Thank you all for your warm wishes to me and to each other as we continue on this journey together. Next week, we are going to begin working with the idea of re-occuring themes in your work.
I would like to ask you all to post some of your writing goals. For example, you may want to write a series of letters to your child or complete a short story. Perhaps your goal is to write three days a week for fifteen minutes. Whatever it is, this is the week to put it out there! Also, next week you will begin giving feedback to each other. I am going to post an extra thread on guidelines for feedback. I cannot tell you how important it is to me that you all follow these guidelines. For this to remain a safe space, it is imperative that feedback be given in a respectful, supportive manner. Please read the guidelines and refer back to them whenever you are giving your perspective on someone's writing.
Now, let's enjoy our week together!
1. How is your list of passions and obsessions coming along?
Please jot down at least three to write about this week. Some examples from my list are raising Chloe, the pursuit of Truth,the perfect meal,traveling in Europe,the best sex,making films, serving others, fulfilling my life's purpose, floating in the ocean at Big Sur. Feel free to use any of mine if they coincide with yours! Have fun making and adding to your list. Write for fifteen minutes on each this week.
2.Write for twenty minutes beginning with the words " I love........"
3. Then, write for twenty minutes beginning with the words "I don't love......"
Choose three of the following twelve topics to write on for 5-7 minutes this week.
1. What I carry...
2. My daughter........
3. My son.....
4. My child's father......
5. My body......
6. Motherhood changed.............
7. How I was mothered....
8. First kiss.........
9. 1969 ..........
10. Hard labor...............
11. I dream......
Just go with the one's that speak to your first impulse. Remember to keep your pen moving across the page at all times.Surrender to wildness. Surrender to passion. On the page and in your life. Let this be a week for exploration.
***** Bonus challenge!!!!!!
Celebrate your passions this week. Take a walk in a new place (with or without your children). Ask yourself the question " how can I be living a more passionate life?" or "how can I reconcile my passions and my childrens needs in a peaceful, joyful way?" Let this walk be about meditating on one of these questions and opening to the answers and inspirations.When you come home, make a list of your revelations.
When I moved in with Dad, we had our one and only open communication around the table, when my Step-mom coldly told me, "I just don't know how a mother can abandon her children.." This hurt me so deeply i could not respond. I felt guilty. I felt a burden. Now, I know they had no idea what we just endured together. I knew my Mom loved me with all her heart. It was the reality of money and all the things a teenager expects in this society that were hard for her, being newly single, after raising four kids, with only a GED looking for work. I felt like I needed to defend her for the rest of my life because I saw how she was hurt..... I heard it through walls.
She gave me independence, even if it broke our hearts. She has always mothered me as close inside her heart as possible, never for a moment abandoning me. She mothered me by making me strong. No wind or wave can break me because of my mother.
homeschooling mama to 8 yr old with a new little one(5-5-2011) ...
My children are my life. They have saved my life. And for them, I give my life. This is a truth that I believe. This I carry inside. I make my choices for them. Choices that hold me prisoner in a world of my making...for them.
I carry the truth of what the world has to offer, of the discoveries and the pain. I want this world to be magical for them, yet I have seen the truth. So I do what I can to change it, and I shield their eyes from its horrors while carrying the weight of this knowledge deep inside. They need to believe in the magic.
I carry with me the truths that would hurt them. Sometimes I have to look away so that they do not see what is inside. The truth about their father and I. They see how we both adore them but they do not see that he is unable to touch me. He can tickle them until they shriek with giggles, yet he cringes away from my slightest touch. I turn to my children to hold and hug me and fill up that void.
I carry with me the truth that those hugs keep me sane.
"The best things in life aren't things."
When I became pregnant, I was completely engrossed in the miracle. Inside of my body grew a life. By belly blossomed, stretching, growing. I was so entranced by the miracle taking place right before my eyes. The day I became pregnant, my body was no longer my own. It was a vessel, carrying something precious. I gained respect and awe for my body as, screaming in pain, I pushed this beautiful little person out of my womb. My breasts were no longer my own. They did not belong to me for my pleasure, they were for something far more important. Like the rest of my body, they were intended to give life.
Now I am amazed at this body of mine. My breasts are not recognizable as the breasts of my youth. No longer pert and perky, they hang gently, touching against my skin. My belly is soft and I have curves that mark me as a woman, not a girl. I am reminded of the woman as Maiden, Mother and Crone. I was a Maiden in the days of my youth, and am now a Mother. Time will continue and I will become an old woman. I cannot imagine how it will be, just as I could not imagine being a mother while I was still young and free.
My body has given me so much. I have been beautiful. I have born children. I have been healthy and strong. These marks that I carry tell a tale of a girl who is now something so much more. A girl who has finally become a woman.
"The best things in life aren't things."
the carefully choreographed steps we take
to avoid stepping on anyone's toes.
The elaborate dance with carefully calculated distance;
that we use to avoid touching
anything deeper than fingertips and polite nods.
I do not love what we have become:
Guests decked out in our formal finery,
feathers that mask the deepening wounds of neglect.
We dance with backs straight, heads held high
fingertips barely noticing each other;
our steps are so familiar that touch is no longer nessicary. (SP?)
Others will look and say:
That couple moves so well together,
They must have been at this for a long time.
We look straight ahead, over each other's shoulders,
never focusing on the other's face.
But if we did it would be like looking into a cold mirror
or just beyond it, and finding a blank reflection.
I do not love the music we have written
to hide the silence; the archaic musette
of partners and prancing we bind ourselves in.
I dance it anyway, to cover the silence of our shared voices
to hear the swish of my silk skirt
and distract me from this painfully cinched corset.
I do not love the silence between us,
but I prefer it to our conversations
so we dance and dance,
until there is no breath to dance more.
However, I do like the goal (and think it's doable) of 3X a week for 15 minutes. I think I can do that. Yes, I CAN!
I eat parenting books for breakfast, lunch and dinner and I chant the positive discipline mantra over and over in hopes whatever is there will automatically kick in once it’s needed and I’m irrational and exhausted. I learn by observing. I start to identify “mistakes” in other parents’ handling of a situation. I would have done it differently, I say to myself, safe in the caverns of my thoughts. Or would I?
I certainly hope so. I try to live out the ideal I have in my head, but at the same time, I know I have to resign myself to the fact that I am a human being and will make mistakes. Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn, says my favorite discipline book. Wait, let me repeat that fifty times and I’ll be back. Oh, but everything is worth it for him. For my dear, dear son.
I treasure every moment with him. Because as the ocean waves lick the beach and forever and constantly change its landscape so my son will grow and change into a man and move away from me someday. It pains me to even write about it, but then again, that’s the ultimate expression of love – letting go.
Fruits and Vegetables
Nourish your body, heart and mind
End up on my behind
Meats, legumes and dairy
Taking it easy
Yum and more versatile yum
Makes me feel all warm and cozy inside!
to start writing again. I used to write alot, and then I don't know I just stopped and I was lucky if I wrote once every three months or so. The more i write the better my writing gets. Plus the more I write the more likely at least one of them has to be good. Plus it's just enjoyable and I had been missing things for ME to do.
When I Carry..
When I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders....
I walk down the block well a cool wind blows, my hip jutting out to one side to support my daughter. My arm being pulled by the leash, by my dog. My husband by my side with the other dog. We are walking to the polls. WE are going to cast our vote. We are in the minority becasue we vote. Most people don't vote especially if it isn't a presidential election. We are in the minority because the people whom we cast our votes for rarely win.
Yet everytime the polls open we take that walk, we cast our vote on the invisable ballot of Florida's touchscreen voting system. A system I don't really trust. A system of no accountability, no paper trail.
We take that walk and say hello to the volunteers at the polls. All who ask about our daughter. Everytime I tell the story of my first contraction. How I felt my uterus squeeze in preparation as I cast my vote.
I tell my daughter how voting isn't only a right but an obligation. I think of the Preacher who told the congregation "If you don't vote you have no right to complain". I remember being in the voting booth with my mother as a child, and how proud I was when she let me punch a candidate. I wish for those old punch card machine's they seemed so much more patriotic.
When I vote I carry the weight of the world, of an ideal on my shoulders. I carry it proudly and happily as I take that walk, as I cast my vote.
I'm feeling pretty politacal with the elections going on, so I chose that as one off my list
I voted for Kucinich in the primaries. I knew he wouldn't win, but I desperatly wanted him to. He would be exactly what this country needs. I was not dissappointed at his loss, or I should say, my body didn't revolt at his loss. There was still Anbody But Bush. There was Kerry, well not the ideal candidate he was not a bad candidate either.
I went out and helped people to get rigistered and I discussed politics with my friends and especially my husband. A man, who I had first met when they were tallying up all of the votes for the 2000 election. A man whom I let him know was crazy for having voted for Bush in that election. Not that it mattered in the end with Jeb helping him to steal Florida. Everyone I knew was voting for Kerry, there was this gentle craze in the air as young people joined together in the fight against Bush. People who had never voted before were convinced that this year it mattered. People who had voted became impassioned. This country was heading in the wrong direction and we were all going to do something about it.
On November 2 the lines were long, we stood and the talk was overwalmingly (spellin??) for Kerry.Everyone stood in those lines, and waited patiently and happily, and proudly as democracy was put into action. I was smiling so much that all these people came out, I was so happy I almost cried. I cast my vote and showed up late to work because of it.
I had the television on as they made predictions and tallied up exit polls. AS state after state came in. AS the stories of long lines and people still waiting to vote hours after poll closings came in. I was optimistic, more then that in the beginning; I was certain of a new start. As thenight wore on and the map started to look like a red tide of blood I got nervous and my belly started to flip-flop. I stayed up chatting on the computer with other worried and dis-believing mothers as the country Cheered for Bush. When I laymy head on my pillow it was in despair, and with little hope that Kerry would pull through the victor. When I faced the day I stayed away from the media I couldn't know, not yet. Then at work all these happy republicans annouced elatedly that Kerry had conceded. I put my head in my hands and held back the tears. I amm devasted.
I am angry that more young people didn't get out and vote. I am scared for my country and our safety. I am saddened for the troops that will continue to fight and die on false pretenses.
My stomache dropped in march 2003 as i looked at my newly born daughter and heard Bush announce we were going to war with Iraq. I cired for what this meant about the world in which she would live. Now I can only sit sullen eyed and heavy hearted as I ponder four more years of Bush.
Ok and i know this is long but i want to do one that isn't political
sun kissed skin
hanging from rafters
living in trees
laughing wildly loudly
Courtney and Cree, baby made 3, added one more then there were 4, sakes alive, then we had 5, another in the mix now we have 6!
A Momma in love with her Little Women-Jewel Face, Jo Jo Bean, June Bug, and Sweet Coraline.
I would like to write articles for submitting to magazines.
I would like to possibly write short stories and one day maybe even a book. I write daily in a journal and have journals for my kids that I would like to keep up with at least every month.
Hard labor has set in. I have not felt intensity like this before. I feel like every contraction brings a freight train that is running through my body.
It's coming. I brace against the kitchen counter. I make noise, a lot of noise. The pain is so intense. I am screaming. Nothing eases it. Nothing touches it. I brace. It washes over me. It pours through me. It is all consuming.
My arms, bracing against the counter are shaking from the pressure and yet all I feel is the pain in my cervix.
And then it eases. I know the break will be short but I celebrate the moment of calm, the chance to rest. I know it will be over soon. I know I am near the end. I know I can do it. And then...................it comes again!
I want to leave an imprint of me for my daughter - I would have loved such a thing from my mother and father. I have written since I could write; poetry, little stories, weird sayings. I have also written 30,000 words of my non-fiction book. I haven't written another word since April for it - I lost heart. I have had poems and other little things published, but I don't care to make money from writing. I write because I have to - if that is a goal, then that is my goal.
I want to start journaling again. I think I scared myself with the intensity of my last journal. The honesty of it shook me. When you keep a journal, you write only when you feel the most. Looking back through my journals, I wonder how I could have denied such obvious truths, as they were repeated throughout. Funny how we close our eyes to things when we lack the strength to deal with them.
Anyway, I am going to go buy a pretty journal and find a really good hiding spot for it (you can't write honestly if there's a chance it may be discovered). I am going to go to the coffeeshop around the corner at least twice a week...alone...to spend time on these assignments and to write in my journal. This is all I can promise myself at this time.
"The best things in life aren't things."
Does anyone else find these time limits, well, limiting? It's good though, structure is good. It keeps me from babbling, kind of like now...............
Yet the wanton woman within reached out and tried to hang on. The attraction to him was undeniable. Alas, it was too late for his desire was gone. His attraction for her had vanished, leaving her to question everything about herself. Was she too fat, too thin? Did he see something undesirable in her, something that repulsed him, perhaps a character flaw? Confusion mounted and the questions went on and on, tearing her apart.
Then out of the blue, he would reach out and welcome her back into his arms. They would make love like it was the end of the world and oh, how very happy she would be! She would awake the next morning believing that they had started afresh. The air smelled so sweet, the coffee tasted so good. When she looked in the mirror, she recognized herself. Hair in disarray, makeup smudged beneath her eyes, and glowing.
It would be months before he would touch her again. She would reach for him, and he would recoil, jump away as though her touch burned him. He would leap out of bed cussing, grab his pillows and disappear. If she'd thought the questions in her head were bad before, imagine how confused she was now! Was he having an affair, then? Perhaps he was gay. It got to the point where she no longer wanted to feel any desire or passion for anything. Even watching a love scene on TV would reduce her to angry tears. She began turning down his rare advances, not wanting to let him that close to her again.
I am that woman. This story is mine. I have turned off that passion within me, the passion that I once considered an essential part of who I am. Without passion, I cannot see the world in color. I cannot write poetry, only those things which can be written with a heavy heart. I cannot paint or draw. Even my way of dressing has become very muted and plain. I wonder if there is any hope of ever becoming passionate about anything again. Yet, I see a ray of hope. For in my children, there is magic. I feel a part of me coming alive, unfurling to greet the sun. It is a new awakening, and I embrace it.
"The best things in life aren't things."
11-04-2004 until 12-05-2004
Cynthia Mosher's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2001
We will be closing the boards and entire website sometime this weekend for our move to a new server. This will entail us being down for several days. When we know for sure when we'll close I'll update this announcement.
Looking forward to a bigger and better home for us!
I remember reading once, I’m no longer sure if it was in a novel or in a nonfiction book, a quote from a midwife. She said, “I don’t need to look at a woman’s cervix to tell if she’s given birth… I can tell by the shape of her belly button.”
And I can’t remember now, but the rest of the quote explained that a woman’s bellybutton before birth was of one shape, maybe more compact, and that afterward it was more vertical, stretched.
I remember this quote because I’m sorta obsessed with my bellybutton. Well, not obsessed, but it does hold symbolic power over me. When I was 26 or so, I decided to get my bellybutton pierced. It was great… it marked the start of something for me. I didn’t know what at the time, but it was like an opening up for me and stepping into a new place. In retrospect, I can see that I did have some prescient idea, that in fact, that was indeed a turning point in my life.
I had, and loved, my bellybutton ring for along time, until I got pregnant (seven years later). I actually felt like taking it out before that, when I got married, but I wasn’t quit ready. The bead fell off around then, and I left the ring in for another few months, until I got pregnant, and then I whipped that ring out of me, proud that I had something else marking my body: a new life, literally.
The physicality can’t be overlooked – the tie to my sexuality. There is some circular connection here. My bellybutton, where I was connected to my mother, where my life began… or didn’t my life really begin when my parents had sex? And getting my bellybutton pierced was some reclamation, some statement or claiming of my sexuality way back then. And then, through sex, I made a baby inside, who had its own bellybutton, and was connected to me, and was beginning its life, and starting mine over. Out came the ring.
Lately I’ve been wanting to put it back in… to mark, once again, a new phase. My motherhood phase, the fact that this body housed a baby, and nourished that baby via an umbilical cord, connected to its bellybutton.
I want to mark my new, elongated mama-sized bellybutton… my history and the origin of my life; my son’s history and the origin of his; my power and my sameness will all moms.
This summer, at the lake, I was the actual beach part, where there is sand and a lifeguard, and lots of kids (which is why I never went to that particular spot before). And there I was, and there were moms in bathing suits, women who had given birth. And it struck me, how I was surrounded by all these mom bodies and how unusual that was to see. Because our culture is YOUTH culture. I understand this in a way I never did before (the further I get from being “youth” the more I see it…). The bodies of all the young ones, so firm and small. And tight. And then I think of the women’s bodies I’ve seen in classical paintings and how they are so soft-seeming to me. And now I realize why. They are mothers. They are women who have given birth.
I felt so happy being surrounded by moms in bathing suits… fashionable or not, one-piece or two, skinny or bigger… there was something I saw in all of them. And in myself. I realized: Me too. I am a mother. And that is when I started thinking again about my piercing my belly button.
© 2004 Stacy M. Lewis
MDC Closure Postponed
Well darn! Though we were expecting to close the boards this weekend to begin the process of moving to our new server we have had to postpone the entire move. As soon as things are ready and we know when we'll be closing I'll make another announcement.
trees. I really do. And all plants, their poetry and color and texture. Their stature and shape, and their interplay. And how they change, and grow, and respond to the world, and overcome (seem to) obstacles, squeezing themselves into cracks in sidewalks or happening upon a clogged gutter or sailing down the river and managing to grasp a log or a rock or something, and setting down roots and blossoming up and turning toward the sun with a smiling good morning. I love how they fill up space and ask for more, and how their roots grow upon themselves until they are given an opportunity, and then they set out searching again. I love them for their quiet persistence and extravagant eloquence. Their stubby shortness and their reed-like skinniness. Their colors, their poofiness, their fuzziness, their shinyness… Oh! I love them for showing me how to grow and for teaching me how to support growth, and how to fathom it and let it go. Basking in it. I love them for showing me steadfastness and sneakiness and showiness and loneliness. I love them for getting all together and creating fields and forests and green. And for teaching me how to breathe; in fact, for making it possible for me to breathe. I love them for giving me breath and for showing me that we’re connected.
And I love my worm bin, too. Because it’s so cool – the cycle of life in there, in my kitchen scraps, watching waste become rich soil that feeds the plants that feed me.
I love to vote. I love to go to the public library, and ride the bus. I don’t know why. All these cheesy civic things.
I love the sounds of the bells of the church near my grandparents house in Manhattan Beach, California.
I love the ocean, the lapping foaminess of the night-colored sea. I love the saltiness and the chaos and the rhythm. The power. I love the creatures who live within it and on its edges.
And I love the ocean in its warmth and simplicity, its dazzle-shine-blue and happy shores. The warm sun, the swimmable sea. Surf.
I love my mother… though I am feeling far away from her right now. I love her at the same time I realize how little I know her.
I love my son… I just love him. It is a satisfying, simple love and it is a shocking, complicated love.
I love Rom. I just love him, too. This love is a core love, something that was so right and so deep almost immediately that is seems like it has always been a part of me. I don’t know how this happened. I feel lucky. It is a lucky love, a profound love, hard work and fun.
I love … people. I really do. I feel honored to be a person among people. I try to remember this. I try to maintain respect and connection.
I think of love and I think of the four types of loves in Buddhism:
© 2004 Stacy M. Lewis
Oh, too much stuff.
The Diaper Bag (my purse), which is actually quite small. It contains:
•2 cloth diapers
•my water bottle
•chapstick (oh, my complicated beauty regime!)
•snacks, for me and baby, in various states of edibility
•poker chips (for the babysitting coop)
•plastic bag(s) for the wet diapers
•2 disposies for “emergencies”
And then I’ve recently taken to carrying an additional bag, in case the baby naps in the car – this one with the book(s) I am reading, my homework notebook for the Postpartum Doula Course, my journal, and a pen.
My baby. My 15-month-old baby who is less and less like a baby. I carry him, too. I carry him and he clings to me like a monkey.
So, with my two bags and my baby, and sometimes I will also have the sling or a coat or scarf or extra clothes, I stumble out to the car and unlock the doors and dump all the stuff on the front seat and put The Boo in the carseat, and once we’re all in, we get to where we’re going.
Lately when Orlando sees me packing the diaper bag he says, “Bye-bye.” Yep. We’re going bye-bye, just as soon as I can get all this crap together!
I remember writing in my journal after Orlando was born, about the labor. I said, “We carried each other.” Because the pushing felt like a pulling… my baby tugging me into motherhood. I was a vessel, a power, a shelter, a passenger. Like an undertow, I rode with my baby into this new role in life, into a new aspect of humanity, into the oldest aspect of humanity. We brought each other to this place. We carried each other. We carry on, still. We carry each other, still. Oh, the places we’ll go!
© 2004 Stacy M. Lewis
the little acts of care that are my responsibility, and my pleasure, as a mother.
A long time ago, I thought I had no maternal instinct. One afternoon I got to my boyfriend's apartment for a weekend. He wasn't there, he was still at work. But the little cat he'd agreed to care for while a friend was out of town, met me at the door.
What a scruffy thing she was. She was yellow, with silky long hair that was deeply matted. I threw down my bag and felt an outpouring of ...something. I got out a comb, picked up the cat, and fur fiber by fur fiber, separated out the matts. When my boyfriend came back hours later, I was almost finished. The cat washed when I was done, glowing with pride in her new smooth coat.
And I knew that I did have maternal instinct.
The other day I took advantage of an offer from my mother, to nap in her bedroom while she had Dd for the afternoon. Only recently would Dd let such a thing go on. I woke from sleep to recalcitrant shreiks, and my mother saying, you have to let me wash your hands. Over and over.
I got up and found that Dd had been out on her porch, and scratched the screen. There was black dirt deep under her nails, almost half way down the nailbed. Tatooed for life, I thought. But with confidence, and a lot of positive thinking, I picked up a toothbrush that happened to be lying on a cabinet. Need this? I asked my mother.
Dd came to the bathroom with me. I wet the toothbrush and rubbed it into the bar of soap. I held Dd's little hand, smooth and warm. Messy toddler fingers, still tiny, held onto me with trust. I rubbed her nails with the toothbrush, not getting much of anywhere, but still thinking positive.
The pinky nail came clean. I went back to the others. Back and forth, back and forth, scrub and rub, foam seeped under nails like small pink shells, until all her nails were clean.
The satisfaction wasn't in the clean nails, but in the intimacy of the task.
Diapers were excepmt from this affection I have. Anyone else wanted to change a diaper, fine with me. Dh seemed to really enjoy it, so that was when I'd take a moment and go to the bathroom, sit still. And feeding, that too, never gave me the thrill it seems to give so many. Not after the thrill of pregnancy and nursing. Make the slop, put it on the spoon, fight with the high chair, take baby out of high chair, food comes back out of mouth. This is taking over an hour. Clean.
I didn't like cleaning the dishes, the table, the floor. But I liked dwelling on soft pink cheeks when I wiped them with a napkin. As long as I was there, plant a kiss. Or two, or three, and then, as long as I'm close, a noserub.
I so liked to comb Dd's hair that I made an elaborate production out of it. I got just the right all natural herbal hair nectar, the perfect spray bottle, and she benefitted from all I'd learned combing my own fine hair without breaking it. Then I got to figure out what to use to keep it out of her eyes. A pretty hairclip she approved of, strong willed and opinionated at an early age? She'd pull them out, taking clumps of hair with them. Aloe vera gel. Works until her head sweats. Tiny atraumatic rubber bands make a sprout on top of her head that's feathery and fun to play with whenever she's close.
The nails again. I filed them when she was newly born, because I was afraid to use a clipper. She got used to having her nails filed. One of her first sentences was “I have a jagged nail, I need a file-nail.” One day she scratched me when she ran her fingers up and down my chest as she nursed. I grasped her hand warmly to hold her hand still, said that it hurt. Later I found her filing her nails. “I'm making them soft for you, Mama.”
And our nightly bedtime ritual, another one I started almost from birth: massage. A new baby, she'd lie on the bed looking satisfied with her circumstances, when I'd do the massage that was meant to settle her before bed. Then she started flipping over, and crawling, and became a moving target who was more interested in moving than in getting a massage, so I was sad but I stopped bothering her with my efforts. But something made me try again a few months later. Then we traveled, and lost sight of that part of the routine, with coming home, and having some hectic nights where no one seemed to miss that the massage had been dropped. But I wanted it back, so I got some fragrant lotion and reinstituted the evening massage. It was welcomed eagerly, and it's now fully expected.
Now, having been the recipient of these actions, Dd has come to enjoy them as a giver too. She asks to comb my hair and has somehow learned what comb I prefer, and how to do so gently. She files my nails. At night, she will often insist on putting lotion onto my back or feet.
There is a communication through these acts. Such small acts of care, the ones no one ever thinks of, the ones it would be easy to forget later, are*ones that are mine to do because I am Dd's mother. She will play silly games with Grandma, go to the park with Dad, but come to me for these tiny details. These little things are one of the things*I love most about being a mother.
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