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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nurtury Book and Film Club Weekend



To what, or whom, do we feel we belong? What are the necessary conditions to "feeling" belonged? And though many of us might aspire to belong, are there also drawbacks to being "in the fold"? These were just some of the questions that we explored over the course of this weekend, dipping into the terrains of home, nostalgia, longing and coming-of-age as we hammered out a collective living philosophy around belonging and experienced, in our different ways, how belonging actually felt in the context of the group itself. Our props for thinking through the theme of belonging were three books-to-film - Carson McCuller's "The Member of the Wedding," Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis" and Rebecca Wells' "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" - which we turned inside out (and back again!) over fireside discussions, salon screenings, wine and food, and walks in the woods. There was even a game of hopscotch thrown into the mix to return us to those tenuous belongings of girlhood, and remind us of how play could make us feel a part of the crowd, or apart from it. Bringing our own stories of belonging (or not) into dialogue with the kind of belongings (and longings) experienced by our fictional weekend companions enabled us, by Sunday, to put forth a tentative lexicon of what might constitute belonging: unconditional acceptance, confidence, respect, connection, freedom, love, leaving and returning, negotiation, action and being yourself being but a sampling of the words and sentiments that found their way into it. A special insight into belonging was provided by having a set of triplets with us for the weekend. As one of the sisters so eloquently encapsulated that sense of being always already a 'we' beyond the 'me': "I was belonged before I was born."

Thank you to everyone who was part of this special weekend for making it such a memorable learning and living experience.