The Blasted GRE – Round 1

So, I’ve run up against another barrier to my writing.  I have taken on the mighty task of studying for the GRE in order to make myself graduate school worthy.  (I want to enrol in a Masters of Education program).  Now my free time has been filled with studying, editing, child playing, and not enough sleep.  This leaves me with zero blog time.

However!  I do have to practice for the writing prompts, and as such, I thought I would post them as prompts for anyone wanting to take a crack at boring old ‘analytical writing’. Continue reading

Of the Divided States of America & Redux

Another week in the United States and another tragedy at the hands of a firearm. 

Not to kick a dead horse, but I feel like I’ve been here before…

Then I was told that guns aren’t the issue with Alton Sterling or Philando Castile, or the Dallas Police officers for that matter. 

It’s about Obama and the death of America.  It’s about division.  

Then we were told Alton Sterling was shot because he was reaching for his gun. 

So he was shot with a gun because he was reaching for a gun, but it’s not about guns.

I’m confused.

Police Officers are armed to defend themselves against the citizens who carry guns.

Some of those same citizens carry guns because they fear brutality from police officers who carry guns.

It would be dismissive and ignorant to claim that people of colour, especially those from neighbourhoods with higher levels of crime and thus greater interaction with law enforcement, have no real history from which to base their fears. 

Police officers have been convicted and sent to prison for brutalising and murdering people of colour.

People of colour have brutally and senselessly murdered police officers

So this is a war, and every American has been asked to take a side.  Who’s right? 

Does no one seen the gun correlation?

If America banned guns would the police still need to carry them?

Alton Sterling doesn’t have a gun because he hasn’t grown up in a culture that taught him he may need it, thus he has nothing to reach for, and – assuming the reports are true that that IS the reason they shot him – the officers have zero reason to kill him. 

But the fears of both sides are real and justified, however much we want to close our eyes to it. 

Thus, another in a long list of lines are drawn in America, leaving the population divided and blind to the fact that the enemy they think they are fighting is the wrong enemy. 

The real enemy is ourselves. 

Blinded by sensational media from both sides of the fence that are forcing people further and further apart, yet both sides point fingers at the other side’s ‘sensational media.’  And round and round and round we go, with no one getting any wiser to the real problem. 

American is a selfish nation full of individuals who are too easily manipulated by fear.

It also doesn’t help that Americans deal so frequently in absolutes. 

One cannot respect and honour the men and women of law enforcement who go out everyday of their lives and sacrifice their own personal safety to make America a safer place and also hold them to a high standard that says, ‘if you cross the line you must answer for it.” 

One cannot be shocked and saddened by the recent loss of life and not be considered a ‘cop hater’. 

One cannot also be disgusted by the amount of crime and violence on the street without being ‘racist’ and ‘blind’ to the fact that I’m of a skin colour that denotes privilege and thus have no right to speak.  My skin colour is often the very root of that problem.

I have to feel bad for the colour of my skin because it means my life was easier.  So, we don’t want an end to shame, just a reversal of it. 

It’s these same absolutes that lead decent people to claim that Donald Trump becoming the president of the United States is not evidence that bigotry is acceptable as long as that person is the representative of ‘my party’.  But the division isn’t their fault.  It’s the OTHER guy. 

That pointer really is handy as a finger, ain’t it?

American has their lovely two party system and it’s what leaves people feeling like they have to pick a side.

The sad truth is that neither side is really the side of progress for the whole.  It’s all self serving and the majority of people live in ignorance of that fact. 

The majority have also never stepped out of their own little bubble to truly understand the width and breadth of their own country.  How can you truly say you know what’s best for America when you’ve only ever lived in one place?  Put yourself in the shoes of someone living on the other side of the country from you, facing wholly different problems…

“But those aren’t my problems, I have to deal with….”

Your own shit.  That’s what American’s care about.  The three feet in front of their face.  The context from which they understand their own individual life and circumstance. 

So, two people of colour and five police officers died and we fail to acknowledge that this is a war we’ve allowed to boil over for years, and neither side is solely to blame. 

The real blame falls on the people, because we refuse to take the guns out of everyone’s hands and try to bring the violence to an end.  We refuse to actually be, in fact, united.

“It wouldn’t stop the illegal guns though!” 

No.  But it would be a start.  Stop focusing on why it won’t work and start trying to help find a way to MAKE it work.

America needs to start being know for something other than violence.  Military might and guns.  That is America.

I had a girl in my preschool class last year who was talking to me about where I come from.  We nicknamed this girl “Katy” after Katy Perry and everyone in the class often called her, “California Girl.”  She said she wished she could visit California one day and go to the beach.  Then she made a sad face. 

“What’s wrong?”  I asked.

“I want to go, but I can’t.” 

Confused, I stabbed at the reason she was saying this.  “When you grow up you can go wherever you want.” 

She shook her head.  “I’m afraid of going to America, I don’t want to be shot by a gun.” 

That’s from the mouth of a 6 year old Japanese girl.

That’s the image America is selling.  That’s what people see when they look at America from the outside. 

We should all be ashamed.

Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa are all dead now because we cannot see how divided we are.  Because we stand on our side of the line, clinging to our righteousness, and refusing to understand that change doesn’t come without a willingness to concede the need for it… from BOTH sides.

Instead of looking to pin blame, we should be looking for the root of this problem and finding a way to stop it form ever happening again.  How can we do that if we are too busy trying to prove it isn’t our side’s fault while blaming the other side for pointing the finger at us?

Like any dispute we must be willing to accept our own culpability, carry our share of the burden, and cross the line to our so-called enemy and ask how we can end this.  Until we can share the burden equally we’ll always be divided.

That very concept runs contrary to the name of the country and so few want to face how disgraceful that is.

So there’s your problem.  Now how are you going to fix it?

Book Exchange

36 possible books for the price of 1!  Sounds great, right?

Okay, I am going to throw the ugly word our there now… it’s a pyramid scheme.  BUT A GOOD ONE!  The only thing you do to participate in this is buy one (1) book and send it along.  Then gather up six friends who want to play along and have them do the same.

If you send along your book, and you can find some brave souls who want to participate, you can get up to 36 books back from this… for the price of 1 book!

I don’t like money making schemes.  Book making schemes though?  I’m all for it.

I bought my book and sent it along, and if that is all it costs me, I am happy to have done it.  If you would like to have a few books come your way and spread literacy and the love of it around, please like this post.

But!  Only like this post if you want to participate.  You can email me at my gmail address (located in the “contact me” section of my blog)  and I will send you the rest of the details.

Let’s spread some book love around!

Of Guns & Control

America sure does love its guns. 

Well, some of them don’t, but those are just the bleeding heart liberals that don’t understand the necessity of deadly force when an intruder comes for your loved ones.  Could happen any minute now, so we gotta be prepared. 

The simple, ‘violence begets more violence,’ never crossed anyones mind I guess. 

The issue is complex and I don’t mean to make light.  Many people have lost their lives due to America’s stubborn refusal to take a good hard look at not only why guns are such a problem in the US, but how they became one. Continue reading

Mount Fuji, or how I almost died.

 

This is an old blog I wrote nearly 6 years ago – dear God, has it really been that long? – after climbing Mount Fuji.  When I saw the daily post ‘mountain‘ I couldn’t help but dig it back up.

Mountain climbing really is an amazing experience and re-reading this brought that back in a huge rush.  If you’ve never climbed a mountain, I would highly recommend it.

PS – I actually took that picture!


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Childhood is…

This is a post in response to the daily prompt:  Childhood.

I compiled a list of things that came to mind as soon as I read the word, and it’s in no particular order.  I am sure some of them will relate, depending on your age, and others will have a similar link but a different name.

Still, the idea of childhood brings with it a very visceral response that ignites memories of a day when things seemed so much simpler..


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Framboise’s Story Pt. II ~ A Story From 10 Words

For details regarding the series: A Story from 10 Words, please read my about page, and feel free to contact me with your own 10 words and I will write you a story!

If you would like to read some of the other submissions, please check out the series page!


This instalment is a continuation of a submission I was given several months back.  I had promised a sequel, and here it is.  I hope you enjoy it!


“Dreams, my dear, are the subconscious mind’s way of giving voice to our deepest fears.” 

Sitting in the doctor’s office, her eyes flashing from one wall to the next, she finds herself more confined and vulnerable than when she awoke from that terrible dream.  The nightmare had followed her through every step of every day and she could not shake it.  The image of the clown would come screaming into her head, singing his manic songs, and she would find herself crouched in some corner, hugging her knees and gently rocking back and forth to a slow chorus of, ‘no, no, no, no.” Continue reading