Audiobook 2 FINISHED! Chapters 23 and 24 here

UPDATE: I originally had the wrong book uploaded for Chapter 24. That has been rectified. Book 2, Soldier at the Door, is now complete! The last two chapters are below, along with the most worrying lines I’ve ever written. And now, they feel even more applicable than ever:

“What if everything we believe is wrong?” Mahrree challenged.

Mahrree saw her poor neighbor’s eyes glaze over. Mrs. Hersh realized too late she’d been dragged into the discussion, and the dread in her eyes demonstrated a frantic desire to escape.

But there was also something else there: a sudden loyalty to her society that demanded no one step out of bounds. “Then we’re wrong together,” Mrs. Hersh decided. “Being united is important,” she said as if realizing she actually believed that. “What everyone thinks together is correct,” she reasoned out loud, “and so if you follow the crowd, you’ll never be wrong.”

Mahrree’s shoulders fell. How can you open someone’s eyes who holds them firmly shut, yet claims she sees just fine?

“It’s like the river,” Mrs. Hersh went on, emboldened by Mahrree’s discouraged silence. “Everything flows downstream. Simply . . . go with that flow. It’s just easier that way.”

Mahrree saw her way back in. “Fish don’t flow downstream.”

“Yes they do.”

“No, they don’t.”

Mrs. Hersh put her hands on her hips. “Why wouldn’t they?”

“Because then there’d be no more fish up here in Edge!” Mahrree pointed out. “I’ve seen them when I’ve taken my students to see the river, and when I’ve dragged my fishing husband home again. Many fish swim in the same spot, fighting the current. A few species even swim upstream, against everything pushing them to the southern ocean.”

Mrs. Hersh pondered for a moment. “That doesn’t make any sense. Why wouldn’t they just go with the flow of the river?”

“Because,” Mahrree tried not to sigh at her neighbor’s inanity, “maybe they don’t like where the river is going. Salty water at the end of it likely kills them.”

Mrs. Hersh squinted. “How would they know about the salty water? Besides, so what? At least they had an easy time getting to it. They’re going die eventually, so might as well go easily instead of fighting the current.”

And right then Mahrree realized, to her horror, that the Administrators had won.

Because as long as everyone else was doing it, you should too. Hold hands and jump off the crevice together, never questioning why.

“I’d rather fight the current,” Mahrree said quietly.

Me too, Mahrree.

Next I’ll be reading the prequel, The Walls in the Middle of Idumea, where we meet grandfather Pere Shin, the king’s servants, and a young Relf Shin.

Audiobook Chapters 17, 18, and 19 of Book 2 ready!

Justification fascinates me: how does the mind slide over, a little at a time, to eventually convince itself that extreme action, such as causing someone’s death, is not only necessary but good? Is it because one can still see the “moral” argument from a distance, and so they believe that they if they are in reaching distance of it, they aren’t as far removed from ethical behavior as they seem to be?

How easily is this justification then applied to other matters, such as ostracizing someone from society for holding firm to a belief that others used to embrace, but now have also sidled away from?

Just musing here, not applying this to anything in the real world whatsoever . . .

[Also, The hardest two words for my stutter to work around are “shoulders sagged.” I see those words coming and I start to panic, wondering why in the world I wrote such a lip-whipping line. (I’m not going to try to say that out loud, either: “lip-whipping line.”)]

Audiobook 2, chapters 7 and 8 from “Soldier at the Door”

Be ready for my ranting, via Mahrree, about how schools should be. I was a homeschooling mom for many years, and am now a full-time high school English teacher, but teach in private schools rather than public. My three youngest kids, however, now attend public schools, but for how long, I don’t know.

I’ve been immensely blessed to be able to teach pretty much how and what I want in schools. I make sure all the standards are covered, but I try to bring in the love of books and language, not the drudgery of worksheets and memorization.

No children are ever at the same level of readiness, no test will ever effectively evaluate a child’s learning, and no teacher can make learning happen if the children–and their parents–aren’t all working together. I know exactly how I’d design a school, working with and for parents and kids, accommodating both part-time and full-time students, and some day in Zion/Salem, I hope to implement it.

Kids don’t need to be force-fed learning. They naturally love it!

But schooling kills it. Tragedy.