Tag Archives: essays

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Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?  Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?

HENRY DAVID THOREAU

 
#blacklivesmatter
#protestsmatter

 
 

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WRITE EDIT WRITE: Flash Fiction by Author Pam Schloesser-Canepa

WEW Facebook Ad-1200x299
Last week I announced that we were starting a private Facebook group for Writers and Readers called WRITE EDIT WRITE. Well I am happy to say that we have had a great response to the announcement and our group includes a growing host of active and creative members. And while we’re still getting situated and figuring things out, we have held our very first WEW CHALLENGE, a challenge where members were asked to post a 250-word or less flash fiction or flash essay. I am again happy to say we had a fantastic response, with the following selection being representative of the fine writing being exhibited by all.

To read all the submissions, visit here.
To learn more about the private group, visit here.

Please check out the writing and stop by the authors’ websites to show them your support.

Write on!



THE POST OFFICE BOX
by Pam Schloesser-Canepa
pamelascanepa.wordpress.com

Tussling with the dog. That was Jasmine’s story, this time. The scar would dissipate in a week, she knew. It did hurt. This was so unfair, yet, all too familiar.

Driving to work, Jasmine noticed she’d inadvertently put on one navy blue shoe and one black. An understandable mistake; they were almost identical, and those colors were close. I wonder if anyone will notice? She realized the light had turned. I sure don’t need a ticket.

To her left was the post office. Darn, I forgot that electric bill. Rick will lose it. Do I go back? She worried it might make her late, yet she didn’t need one more fight about the mail.

Her thoughts drifted to the invitation that had arrived the week before, for her ten year high school reunion. Of course, with a four month old baby and a full-time job, she hadn’t seriously considered. Still, she had thought of going.

“You just want to see all your old boyfriends! You wench!” Rick had screamed, holding the baby in his arms.

“No, Rick, don’t worry, I don’t need to go.” That’s how it always went. Keeping the peace. When she never received any in return.

Abruptly, she pulled into the post office. “I need a post office box,” she announced to the clerk. JUST for me.

With receipt of the key, she found the assigned box. It was cool inside. She imagined fitting inside of it, this doorway to distant places.


NO RACE TO CALL HOME: A Relating to Humans Race Issue by newmommytesla

NO RACE TO CALL HOME
newmommytesla
 

I have no idea what race or culture to identify with.
My blood is mixed. I don’t fit into any one category. I’m Aztec, Spanish, Scottish-Irish, English, German, and little slivers of many more.

It was difficult growing up, not being able to relate to one side. Not being able to deny or fully embrace one or another. I can’t speak Spanish. I don’t feel Irish or German. When I lived in North Dakota and was the only person with a last name like Rodriquez, I was known as “The Mexican.”

Being a mixed blood did nothing to help me find myself as a teenager, either. But as an adult it’s helped me to relate to more cultures and races than I ever thought possible.

I belong nowhere. And everywhere.

I know I’m not the only one.

After a thoughtful pause during a recent conversation with my mom, as she contemplated what else is in my blood, she said, “There’s going to be a little bit of everything in everybody at this point.”

She’s right. It’s rare to find someone of only one race or culture. America and the Americans in it are as much of a mixed blood as I am, yet we have some of the worst cultural, religious, and racial clashes.

Indian and the white man. Black and white. Muslims and Christians. The list goes on. Look at the news. Cultural clashes are among the top headlines.
America has a big opportunity to prove peace can be real, that cultural divides can be conquered. But we’re too busy concentrating on what one side of ourselves we want to identify with most – just as I did as a teenager.

It reminds me of a passage in the Bible my mother pointed out:. “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

Does America not want to stand? Do we not want to accept the truth staring us in the face?

We are all related.

Imagine what America could be if we embraced that. Imagine if the United States was actually united. Imagine the potential to excel for our children — for the mixed-blood child growing inside me now.

Let’s get out of the teenage mentality and grow into adulthood as the people of this country. Let’s admit that each race, culture, religion has done something — many things — wrong, and move on with breaking down the walls that divide us.

Let’s acknowledge, as I had to, that we are no one side. We are all.


trailblazingmotherhood.wordpress.com

 
Have you gained wisdom in how to relate with us fickle humans that you would be willing to share? Visit the Relating to HUmans page for submission guidelines.

 
 

THE GHOSTS OF THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT – A Relating to Humans Philosophical Issue

It’s been a while since I have shared a submission from the Relating to Humans feature and I so pleased to get things started again by sharing this hauntingly beautiful piece from our Philosophical Issues feature by Philip A Green.

As a quick update, on Wednesday evening we’ll have a much anticipated (certainly by me) Guest Post by author Manizha Sepas (bedvilledadventurer.wordpress.com) and next Friday evening I will post my review of our IABS&R Volume 3 pick HAWSER by author J Hardy Carroll (jhardycarroll.com).


THE GHOSTS OF THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT
by Philip A Green

I worked in an ER once with old wooden doors on the rooms. The patterns created by the grains in the wood became a Rorschach test for patients- some saw mountains, some saw animals, some saw nothing at all. But room nine, directly across from the trauma rooms, was different. Something in that door frightened patients.

It was the schizophrenics who first made me aware of it. God, they hated that room when the door was closed. I lost track of how many times the crash of that door being kicked open shook the department. The wall behind it had a fist sized hole from the handle punching into it. It finally reached the point where I had to make a rule, no psych patients in room nine.

I blew it off for years as a strange quirk until one morning, about three am, when I was interviewing a patient. In a sleep deprived stupor I sat on the stool next to the room nine bed, the gurney with the patient on it between the door and myself. The door was closed to give us some privacy. I was talking to the patient when the hair on the back of my neck began to rise.

There were faces in the door watching me. They wavered back and forth between a pattern in the wood and the Lost staring me down. I sat afraid, frozen in place, unable to understand what they could want from me. Finally, my patient on the gurney before me gave an awkward cough, and asked if I was ok.

That was a long time ago. I’ve moved on since then. Other ER’s, other towns, other stories. I never told anyone at work that I too, could see the faces. I’ve often wondered if a few of my nurses saw them as well. More than once during a trauma I’d catch a nurse staring off at the door on room nine across from us. The nurse and I would make eye contact, both waiting for the other to acknowledge the impossible. In the end, we never spoke of it, some things in the ER best being left alone.

The roughest part of what I do is getting out of bed each day, knowing an onslaught of suffering is barreling towards me. As I wake, so too are my patients. Perhaps we all drink coffee, sitting at our own breakfast table, chatting with our families about the day ahead.

I can’t help but think if only there were some clue, some way for me to warn them. Today is the day we will meet in the ER. Do not glance down at your phone on the way to work. Stay off Division Street. Wait, just one extra second, that’s all, just one second, before you step into the crosswalk in front of the school.

I imagine myself a ghost. Begging, pleading, screaming at them to stay home. Yet as a ghost, no one can hear me. My words have no meaning, my warnings no heed, my panic no justification. Nothing has happened yet. Today is starting out like every other day has started out, and those days were fine.

So instead we all get up, we go to work, and the day begins. I arrive at the ER, knowing my warnings have been unheeded. All I can do is prepare.

I walk through the department at the start of my shift. Airway equipment, check. Central lines, check. IV equipment, check. IV fluids, check. Room by room, item by item, I mentally touch and confirm each tool. As I see each item I make a quick practice run in my mind, so that when I need it I don’t have to think or feel. I can become pure action and resuscitation when need be.

Step by step I approach readiness, while somewhere, step by step, someone else approaches disaster. Like two planets whose gravitational fields pull them together, we begin on a collision course, gathering speed and momentum, neither of us yet aware of the other. I know a crash is coming but not who or what or where. My day is 10 hours of bracing for impact.

The buzzer on the radio squawks out through the department that a car has hit a pedestrian. The victim is unconscious on scene, rigs 7 and 12 are responding, and I know our planets are about to collide.

A hush falls over the ER as we listen to the call. They are on scene now, it’s bad. The victim is a child. She is critically injured. The car was speeding through a school zone. The quiet ding of a cell phone text has once again changed the course of the universe.

The medic phone rings and through the chaos and the static of the call there is only one thing I hear- the shakiness of the medic’s voice. ETA two minutes, he says, extensive facial trauma, chest trauma, maybe a collapsed lung. IV established, patient being bagged, not intubated.

My job now is to drain the department of all emotion. I become a human black hole. We cannot afford to feel. A child is dying. Feeling is for later. Now, we must focus. We must move. But we must not feel, or we will lose focus and fail.

My voice is calm, business like. As if we are getting a shipment of broken computer parts that require nothing more than reassembly in our shop. Part A will attach to Part B will attach to Part C. Nothing more.

I sound confident and ready, even to my own ears. It’s so convincing I almost believe it. Yet inside I feel it. The sheer terror. There’s no other word. The faces in the door of room nine show up in force for the show. They stare out at us, watching, observing, grading us. I try to ignore them as I prepare myself to once again bear witness to the horror of life tearing apart before me.

I take in a deep breath and push it down. Somehow I find a little space left inside to cram some more suffering. I shove one more round of fear into it, knowing at some point it’s going to break, but hopefully not today, not now.

We scramble to get the trauma room ready. There is motion everywhere. People run. Voices shout back and forth. Tubes are prepared, drugs are drawn up, machines are wheeled about through the department. Bright yellow gowns and blue gloves are handed out like bullets and helmets before a battle.

Everyone knows their role. The techs prepare the monitors and gurney. The nurses draw up meds one by one, laying the drug filled syringes out on the counter in a row, ready for whatever the enemy throws at us. Pastoral services arrive with a Bible. I stand off to the side, my head racing through protocols, doses, tube sizes, and back up plans. There is an excited buzz in the air as we prepare. Then it happens. We achieve readiness.

A silence settles over the room like a lens focusing us into existence. Nothing moves. Each of us alive and vivid and real and anxious and excited and terrified at what’s coming. The colors of the room seem brighter, my friendships with the nurses feel stronger, my mind feels sharper as I breathe air that suddenly feels cleaner. I can feel my heart in my chest, my hands, my skin, every part of me.

The medics come crashing through the door, CPR in progress, and once again motion returns. As they roll into the trauma room time slows. I focus all of my being onto the child sprawled on the stretcher before me. She is twisted and broken like a flower that has been stomped part way down into the soil. I know this battle has been lost before I even touch my stethoscope to her blood-covered chest.

The next several minutes are holy and private and terrible. And they shall remain that way forever. That is the one small power that I do have. Suffice it to say there is another face that stares out from the door in room nine, watching, waiting, perhaps remembering.

Weeks later, months later, years later, her face comes to me. I will be camping alone in the desert, as far from another human being as I can get. The door of room nine will rise in my mind, and I can feel the faces out here with me.

The desert, the stars, the heat, the desolation, the emptiness are not enough to keep them away. They follow me everywhere. That womb of stuffed down fear and horror inside me has to give birth eventually somewhere in my life.

I stare into my small campfire, the smoke twisting like ghosts rising to the night above. I wonder. Do the stars know? Does God know? Does the dirt know? What is this place, this life, this brief flash of light before we fall back into the darkness again from which we arose?

I watch the fire dance and the smoke rise for hours. The faces sit with me. I can feel it. They too wonder at it all. Finally, my fire burns out, the smoke stops, and the sun rises. In two days I have to go back to work. But now I understand.

The faces will always be with me.

Waiting. Watching. Making sure that I’m never alone when the next trauma comes.

philipallengreen.com

 
 

A Poetic Response to our Occult Relationship with the Vegetable as found in “Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is not unknown. Its effect is like that of a higher thought or a better emotion coming over me, when I deemed I was thinking justly or doing right.

Give me the Forest

give me the forest
the whispers
the wind

where only the keening call of the morrow
dare break the sacred calm of the sylvan now

the ritual of the soaring hum

give me the forest
the neglected
the free

where there are no rules
but the rooting scrawls of the cloven beast
unearthing pagan creeds
blasphemous guides to the dark
to the place where all the fears are found

all the magic

give me the forest
the sanctified
the holy

where the haunted howls of midnight
call to worship
to prayer
all the pious and profane

all the naked unbelievers who mock the baptismal of the moon

give me the forest
the ancient
the eternal

where the tattered persona is stripped away
ripped away and hung from the treetops
desperate semaphore signals for the dire

the damned

where the anima dances on fresh laid graves
sodden with tears of the holy

the helpless

 

A Meditation on an Introduction’s Second Paragraph as found in “Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Having moved slow and steady through two readings of Nature, with nightly accompaniments of Librivox audio readings that would lull me away to sleep with visions of all the vast universal wonderments dancing in my head, it is now time to sift through my sporadic notes and swirling thoughts to try to make use of what I have come across, as I look to somehow apply to my life all that which Emerson teaches with his complexly simple essays as found in Nature.

However, as I consider such intellectual derring-do, I find myself drawn back to one of the first opportunities for learning the work provides me; one found in a most bold and faith-requiring passage from the introduction:

Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable.
We must trust the perfection of the creation so far as to believe that whatever curiosity the order of things has awakened in our minds,
the order of things can satisfy.

What a wonder of a statement – Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable.

What a brave, perhaps reckless even, proclamation – We must trust the perfection of creation…

Must we?

Do you believe that?

Undoubtedly – without any doubt?

Do I believe that?

As wonderful and bold as this passage may be, alas can it possibly be true?

Can it be possible that the order of things can satisfy completely my curiosity? Can this perfection answer all my questions, from those of the most simple and mundane to those of the most metaphysically profound?

And even if it can be possible, will it?

Only time will tell, I suppose.

Until then, for answers to all my seemingly unanswerable questions, I rely upon the only thing the perfection of creation presently allows me…

And that is my less than perfect Faith.


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