On September 27th, 1958, a vote was held, with an overwhelming outcome, to keep the schools of Little Rock, Arkansas closed rather than integrate them. In September 1957, nine Black students known as the Little Rock Nine entered Central High School and were met by angry Protesters. Known as The Lost Year, high schools in the city remained closed for the entire 1958-59 academic term.
It is hard for me to comprehend that this happened less than sixty years ago.
There is an election coming up where one of the candidates wants to “Make America Great Again.”
The, “Again” part is what upsets me. Is this what he means? I remember the fire hoses and the dogs, and the people dragged beaten and bloody through the streets. Those images flashed across our TV screens almost every night when I was young.
It’s disturbing to see and hear white supremacist groups brazenly supporting a presidential candidate “again” in this country. Many of us thought their time had passed—and we were all the better for it.
It is almost autumn in the northeastern United States. Two more days.
There are no more bright green leaves splashing against the hot summer skies.
There are only tired, slowly drying, brownish remnants drooping from transitioning boughs.
There are no beautiful crimson, orange and yellow leaves speckling the trees. Not yet.
Nature is at one of its awkward stages. The in-between time. The time between fond remembrance and eager anticipation.
I hate this time of year. It’s like being eleven again. Not good. Not old enough to have a boyfriend or girlfriend—but too old to play doctor with any friend.
C’mon, nature. Get on with it. Fall!
I think I may have actually owned that dress at one point in my life!
— L.C. Bennett Stern
Despite all the prayers and special schooling, Linda’s parents knew that they should probably set aside some money for eventual attorney fees and bail bonds and damage receipts. But Linda didn’t care. She had the music in her. And it was clearly fighting to escape…
It’s August, and parents all over the country are crying.
Some are crying tears of joy…finally summer is over and the kids are heading back to school.
Some are crying tears of fear…their “babies” are heading off to Kindergarten.
But the most all-encompassing tears are being shed by parents of young adults who are moving into dorms in preparation for their first year of college. — Their tears cascade over their cheeks in an unexpected gush of joy, pride, anxiety, anger, awe, and yes . . . fear.
Joy for their offspring, as they see their beaming smile while they unpack in the closet posing as their new home.
Pride for producing such an obvious genius compared to all the other losers wandering the halls, unable to find their assigned rooms.
Anxiety about all the sage advice they worry they may have forgotten to impart . . . oh, and about that unusual looking character covered in tattoos and piercings who was part of the welcoming committee for their child’s dorm.
Anger due to frustration with the roommate’s parents, who insist their child must take the lower bunk because of ‘back issues.’
Awe, as they take the campus tour given by their brilliant child, who remembers the name and location of each building after only visiting the campus once before . . . six months ago.
And finally —
Tears of Fear, as they slump into the front seat of the family car, preparing for that emptied-soul, heartbroken, lonely trip home, and then wrench their necks as they try to get one more glimpse of their “baby,” . . . which raises the fear they may have to visit the chiropractor at the college medical facility before they can hope to be able to drive back home . . . where they will be able to cry, sniffle, and wail noisily, without embarrassing their very own newly-minted college freshman!
Photo Credit: Sue Panzone Rosica, Belmont University, Tennessee
I have a confession to make . . .
I’m freaking out a bit.
You see, I’ve agreed to be one of several authors at a local venue next week for a book signing! What the hell was I thinking?
I have personally witnessed book signings (by others) about four times in my entire life. Two of those times were for my indie author husband, where my participation involved ironing the table covers and making sure there were cookies for his “fans.” Not exactly activities I could include on my resume as “book signing experience.”
What I do know:
Bring 10,000 copies of my book, “Bosses and Blackjacks: A Tale of the ‘Bloody Fifth’ in Philadelphia” Wait a minute . . . did I say 10,000? . . . I meant 10.
Bring a pen (that works). On second thought —better bring two.
Bring a table cover (freshly ironed, of course)
Bring the clever(?) bookmarks I spent hours designing and re-designing to give away to anyone who gets within three miles of my table. (I do know how to make paper airplanes!)
Bring business cards — to make it easy for reps from those big publishing houses and movie moguls to contact me day or night! (Think positive…think positive…think positive)
Bring a stiff upper lip —so I don’t dissolve into a puddle of disappointment if no one shows up — or worse, if people show up, but no one buys my book…or, God forbid, doesn’t even talk to me.
Oh damn! I almost forgot —bring cookies!
Seriously folks . . . if any of you, Dear Readers, have helpful advice to get me through this horror show called “A Book Signing,” I will be checking back every day for the next week to read your comments.
It’s so weird — I keep hearing Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” in my head. Sorry to leave you with that ear-worm!
Sometimes when writing, you are required to go back to some point in time in your own past to recall a scent, a touch, an emotion, or perhaps a scene, in order to convey an experience your readers can relate to.
When you do that, it can be difficult to relive a moment that evokes the gut-wrenching pain of an emotionally draining event. There are also the memories of embarrassment or shame that somehow have to become a series of words forming sentences on a page, which draw your readers into another world.
In reality, it’s a black and white sketchbook of word-pictures drawn from the author’s most intimate life experiences.
This grueling process could explain the far-away stare emanating from that dreamer, whose morning beverage is getting cold next to their laptop perched upon the corner table, in the coffee shop where you stop every day on your way to work.
Don’t try to disturb them. You can’t. They won’t hear you. They are not in this world. They are creating new ones for you to enjoy.
(Featured image: Memory Extraction Spell – Harry Potter)