America the Great

I was inspired by all the great speeches the past two days, so I wanted to say my piece.

 

It’s not hate that drives our country to succeed, but our ability to overcome hate and look beyond our differences to create success together. It is our ability to persevere in the shadow of darkness and a refusal to give in to tyrants.

Hate was not the unifying bond of our founding fathers. They were bonded together by their drive to create a country of religious freedom, a country where one person did not have all the power, where people could feel safe and secure to be themselves. They relished change, they were inventors, and educators who invited progress, hoping for a brighter future for their children. And if you consider yourself a true American who knows that we live in a diverse melting pot of opportunity then you cannot let yourself be swayed by a person who tears down the very fabric of our country every chance he has. Who asks our foreign opposition to hack our country and is willing to commit acts of treason to secure his presidency. Who tells Americans that they do not belong here because of their religious beliefs or the color of their skin, when our country was founded on the immigrants who came searching for opportunities and helped to create this land as we know it now.

Maybe you feel this does not affect you because of your privilege and class. But, you cannot call yourself a Republican or a Democrat if you are willing to overlook these atrocities that are being committed by this man. Republicans and Democrats are Americans and no real American can condone this slander on their beautiful country in good faith and good conscious. It takes faith, hard work, and democracy to build a strong country like ours. And it can take one man to prey on the fears of the weak and ignorant to break it back down. Do not let history repeat itself. I have seen, and felt what happens when one man blames a people for his country’s problems. My own family has felt these repercussions for generations. It is not the Muslims, the Jews, the African Americans, the LGBT community, the Women, the Military, or the Mexican’s fault for our country’s problems. It is our inability to embrace each other, move past our divisions and create the effective change needed.

Until we stand together once again united under a flag of hope, promise, and drive to do good, America will remain torn by a man who’s goal is to incite fear and hate into the soul of every individual. If you choose not to vote it will be a choice that condemns our great country and makes allowances for one man to terrorize our people. That is not America the Great.

“United we stand, divided we fall.”

 

 

Dear Mom (Mommy),

It’s been ten years. Ten years ago, this week, you turned 42. I don’t remember what we did for your birthday. DId you like it? Was it special? In fact, I probably was not even there. I was at the university going to school, hardly aware that it would be the last birthday we would celebrate. Did you know then that you’d remain 42 forever?

A decade is a monumental amount of time to be absent. I lived through my twenties. Jacob and Maddi spent their teen years without you.

Ten years. In ten years I’ve lived in another country, traveled to more. I biked around an active volcano, bungee jumped, and went on many road trips. In the last ten years, I became a teacher. Like you. I bet you never thought I’d want to follow your footsteps. I even got a Master’s degree. Ten years is so much time. Maddi went to nursing school. Jake is almost out of college.

In another decade, ten more years without you, I’ll reach your eternal age. What will I have to show? A handful of accomplishments and a room full of milestones. But you’ll miss those too. Because, you will remain forever 42.

The world keeps moving, minutes tick, hours ache, and we live. A blink, and the time has passed. But there is something missing, and each year it is becoming more difficult to remember. Your voice. Your Yell. Your laugh.

Ten years. Although your life ceased a decade ago. You’ve never really gone. You are the ink in my pen, the shadow in my step, and the beat in my heart. So, for the tenth year continuing, happy 42nd birthday. You are in my soul. Everything that I achieve is because of you.

I love you always,

Your Daughter (Me)

Update/ A bit of holiday cheer

SO, I have been absent. I realize this. There are a few reasons. One, my job is terrible and it is taking everything for me to stay there and concentrate on this tedious annoyance.

Two, I am line editing my novel right now. I would like to send it off to editors by the end of the year. So, I am hoping for some success.

Moreover, although last year I boycotted NANOWRIMO, this year I attempted it, but then I got very sick during November. I did not get to finish off the story. However, I will leave you all, my enduring readers with a glimpse of story that I have written. In hopes you will not leave me forever.

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Prologue

                It was a clear night to begin. Neverland had been quiet a long time. Ever since Peter’s marvelous defeat of Captain James Hook, there was just the usual adventures. Pirates chasing lost boys, boys chasing pirates, and Indians chasing the lot of them. Then there were the beast who liked to scare them all when they felt up to it.

There had been no other children to visit the Neverland since the Darling children. Tinkerbell was content with this, since she was not fond of Wendy what so ever. Peter would not say, but he missed their presence. He loved the stories Wendy had told, and his adventures with Michael and John. The lost boys had no feelings either was as presently, they had no recollection of the events. Seeing as they were an entirely new set of boys who had not been around when the defeat of Hook had taken place. As stories do over many years, the embellishments grow. Therefore, the boys thought the Darling children must have been rather magnificent and courageous, as it had been told to them.

It began as a whisper among the mermaids. Then shadows crept through the fairy glen. By the time Tips, a rather stout but friendly boy, and Riddle, a tall, thin, bespectacled boy caught wind of the news; they were shaking in their bear skins. The fairies darted back and forth jingling in their language. It was apparent that they were frantic. Tips looked at Riddle wide eyed and together they burst toward the hideout.

At this time Peter was sitting on his throne as he does, playing his games. Tips and Riddle slid inside startling Sprout, Dusty, and Dandy who had been crouching low pretending to be Peter’s captives. Tips and Riddle stood at attention and stared their captain straight in the eye. Which is when he knew it was grave business.

“Boys?”

Tips spoke still shaking, “The pirates have a new leader.”

Riddle added, “They say he’s more fearsome then Cap’n Hook.”

Peter’s eyes widened in excitement.

Clouds rolled into Neverland and darkness settled across the island. Captain Samuel Black stood on the deck of a decrepit ship which flew a black flag with skull and cross bones proudly in the wind. Carved port side were the words “The Burning Dawn”. At the helm a crewman, whom there seemed something odd, but it was hard to put a finger on it just yet, stood directing the ship toward the island of Neverland. The Burning Dawn currently hovered above. Captain Black turned to Grail a short statured pirate at his side, “Yes, the undoing of Neverland should fit nicely on my shelf,” He cackled.  Static of magic emitted from him sending bolts of energy into the air causing a storm over the Neverland.

Chapter 1

A girl argued with her mother loudly. Hopefully you would never yell the obscenities she did towards a parent. They were foul and loathsome, so it will do no good to include any in the narrative. They stood there in the kitchen for a good ten minutes in this manner. Neighbors began to peek their heads out windows and doors wondering what the ruckus was about. Finally, the girl’s mother just said, “ENOUGH!” It was the end of the argument. “You are going to see your father and his family. There are no options.”

The girl’s face fell. She ran to a small room at the end of the hall. Though it had walls, the colors were not distinguishable because of the many posters that papered this room. There were boys with names like, One Direction and Justin Bieber, bands such as R5, and girls called Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, and Demi Lavato that stared down in every direction. The girl plopped down on her hot pink bed spread distraught at the news. A bright blue iPhone lay on her bedside table which she picked up and proceeded to text all of her closest friends the terrible news.

The girl, who consequently was called Annie Darling, had brown waves of hair falling to her shoulders and stood about five feet tall. Annie was the kind of girl that was not afraid to tell her mom that she did not want to spend the summer in London, England with her father’s family. She knew just whose fault it was too, her step-father.

Last spring, her mother had re-married. Now, they want to have their own time. Every other summer Annie had stayed with her mother and they went to Disneyland or the zoo. Most of all, Annie had time with her friends which is how she preferred it. Annie’s father came to visit the last two weeks of summer. It seemed that now her mother had found a replacement for Annie, and she was being shoveled off to another country.

On the way to the airport, Annie argued. Her step-father tried to calm her down, but that made it worse. Her mother promised her a new tablet at the end of the summer when she returned from London. Annie turned up her nose. She wanted to stay in Los Angeles with her friends.

Annie refused to speak to her mother and step-father as they said their goodbyes at the curb leaving her with a flight attendant to walk her to security. Her mother hugged Annie, but she remained limp, earbuds blasting in her ears. Annie cracked her gum and nodded at them. Annie’s mother teared up and got back in the passenger seat. Her step-father just shook his head and put his arm around her as they drove away leaving Annie on her own.

After security and an hour of waiting, Annie was settled on the plane. Headphones were still jammed in her ears and she was trying to out run some large monster in Temple Run on her tablet.

A woman seated next to Annie leaned over and tapped her. This woman was the type that Annie might have wished at one point to be her mother. She was plump, wispy hair in a bun, and holding her crochet.

Annie, who did not like to be bothered, whipped an earbud out, sneering at the lady.

“Pilot says to put all electronic devices aside for takeoff,” the lady said kindly. Annie pressed a few buttons on the technology factory in front of her then stored everything in the seat. The lady’s needles continued to tap together unaffected. The lady continued to speak to her. “Such a little girl to be traveling a long way on your own,” she smiled.

“I am not little. I am thirteen years old.” Annie said scathingly, her eyebrows rose.

“My my, practically a grown-up already.”

Annie nodded in approval. She had this notion; it must have been from somewhere, a movie or TV show that being grown-up was much better than being a child. That she would be free to make her own choices. Of course, free from being shipped off to another country without her liking.  It must be wonderful. Annie closed her eyes and lay back against the seat as the plane took off; the clicking of the lady’s needles humming in her ears.

The land was dark. Too dark. This had to be a nightmare. No one would come here for fun. This is what Annie’s mind relayed to her as she stood on the edge of a blackened lagoon. Below her feet crunched remains of lush grass now dead, yellowed, and dry as straw. Annie looked closer at what would have been water. Instead it was a thick, black, tar like substance that filled this lagoon. It did not look pleasant to swim in. Grey, ominous clouds blocked Annie’s vision of any other view of wherever she might be.

Eyes shone out of the dark water followed by a head. It was a distorted figure, but discernible because even Annie had seen the Disney movie when she was little. It was some kind of ugly, horrific looking mermaid. The mermaid had slimy, white hair entangled in seaweed. Her eyes were slits of light lit up like beacons. She had pointy teeth that stuck out like fangs. Her hand raised out of the water evidently to beckon Annie toward her and the mermaid had razor sharp nails against pale, cloudy, scaly skin.

Annie just shook her head, “No thanks.” Then the mermaid began to sing. Other’s surfaced and sang with her a raspy, enchanting song.

Come little child

Into the sea

Sing with wind

frolic with me

Come little child

Into the sea

Walk in the water

Frolic with me

Annie’s feet seemed to move of their own accord before she had realized the song’s affects. She screamed. Annie covered her ears, shaking her head, yelling “NO! I WON’T!”

Annie was shaken awake by the lady on the plane. “Young lady, you’re having a nightmare, and scaring half the plane.”

Annie looked around startled. She wondered how much time until they reached London. She did not want to go back to sleep.

A Thought on Syria

I have to say something about this whole situation on the Syrian refugees. I just read an article that claims that Syrian or Muslim refugees are not like Jewish refugees during WWII. Their claims are that 1. there was no threat of Jewish terrorists during WWII.  I will give them that claim. However, I feel like this is such a hypocritical statement. (by default they are insinuating that these refugees are terrorists or we will let terrorists in by letting refugees in) I know, that one ideal that Jews want people to believe is that over in Israel it is only the extremists are the ones bombing Muslims and vice-versa. So, how can anyone claim, that by letting in refugees, we are letting in terrorists. Are you saying that all of these people are extremists? That is ludicrous.

Furthermore, the article claims that these people have multiple Muslim states that will take in these refugees. Whereas the Jews had no state to take them in. While that may be true that the Jews had no state to take them in, the states that these people can go to are just as bad. I HAVE worked with the children from these war torn countries. The things that they have been through and seen is horrendous. If they have the ability to come to our country or any country that is not in the Middle East, safely and legally, why deny that opportunity? When you hear these stories, about how their little sister was killed while in her school. Their father was told if came to get her body, he himself would be killed. Then, they were chased by their own army while being shot at, into Syria. When Syria became unsafe, they tried to go back to Iraq and were almost killed. Does this sound like Muslim countries they should be forced to live in? I think not.

So no,  they may not be in the exact same situation as Jewish refugees during WWII, but it is pretty damn similar. And, I feel just fine making that claim as a Jew myself. So, they have other countries, so there are extremists on their side. But, there are also humans, men, women, and children, being killed, tortured and thrown from their homes with no place to go. It is our job as humans on a side that can help to do just that, help. It is not our place to judge every person for their religion, race, or country of origin. They cannot help that they were born in Syria just as we cannot help that we were born in whatever country we originate from. And if America, or England, or some other country was in their position, I know that we would want help from whomever would offer it to us.

 

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

~Martin Miemoller

The Shadow

So, a few things – I am finally getting settled in my new apartment, in my new city, in my new state. I have a job, and I am excited. It has taken awhile (which is why I haven’t posted much (or anything) on the blog). I was supremely stressed out. Now that I have time to breathe, I have time to consider adding posts. The piece I’m adding now is just a little bit- I may turn it into something or not: stay tuned.


She couldn’t feel anything- it was emptiness. A shadow had been hovering over her and now it was following her into adulthood. It seemed she would not escape this icy grip that clung to her skin dripping death as it shed tentacles spiraling in all directions. Was this her life? To watch helplessly as those she loved turned into ashes and dust; the Earth swallowing their remnants back to whence they came.

How many times could she purge tears of sadness for the lost souls departed to the nether world? It was done. The ache was stretching her thin. She could live amongst the breathing like this, but it was hardly satisfactory and no where near whole.

There had to be more than just the casual explanation that all things wither, as to why death was stalking her. Why she couldn’t go more than a few weeks or months with out the darkness corrupting her life, leaving her breathless. This was all she could thing about. It crawled across her mind tearing her thoughts, until nothing was hers, but the pain she clung to in the pit of her stomach as she considered how death was eating away at the life she had created.

No School (Pt. 3)

Here is the next installment in the saga of No School. I am aware the title is still not that great.


Maria Marker and Dom Decimal traveled away from the magic island toward the main land. This time they did not go hungry and they were not thirsty. The goodie basket that Pickle had given them kept the two satisfied on the short journey. On the third day they saw land. The boat hit shore. Maria and Dom dragged it into the sand leaving the basket in the boat. Over the course of the three day journey the two children had discussed Math. They recalled a few problems that they had learned when they were younger. It was not much, but maybe it would be enough to help overcome the evil doings of Sinister Student. Dom had agreed that Maria could hold onto the magic pencil for now.

They left the boat behind and walked into the Wildering Wilds. They had to cross through the Rainbow River where Dom fell all the way in and was wet for the rest of the day. Beyond the river were the Monkey Mountains. It was trick not to disturb the nests of monkeys that thrived in the trees, or if woken- they would steal your hat. It was a great distance to the land of No School which lay at the end of everything and beyond nothing. If you have ever tried to find nothing, it is incredibly hard. Maria and Dom were considering giving up when they were bogged down in the middle of the Dark Desert when things began to disappear. Which was hard to tell anyway, because it was dark as the dead of night.

“I think we’re almost there. To nothing. Beyond that is the land of No School,” said Maria Marker.

Dom looked around and saw that the brush and sand simply was starting to stop and they were walking on what could have been cement from one angle or a line from another. It was hard to tell everything shifted when he turned. “There really is nothing,” he seemed surprised.

Maria charged ahead though she was exhausted she was eager to find No School and Ms. Good Teacher. Dom followed her. They walked for what could have been days maybe weeks, or just an hour. It was hard to tell as there was nothing to see. Finally, Maria and Dom could see a crest of darkness ahead and what looked to be a fire and smoke.

“I think I see it!” cried Dom.

“You’re right. That has to be No School,” said Maria.

They hurried, running toward the darkness. As they approached in the distance they could smell the stench of burning paper. “There!” Maria pointed to the fire off the road down a ways. She could see a huge pile of books burning. “Dom she’s burning books.”

“I know we don’t read much, but it just seems wrong to burn books,” said Dom. They walked silently down the road that had appeared beneath their feet. It was broken bricks thrown down unevenly; on either side of the road was a mixture of dead grass and gravel. To their left scattered in a field were old classroom desks falling apart, upside down, and weathered. To their right was the bonfire they had noticed. Further down the road were some old looking buildings they looked to be the center of this place. Near the buildings was a run-down playground.

When they were close enough to pass the playground, Maria saw that one of the swings was unhooked and rusted in places. The other was actually thrown over the top of the playset. Pieces of the jungle gym were rusty and falling off. The see-saw sat flat on the ground defeating the purpose of the game. And, the monkey bars were upside down.

“That does not look like a fun playground,” Dom pointed out. Maria nodded in agreement.

“Which building do you think Sinister Student is in?” asked Maria.

Dom shrugged, “Could be any of them. I guess we should just pick one.”

Maria lead them toward the center building which agreed with the darkness. It spiraled upward on one side giving it an eerie look, while the other side stretched out long and rectangular. It looked cathedral like. The old rotting letters on the outside read, Forest Hills Elementary, some were blacked out. Maria and Dom could tell that’s what it once said. There were two large oak front doors, where there once had been windows, the glass was shattered. Maria reached forward pulling one open; it creaked. Dom jumped forward right into Maria. She turned and gave a reproachful look.

Cautiously, they waked through the doors.

No School pt. 2

I just have to make a comment about how it is an amazingly historic day. It is one that I will remember for the rest of my life. (Insert Rainbow)

Now, onto the next subject- I started a short story sometime last year. Which you can find here- Once Upon a School. I have finally added to this story. I will still be adding the ending pretty soon here. But, I wanted to put the next installment up. However, I am considering changing the title of the story.


Cynthia the Great ushered the two students into her shimmering house. Pickle waddled inside; a trail of skittles dotting the ground behind him. Inside the house was extravagant. It was covered floor to ceiling in a layer of frosting that that magically re-iced itself to get rid of the footprints left behind by Maria and Dom as they followed Cynthia. The pretzel staircase dripping in peanut butter and jelly caught Maria’s eye. She licked her lips. Cynthia led the two under an archway into another room that looked as though it was made entirely of stained glass. But, when Dom went to have a closer look, he realized the walls were actually different flavors of jello molded together. They sat on seats made from giant lifesavers around a peppermint table. Cynthia the Great waved her hand and steaming hot bowls of soup appeared in front of them.

“Now, I understand you have come for my help?” she looked on as they slurped their soup. Pickle had gone off into some other room.

Maria Marker nodded her head vigorously, “It is our teacher. She’s been kidnapped by Sinister Student.”

“Yeah and the only way to get her back is to use magic,” interrupted Dom Decimal.

“But, we’ve never learned any magic. In fact, we haven’t learned much. I know how to make smoothies, play video games, and relax,” continued Maria, “but, I none of that will help against the antics of sinister student in the land of No School.”

Cynthia the Great smiled at the children, “Not to worry. I believe I know just the piece of magic that can defeat Sinister Student. However, you will have to access a very special power in order for it to work. Finish your dinner, and I will take you to the object.”

Maria and Dom slurped their soup as fast as they could. Not even bothering to use the napkins that had come with the meal. “Finished!”

Cynthia the Great rose gracefully from her seat and motioned for them to follow her once again. This time she lead them up the peanut butter and jelly-pretzel staircase. Maria looked down at her shoes they didn’t even stick in the mix- the magic was unreal. Cynthia lead them down a hallway which was surprisingly unremarkable compared to the rest of the house. She paused at a door covered in an assortment of wildflowers and pulled what looked to be a key from her pocket- but was actually a tiny buzzing bee. She held him up to the doorknob. There was a slight click and she put the bee back into her pocket pushing the door open with her other hand. The room was stark white and empty except a tiny pedestal in the center of the room. Maria and Dom followed Cynthia into the room with a hushed silence it seemed like a time to be utterly quiet.

Cynthia the Great led them up to the pedestal which had a glass casing over it. Through the glass Maria and Dom could see an ordinary number 2 pencil sitting on a velvet lining- perfectly sharpened.

Dom looked up, “A pencil? You want us to defeat Sinister Student with a pencil?” He looked absolutely flabbergasted. “How about a gun- or something with a little more umph!” Maria nudged him hoping to get him to shut-up, but she could help thinking he was right.

Cynthia only smiled at him her same smile, “This is no ordinary pencil. If used correctly, you can not only defeat Sinister Student, but rescue Ms. Good Teacher, and maybe learn something. It is a magic pencil. It will only work to defeat evil when used by a person  with the right power.”

“What power?” Maria Marker looked up at her.

“Ah now you are asking the right questions. It is the power of Math. Unlock the ability of Math within you and this pencil can do anything you want,” Cynthia the Great glowed with excitement, her turquoise gown began to shimmer. “Are you ready to try it?”

“I don’t know any Math,” exclaimed Dom Decimal.

“I think I know Math,” Maria furrowed her brows and scratched her head, “I can’t remember.”

Cynthia lifted the class covering setting it in the air beside her where it hovered ever so gracefully. She lifted the pencil as if it were made of glass itself and handed it to Maria Marker. “Now, use it to write this problem in the air,” explained Cynthia, “2 x 3 = 6.”

Maria Marker took the weightless pencil and wrote in the air as if it were an invisible blackboard (whatever that was- she had not been in real lesson for so long her memory was fuzzy). The numbers twinkled in the air as she wrote the problem Cynthia the Great had instructed. Maria’s arm tingled and the pencil vibrated as she completed the answer.

“All you have to do is ask the pencil to do whatever you want in your head once you finish the problem. Try it!” Cynthia giggled.

Maria wasn’t sure what to ask for, so she started small. A yapping sound could be heard suddenly. There standing at her feet was a tiny golden retriever puppy.

“A puppy?! You asked for a puppy? How will that help?” Dom looked at her eyes popping.

Maria shrugged.

“Very good,” said Cynthia the Great petting the puppy, “Now you have the gist. The more complicated the Math; the more power is supplied to the pencil. I know you can defeat Sinister Student. You should be off now. It is a long journey to the land of No School.” She led them out of the room. The puppy disappeared somewhere down the hallway as they trailed back down the goopy staircase. At the door Cynthia the Great looked at them still smiling, but a little less than before, “Good luck my friends.”

Pickle was waiting at the door to lead Maria Marker and Dom Decimal back to the shore. At the boat he squeaked goodbye to the pair. “Fair well! Here are some supplies from Miss Cynthia,” and he handed them a basket full of goodies.

The two students climbed, with the magic pencil and basket, into their boat waving goodbye to Pickle the Pandicorn. Hoping that whenever they made it to the land of No School their combined Math skills would be enough to defeat Sinister Student.