Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

24 minutes ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Edit note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

Jacobs says he gave her something in an old McDonald's cup — a drug — and as she was waking up the man announced that he was a pimp. Her pimp.

The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

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In Memoir Of Child's Death, A Mother Seeks Meaning

Mar 19, 2013
Originally published on March 19, 2013 9:05 am

When Emily Rapp first discovers that her 9-month-old son, Ronan, has Tay-Sachs, an incurable and fatal disease that gradually robs a child of his nervous system, she wets herself; the floor and walls of the doctor's office seem to melt and liquefy; and she thinks, "weirdly," about her son's namesake, a boy she once knew whose name she would write in longhand "like a lovesick teenager." She recalls Emily Dickinson's poem in which a mind has been cleaved beyond repair, and calls out for her mother.

This vertiginous descent into the "blackness" (a word Rapp finds herself repeating compulsively) of tragedy is the first of the many well-wrought scenes in The Still Point of the Turning World, which is not only a story of a mother's endurance in the face of her son's "death sentence" but also a meditation on how our inevitable mortality should inspire us all to live life ferociously. Early on in the book Rapp writes, "Part of Ronan's myth was this acknowledgment that we need the freedom to be people, that's all." The author's memoir chronicles her son's short life and her transformation into a person who sets aside a preoccupation with "bogus standards of success" for a boundless devotion to her son and to the present moment, which, she convincingly argues, is all we are ever guaranteed.

Rapp, a creative writing professor in Santa Fe, N.M., is also the author of Poster Child, a memoir about her life as an amputee and poster child for the March of Dimes. Once she finds out about her son's illness, she searches widely for answers, and her new book is punctuated with prayers, poems, mythologies and novel excerpts she revisits to untangle the wild morass of grief that confronts her. She becomes a "dragon parent," a term she uses to describe parents of terminal children who "have an underappreciated ability to force people to face their worst fears." Frustrated by those who tread lightly around her grief, she writes, "It upset me to think that Ronan and I had no purpose at all in the world other than to serve as reflections for situations that other people feared." Rapp challenges us to look more deeply at our lives, and offers the book as a new kind of manual for parenting (and living), one in which mortality is both acknowledged and defied through "parenting for the sake of parenting."

In her writing, Rapp is both fearless and vulnerable, and her expansive style artfully accommodates a dizzying array of emotion. By documenting the minutiae of her life (Reiki, onesies, Xanax, spin classes, Buddhist retreats, feeding tubes), she renders a gorgeous and grounding realism for this heady book. Her humanity makes her a compassionate guide into her harrowing life, yet the book continually asserts that we are all in the midst of the same mortal plunge. Ultimately Rapp's greatest power resides in her ability to create a philosophical treatise from such amorphous emotions. A reader might assume that she knows how this book will end, but that assumption is beautifully disproven by Rapp's constant ability to reinvent and redefine what the loss of her son ultimately means to her. Her insistent seeking is a vital part of the book's beauty. Like Rilke's entreaty, "You must change your life," Rapp's urgency is at once instructive and infectious.

Early on, Rapp discovers that part her new job as Ronan's mother will be to find his "quiet, gap-ridden myth, his idiosyncratic narrative — to interpret it, share it, and learn from it." The Still Point of the Turning World begins as a book about a parent's worst fear, a child's death, but it finally becomes a celebration of Ronan's life, a call to action that urges us, its readers, to be fierce in our loves and our lives. In a New York Times essay, Rapp asks, "How do you parent without a net, without a future, knowing that you will lose your child, bit by torturous bit?" This book is her response to that question. Rapp elegantly transforms her experience of mothering a child who will die into a tenuous understanding of mortality and loving "without a net, without the future, without the past ... right now."

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