literature. Thanks to a partnership with Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the library administration has received a grant from Arts Midwest, which will provide funding for several programs related to the book. This month watch for notices in the newspaper, library website and other information sources for a full description of events. Tim O’Brien. The Things They Carried. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. Available as a book or e-book at St. Tammany Parish Library or at area bookstores.
Northshore New Orleans Lifestyle Magazine. August 2012 issue. A monthly magazine that tells everything going on on the Northshore.