Monthly Archives: March 2016

My Political Heart

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Yes, I will vote anyway.

Recently I’ve come to the conclusion that I will always be a political person.  I care too much.  As much as I would love to just ignore politics, messy as they currently are, I can’t help myself.  Frankly, it is tearing me up inside.  As a libertarian who is fiscally conservative and generally socially liberal, I am represented nowhere.  The politicians I support either are far too smart to run for the office of President, unwilling to play the necessary game, or already out of the running due to the same issue.  Any of those individuals could also be described as far too nice as well.

I’d love to become more politically involved, but I do not have the stomach for it.  I am so sick of the constant blame on all sides, the unwillingness on all sides to solve the real issues, and identity politics.  I refuse to be told how to vote due to the fact that I am a woman, the fact that I am a college student and a future teacher.  I am also a future small business owner who values fiscal responsibility, which by the way, I see from neither party.  I am extremely angry at a party leadership that does its best to suppress the will of the people and fails to address the real issues facing their party members.  By the way, I am talking about the leadership of both political parties.  Neither are working to address the real issues faced by younger voters, those who are struggling financially, or those who have given up.  On the left, Bernie Sanders garners popular support while realistically never having a chance due to the Democratic Party rules that allow for super delegates, helping Clinton pull away in the delegate count in spite of tepid support.  On the right, the Republican Party leadership – the “establishment,” whatever that is – is throwing everything it has at Trump.  Both political parties are ignoring the real issues facing their supporters.

What upsets me the most is that there is no room for compromise anymore.  As a result, nothing gets accomplished.  So many people get wrapped up in their political beliefs that they do not even want to talk to someone with different political beliefs.  It deeply saddens me.  I have friends with vastly different political views than mine.  I respect that.  Everyone has a reason for their political views.  I have deeply held beliefs and experiences that underscore mine.  Why is it so hard to believe that there is more than one way to look at the world?  Unfortunately, I am not sure when basic respect left political discussion in the US, but it most certainly has.

What am I left with in this situation?  I am not sure.  I can only hope that things get better.  I would love to get politically involved, but how do I do just that when I don’t fully support any of the current candidates?  Yes, the traditional political system is broken.  Here’s to hoping that it can be fixed and that we can all listen to one another once again.

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Dreamer By Day


This happens to be one of my favorite quotes of all time, and like anything else, there is a story behind it.  I first came across it as part of the final episode of Roseanne.  Even though Roseanne ran throughout much of my childhood, I did not watch it much until it was in reruns.  As so many have noted over the years, the early years of the series are far and away the best.  The final couple of seasons grew increasingly strange and unbelievable, at times almost unwatchable.  I heard rumors and opinions on the series finale, and I finally had to experience it for myself.  I wasn’t prepared for my reaction.

I can fully understand why people didn’t like it and felt that it was a trite way to write off a year or two of bad writing.  As a writer, I saw it as something else.  It turns out that Roseanne explained that horrible last year or two of the series as the fiction of the fictional Roseanne Connor.  It turns out that she wrote the entire series and changed things to suite her liking.  She paired Mark with Becky and Darlene with David, not the other way around as in “real” life.  She portrayed her sister Jackie as a single woman forever searching for the right man, instead of the lesbian that she was.  The biggest surprise of all:  Dan actually died as a result of his heart attack.  No, they never won the lottery.  As questionable television as it may be, it works if you are a writer.

I love Roseanne Connor’s monologue at the end of the series.  She explains that she wrote in order to cope with the reality and loneliness of her life, particularly after Dan died.  She decided to “fix” things.  It happened to be her way of making sense of her chaotic life.  That is something I think all writers can understand.  It still surprises me that such a complex, interesting quote, coupled with a wonderful monologue that explains the need for a creative outlet, ended a beloved 80’s sitcom.  Unfortunately, I believe the complexity is and was lost on many people.


My First Love

Roald Dahl

Without a doubt, my first love happened to be books.  A conversation last week made me think of what books I loved as a child and how they shaped the adult I became.  Unfortunately, this list may date me.  The funny thing is, there is no way I could limit it to just one book, one series, one period of my childhood and teenage years.  Instead, I – and by extension you – will have to settle for categories.

Poetry –

Where the Sidewalk Ends – Shel Silverstein

This was the first book of poetry I ever owned, and I absolutely loved it.  It still holds a special place in my heart.

Favorite Children’s Authors –

Roald Dahl

All of Roald Dahl’s books were in vogue with elementary school teachers throughout my childhood, and frankly, elementary school would not have been the same without James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, among others.  Some of my favorite elementary school memories are tied to his books.  My first grade teacher read James and the Giant Peach, and none of us could get enough.  Even in 5th and 6th grades, the best part of the school day hands down happened to be the half hour after lunch recess when teachers would read to us.  I even know a certain 5th grade teacher who can fake out her students with The Witches.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

The popularity of the TV show, even in reruns, during my early elementary school years ensured that I would discover The Little House on the Prairie series eventually, but my 2nd second grade teacher read The Little House in the Big Woods to our class.  I couldn’t get enough.

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s work is at least part of the reason why I write.  I reread all of The Little House on the Prairie books as an adult, including Farmer Boy and The First Four Years.  I also read collections of her essays and letters, including West from Home.  Reading even more of her work made me admire her even more.

Favorite Series –                                                          

Anne of Green Gables

I read and loved all of the Anne of Green Gables books.  They captured my imagination as few others.  Anne reinforced my love of strong female protagonists.

Little House on the Prairie

See above.

Nancy Drew

I discovered Nancy Drew early in elementary school thanks to my Grandma who let me borrow her collection.  Once I read all of the traditional Nancy Drew novels, I started on the new series.  I could not get enough.  Unfortunately, I loved Nancy Drew so much that I burned out on mysteries.  I tried getting into the Kinsey Millhone mystery series by Sue Grafton as a young teenager, but soon became bored, even though I loved Kinsey.

Choose Your Own Adventure

These books were not great children’s literature, but they were entertaining.  I could not rest until I read every single version of the story.

Favorite Classics –                                                          

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

I read this book the summer after 8th grade.  It took me most of the summer, but I lost myself in Civil War era Atlanta and Tara.  It was the perfect antidote to an 8th grade English teacher who spent most of the year on short stories more appropriate for younger students, along with spelling and grammar.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

It saddens me that I didn’t love this novel more when I read it in 10th grade.  I am grateful that I reread it for book club as an adult.  It deserves its revered place in American literature.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Another book read as part of the 10th grade English curriculum, this is one that stayed with me long after high school.  Never underestimate teenagers.  Never.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Even though this isn’t an Oprah Book Club pick, I associate it with that era in my life.  I used to rush home from school to watch Oprah, and her book club influenced what I read in my later high school years.  There are many school of thoughts as to whether or not this novel should be taught to teenagers.  I understand both sides, but I did love it.  I am glad that teenagers can find it even if it isn’t taught.

Edgar Allen Poe

I swear I came across one or two of Poe’s stories in an ancient collection of spooky stories in my elementary school library.  I question the memory simply due to the fact that it was an elementary school library.  Then again, the book itself was so old that it could have possibly dated from when there was a high school at the same location.  I like to think that I really did come across Poe in elementary school, and that it was his short stories that fed my love of ghost stories.  I have no idea why today’s high school students hate studying Poe – and they do.  I loved it.

Favorite Historical Fiction –

Christy and Julie by Catherine Marshall

These books introduced me to historical fiction, the Cumberland Gap, and Appalachia.  I loved them, even if I probably wouldn’t pick them up now.  They did spark my love of historical fiction.

Honorable Mentions –

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred D. Taylor

These books, depicting racism in the segregated South, made me recognize just how much I took my life for granted.  The children in these books faced so many obstacles on a daily basis just to get to school.

Randall’s Wall by Carol Fenner

The book itself isn’t all that remarkable, even though it does have a good anti-bullying message.  The reason I included it is due to its author.  As part of a young writer’s club in elementary school, I had the opportunity to meet her.  I even had her sign my copy of the book, and I almost missed the bus.  Another favorite elementary school memory tied to books, reading, and writing.

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

My Mom taught this novella as part of the 6th grade social studies curriculum.  She also happened to be my 6th grade social studies teacher.  She was the first teacher I had that used literature to teach social studies.  As a future social studies teacher, I plan to do the same.  My Mom may not know this, but she is largely responsible for my interest in teaching social studies and Latin America in general.  Recently I saw 6th graders carrying around The Cay; it is still taught nearly 25 years later.