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Matthew Dicks: Imaginer

At our book club meeting in the library yesterday, we had the pleasure of hearing from the author of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, our novel for this month.  We got to ask the author questions and many also shared personal experiences people about themselves, their children & imaginary friends.

Some interesting moments -

Describing his writing process, Matthew said, for example, that he himself did not know for sure what the epilogue meant. Shall write the next two sentences in white, highlight if you wish to read. In one interpretation, Budo has died and meets Dee, who has also died, in some kind of afterlife or heaven. In another interpretation, Dee had not died and Budo has become the imaginary friend of Dee. Read more…

Imaginary Friends

Just finished reading the book club book for July, Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks.  Khiyali and I have already had a couple of discussions about this book -she read parts of it and I told her the story as well.  It was definitely very intense for her and I am not sure she would have liked to read the entire book.  She would have gotten very emotionally involved with the characters.    Even with the bits she has read and hearing the rest of the story from me she found it intense.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, by Matthew Dicks

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, by Matthew Dicks

So I had to go gently around the issue of imaginary friends dying, or fading away, when the imaginer friend stops imagining them.    I explained that what happens is that the imaginary friend merges into the larger reality.  Which I feel more truly reflects the role that imaginary friends play.   They provide companionship, emotional support, and a world that only the imaginer knows.  Eventually one learns to find these in the world around one.  Not because this world is “real” but because it is the world of our collective imagination.

Another analogy:  Take a bubble that you blow.  Because you blew air into the soapy film to form the bubble, the air retains a certain amount of momentum.  Some bubbles pop but others just grow until they are so thin that they just evaporate – allowing the air inside to merge with the air outside.

While the imaginary friend Budo explains that while he is imagined by another person and cannot exist without that person, he also does things on his own, without the involvement of his imaginer friend, Max.

As a reader, I wonder if this is a comment on our subconscious, or if we are just to accept for the purpose of the novel that the imaginary friend is not entirely the product of the imaginer, but a character in his own right.

If the former, then this raises interesting questions about Budo’s friends – are they also part of Max’s imagination?

It would be an interesting way to think about our subconscious mind, especially if we think about the possibility that all of us are imaginary.

Of course there is a small bit of magic in the story.  Other than that it could be read as a complex psychological allegory.

I had a prediction which turned out to be false – I thought that when Budo sought the help of Oswald he would ask Oswald to dial 911 or perhaps to bring to Max so that he could dial 911.   But instead we were treated to a high speed chase.  Fine.

Looking forward to the book discussion next week!  Can’t wait in fact :-)

Author:  Mathew Dicks

Discussion:  Bel Air Fiction Book Discussion Group  Thursday July 17 at 6:30

Fizz Boom Read … and Eat Pizza

Our Fourth of July in Pictures


Fizz Boom Read!  Harford County Library shows off its Chemistry at the Fourth of July Parade in Bel Air

Fizz Boom Read! Harford County Library shows off its Chemistry at the Fourth of July Parade in Bel Air

Showing off a Water Molecule on the Library Float for the 4th of July - the theme is Fizz Boom Read!

Showing off a Water Molecule on the Library Flat for the 4th of July – the theme is Fizz Boom Read!

Fans of Harford County Library gathered on the Float for the Parade!

Fans of Harford County Library gathered on the Float for the Parade! 

The Fourth of July comes once a year and this year as every year we made the 4th of July Pizza

The Fourth of July comes once a year and this year as every year we made the 4th of July Pizza

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 50 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

December 2013 Snow

We were in town in the winter of 2009-10 and got enough snow to make up for all the years we missed. I’m told it hasn’t snowed much since, so we haven’t missed much … until now.

The Passport Office is here!

Well we haven’t had this kind of excitement since the new phone books came and they haven’t been coming for years …

[Tell the young people what "the new phone books are here" is …. is … oh, and also tell them what phone books are.]

So now, you really can walk to almost anything from Idlewild Street!  Not that the post office was too far to walk, but it involves crossing the Baltimore Pike and walking around and behind all those big stores.   Plus they’d be backlogged for appointments and the last time I tried to get one I had to wait a month.  I wonder if it will be any easier at the library.  Oh look!  It says, “no appointment necessary.”

It is odd that the county library is taking on a federal government service though.  Should we worry?   Using scarce library space for this when they aren’t even letting the public book meeting rooms anymore, except at high fees.  And what does this mean for the Post Office?  Already it has moved off Main Street, from its proper place in the heart of downtown.   <sigh>

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Harford County Public Library <>
Date: Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 9:42 PM
Subject: Passport Office in Bel Air Library is Now Open!


You too could live on Idlewild Street

Come on! You know you want to … rural but not too rural, urban but not too urban. A town with an actual Main Street still functioning. If you use your imagination, while strolling on Main Street near the court house and fountain, you can imagine you are in any city of the world.

… and now you have your chance. #34 Idlewild Street is for sale. How do I love Idlewild Street? Let me count the ways! A real estate agent might only point out the proximity to the entire set of schools, from K-12 which are lined up all in a row, just down the street. From #34 you can probably see them from your porch. In any case, none will be more than a 5 minute walk away. That includes the elementary schools, which have playgrounds that kids can use when school’s out.  And guess what, if you homeschool, it’s even better, because the homeschool reviewer’s office is at the middle school, at 99 Idlewild Street, which is actually the closest of all these schools to Idlewild Street itself!

But there’s more.

Idlewild Street, especially west of Main Street, is about the most convenient location you could ever hope to have, even if  - especially if –  you have no car. Here are all the things in walking distance:

1. aforementioned schools and homeschool office.
2. The Library
3. Main Street – for those who like to shop local, including two thrift stores, for those who like to shop cheap, green and local.
4. Everything else on Main Street like the farmer’s market, the Court, the Fountain, First Fridays, Third Thursdays and all the other local culture that we have here in downtown Bel Air.
6.  Harford County Council Meetings take place on Bond Street, near downtown Bel Air.  And Representative Andy Harris’ office is in Terlyn Square.
7. Shamrock Park, one of the best little parks in the County – with open space, playground, picnic tables AND an amphitheatre all in one place – near the library as well.
8. Rockfield Creative Playground – another nice playground, with a little creek adjacent to it.
9. Ma & Pa Trail
10. Grocery Stores – Klein’s, Mars, Weis
9. Other Stores – Harford Mall, Tollgate Mall, Terlyn Square, and all kinds of stores on Main Street & Bond Street.
10. Doctors / Pharmacy – Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, as well as Patient First and Atwood Professional Building
11. Lots of Banks, financial services, law, etc.
12. Country Village is across the street – good place to make friends if Idlewild St is too quiet for you / your kids.

Everything listed above is half-a-mile to a mile away!

What if you need to go to Baltimore? Well the 410 bus stop is also within 10 minutes walk, at the intersection of McPhail and Edgehill. You can only go in the morning and come back in the evening, but it sure beats driving. And it is $3.50 each way, which is less than the toll for the Fort McHenry Tunnel! The last bus to Baltimore leaves at 7:35am and takes you to downtown – you can connect with the MARC train Camden line if you want to continue to Washington, DC. Otherwise you can get to DC without a car by taking the Harford County bus to Aberdeen and catching the MARC train from there. (Here are the other routes on the Harford County bus service.)

A bugle band stops to play on Idlewild Street. 4 July 2013.

The Acrobat Dilemma

Will the circus pass inspection?

Will the circus pass inspection?

So we performed The Acrobat Dilemma 2013 edition at Shamrock Park on July 10 and 11 2013.   Here is the July 11 show:

Rainbow Co-op

Labor Day is around the corner.  If you haven’t yet joined a co-op this just might be the one for you.    All of us are people who haven’t joined a co-op.  We believe learning and living are inseparable, integrated and immensely imaginative!  Okay that last part was mostly for alliteration.

If you are looking for the company of other secular homeschooling families that follow an approach to learning that draws from the inner curriculum of each child, you are not alone.  Let’s get acquainted and support one another through park days, exchange of ideas and resources, group projects, and other interesting activities together.  Join us for an orientation on Friday, August 30.

Rainbow Co-op is secular and based on free and democratic learning.

??????????????????Please fill out the form below:

Let’s go have a talk with Andy Harris

This April 2013 photo is during an interview with Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., in his Capitol Hill office in Washington.Let’s go have a talk with Andy Harris

Andy Harris represents the 1st District and he also went to Johns Hopkins.

So when I got a message from my friend Tracey today saying that there was an upcoming visit his office on Tuesday, I realized that it is about time I went to meet him.

Here is the notice of the meeting:

Time: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Host: Lewis Givens
Contact Phone: 443-629-2359
Location: Rep. Andy Harris’s Bel Air Office (Bel Air, MD)

15 East Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD 21014

97% of scientists agree that climate change is real, but too many members of Congress continue to deny the problem or the science behind it. Join local supporters at this Action August event to stand up and speak up to draw attention to the climate deniers in Congress.

Was Andy Harris really one of the "climate deniers?" I went to his website and checked under issues. Neither climate change nor energy were listed, but I found something about how he voted on these issues at Andy Harris on Energy and Oil.

There I found that Andy Harris:

Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

Congressional Summary:Amends the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from promulgating any regulation the emission of a greenhouse gas (GHG) to address climate change.

Excludes GHGs from the definition of "air pollutant" for purposes of addressing climate change. Exempts from such prohibition existing regulations on fuel efficiency, research, or CO2 monitoring.

Repeals and makes ineffective other rules and actions concerning GHGs.

Signed the No Climate Tax Pledge by AFP.

Harris signed the No Climate Tax Pledge

No Climate Tax Pledge: "I pledge to the taxpayers of my state, and to the American people, that I will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue."

Sponsoring organizations: Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEU); National Taxpayers Union (NTU); Institute for Liberty Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans.

Source: AFP website 10-AFP on Nov 2, 2010

Voted YES on opening Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling.

Congressional Summary:

Makes available for leasing, in the 2012-2017 five-year oil and gas leasing program, outer Continental Shelf areas that are estimated to contain more than 2.5 billion barrels of oil; or are estimated to contain more than 7.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Makes the production goal for the 2012-2017 five-year oil and gas leasing program an increase by 2027 in daily production of at least 3 million barrels of oil, and 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
The closest I could find to his stand on environmental issues was a paragraph talking about the importance of the Chesapeake Bay.

Let’s see if we can have a reasonable conversation about the impact of these energy and oil polices on the climate and the environment.


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