A Mockery of Voters

Yesterday, I received a “letter” from Donald J. Trump.

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Who I elect as our next President will be a choice between the lesser of two evils–in other words, I must decide whether Hillary or Trump will destroy this country faster and vote for the other.

So, I opened the envelope and read its contents, thinking there was a chance, however small, that I might find something to help me in the above decision. I hoped to read about Mr. Trump’s platform, details about his policies and his plans to implement them.

I didn’t.

Instead, I read his diatribe against President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the media.

But wait! He enclosed a survey. Perhaps it would, at least, give me an opinion to offer my thoughts on where we should head as a country.

It didn’t.

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If Trump’s list of biased, dogmatic, ridiculously leading questions hadn’t made such a mockery of voters, I might have laughed. Why should anyone waste time answering these leading questions? It’d be a whole lot easier to just mark the box with the best photo.

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Me? I’m returning the survey, sans contribution, with the following note attached:

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Before anyone gets upset or defensive about my criticism of Trump’s “survey,” I’m perfectly willing to consider Hillary’s is no better and would love to see examples.

Which sadly, doesn’t help voters like me with our very difficult decision.

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The Joy of Eavesdropping

baseball

A few nights ago, I sat in Globe Life Park watching the Texas Rangers  play ball. It had been several years since I’d attended a professional baseball game, and there were lots of things I enjoyed: the warm summer night, the sliver of moon that hung above the stadium lights,  being with family, eating a hot dog smothered in mustard, cheering with the crowd as Jurickson Profar did the splits to get a man out on first base.

But what I remember most about that night was a conversation I heard from three little boys sitting next to me. For the sake of understanding, I’ll call them Bobby, Chad and Joey. My thoughts are in italics.:)

This conversation took place following a foul ball that flew into the stadium between home and first base.

Bobby: Wow! That guy caught the ball! Chad, if you caught that ball, I’d take it away from you. It would be mine.

Chad: Huh? If you did that, I’d never forgive you. Do you understand me? I’d never forgive you.

Me: Gee, I wonder where he heard that from. Does a six-year old really have a concept of what “I’ll never forgive you” means?

Bobby: Well, I’d take it anyway, ’cause I want one of those balls.

Joey: Bobby. Bobby. How do you think you’d feel if Chad said that to you? Have you ever stopped to think about that? Sometimes you have to put yourself in someone’s place and think about how you’d feel if someone said that to you.

Me (smiling): OMG. Did a six-year old really say THAT? Bravo, little boy. And bravo to your parents, too.

As thousands of people filed out of the stadium that night, many were probably beaming about the 4-3 Rangers win over the Astros. Some might have been groaning about $10 beer(s) or too many hot dogs smothered in mustard. Some may have been dreading the traffic going home.

But as we approached our car, parked far, far away from the stadium, I was still thinking about the conversation of those three little boys. Amidst all of today’s crazy, cruel, ugly, thoughtless goings-on in the world, there are still people–even six-year old boys–who think about how their actions might affect another. Some, like Joey, even try to pass that on.

And that made me believe there’s still hope.

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Being “Unshod”

unshod

Unshod – Without shoes, barefoot.

To me, “unshod” invites images of dancing barefoot in soft green grass, or perhaps on a sandy beach. A deeper meaning might be the joy of freeing oneself of whatever it is that binds.

I’m not sure if that’s what the editors of the new anthology, Unshod, had in mind, but I think perhaps so. In the editors’ words, Unshod is “a book filled with traditional and contemporary western stories in which the characters are lain bare.” Now that’s freedom!

I’ve read many of the following authors’ works and look forward to reading their stories in Unshod. I’m honored to be included!

Pamela Foster
Staci Troilo
Joan Hall
P.C. Zick
Janna Hill
Michele Jones
Frances Guenette
Lorna Faith

For a limited time, click HERE to get the Kindle version of Unshod FREE! 

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Beautiful Little Voice

Waterolor beautiful girl. Vector illustration of woman beauty salon

As I tried to think about all the beautiful things I could write about for August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest V, I realized most had to do with what I’ve learned with age:

  • Patience
  • Let it go
  • Live in the moment
  • The power of hindsight

I could go on and on. But in the end, I decided the most beautiful thing about growing older is removing my mask—a mask that was molded by the philosophy of “saving face.”

Wikipedia defines “saving face” as:

The term face idiomatically refers to one’s own sense of dignity or prestige in social contexts. In the English-speaking world, the expression “To save face” describes the lengths that an individual may go to in order to preserve their established position in society, taking action to ensure that one is not thought badly of by their peers.

This was my mom’s philosophy—to do whatever necessary to preserve dignity. Of course, as a child, dignity was not at the top of my priority list. Still, I pondered this concept, thinking it almost scary as I imagined not having a face. I even drew spooky people without faces. No doubt those images weighed on me more heavily than any desire to be “dignified.” Whatever the reason, I began the pattern of saving face from childhood, even if that face was only a mask.

What is the value of saving face, if that face is only a mask?

Yet, while my mother taught me to “save face,” I taught my kids to listen to their “little voice.” I realize there’s dissonance in those two philosophies, and there’s little doubt in my mind that my advice to my children to “listen to your little voice” was born of repressing my own inner voice in an effort to “save face,” or appear dignified to others.

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That inner voice begins as a whisper. If I ignore the whisper, it begins to rumble. If I try to shove it aside, as I’ve often done, it starts to bubble and boil, until finally, it erupts and I have no choice but to listen. It may take years, but that little voice will be heard.

Many decisions in my life have been caught in this battle between saving face and listening to my little voice. In the past, saving face may have won the battle, but my inner voice always, always, wins the war. Not listening to this stubborn, beautiful little voice has had its consequences.

In much of my writing, my characters’ inner voices are practically characters unto themselves. As in The Red Kimono, I internalize a lot in my writing, so readers will know who my characters are behind the masks they wear for the outside world.

Don’t get me wrong. I still believe in “saving face.” But dignity shouldn’t come at the cost of authenticity.

Jan at ArtCure

Our little voice is the most beautiful part of who we are, because it’s the truth of who we are.

 

 

 

 

Click HERE to read more Beauty of a Woman Blogfest V stories!

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Barnes & Noble Book Signing

I’m so grateful to be joining Loiacono Literary Agency authors, Kathleen M. Rodgers, Diane Yates and Drema Hall Berkheimer on May 7 from 1:00-3:00 at the Southlake Town Square Barnes and Noble book signing.

Hope you’ll come visit with us!

Book signing

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