The Trauma Plot, Its Applicability to This Blog; Desperate Measures for Desperate Times; Possible Employment at the Apple Store; Rewriting of This Blog’s About Me Spoke Little of Tra Trauma Inflicted Upon Alexis McBride; The Continuing Saga of the Emeritus ID; Photograph of a Salad

At this precise moment I am at an Apple Store – an Apple Store that I love located at the Yas
Mall in Abu Dhabi. I love it so much I am thinking of coming here to live if I EVER get my Emirates I.D. I shall approach the manager of this store and ask for a job – it is easier to get an ID when you are coming to live in the UAE. So desperate measures calls for desperate times, or is it the other way around. It is the other way around, it is a proverb. Desperate times call for desperate measures. In adverse circumstances, actions that might have been rejected under other circumstances may become the best choice.. Wait until you here where it comes from:
This phrase likely originates with a saying of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, which appears in his Aphorisms: “For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure, as to restriction, are most suitable.
At this exact moment I am having my iWatch paired with my iPhone for some obscure reason. I guess there might be a huge advantage to this – but at the moment it is beyond me. In the meantime I I am joking with the staff, trying to find the manager as I have an idea for a job for me. Telling the staff about it.
Me: My job will be teaching Emirati men how to say Please and then, Thank You.
They: Oh my goodness Alexis you are funny and it is needed.
But one man had a better suggestion.
He: What they need is a strong woman.
Me; Well, that is me. (Punching the air).
They: You are!
Me: And have been endorsed. An Emirati man of great status called me the Strongest Person He Had Ever Known. But the work would be too strenuous and I am 78, after all.

But before, in the early morning hours while in bed, I happened upon a New Yorker article and became intrigued with its premise. It spoke of the trauma plot – its dominance in literature and the media. The article definitely fired my imagination.
“Dress this story up or down: on the page and on the screen, one plot—the trauma plot—has arrived to rule them all. Unlike the marriage plot, the trauma plot does not direct our curiosity toward the future (Will they or won’t they?) but back into the past (What happened to her?). “For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge,” Sylvia Plath wrote in “Lady Lazarus.” “A very large charge.” Now such exposure comes cheap. Frame it within a bad romance between two characters and their discordant baggage. Nest it in an epic of diaspora; re-ënvision the Western, or the novel of passing. Fill it with ghosts. Tell it in a modernist sensory rush with the punctuation falling away. Set it among nine perfect strangers. In fiction, our protagonist will often go unnamed; on television, the character may be known as Ted Lasso, Wanda Maximoff, Claire Underwood, Fleabag. Classics are retrofitted according to the model.Two modern adaptations of Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw” add a rape to the governess’s past. In a Netflix reboot of “Anne of Green Gables the title character is given a history of violent abuse, which she relives in jittery flashbacks. In Hogarth Press’s novelized updates of Shakespeare’s plays, Jo Nesbø, Howard Jacobson, Jeanette Winterson, and others accessorize Macbeth and company with the requisite devastating backstories.”

Sylvia Plath’s quote: to see her scars there is a charge is an amazing turn of praise. The author, Paul Shegal, traced the history of trauma from its earliest days “Trauma came to be accepted as a totalizing identity. Its status has been little affected by the robust debates within trauma theory or, for that matter, by critics who argue that the evidence of van der Kolk’s theory of traumatic memory remains weak, and his claims uncorroborated by empirical studies (even his own).”

Shegal continues his reporting of the pervasiveness of the problem by speaking of the cinema.
“Certainly the filmmakers of classical Hollywood cinema were quite able to bring characters to life without portentous flashbacks to formative torments. In contrast, characters are now created in order to be dispatched into the past, to truffle for trauma.”

He turns to literature contrasting the spate of misery memoirs with real works of literature using Toni Morrison and William Shakespeare as examples of the real thing. He discusses the Toni Morrison’s portrayal of Sula Peace . “Where the trauma plot presents us with locks and keys, Morrison does not even bother to tell us what happens to Sula in the decade she disappears from town, and from the novel. Sula doesn’t exist for our approval or judgment, and, in her self-possession, is instead rewarded with something better: our rapt fascination with her style, her silences and refusals. Stephen Greenblatt has used the term “strategic opacity” to describe Shakespeare’s excision of causal explanation to create a more complex character. Shakespeare’s source texts for “King Lear” and “Hamlet” include neatly legible motivations; lopping them off from the story releases an energy obstructed by the conventional explanation. That energy isn’t just released by the play. It is the audience’s own, the force of our imagination.”

Shegal is saying that we are fascinated with Sula’s style, her victimhood would get in the way. . Shakespeare forces all to use our imagination to understand the ‘backstory’ of King Lear and Hamlet.

Shegal digs deeper into a society that thrives on the trauma plot. “In a world infatuated with victimhood, has trauma emerged as a passport to status—our red badge of courage? The question itself might offend: perhaps it’s grotesque to argue about the symbolic value attributed to suffering when so little restitution or remedy is available.”

That sentence, that thought is so well formulated and written ,victimhood has become the red badge of courage which becomes ‘grotesque’ when there is no remedy available.

Shegal concludes brilliantly. “ The trauma plot flattens, distorts, reduces character to symptom, and, in turn, instructs and insists upon its moral authority. The solace of its simplicity comes at no little cost. It disregards what we know and asks that we forget it, too—forget about the pleasures of not knowing, about the unscripted dimensions of suffering, about the odd angularities of personality, and, above all, about the allure and necessity of a well-placed sea urchin.” The entire article can be found at

I was fascinated by this article because it is applicable to my life and this blog. I recently updated the About Me section and in doing so obliterated much of my prior reminisces of the trauma in my life, which has been extensive. Not sure why I did it, but it did seem rather irrelevant at this point in time. It seemed Shegal was cheering me on – saying that I should be treating myself like Morrison treated Sela and let my style speak for me. Let my readers use their imagination and wonder what brought me to this juncture – an old lady living in a very foreign country, newly a Muslim with a blog and a retirement income to sustain me.

Still no Emeritus ID although the need for it ever increases. I hate being a vicim and hate victimhood, it infuriates me but this rage will only get in the way. Fortunately Allah guides me in subtle ways. I shall solve the problem .

It was back to the Agency went I and it seems that a solution has been found and on Monday I shall be a bona fide resident of this land – not permanently of course as there is no permanence for most those in the UAE but I shall join the ranks of the temporary – for just a while. That is what the Islamic faith teaches – we are here just for a while on our passage to either Paradise or the other place. I need to get this off to Chris, my computer guru so that I can pray and perform deed that will get me Paradise bound.

The photograph is of the best Caesar Sadad in the world as far as I am concerned. It was consumed at Nuevo Restarant at the Premier Inn at the Abu Dhabi airport.

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