Saturday, July 31, 2004

A Letter to John Forbes Kerry or Speaking Out

Dear Senator Kerry,

My name is ._________. I am a __ year old woman who lives in Lexington, Kentucky. I am physically handicapped, and, up until this electoral year I had a firm belief nothing I truly did, even in voting, would make any difference in the outcome of the election or in the nation. Many years ago I lost the faith in due process and am only now beginning to think, just maybe, things could be different in this nation.

Although I am a registered Republican, in the main election you will have my vote. You will also have the vote of my husband.

Senator Kerry, whether or not you personally receive this letter is a moot point: I understand someone will read this letter, and perhaps, pass its contents along to you. In so saying this I would like to point out a few items I am deeply concerned about and would like to voice them to you at this time.

I am a physically handicapped individual. I have been physically handicapped my entire life. Despite my handicap I worked and then had to take disability because of even further decreased health. Because of this I am on Social Security Disability and therefore on Medicare.

Because of this I cannot work, even though there are times during the warm months of the summer there is a possibility of a short span of work opportunity for any extra income, because I need my benefits and my husband and I cannot afford my medical expenses without Medicare and the disability income. Even if I am unable to work, the Medicare system is so shot at this time it does not assist in paying much of my medical bills.

My husband, is working as a custodian at a local university even though he has a degree in Applied Mechanical Science in Computer Animated Design Drafter because this was the only place he was able to secure work and provide me with medical insurance, as well as himself. He sent out his resumes for over a year, so secured this position to keep our household fed and our bills paid. We are members of the working poor. We are not even in the Middle Class income bracket.

Whether or not we are members of the Middle Class, I believe everyone’s voice could be heard, so am lifting mine.

1) We need a system overhaul of Medicare to help each and every individual, not just the elderly.

2) We need an employment opportunity in order to further the security of our household and reach toward the American Dream which has been illusive despite how hard we work.

3) The minimum wage needs to be increased in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, as well as the nation.

Some examples of how this could be done is with alternative energy sources such as thermal, hydro-electric, solar, wind turbines, and the legalization of hemp as a potential alternative to our fossil fuels. This would also help our environment tremendously as there is over 5000 different uses, currently known. Everything that is made by petroleum can be made by hemp, including concrete, clothing, plastic, and paper.

The use of hemp would help save our trees as you yourself said “trees are the cathedrals of nature.” We should indeed try to save them and thus ourselves.

There are other plants than hemp that grow faster than trees and could be used more readily.

And yes, my husband and I both know hemp is different from marijuana.

4) Public transportation and tourist trains would also help the economy. Better bike trails and transportation for handicapped individuals would also help the economy of Kentucky as well as the nation itself.

5) Better pay for our firefighters and policemen and women should also be more formalized. In Lexington, Kentucky the policemen and women are still working even though their pay is far below the national limit. Because of their selflessness, my husband and I have even more respect and admiration for them.

6) Both my husband and I believe natural medicines and herbal supplements should have a better standard upon them.

My husband and I have had to look to natural medicines because of the high cost of medicines. Many doctors I have had to see have discounted the natural medicines and herbal supplements, even though they help and have been used for thousands of years. In this nation natural medicines have been scoffed at as a New Age fad or health nuts, when in reality all medicine are based on these plants.

It is a shame many children are prescribed Prozac® when perhaps St. John’s Wort would be just as effective, or just talking to the child and having parental guidance and love.

Another example is my mother, whom I recently lost due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Congestive Heart Failure and kidney failure. During her long struggle with these horrible diseases and having to watch her slowly wither and die before me, there were many drugs she could have used to help extend her life and make the quality of her life better, but they were unavailable due to cost.

She had to take special shots called Procrit® to help her gain strength and morphine for pain, but it took away her appetite and sometimes made her very sick to her stomach, so therefore she had to have another medicine to settle her stomach, which took away her appetite; we then had to give her another medicine to help her get her stomach.

The medicine to help her regain her appetite grew too expensive so we discovered Elder Tonic which would help her get her appetite back. Still, sometimes when she ate she was still very sick to her stomach.

A nurse said there was a medicine that could help with her appetite called Merinol® that would help increase her appetite, settle her stomach, and perhaps help with pain. This drug was approximately $900 for one month’s supply which neither she, nor anyone in the family could afford. Her insurance company would not cover this medicine either, and the doctors were afraid to prescribe it to her.

Their reluctance led me and my husband to research Merinol® and discovered it was THC, the active ingredient in marijuana and in your own brain naturally for pain.

By the time of my research, I discovered the pain relieving aspect of the drug had been removed or reduced drastically so that it was only for appetite. It was this particular form of the drug that was over $900 for a monthly supply.

This led me to question why marijuana was illegal when cigarettes, the cause of my mother’s pain and eventual death, were not. It also led me to wonder why, in a state marijuana is legal under a doctor’s prescription, such as California, the DEA is arresting the doctors and places that prescribe it.

I worked for the Social Security Administration and had to listen to alcoholics explain their disease to me, and yet alcohol is legal. This does not make common sense.

I do not propose alcohol be banned, we are far from the 1920s, but, possibly, the legalization of marijuana. Marijuana should not be legalized to the point where sixteen year old children could get it from a store (but they could get it as it is now), but as with alcohol and cigarettes there should be an age-limit as to its purchase. Cigarettes are simply bad for you, whereas tobacco is not in itself. Alcohol is not bad for you, but you should use it in reason. If anything should be banned it is cigarettes. They kill.

It is time our nation became progressive in the view of health and preventative health care (such as exercise in elementary schools and up; exercise that is interesting to kids such as martial arts, archery, dance, etc.) and its medicines.

7) Stem cell research and partial birth abortion is one subject I am hesitant to list. I am not in favor of partial birth abortion for the harvesting of stem cells for research. A life is a life. The placenta and the afterbirth can easily be used for the harvesting of stem cells. Partial birth abortion should never be considered for this harvesting. To do so would be condoning murder.

Thank you very much Mr. Kerry for listening to someone who hopes you will be a good President of the United States of America and live up to your word. We truly indeed “should be on the side of God” for our nation, for each other, and for the betterment of humanity.

We should be concerned with removing the plank from our own eye before we turn our attention to our brother’s splinter, as the verse says.

A Voter

This is a copy of a letter written by a dear friend of mine. In following her example, I believe I too will write a letter to John Forbes Kerry. Perhaps he really and truly is the JFK of this generation.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Construction Almost Complete

Beginning next week, The Kentucky Mountain Girl News is going to have its changes complete and under way. Outside submissions will begin to be printed, as well as my own ramblings, poetry, and fiction. So, I hope all writers will submit something to The News, because she is going to need it.

I am actually quite excited about this change. Not only am I gaining valuable experience, a bi-line myself, and loving every single second of this new phase of The News, there will be opportunities for people to submit their work, receive a bi-line, and help someone else's portfolio to increase. To me it appears to be a win/win scenario.

To further this advance, I have linked with The News and hopefully writers will begin submitting.

What else can I say, except: Show me what you have! Let's enjoy this adventure together!

Thursday, July 29, 2004


A Wish
By Henrietta Asher Handy
Copyright (c) 2004 by Henrietta Asher Handy

If I had a wish to make
Guaranteed of its fulfillment
What risk would I take?
Or would any risk be taken?
Would I wish for perfect health for myself or another?
Would I wish for unending wealth so cold would pass over us in the winter?
Would I require world peace so that none would take a life
From north, south, west or east?
In that moment would I ask for the rejuvenation and health needed for you
Making living for you a joy and not a task?
If one good wish could ever be used with promise of it happening
I’m not sure for what to ask, because so much could we lose.
Each moment requires a decision,
Forcing us our free will to use;
And there, within ourselves, lies the division.
So, please, don’t give me that question to decide:
I could be selfish, or self-less;
Either way, part of me would hide.

My cousin who is undergoing radiation treatments has decided to fight.  Some people are upset by it, saying that isn't what he wanted to do.  Regardless of what he may have said in the past, this is the present, and he has decided to fight for a few more days, months, or perhaps years of his life.
Yes, he is going to become very sick with the radiation treatments.  Still, he has made a choice and we, as family and friends, should respect that and stand by him, giving him as much support and all the love we can muster.
It isn't easy facing what he is facing.  It isn't easy watching him have to go through this.  Still, the situation is present and people around him have a choice.  Be combative, or be supportive.  My personal vote is for support.
How often I have seen my Mom in the past almost weep with all the advice she had been given.  Everyone was telling her different things and, in the end it didn't really matter because she couldn't make too many decisions herself.  So, all stood by her and helped her.  Loved her.  My stance was firmly taken, and it is firmly taken with my cousin. 
At the same time I wonder, if I could make a wish ....
Open Call
I need pieces for Saturday's post, and a posting for next week. 

Fiction 5000 words or less (impress me and it could go longer, same goes for poetry)

Poetry 30 lines max

Non-fiction, please query.

Do Not Send submissions in attachments!  They will be deleted unread!  Send them in the body of the email.  Place "Submission" in the subject line and the title of your piece.

The author retains all rights to their work, but you at least get a bi-line, which helps with the portfolio.

No payment, just publication (one day maybe).

Yes, I know this is short notice, but things happen.  I also need a piece for next week.  So, let me know the slot you are applying for.

Thanks all.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Bill Clinton's Speech posted from

Posted July 27, 2004, 12:06 AM EDT

The following is a transcript of a speech by William J. Clinton at the Democratic National Convention:

Thank you.  I am honored to share the podium with my Senator, though I think I should be introducing her. I'm proud of her and so grateful to the people of New York that the best public servant in our family is still on the job and grateful to all of you, especially my friends from Arkansas, for the chance you gave us to serve our country in the White House.
I am also honored to share this night with President Carter, who has inspired the world with his work for peace, democracy, and human rights. And with Al Gore, my friend and partner for eight years, who played such a large role in building the prosperity and progress that brought America into the 21st century, who showed incredible grace and patriotism under pressure, and who is the living embodiment that every vote counts -- and must be counted in every state in America.
Tonight I speak as a citizen, returning to the role I have played for most of my life as a foot soldier in the fight for our future, as we nominate a true New England patriot for president. The state that gave us John Adams and John Kennedy has now given us John Kerry, a good man, a great senator, a visionary leader. We are constantly told America is deeply divided. But all Americans value freedom, faith, and family. We all honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world.
We all want good jobs, good schools, health care, safe streets, a clean environment. We all want our children to grow up in a secure America leading the world toward a peaceful future. Our differences are in how we can best achieve these things, in a time of unprecedented change. Therefore, we Democrats will bring the American people a positive campaign, arguing not who's good and who's bad, but what is the best way to build the safe, prosperous world our children deserve.
The 21st century is marked by serious security threats, serious economic challenges, and serious problems like global warming and the AIDS epidemic. But it is also full of enormous opportunities-to create millions of high paying jobs in clean energy, and biotechnology; to restore the manufacturing base and reap the benefits of the global economy through our diversity and our commitment to decent labor and environmental standards everywhere; and to create a world where we can celebrate our religious and racial differences, because our common humanity matters more.
To build that kind of world we must make the right choices; and we must have a president who will lead the way. Democrats and Republicans have very different and honestly held ideas on that choices we should make, rooted in fundamentally different views of how we should meet our common challenges at home and how we should play our role in the world. Democrats want to build an America of shared responsibilities and shared opportunities and more global cooperation, acting alone only when we must.
We think the role of government is to give people the tools and conditions to make the most of their lives. Republicans believe in an America run by the right people, their people, in a world in which we act unilaterally when we can, and cooperate when we have to.
They think the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their political, economic, and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on matters like health care and retirement security. Since most Americans are not that far to the right, they have to portray us Democrats as unacceptable, lacking in strength and values. In other words, they need a divided America. But Americans long to be united. After 9/11, we all wanted to be one nation, strong in the fight against terror. The president had a great opportunity to bring us together under his slogan of compassionate conservatism and to unite the world in common cause against terror.Instead, he and his congressional allies made a very different choice: to use the moment of unity to push America too far to the right and to walk away from our allies, not only in attacking Iraq before the weapons inspectors finished their jobs, but in withdrawing American support for the Climate Change Treaty, the International Court for war criminals, the ABM treaty, and even the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.Now they are working to develop two new nuclear weapons which they say we might use first. At home, the President and the Republican Congress have made equally fateful choices indeed. For the first time ever when America was on a war footing, there were two huge tax cuts, nearly half of which went to the top one percent. I'm in that group now for the first time in my life.
When I was in office, the Republicans were pretty mean to me. When I left and made money, I became part of the most important group in the world to them. At first I thought I should send them a thank you note -- until I realized they were sending you the bill.
They protected my tax cuts while:
-- Withholding promised funding for the Leave No Child Behind Act, leavingover 2 million children behind
-- Cutting 140,000 unemployed workers out of job training
-- 100,000 working families out of child care assistance
-- 300,000 poor children out of after school programs
-- Raising out of pocket healthcare costs to veterans
-- Weakening or reversing important environmental advances for clean airand the preservation of our forests.
Everyone had to sacrifice except the wealthiest Americans, who wanted to do their part but were asked only to expend the energy necessary to open the envelopes containing our tax cuts. If you agree with these choices, you should vote to return them to the White House and Congress. If not, take a look at John Kerry, John Edwards and the Democrats.
In this year's budget, the White House wants to cut off federal funding for 88,000 uniformed police, including more than 700 on the New York City police force who put their lives on the line on 9/11. As gang violence is rising and we look for terrorists in our midst, Congress and the President are also about to allow the ten-year-old ban on assault weapons to expire. Our crime policy was to put more police on the streets and take assault weapons off the streets. It brought eight years of declining crime and violence. Their policy is the reverse, they're taking police off the streets and putting assault weapons back on the streets. If you agree with their choices, vote to continue them. If not, join John Kerry, John Edwards and the Democrats in making America safer, smarter, and stronger.
On Homeland Security, Democrats tried to double the number of containers at ports and airports checked for Weapons of Mass Destruction. The one billion dollar cost would have been paid for by reducing the tax cut of 200,000 millionaires by five thousand dollars each. Almost all 200,000 of us would have been glad to pay 5,000 dollars to make the nearly 300 million Americans safer-but the measure failed because the White House and the Republican leadership in the House decided my tax cut was more important -- If you agree with that choice, re-elect them. If not, give John Kerry and John Edwards a chance.
These policies have turned the projected 5.8 trillion dollar surplus we left-enough to pay for the baby boomers retirement-into a projected debt of nearly 5 trillion dollars, with a 400 plus billion dollar deficit this year and for years to come. How do they pay for it? First by taking the monthly surplus in Social Security payments and endorsing the checks of working people over to me to cover my tax cut. But it's not enough. They are borrowing the rest from foreign governments, mostly Japan and China. Sure, they're competing with us for good jobs but how can we enforce our trade laws against our bankers? If you think it's good policy to pay for my tax cut with the Social Security checks of working men and women, and borrowed money from China, vote for them. If not, John Kerry's your man.
We Americans must choose for President one of two strong men who both love our country, but who have very different worldviews: Democrats favor shared responsibility, shared opportunity, and more global cooperation. Republicans favor concentrated wealth and power, leaving people to fend for themselves and more unilateral action. I think we're right for two reasons: First, America works better when all people have a chance to live their dreams. Second, we live in an interdependent world in which we can't kill, jail, or occupy all our potential adversaries, so we have to both fight terror and build a world with more partners and fewer terrorists. We tried it their way for twelve years, our way for eight, and then their way for four more.
By the only test that matters, whether people were better off when we finished than when we started, our way works better-it produced over 22 million good jobs, rising incomes, and 100 times as many people moving out of poverty into the middle class. It produced more health care, the largest increase in college aid in 50 years, record home ownership, a cleaner environment, three surpluses in a row, a modernized defense force, strong efforts against terror, and an America respected as a world leader for peace, security and prosperity.
More importantly, we have great new champions in John Kerry and John Edwards. Two good men with wonderful wives-Teresa a generous and wise woman who understands the world we are trying to shape. And Elizabeth, a lawyer and mother who understands the lives we are all trying to lift. Here is what I know about John Kerry. During the Vietnam War, many young men -- including the current president, the vice president and me-could have gone to Vietnam but didn't. John Kerry came from a privileged background and could have avoided it too. Instead he said, send me.
When they sent those swift-boats up the river in Vietnam, and told them their job was to draw hostile fire-to show the American flag and bait the enemy to come out and fight-John Kerry said, send me. When it was time to heal the wounds of war and normalize relations with Vietnam-and to demand an accounting of the POWs and MIAs we lost there-John Kerry said, send me.
When we needed someone to push the cause of inner-city kids struggling to avoid a life of crime, or to bring the benefits of high technology to ordinary Americans, or to clean the environment in a way that creates jobs, or to give small businesses a better chance to make it, John Kerry said send me.
Tonight my friends, I ask you to join me for the next 100 days in telling John Kerry's story and promoting his plans. Let every person in this hall and all across America say to him what he has always said to America: Send Me. The bravery that the men who fought by his side saw in battle I've seen in the political arena. When I was President, John Kerry showed courage and conviction on crime, on welfare reform, on balancing the budget at a time when those priorities were not exactly a way to win a popularity contest in our party.
He took tough positions on tough problems. John Kerry knows who he is and where he's going. He has the experience, the character, the ideas and the values to be a great President. In a time of change he has two other important qualities: his insatiable curiosity to understand the forces shaping our lives, and a willingness to hear the views even of those who disagree with him. Therefore his choices will be full of both conviction and common sense.
He proved that when he picked a tremendous partner in John Edwards. Everybody talks about John Edwards' energy, intellect, and charisma. The important thing is how he has used his talents to improve the lives of people who -- like John himself -- had to work hard for all they've got. He has always championed the cause of people too often left out or left behind. And that's what he'll do as our Vice President.
Their opponents will tell you to be afraid of John Kerry and John Edwards, because they won't stand up to the terrorists -- don't you believe it. Strength and wisdom are not conflicting values -- they go hand in hand. John Kerry has both. His first priority will be keeping America safe. Remember the scripture: Be Not Afraid.
John Kerry and John Edwards, have good ideas:
-- To make this economy work again for middle-class Americans
-- To restore fiscal responsibility
-- To save Social Security; to make healthcare more affordable and collegemore available
-- To free us from dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs in cleanenergy
-- To rally the world to win the war on terror and to make more friendsand fewer terrorists.
At every turning point in our history we the people have chosen unity over division, heeding our founders' call to America's eternal mission: to form a more perfect union, to widen the circle of opportunity, deepen the reach of freedom, and strengthen the bonds of community.
It happened because we made the right choices. In the early days of the republic, America was at a crossroads much like it is today, deeply divided over whether or not to build a real nation with a national economy, and a national legal system. We chose a more perfect union.In the Civil War, America was at a crossroads, divided over whether to save the union and end slavery -- we chose a more perfect union. In the 1960s, America was at a crossroads, divided again over civil rights and women's rights. Again, we chose a more perfect union. As I said in 1992, we're all in this together; we have an obligation both to work hard and to help our fellow citizens, both to fight terror and to build a world with more cooperation and less terror. Now again, it is time to choose.
Since we're all in the same boat, let us chose as the captain of our ship a brave good man who knows how to steer a vessel though troubled waters to the calm seas and clear skies of our more perfect union. We know our mission. Let us join as one and say in a loud, clear voice: Send John Kerry.

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

Political Ramblings and Possibly an Observation

I am not a political person.  Yeah, I know, I said that before.  If I'm not a political person, then why am I paying so much attention to events I normally wouldn't?  Take the DNC (Democratic National Convention) for example.  I didn't get to watch any of it last night and I was very disappointed!  That isn't me.  Is it?  I mean, wanting to hear some of the speeches doesn't make me heading toward the political arena does it?
What I think is happening is that I am learning more and more about myself.  I say I am a conservative liberal politically.  I disagree with a lot of what goes on in the political world, yet I am very conservative when it comes to using abortion as a means of birth control.  Men and women should take a little more responsibility there, but in some cases I understand it needs to be present.  I am not in favor of partial birth abortions - the baby (and it is a baby) is permitted to be born to a certain level before it is killed.  It doesn't matter how much you want to argue, that's just wrong to me.  Of course, these are my own opinions and I don't try to shove them down anyone else's throat.  It is ok with me if you disagree, just don't try to make me believe your way.  I guess I have a live-and-let-live attitude. 
All of this, of course, is just an example I am using to point out my "conservative liberal" tag I just placed on myself. 

I was very disappointed when I didn't get to hear Barrack Obama's speech.  I was very disappointed I didn't get to hear Teresa Heinz Kerry's speech.  Go figure.
Could it be (I shudder at the thought) I am actually beginning to think my opinion matters, or my vote?  I am not a Democrat, I am not a Republican, but I am very interested in what is going on in my nation at the moment.  Something needs to give, and give in a good way.  I can't help but wonder if Bush will attempt another political coupe like he did the last election and if, maybe, just maybe, John Kerry is the Kennedy for this nation now.  (Hopefully he will have better success than JFK did.)
I mean, really, look at the similarities between the two.  Both of them are war vets.  Both of them are going against the grain, yet gaining momentum as the election nears.  Both of them are extremely handsome, and both seem to have ideals they are really willing to work toward.  For some reason I see hope with John Kerry and not so much hope with Pres. Bush.
Wow, I just endorsed someone.  I'd better stop while I still feel relatively clean.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

An Orator

Last night, as hubby and I were preparing for bed, I flipped on the TV in the bedroom just to see what gobbledy gook was happening at the Democratic Convention. 
I am not partisan to any party, and am still holding firm to the theory the popular vote should actually be given more credence in hiring a President for the nation.  We are, after all, firmly rooted in an information and technological age and not scattered about having to rely upon trains for the post or horses.  So, in many respects, I find politics laughable and sometimes downright amusing, until politicians and their stupid ideas make me angry. 
Last night I was counting on some amusement before bed when I turned on the TV.  What I discovered was an Orator.  Bill Clinton.
Many things he said I found myself agreeing with.  His impassioned speech made my jaw drop and made both myself and my hubby to sit down and listen to what he had to say.  His speech so moved me, I actually went looking for a transcript of it and will post it verbatim, if you missed it, in another post of The News, or perhaps directly following this.
Some of the things he said made me laugh.  He made me care about what was happening in this country politically and even gave me pause to think, just possibly, I could affect it in a positive manner.
Mr. Clinton said, "We are constantly told America is deeply divided. But all Americans value freedom, faith, and family. We all honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world."  I found myself agreeing.  It also made me think, perhaps America isn't going to crap after all ... just maybe it isn't.
He further said, in another part of his speech,
The 21st century is marked by serious security threats, serious economic challenges, and serious problems like global warming and the AIDS epidemic. But it is also full of enormous opportunities-to create millions of high paying jobs in clean energy, and biotechnology; to restore the manufacturing base and reap the benefits of the global economy through our diversity and our commitment to decent labor and environmental standards everywhere; and to create a world where we can celebrate our religious and racial differences, because our common humanity matters more.
Again I found myself nodding, because I have often thought the same thing.  And often wondered Why doesn't the government DO something with all the knowledge we have?

The thing that made my mouth drop open most was when Mr. Clinton spoke of Viet Nam and how he had "avoided" going, but Kerry hadn't.  To hear someone admit, especially a political figure, that he had avoided going to Viet Nam takes courage, in my book, for being so honest.  I was simply blown away by his speaking and still am.  My desire to read his book has now increased 100 fold.
Lawrence C. Levy said in his own Blog,
"Bill Clinton's speech was enough to make anyone forget anything but what an incredible communicator he was -- and how he had raised the bar even higher for John Kerry when the candidate gives his acceptance speech Thursday."
  He is right. 

Bill Clinton spoke eloquently, passionately, and confidently.  He didn't beat you over the head with his words, he laid them out before you for you to make a decision and a choice.  In doing this he was far more eloquent in swaying thoughts and ideas, because he was encouraging everyone for his party candidate, yet also came across to tell fellow Americans he had made a choice and he thought it was a good one.  Bill Clinton stirred the hearts, minds, and souls of those who heard him, and, whether or not it was for a political agenda of his own or not didn't seem to matter.  This doesn't happen often, and I don't believe it will happen again, unless Bill Clinton, perhaps, is doing the speaking. 

Writers' Guidelines...?

Ok, since publishing "Johnny Cash Wouldn't Lie" I have had several questions concerning *gasp* submissions to The Kentucky Mountain Girl News.

It was always a possibility I could open this up to outside sources so, perhaps a small step in that direction wouldn't be such a bad idea. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be paying anyone, but you "could" have a bi-line, which is always helpful in building a portfolio of your published works, which is something editors really look at.

SO, here is the dish:

If you have something you would like to submit to The Kentucky Mountain Girl News, email me at and I will send you guidelines.

As it stands right now, I am open to considering poetry and short fiction, less than 5000 words. No profanity, unless it is really necessary for the story. No fan fiction, unless it is really, really, really good and can make me change my mind about it.

Poetry 46 lines max.

Non-fiction, please query.

Whoever is published here retains all rights to their work.

I guess that's in for the "guidelines" possibility, but, just send me an email. If you want to actually submit something, put it in the body of the email itself and make sure you have something (asterisks or something) showing me where there should be italics. And, please, double-space between paragraphs.


Monday, July 26, 2004

Missing the Hills

Today is one of those days where, when I look out my window I miss seeing the summer green hills of my native home.  Here I live on a street and look out my window upon houses and sometimes people moving about.  Back Home I lived on a creek beside a road and right beside one of my beloved Kentucky mountains.  I was surrounded by them on every side it seemed.  The road made a twitchy space between them, following the shallow creek as it burbled along its path of unknown ages.
I miss my hills, my Kentucky mountains.  Sometimes, like today, more than others. 
By Henrietta Asher Handy
Copyright (c) 2004 by Henrietta Asher Handy

In the spring, covered in blossoms,
My old friends speak to me
Of times passed
Futures coming
Worries gone.

In the summer, covered in varying shades of green,
My old friends speak to me
Of joys near, just around the bend,
And passing moments
To be savored like the perfect morning,

The moment
The moment when
Nothing is impossible
And nothing is quite as dank and dark.

In the fall, dappled with patchwork quilts,
My old friends speak to me
Of Time’s existence
How it is present, simmering,
Cooling down.

In the winter, covered white,
My old friends speak to me
Of slumbering sad
Waiting for the better times to come
Just shy of distant.

Do not reprint without my permission.  Thank you.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

A Friend's Thought

Shane Stewart is a fellow writer and a good friend of mine.  He has listened to me cry on the phone several times over the recent happenings in my life and has also been the best friend of hubby for many years; he has also led many a D&D role-playing session for me and many friends.  He sent something to me which I am posting here.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Do not republish.  This is not my work and I do not claim any copyrights to this material.

Johnny Cash Wouldn't Lie
By Shane Stewart
Copyright (c) 2004 by Shane Stewart
I can't remember when I was last this cold.
Don't really know when the ice
Got built up so far.
It's thick.  Heavy.
I've been caked in ice before,
But never this much.
How do I move in all this ice?
How can I move and still be this cold?
Moving should move my blood.
Moving should warm me.
It does not.
I shake continually.
My skin always crawls,
My blood is always chilled.
I only vaguely remember
Being warm.  Safe.  Happy.
I think I'll be warm again.
The Man in Black told me so,
Just after the winter set in,
I heard the song.
Devils and fiddles and rematches and practices.
I heard it.  I heard him.  Dawn comes,
That's what he said.
Dawn comes.
The Man in Black told me -
After the dark, cold hours,
Dawn comes.

Friday, July 23, 2004

A Discovery Made

On Wednesday I needed to talk to some old friends and ended up making two long distance calls.  I usually don't make long distance calls.  It is much more affordable to wait until time arrives for the free minutes on the cell phone where time, as they say, is free.  But, yesterday I needed to ask about a dear friend who has been recently diagnosed with cancer and, on a wild hair, called the doctor that treated my Mommy Back Home.
I hadn't talked to Dr. V for over eighteen months now and wasn't sure he would remember me.  He is from India and practicing in a small mountain community.  He didn't make "friends" easily and, although he and I never would admit to being "friends" we had always been on friendly terms, especially about my Mom and her condition.  When I needed something for her I could always call him and something good would come out of it, even if it was getting her to the hospital and him talking her into staying.  He could handle Mom that way when no one else could.
As I said, I called him and told him my name and placed it in reference to my mother.  Much to my surprise he laughed out loud and said he had time and asked how I was doing.  He asked about my health, so we had to have a small conversation over a few minor problems he had seen me for during the time I had stayed with my Mom and I asked about him.
"I'm not seeing many patients any more," he said.  He didn't sound upset or disturbed by it, he was just stating a simple fact in that simple Indian way he had.  He didn't explain why and I didn't ask. 
Talking to him was a true verbal visit.
As our conversation progressed he and I ended up on religion in some loose way and I said I was Orthodox.  There was a deep silence on the other end of the line, then a tentative, "What type of Orthodox do you mean?"  I explained I had converted to Eastern Orththodoxy and heard a surprised gasp.  "I'm Orthodox!" 
In all the time we had known each other, this was the first time I had learned he was an Orthodox Christian.  In fact, he was a Thomasian Orthodox Christian from India!  We talked then of fasting and other items and Dr. V said he had not taken Communion in some time.  So, he was armed with my church address and telephone number and the Antiochian website.  He laughingly said something about needing Confession and I told him my priest was a very good listener.
The conversation ended quietly and amicably. 
Once I had hung up the phone I was surprised at how close I had been to an Orthodox Christian and had never known it.  It was sad in a way, yet, in a way, also appropriate:  He did not want to offend anyone and had kept his faith to himself.  I hope Dr. V does come to Lexington, it would be absolutely wonderful to see him again.
"Dr. V" is not his real name or initial, but it works for this story.

Thursday, July 22, 2004


It happened very unexpectedly.  We were eating dinner.  It wasn't anything fancy, just sandwiches and a wonderful salsa hubby had made.  I complimented him on how wonderful it was and was contentedly munching away on some tortilla chips.
"You'll have to fix this for Mohhh...," I said.  Both of us froze.  I kept my eyes on my plate.  I had almost said You'll have to fix this for Mommy - she would really like this.  Hubby's eyes were on me, watching me carefully.  I sat for a moment dipping my chip helplessly in the wonderful salsa that had suddenly lost some of its delicious flavor.
In being apart from him while taking care of Mommy, I had written him many times in my journal, but rarely on paper.  Everything I wanted to say seemed to be too personal for letters.  In retrospect I know I should have written the letters, let him know just how much I missed him and loved him on a daily basis.  In order to fill them I wrote many poems to him, for him.  Even after I had returned home I was adjusting with being with him and letting him know within the poetry how much I was hurting, how much I was loving him, how much I longed for something I could not name. 
One poem especially came so deeply from my heart.  It was written in a moment when I was certain no one would come for me in the end to rescue me from the horror of what was happening.  Of course, no one could do such a thing, yet it was important to put forth what I was needing:
Hero Wanted
By Henrietta Asher Handy

Copyright (c) 2004 by Henrietta Asher Handy
Hero wanted:
Must have broad shoulders,
Strong hands,
And a back unafraid of burdens.
Must be willing,
Without complaint,
To have tears spilled
Upon the shoulders and chest,
And arms stout enough
To keep out the cold of life;
Must be willing to face the monster
Even if that monster is me
Applicant must also have a hero’s heart:
Unafraid to love or be afraid,
But strong enough to overcome the fear.
Applicant must possess
Heart-warming smiles for when there are no smiles left
And encouragement when life seems too much.
Those seeking a mother, sister or pal need not apply.
Those unprepared to be challenged, tested and scorched with living
Should stay a safe distance away
So that your dream world will not be threatened.
Only heroes need apply.

It seemed simultaneously I was learning to believe and love anew, and deal with grief at the same time.
Do not reprint with permission.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

If This Were a Typewriter ...

It is early and I have not yet had my coffee ... yes, I said, coffee ... but my mind is already working on story ideas and such.  That is the life of a writer I suppose: always thinking, dreaming, and exploring the life within and without simultaneously.
Something is developing here with The News, something good.  It has given me a creative outlet I wasn't expecting really.  When I first opened it I thought it was just another sort of on-line "journal", but it isn't.  It is an expression of my thought and thought processes, and creativity in a way I have not experienced before. 
Each day there is something new I want to place in The News or think about putting in it.  The pieces are not just free flowing, stream-of-consciousness (all the time) writing, but more thought out pieces.
I read somewhere that if you really want to be published and accepted in the publishing world you have to promote yourself and showcase your work.  Perhaps this is what The Kentucky Mountain Girl News is going to do for me.  Maybe it is just a nice extra something to do to take up writing time when I really don't want to plug away at scenes and characters and just want to express who I am.  All I know is that, with this particular setting, I have come to express myself far more than I ever have and I am enjoying it.
If this were a typewriter I would already have wasted almost a ream of paper trying to get thoughts and words right.  I would have probably already replaced a typewriter ribbon, because this space is important to me and I want to put things here that count.
Of course, not EVERYTHING is going to count, or make sense, or people are going to read (like this), but I hope a good chunk of it will.  I hope when you, anyone, someone reads this they can come away with it thinking they have visited a place where someone may just be thinking, questioning, and asking just as many questions as they are.
Seeing things differently, having a different take on things has never been very difficult for me.  Having the courage and tenacity to say what I am thinking in a non-fiction format has always been hard.  Maybe this Blog will break that for me, and help someone else, or at the very least amuse them, you.
So, what does all of this prattle have to do with anything?  I'm not exactly sure, but we will hopefully be discovering it together. 
Just for the record:  I'm glad this isn't a typewriter, but I do miss the clickity-clack of the typewriter keys.  

Now I'm going to get COFFEE!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Waiting for Death

For six years I watched as my mother slowly deteriorated from a vibrant, saucy individual to someone who could not take care of herself and was cared for because of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, and kidney failure.  
For a little over a year I stayed with my mother, leaving my husband behind to take care of our house and animals; and staying with her, caring for her until my own health ran out.  I was recovering my strength when my niece called and said I needed to come home because the time for Mommy's departure had finally arrived.
I was not prepared, no one truly is honestly.  When my husband and I arrived all of my sisters and their families were present.  We embraced, a few quiet tears were shed, but it still wasn't real for me.  It just wasn't happening
The next day Mommy seemed to get so much better.  She was at herself and ... She said her good-byes.  After she had said her good-byes she just seemed to rest.  A different moment of waiting had begun for us and my husband had to leave and return home to work. 
I will never forget the anguished look on his face at leaving me.  The end was so very near and he had to be the bread-winner and make the money to keep up our house and keep us fed.  As he was pulling out of my Mom's driveway I couldn't help but wonder when I would be calling him to come back?  Would he make it home?  Would it be later that night, tomorrow morning, the next day?
Mommy lasted through the day and on through the night.  Early the next morning my niece crept into my room.  The moment her foot stepped through the threshold I was awake, yet I lay still.  Maybe, just maybe she was coming in to get something for Mommy or a blanket for herself?  No, she touched my shoulder and my body tensed.
"Sissy, it's happening," was all she said.
I got out of bed and went to stand by my Mommy's bedside in the living room where she had been moved so she would always be a part of the life of the house when she could no longer get up and down.  She was so very pale and looked so very fragile.  My oldest sister was across from me and next to Mommy's head.  My niece and another sister was next to me.
Mommy's eyes were open.  Glassy.  She seemed to be seeing something we couldn't, and I wondered if my grandmother was close or my uncle that had passed so many years before.  Were they closer to the earth waiting for her transition?  How many angels were close to us at that moment?  How was I actually going to make it without my Mommy, a woman who had always been there in my life?  I wondered if yet another sister was going to be able to make it in time from her home to Mommy's before it was all over.  (I don't even know when Sister2 actually arrived at the house.)
My eyes strayed to the rise and fall of her fragile chest.  How many times I had lain my head upon her breast in tears and in joy, laughter and sorrow.  Mommy gave a gentle sigh, a simple, gentle sigh. 
I remember holding my own breath, waiting for her to take another breath, waiting for her to move.  Waiting for just one more breath, one more moment....  I remember looking to her jugular and seeing it pulse ... one ... two ... three times and then still.
In a choked voice my oldest sister said, "She's gone girls." 
It's odd.  I don't remember most of an entire year afterwards, but I remember these events plainly, distinctly.  I remember them just as vividly as I remember Mommy planting her flowers and the vegetable garden and her laugh; of watching her wipe tears of mirth from her eyes on many occasions.  I remember how she would laugh with my Dad and make me laugh as well.  I remember all of those wonderful times, and I remember this.  
I didn't think I was going to survive waiting for death's arrival.  When it came, I was surprised at how still and quiet it was.  Part of me shattered and it has taken me a long time to adjust to life as it is now.  I think, hope, my Mommy would be proud of her youngest daughter for re-creating her life step-by-step once the fog had somewhat cleared.  As always, the written word helped me re-establish myself in the world of the living.
The Beginnings of Self-Creation
By Henrietta Asher Handy
Copyright (c) 2004 by Henrietta Asher Handy
Standing by your bed, the day you died, the day you fell asleep;
The day you left me forever in this lifetime
I felt the pieces of my world shatter.
It wasn’t my world any more.
It was a mass of strangeness
Of strange familiarities
Of loves found, lost, rediscovered
Life itself was now alien
I had stepped without moving
Becoming someone different
The chrysalis split down the center
And I emerged blinking and blinded
Into this unknown world of existence
And existence, a life without you.
The pieces of my world, Momma
Were so small, I could not pick them up
Gather them together to rebuild me
Dust remained for most of it –
Butterfly dust of gem colors
Remnants of what once was:
I scooped it all up in a mayonnaise jar –
It sparkled and glistened in the sun.
Sometimes Momma, that’s all the color of my world there was;
All the color I could hold.
It has been almost a year Momma
And just like yesterday
Now I think I can start to finally heal
Rebuild a world around myself
Perhaps inside myself, too.
The sparkling dust of Use To Be
I place so gently upon the window-pane
There I can see glimpses of what was
As I create what is to be.
It will take Forever, Momma,
Forever to be whole again
Still, it will take Forever to rebuild
This Life –
It will be forever to get to know this new Me, this new world
This world I live in without you.
Bathe I in the butterfly dust of Used To Be
Sewing and painting the colors of now
And hurt just a little less each day
Though some days I hurt just a little more
So begins the acceptance of the creature
The Creature that is now ME
I hope you’re proud of me, Momma,
Of whom it is I am to become. 


Please do not reprint without my express permission.  Thank you.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Another Poem

Alien Sky
By Henrietta Asher Handy
Sometimes when I look up
And see the expanse above
I can’t help but wonder
If we, as human beings,
Have always been here,
Looking up at the brilliant blueness
And the velvety purpleness dotted with diamond stars.
When we fell from Perfection
Did we truly fall?
Fall to this place and time
This dimension Imperfect?
From that time, have we looked up and seen a new sky?
Have we looked upon an alien something?
By our own ancestral greed
Something Glorious was lost.
You don’t have to fly planes
Fight wars
Kill innocents along with the guilty
To know something is missing
Something has been lost.
Religion tries to explain it;
Philosophy seeks to rationalize
The awkward akimbo we feel.
We can change – we are no dependent
On anything –
Our destinies are our own
And none can succeed unless they try.
Succeed at what?
Where is our place?
Each of us feels a loss.
Each of us has looked up and wondered
“What was it like Before?”
We know, in some hidden part,
There has been a Before for us.
When we fell from Grace,
Did we land in this place?
To look up at the beauty, the blue
And know its imperfection too?
Is that why we long for something unexplainable?
Someone, Some place currently Unattainable?
Somewhere beyond an alien sky?
Where our Imperfection does not lie;
Where feet do not touch ground or sod,
And we may partake of all that is…God? 

Do not reprint without my express permssion; from Living Through the Dying.  Does anyone else wonder these things besides me?

Delaying .... ????

I think I am just trying to avoid getting into the nitty gritty of the play, so, I thought I would just post something of my poetry.  Do not reprint without my express permission first.  Hopefully one day these poems will be published in a collection, until then, I hope someone enjoys them. 
They were written while going through the process of caring for my Mom, then losing her, and then grieving.  If it is ever published I hope it will be called Living Through the Dying.
Mommy is Ailing 
By Henrietta Asher Handy
When did it happen?
When did I become the adult?
I never expected to be so.
You were always the one to make it better.
You were always the one who had the answers to life’s questions.
You answered, “Because I’m the Mommy.”
Now I am the one with the answers and you with the questions.
You look to me for decisions to keep you safe.
The world has changed beyond your understanding,
But not your comprehension:
It is familiar to you and yet so strange.
I look into your eyes and wonder,
Will I be so bold and tenacious at your age?
Or will I give in to what besets me?
Will there be anyone there for me to make the decisions,
To bring the medications to keep me alive when I cannot remember,
To soothe the worries of moments forgotten;
Of words from others who do not realize how badly they hurt?
I see the trust in you for me and I am afraid.
Am I truly worth such a gift you give to me?
So I inhale the wondrous memories of what is now,
Exhaling the sorrows to come.
I have heard people say in voices soft,
“Mommy is ailing.”
I have seen their fears and their shame.
I have seen them yell at the forgetfulness of time’s passing,
Forgetting that once such arms held and comforted.
Yes Mommy, you are ailing,
But I am proud to stand here with you.
I will answer the questions and thousand times a thousand and more
Merely because you did so for me.
I will love you just simply because you are who you are:
You are the Mommy.


Under Construction - Again

Things are under construction here a little today.  Since I'm going to be staying with The News for a while I decided it would be good to have something I really, really liked, so, here we go.  Bear with me and everything will be back to normal-ish soon, I promise.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

More Words To Make Me Think, ponder-ponder-ponder

I received a comment to the piece I had written about Virginia Woolf.  It was from Alex, a fellow Blogger (Dylex linked on my page).  He said, and I quote:
I think that you are just realizing that none of us are cardboard characters. It has been my observation that most writers that are perceived as "successful" have had a series of "challenges" that have either "revealed" themselves / human nature or allowed them to truly examine how that "event" ultimately came to pass in terms of steps of a drama and "character" development which is always the basis of a "hot" story. In other words a writer has to be a little "off the wall"!!

Being a writer myself and looking at just how I write and when I seem to get most of my work done - he is quite right, and I owe Virginia Woolf, and so many others I was beginning to look down my nose at an apology.
It seems when I am covered over in the depths of darkness, in roiling turmoil is when The Words are at their very best and do not let me down.  I rely upon them, turn to them like the best friends I have always known they were and lose myself in the stories, in the creations we weave together.  It is with regret I pull myself away from the worlds I visit through them and my imagination to my own Reality, forced to face the world I live in again.  There is almost a painful separation for me between the world of the written word to come into Reality again. 
Yes, I do understand, in part perhaps, the darkness of Virginia Woolf.  Yes, it frightens me.  Not because I am afraid it is going to inevitably win over me, as it did her, but that it may come close? 
Through Alex's words I see Virginia Woolf, not as a cardboard character, but as a real person.  No, I may not have liked her, but now I can look at her life a little more deeply in my research and find even more respect for her, and for her craft.
If "off the wall" is a sign of a writer, then I exhibit many characteristics that can be considered thusly.  I enjoy writing with black felt-tip pens and certain first drafts should only be written in journals first, and, well, personality wise we just don't have enough time to go there I think.  So, when some woman (or man) 100 years down the road looks at my works and tries to see me and then reads an autobiography of me, then researches my life, are they going to like me?  Some will and some won't, but hopefully, just like Virginia Woolf is to me, I won't be cardboard to them.

Friday, July 16, 2004

I Miss My coffee While Contemplating The Writing Day

First of all, let me say I am very surprised to see a change in how the Blogger page looks.  It took me a moment to make certain I was really where I needed to be.  This is going to be most interesting and fun.  Thank you Blogger staff!!!!!!!
I miss my coffee.  I miss my coffee today more, it seems than I've missed it in a while.  There isn't any real reason why I couldn't have some here at the house, but, for some reason, every time I or hubby goes to the grocery for one reason or another we either forget, leave it alone because it costs too much for our budget for the week, or we're in too much of a hurry.  Today, however, I am missing my coffee so much I am seriously contemplating just getting a small jar of instant coffee and just keeping it here, safe and hidden, for my use only, for the serious writing days.
There is something about having a steaming cup of coffee while you are plotting out scenes and dialogue.  It makes the job easier to do, or it flows a little better than it otherwise would.  Some people have cigarettes, others their wine, for me it is coffee.  And I need my coffee today.  Why?  My play.
The play is causing me fits and starts and making me want to quit one moment.  When I walk away from it to do something else, a line will float to the forefront and I will be back to work on the thing with love and even more patience.
I can see the people, the stage, and how it should happen.  I can hear the voices and how they should sound.  It is as if it is all unfolding before me and at moments it frightens me and causes me to simply feel over-joyed at how well it is working - even though there is little more than a page accomplished for how long I am working on it.  For these moments a nice steaming cup of coffee would definitely come in handy.
A part of me, perhaps, has finally grown up and decided to write what makes me happy and maybe the world will enjoy it as well.  Maybe somewhere in the past I have so tried to change, to fit into someone else's mold my own voice was lost.  Now at my current age, my voice is returning.  Now I see all I need to do is please myself and all can be better if I speak in my own way and say what I truly want to say.  It would definitely be better this morning with a nice strong cup of black coffee.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Woolf

I have begun researching Virginia Woolf since seeing The Hours. I'm not exactly sure why; well, perhaps in part I know why. She wrote all her life and our lives, hers and mine, seem to have a few similarities, and quite a few differences. The more I am finding out about her the more I am trying to decide if I would like her as a person.

With Emily Dickenson I can say, yes, I would probably like her as a person. With Charles Dickens I can likewise say I would like him as a person, but there is something about Virginia Woolf I cannot quite put my finger on that holds me back from saying this.

She was born in the latter portion of the Victorian era and wrote from the age of 3 on (so have I). She suffered from manic depression possibly, at the very least depression and "a nervous constitution" on occasion and "lapses of sanity" which, when you look at them makes me wonder if she really did or was she so fed up with the world she just let go and was perceived as being insane by the time in which she lived? This I will have to research some more. She challenged the norm for women writers and was part of the (in)famouse Bloomsbury Group, which she seems to have been a ring-leader of.

The part that is truly causing me to take point and stop, look at her more closely, is her flipancy and her callousness toward people she considered "friends". The Bloomsbury Group actually enjoyed insulting one another and trying to bring each other down. I have been unfortunate enough to have been on the outer edges of such a group and, like the Bloomsbury Group, if you did not show your wit in defending yourself you were not admitted within the group. Whether it was fortuitous or not, I was admitted into the group and always had to watch my back and listen to the words spoken to make certain I did not miss a double meaning and be ready for a come-back and be ready to insult someone else. It was not a pleasant place to be, luckily I am free of it now and the people I care most for are likewise free of it. The Bloomsbury Group were like this from everything I have read so far.

In discovering this about them it has lowered my estimation of these wonderful writers somewhat. The works of art are magnificient, but what of these peoples' lives? How sad were they really? It makes me wonder. It makes me want to find out so much more about them ... almost.

Even though I think there might be something unsatisfactory in Virginia Woolf herself, I can't help but feel drawn to her, as if there is something akin between us. Sometimes I feel, if I let myself, I can genuinely understand her darkness and that frightens me. Perhaps this is what is causing me such problems. The closeness of darkness between us. It is time to go on and finish my research and see what turns up; at this point in time all I'm doing is merely working on half information which leads to ill-formed conclusions.

If, then I am seeing similarities between us, does this mean I might not be liking something in myself?

Hesitantly I would have to answer .... Yes.

"Blog Ho! A Discovery!"

As I am becoming more and more comfortable "Blogging" and learning about the tool of my decided "publication", I am finding, or discovering little things about the Blogging tool most probably already know (not to mention things about myself).

It just startled me to discover the "draft" function publishes the piece for the day you saved it, not the day you post it.

This leads me to go into a different place to create, save, and edit some of my Blog material. How odd a discovery to make! Are all discoverys "odd"?

Does an adventurer say each and every time he finds something new, "Remarkable!" or "How odd"? For some reason I imagine he (or she) does.

Now I return you back to your regularly sceduled reading lives.

(And no, I am not quite so bored today, just trying to get things arranged for tomorrow, which will have yet another entry! Mwaaaahhahahaha!)

My Mommy Is With the Maker Of The Storms

It stormed last night. Hard. The thunder crashed and the lightning flashed and it made me jump. I've never been a big lover of storms as some people claim to be. Watching them on the big screen or TV is fine, but when it comes to being in one or being here at the house while one is happening, well, I'd prefer it to be calm.

One particular crash of thunder sounded as if it was coming straight for the house and was going to bowl it over and take most of the street with it. The lightning was dancing through the clouds and making them look blue-gray in the darkness. I could almost remember every single scary movie I had ever seen with that rolling mass so far above my head as I jumped, startled by its noise.

Hubby and I were just lying down, preparing for sleep and he was talking on the cell phone to a friend far away who wasn't undergoing a storm. I wanted to scream and cry like a little girl, but also didn't want to face the ridicule since I am so not one (a little girl I mean). Still, the panic was there.

I moved, shifted in the bed, and caught sight of myself in the dresser mirror. I was shocked at how calm my outside appeared. There was nothing there, not even in my eyes to belie how close to terrified I was heading.

Carefully I turned over onto my stomach and fought the urge to cover up my head with my pillow to block out the noise and wished my Mommy was here; wished I could hear her voice and her reassurances and her laughter. I wished I could hear Daddy's stories of the storms he had to walk through as a child. Tears were so terribly close to spilling over as I longed for them, wished for them, then such a calm came over me as an even BIGGER crash stole over my house and street.

A calm, still little voice surfaced somewhere inside me shushing my fears and eased down the tears. Your Mommy and Daddy are with the Maker of the Storms.

Suddenly I wasn't afraid any more. I knew Mommy and Daddy would always be praying for me to God to keep me safe, even in the midst of the most terrible storms. They are nearer to God now and He can hear them even more than before. A comfort and peace like I have never known flooded my Soul and heart and mind and I slept. I slept in perfect peace, just as if Mommy was cradling me in her arms and Daddy was nested beside us on the bed.

My Mommy is with the Maker of the Storms and she is watching over me.

My Daddy is with the Maker of the Storms and he is watching over me, too.

I sort of understand more about the Saints now.

Friday, July 09, 2004


Have you ever noticed how things have a tendency to work? Just when you think you're about to overcome (a problem, a mountain, a wall to something), a huge mass of unnamed monstrosity will fly at you from absolutely no where just as you are beginning to stand erect for the first time in...Oh...ages.

That happened to me today. I was blindsided, and it hurt. It hurt so very deeply that I sit here before this computer screen and type words that feel like they are my only friends. It isn't true, of course, but I feel like it is.

In a span of a year and a half I have lost my mother, my best friend of 20 years, and now recently my father. It has taken me a long time to stand upright and feel good about anything. Today was the first day I stood full erect emotionally and inhaled deeply of what I thought was clean, fresh, safe air. I felt weights falling off me.

It was a short-lived feeling because that Huge Unnamed Monstrous Mass came flying at me from out of now where and slammed up against something I hadn't even been trying to overcome. I thought I was ok in that particular department, but obviously I was wrong.

Is it we who wade and fight through what is going on with us, or is it those around us who want to keep us pinned down? I am seriously beginning to wonder.

None of this makes sense does it. Maybe, when I stop crying long enough, I will write out everything that happened.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Background Music

When I write it seems I have to have some type of music to fill the void of silence. If the music matches what is happening in the story, or the mood of it, then so much the better.

Today, as I was roaming over Napster (I'm a Premium person) I hit on a group I hadn't heard before, but really should have. They're called Mediaeval Babes. They have such an unusual sound and they fit what I want to write!

Let me explain ...

There is a particular piece I want to write. It is something I have actually been working on for quite some time as an idea. Every time I have tried to work on it before ... the mood, the feeling would just slip through my fingers. This place is so special and intense for me it has a "soundtrack", of sorts in my head, but I haven't been able to find groups that fit so well with the piece in order to actually 'get into' this world. Enya works very well, but there should be more. I have picked and arranged and come up with a decent playlist for the "soundtrack" for writing, but it just wasn't RIGHT, until today.

The music of this group fits so well for the piece, if it is ever made into a movie there is no way this group could not be part of it, along with Enya, and perhaps Annie Lennox.

Yeah, I don't just write - I think of production of the piece later on ... but first I tell the story. Guess I'm sort of strange like that.

What do you expect really? I'm a struggling writer, after all.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Confessions of a Wrestling Geek

I LOVE professional wrestling.

I love the hokiness of it; the costumes, the bodies, and the most of the time the trash talk the wrestlers dole out to one another (the times I don't I just hit mute or switch the channel really quick). Hubby thinks I'm a little cracked, but he puts up with it because he loves his wife.

This love hasn't been a recent development, it has been on-going since I was young, as in back in the 70's when wrestling was really good and geeky and the lines were firmly drawn between good guy and bad guy. Today those lines are still drawn, just not as well defined as they once were - but I have a theory.

We all know wrestling is a business and the wrestlers are performers, they are physical performers who really do push their bodies to the limit. The blood shed these days is real and the wrestlers' own. They learn lines and they choreograph much of what happens in the ring, but not all. Even though the out-come of many of the matches is known ahead of time, these men and women do give it their all. No sport is so wracked with injuries as professional wrestling. Still, these people give their performance and, shall I say, their sport, their very all.

In times of economic hardship and when the populace is looking for entertainment, pro wrestling hits its peak. Recently it has been down on its luck, but slowly is building up steam again. Look at what we're faced with as a country and people: war, a possible draft; despite the numbers, not many people have wonderfully paying jobs out there and money is tight. Enter the wrestlers who fight against their opponents, who face their enemies with their fists, not guns. They spout words and the good guys back up their words. The good guys aren't perfectly good and the bad guys are, well, they're really bad.

The schticks and gimmicks help make wrestling what it is and help keep it un-real and wonderful to watch. We need that, I think. We need the good guy vs. bad guy ideal and we need to see it played out before us, hopefully week to week (but not quite so long as it happens on RAW, SmackDown! is the show to watch).

Slowly wrestling is returning to being GOOD, probably because the guy running it sees what the people need. We need the Old School of wrestling back with gimmicks and schticks and story lines. We need the good guys and the bad guys. We need something to take our minds off of all our troubles.

Once, I was really ashamed to like professional wrestling. It was more than just a "guilty" pleasure. Now I will stand up and say, "Yes, I like pro wrestling!" My favorite? Oh, there are many!

Let's see, there is The Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Billy Kidman, (ok, John Cena is gaining on me, but he's still not a favorite), the Dudley Boyz, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, and I could go old school and pull out a lot of names for you, but I won't; and for a bad guy I'm looking to Mordacai and Paul Heyman currently. I simply cannot wait for Undertaker to wipe the floor with him!

Ok, what does being a wrestling fan (geek) say about me?

... I'm honest.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Sometimes Being a Writer is Hard

I am sitting here trying to get my motivational fluids going to writing something fictional (who can say this Blog isn't for that matter) and think, think, think until I'm all thunk out - or so it feels.

Sometimes being a writer is hard.

I mean, you have these wonderful ideas sitting at the back of your brain just kanoodling around and fermenting, growing and changing until suddenly vwala, you have a story idea and that usually turns into a full fledged story with a beginning, middle and end. However, there are times when you sit and work with that kanoodling and fermenting and the story just goes limp on you like a kid who doesn't want to do anything. Or a kitten that goes, let's argravate the momma and see how far we can make her go insane before we love her back into reality again!

Sometimes being a writer is hard.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Pondering Freedom II

Today is Independence Day for the United States of America. In my family it was always a big deal, especially while my Daddy was healthy and active. He made sure there was always a big cook-out, chilled watermelon, and, if we could, we went to see the fireworks downtown in Hyden, Kentucky. If not, he watched the fireworks set off by the neighbor boys. The Fourth of July was a time to celebrate being free and, in many respects, being alive because he served in World War II and was wounded in it.

Daddy was never talked much about The War. He served in the Army and received the Bronze Star for bravery, but no one knows what for. "I'm not proud of what I had to do," he would say. "I did what needed to be done. Those other men were just like me," he would say.

Daddy never quite got over the war. He had nightmares all his life and fire-crackers always seemed to sound like enemy fire at times. You never touched him to wake him up either - not because Daddy would hurt you, but because it made him react. We always called to him and woke him that way from a nap.

My Daddy was my hero. A quiet man in many respects who loved to laugh and pull pranks. Who did what he needed to do to raise his family, which, for him, was to work in the coal mines to raise four daughters and one son. We were his pride and joy, and our Mommy was the love of his life.

World War II changed him, as it did many people. Yet, it didn't take away his spirit or make him cold. It made him appreciate life in all things. Daddy said he was not a better man for having gone to war, because killing a man does not make you better, but raising a family made him a better man.

I lost my Daddy on June 5th of this year, 2004. I am the youngest of his daughters and bear his name. I am proud to be his namesake and his Baby. I am proud to be an American woman who respects what he did for me and all his generation. I only hope and pray this country can continue to keep strong and not lose what it has gained from the sacrifice of men such as my Dad.

Happy Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day. God Bless America.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Pondering Freedom I

A while back my friend Ricyos, aka Shane Stewart, wrote something for Memorial Day in his journal and, with his permission, I have posted it here as it is near Independence Day. It makes you think. I do not claim any copyright to this piece. All copyrights remain those solely of the author.

In Memorial
By Shane Stewart
Copyright 2004 by Shane Stewart

A couple of days ago I saw a commercial for one of the local news shows. The topic of the night was, as it has been in a lot of places I imagine, the new World War II Veterans memorial in Washington DC.

The thing that caught my attention was when the announcer doing the voice over said, “They’ve been called our greatest generation ever.” It was something to that effect at least – I’m paraphrasing.

At any rate, it’s pretty accurate.

It’s been 60 years, roughly, since the United States entered into the Second World War. Consider those two words for a minute – World War. A war so big that it involves the most powerful nations and armies on the planet. In this day and age of push button convenience, most people imagine that a war that big would be fought with the stroke of a few keys on a keyboard, or the turn of a key. Thermonuclear weapons make the prospect of another World War pretty unlikely, I think. The existence of the weapons discourages any plans for empires – get too happy with conquering your neighbors and a small nuclear explosion will reduce your capital city to a glowing memory. Then of course, there’s the idea that if they are used in wartime, by all sides – or at least multiple sides – it will be the end of world as we know it – either as the end of civilization or the actual destruction of the planet.

The idea of a World War is different now. The consequences are different. A World War in this day and age suggests that a lot of people would die. The planet itself may not be here when the shooting is over.

“Our greatest generation ever.” I think that’s true.

That generation – and others before and after it – fought and bled and died so that I could live as I do today, in a country where I am free to do and think and believe how I wish. Memorial Day is all about remembering those who have gone before – those who have died to defend my future. How do I remember them?

I have things I wish to do, or more accurately, things I want to see with my own two eyes, before it comes time for me to think of ash or earth.

I want to see glaciers.
I want to watch an iceberg being born.
I want to see Antarctica.
I want to see Ayers Rock.
I want to see Stonehenge.
I want to spend my birthday in Hiroshima, just once.
I want to stand among the redwoods.
I want to see the rain forest of the Pacific Northwest.
I want to see the spiders of the Amazon.

I want to remember those who fought and died to protect my freedom by exercising my freedom.

How will you remember them?

Friday, July 02, 2004

BIG Things, little things, and Goodness

I believe this is the weekend several things will happen.

1) I will purchase Bill Clinton's book.
2) I will select some movies for myself for next week to watch.
3) Not much writing will get done.
4) Hopefully hubby and I will get to go downtown for the July 4th celebration beginning tomorrow.

Not very exciting is it? To you, perhaps, but I've been looking forward to these simple things (except #3). Why? Because it seems when I look forward to BIG things, something always falls through, but the simple, little things always seem to come through.

Is it a way we look at them, I wonder, that helps them come to pass? If the BIG things were looked at with the simple goodness of little things, would they more than likely come to pass?

If we didn't build them up and expect so much from the BIG things, would they make it? I mean, there is always something going wrong with the big plans I make, and if I'm really, really, really looking forward to something it seems the slightest miscalculation can throw off the entire event and make it seem less special than it otherwise was going to be. On the other hand, if I merely look forward to something that isn't that grand in the world's book (or mine for that matter), it comes off without a hitch and I end up having the best time ever. Not only do I have a wonderful time, but it seems everyone else around me does, too. The pressure is off. Everyone breathes easier and everyone has a good time without having to fulfill any expectations.

If this is true, I need to put this in practice with everything I do. Not exactly be carefree and say nothing matters, because lots and lots of ordinary, every day simple things matter; but have the ability to look at things like a child and enjoy everything with the glee and joy of all the goodness of it.

Actually, I'm pretty good at this. Cheyenne says I "experience" many things instead of just "doing" them. Maybe, just maybe, if I let myself go and do that with all of life the BIG things would work out just as much as the smaller things.

Either way, I'm looking forward to this weekend, even though hubby must work.