Category Archives: Lunacy or Madness?

Just the “O’, what’s on my mind page”.

Drilling the Inner Editor

“As I walk through the valley of death I fear no one, for I am the meanest mother fucker in the valley!” – Gen. George S. Patton’s speech to the 3rd Army.

I believe no other American general in modern history has ever been as quoted, or has been as brutally honest in his command as Gen. Patton. Many of you may have heard the quote from above. Sgt. Siek’s character rehashed it the movie Jarhead, and of course Gen. Patton reworked it into this blasphemous form from Psalm 23 of the Holy Bible.

All of that aside, Gen. Patton was responsible for a great many changes in the military, mostly dealing with aggressiveness, teamwork, and drilling training until it became an individual’s primary nature. In example, the other night at work my coworker came around the corner holding a knife. In the blink of an eye, I grabbed his wrist, almost breaking it as I pulled him to floor, disarmed the knife and had it to his throat (yes, I am prior military and have fifteen years of various forms martial arts and hand to hand combat training). Needless to say, I perceived a threat and nullified it. I acted out of training.

So now, you are wondering what all this has to with writing. Well everything. From the moment we are born we learn to communicate from our parents. They speak to us, and gradually we learn Yoda; object-subject-verb (“Destroy the Sith, we must,” Star Wars: Episode 3). Eventually, we learn the right way, the English way, of structuring a sentence, which is subject-verb-object (We must destroy the Sith).

We start going to school and teachers attempt to train us in the theory of a sentence. What a subject is, a verb, an object; you know, the simple stuff. As the years go by, the shit gets deeper. We learn about multiple types of verbs, nouns that describe nouns, participles, gerunds, and modifiers. By the time we graduate, we are desensitized to terminology, as we either didn’t pay attention, or it is so much a part of us that it really all seems trivial.

Everyone is a writer, if you think about it really, but those of us who use writing as an art, as I have always said, are truly a different breed of being. Before I go any further, let’s face the facts, the rules of English grammar and style are so extensive that no one could ever truly memorize it all. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have to pay for editors and massive style guides to reference, like the Chicago Manual of Style.

I know plenty of writers; I have been a ghost writer for a few, and have edited a fair amount of material. I have been an English tutor at a local college, and I professionally tutor English as a side job to high school kids and college freshmen. If there is one thing that I’ve learned is that we all have a few practical issues. No one’s perfect; we have strengths and weaknesses, and nothing is harder than editing ourselves because we are blinded by our own ingenuity and pride of our work, or even apt laziness.

One of the greatest men I’ve had the honor of knowing was a squad leader I had in the Army. SSG. Larsen wasn’t the yelling type you see in the movies. He didn’t need to blow up to get us motivated to learn. His leadership alone was enough to inspire greatness. When we lacked skill in an area of our training he would drill us, drill us, and drill us some more until it became nature.

Most of us speak the rules right, but we often become blind to the rules, or don’t know them when it comes to our in inner-editor. Here are some suggestions:

Keep learning and relearning about your skills by continuously evaluating your strengths and weaknesses: Read several pieces of your work objectively. Make a list of what you believe are your strengths and weaknesses. Highlight all the grammatical issues you are seeing too. Get another person who has adequate editing skills to do the same and see if he or she is seeing the same issues, or even issues that you are not seeing.

Get back to the Basics: In example, if find out you are having a hard time with sentence structure regarding verb forms and infinitives, get back to the basics. Invest some money and buy Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style and/or the Chicago Manual of Style. These should be the first two reference books on everyone’s desk. Read the rules religiously for a few weeks and try to conceive why you may be using your verb forms wrong.  

Drill: After getting a grasp on the material; practice, practice, practice!  Practice the right way and break your old habit. Keep in mind that you’re probably doing something wrong because you’ve trained yourself that way. Old habits die hard as the old cliché goes. The point is to make the elements of style second nature when you are writing, so you can have fun with the story or article when you go back for your rewrite.

Drill More: Skills seem to fade with time when the basics are not practiced regularly.  J. S. Chancellor noticed some tense issues editing a story of mine a while back. I spend at least a half hour a week practicing. There are plenty of practice test on the web to help keep your skills in check.

Share what you’re learning with others: As stated, we all have issues. Sharing with others is an invaluable way to learn, as you can learn from others as well.

Even experienced writers feel as if they are walking through a valley of death when they submit work to a publisher. No one’s safe from the editor and those deathly looking rejection slips, but making sure your inner-editor is properly drilled and fine tuned is a good way to boost your morale. Knowing how to dispute the rules of style is important for arguing for the sake of your own personal style. Drill your inner-editor every day, make it second nature, if not primary, and know that you’re the meanest fucking writer in the valley.

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Unexpected, Dark Showers Of Racism.

“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and that in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

And if the radiant stars of love and brotherhood” are shining over our great nation in dazzling beauty, my eyes have been lifted over this past weekend to realize, once again, that racism is alive and well. 

On the July cover of Cosmopolitan, a popular women’s magazine, is R&B/Hip Hop star Rihanna.  I have to admit that I am not a fan of her music, and I only really know of her from watching Good Morning America, when the Chris Brown scandal was happening.  Needless to say, she is a very beautiful girl, and the Cosmopolitan cover is neither overly sexy, nor shocking, or is it in any way, erotic (See Above). 

I spent this past weekend at my lake house in North East Georgia.  The town close by has Ingles, a Fred’s, a few privately owned stores and restaurants, and well, that’s it.  Thursday, at Fred’s (a store similar to Big Lots or an overpriced Dollar Store) I am browsing through the ten whole magazines on the rack.  There’s the Inquirer, Sun, an out of date Maxim, among others, but it’s the Cosmopolitan that shocks me.  Despite sitting on the top left, the store has it covered. 

I was all gung-ho, thinking I was going to find a Playboy behind the beige plastic cover, but I only found disappointment and curiosity. 

“Why would they cover that magazine,” I asked my wife.

“Because it says sex on the cover,” she answered.

And at first that made a lot of sense.  I guess you wouldn’t want the kids seeing that word, or something.

The next day I hit up Ingles and their broader magazine selection.  I’m looking and looking for a pass-the-boredom read and I’m about to give into this teen-zine with Justin Bieber on the cover when I see the Cosmopolitan and it hits me. 

If they were going to cover the Cosmopolitan for having the word sex on the cover, so why was the Maxim, with words – have better sex – on the cover, not covered! 

Well, I asked why when I returned to Fred’s Saturday.  The cashier tells me that they had lot of complaints and threats from people who claimed that by Rihenna’s presence on the cover offended them because she is, well, black. 

I became very appalled when the woman told me that the store even tried to drop the magazine until the next issue, but the vendor would not allow it, thankfully. 

It is a shame to know that such sickness lives on in small communities such as the one call a second home.  Like MLK, Jr., I too look forward to a day when the entirety of humanity will judge an individual’s character not by the color of their skin; nor by religious affiliation, ethnicity, and social status, but rather by deed and action. 

But until that day, the dark cloud of hate and prejudice will shower us when we least expect it.

I’m always open to listen to your views, opinions, and stories.

Hiatus

Hiatus. (hi-a-tus). Noun.

1. A gap in space, time, or continuity; a break. 

2. A slight pause between two vowels between two syllables.

3. A short passage in an organ or body part. 

(Houghton Mifflin)

Yes.  I have been on a deviate hiatus.  Meaning that I have been evilly counter productive to my very existence.  I mean really.  I can’t say that I haven’t done some plotting, but other than that I have been stuck in the sanctimonious filth of my urethra.  Not really, but hey, it sounded good. 

Ok.  So, this is as much for any audience I have, as for myself.  I am making some promises: 

1. Post more. 

2. Talk more about what I’m doing. 

3. Organize a better page.   

I guess my point in this is, is that I am bottlenecked with creativity that has only been seeping out here and there.  What have I been doing, you ask.  Well, that answer is as simple as it is complex.  I have been in throes of a disappearing time and been dealing with intrapersonal issues. 

Yet, writers must write.  I have failed in that area.  So my advice is not for other writers, as it is for the spouses and relatives and friends of those who have an introverted person in their lives, like me; who share their feelings when they wish too.  You have no right to snoop around in someone’s personal, intellectual property. 

Actions such as these force a person not to want to share their intimate feeling on paper.  Not only that, you’re creating trust issues. 

Anyways, glad to be back. 

H. Duane Sharpe

Keep Striping Away Their Identity with School Uniforms and Segregation Please

Imagine a world where we all look the same.  Guys wear the same khaki colored slacks with a blue polo.  Girls outfitted in the a khaki jean skirts that falls above the ankles and should be called a dress, but because dresses are meant for walking all these little sweethearts are thrilled to show the frill of lace around the top of their bleached white socks.  No, I am talking about more than dress code. 

I am also talking about segregation.  Boys and girls split up as our father’s and mother’s fore-people were in school back in the day.  What is this world?  This world is the one ripping away our children’s identity and critical developmental skills, but when it comes to a higher education is it worth it. 

We live in a dynamic world of change and opposition.  It is full of terrorism, drugs, war, gangs, teenage sex, murder, sexism, child abuse and neglect, and tons of individuality that screams hallelujah to the seven hells for a way to make us somehow different from every other human being we share air. 

No, I am in no way supportive of any criminal activity, if you misread how I constructed my sentence above.  I am in no way un-supportive of finding ways to help our youth exercise their brain, though I feel that many youth today are way smarter than they were ten, fifteen, fifty years ago. 

Of course, contribute this to science’s last 200-year sprint to replace God with the microorganism and prove that we are not alone in the ever-enlarging cosmos.  Add in the amazing spider-Web with massive highways full of information that will allow you to visit Uranus without ever needing to leave your $100 office chair, hand-held computers that ring the Moody Blues, and assigned algebra to a third grader’s math curriculum equals some pretty smart youth. 

There are still those kids, you know the ones who have a hard time paying attention in class and work at a slower pace.  The ones who are really just lazy, don’t get their math or language homework, or haven’t matured fast enough to be doing more homework on a weeknight than their parents 400 level college instructor assigns them.  That’s ok though, science has been good to teachers.  It invented ADHD, so some BS law could force kids to go to some doctor with a letter of assessment by a teacher. 

The letter reads in a secret coded language, “Please drug kid.  He wants to do his own thing.”  The doctor on the spot writes out a prescription for Adderal without any evaluation.  We will blame this same youth for being a drug addict in twenty years and give him the reputation that we always knew he turn out like this.  Nevertheless, whose fault is really? 

I was one of those kids back in the day before the meds and tougher laws requiring parents to conform came about.  I was slow, have never really showed enthusiasm in much, and usually figured things out before the other kids.  Don’t kid yourself, I am in school and on my way to becoming an instructor of the English language.  The subject of English and writing in school were the only two subjects that held my attention.  Sure I loved history, liked most things in science class (unless it tried to disprove that dragons, witches, monsters, gods, and the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real), but have never understood math (yes, I get 2+2=4 and 861,856+ X =138,332,984,033, but go into some Calculus or Trigonometry and I just might toss you across the room).   However, when my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Shepherd, told me that, “the writer had the powers of God;” I have played God since.

School is a place to learn.  Moreover, learning should be not only our children’s top priority, but ours as well.  The kids are suffering from our mistakes.  We look at statistics and listen to news broadcast and see Columbines, gangs, and then see shows like the Secret Life of Teens, or whatever, and fret in the crosshairs of cultural change inside moral dilemma. 

 The truth is the statistics we usually read are skewed in making you think a certain way.  Columbine type incidents are on the rise of because of continuing over population, but school violence is nothing new.  Violence and gangs have been around since the dawn of time and the show Secret Life of the American Teenager is a drama, we are drama!

Sure, we dress the kids all the same and take away their identity, but what good is it doing us?  Fixing the dramatic problems we all worry about in the school systems must start at home.  When you see a guy in a Marilyn Manson tee and all dark cloths walking down the street don’t look at your son and say who is that freak.  That freak is a person with likes and dislikes, and probably a smart kid. 

However, don’t blame him when he blows your son’s head off because your son has for years dogged him with your biased views and stereotyped behavior. 

The same with a girl whom shows a little skin.  It does not make her a whore.  Your daughter can easily be that whore in the khaki skirt that looks like everyone else.  Of course, I am talking high school.  Yet I have seen parents to this crazy stuff.  Clothes don’t make the person.

Separate the kids you say, (at least a school in Buncombe County, NC is doing so).  Then, are we not devaluing the essence of equality then?  Of an educational experience that exceeds those anything a teacher can teach?

The communication between the two sexes is crucial at such an early age.  Only experience can teach a boy and girl to communicate and learn that they are equals.  Remember that less than ninety years ago women were not considered the equal of man in the United States.  What if this reverses in the future, and this time it is man whom loses his rights?

We must teach our children to be different.  To have their own identity, in personality and dress, as we all should have our own personal identity.   Making a better world starts with better choices of judgment of character.  Not filling the seats with techno-zombies loaded up on Adderal.  Not every boy is good at playing sports, nor is every girl made to be sweet and innocent.  We are all-different inside and show it on the exterior.  Teach our children to love one another, be a sponge, and to do their best.  What more can we really ask for?

Some clues from a drug addict to help a drug addict rid an addiction.

I have been free of an addiction for almost a year, but I dare not call myself liberated.  The demon crawls on the edge of my conscience every day.  Some days are worse than others.  But the biggest realization is that I made it through withdrawal-hell with the love of my family, my openness to proper medical staff and myself, and with the last piece of confidence left inside me. 

No one understands what it’s like to live under the gun.  That’s what you basically do each time you shoot, snort, or drink your veins filthy black, place a gun to your head and play Russian Roulette.  For a long time it feels better than anything you could ever do or accomplish, until you realize your mind is eroded with a gun to your temple and your world’s crashing.  No one seems to care about a person when the addiction takes them.

That is who I hope to respond today.  Those with a family member who way out of control.  Those addicts the world has given up on.  Those people in your family that deserves your love more-so than ever. 

It’s easy to give up on someone when you see their life spinning out of control.  I know people turned their backs as I did.  I was addicted to oxys, more than 200 mg’s a day or so, if I could obtain it.  I became hooked after I returned home from Operation Iraqi Freedom and it started out because I wanted to numb my mind from the things I witnessed.  As my addiction grew over the years, people stopped talking to me as my physical appearance changed with my behavior.  I didn’t recognize the change because I was in a hell that looked like heaven.   

My wife became dependant on my addiction to Percocet.  I could not function without them.  I grew callous, absorbed; I stopped doing things.  She should have left me is what she tells me people tell her.  And maybe, she should have.  But if it hadn’t been for her I would have been dead right now. 

Toward the end of it all, when I was seeing what the pills I snorted were doing to me, if it hadn’t been for her love of me I wouldn’t have been able to walk myself into a doctor’s office and ask for help.  I remember it was a Monday when she led me by my trembling hand. 

Sometimes, that’s all it takes.  Love, with a hand.  If a person is ready to rid the poisons out of their life they must be ready, if not, go beyond and fight for their life.  No matter if you’re hated for it.  I would rather be hated and know that someone is alive and well. 

There are a variety of clinics out there.  You must understand when someone has taken a drug or drank until their genetic code is dependent on that, then that person may have to take a pseudo-narcotic in a step off, or down, plan.  It can be expensive, but if that person is purchasing $700 a month in pills or beer, what can $700 a month hurt to help your loved one break that addiction and begin living a productive life. 

This is something that takes time and reserves of strength from not only the addict, but people around him or her.  There is going to be slip ups.  And that is ok, as long as the addict is open and honest about why they did it and knows that because they slipped it doesn’t mean they have to binge.

Heroin and pain meds seem to be out doing crack and meth on the streets by a long shot.  Suboxone and Methodone are great alternatives to combat this addiction.  I did Suboxone, which my doctor claimed was a better option because Methodone is more addicting and has a longer withdrawal rate.  I beat my addiction with Suboxone in less than six months, though I was scheduled for a year.  I wanted nothing more than to be clean. 

Since being clean, my appearance and thought process have improved greatly.  I have found ways to be high on life.  I have gotten more work done.  Remember your addict may have changed, but that is the drug masking their personality. 

I am willing to talk with anyone with an addiction or anyone who wants to help someone they love conquer an addiction.  Remember it takes love, willingness, and patience.  Going clean cannot happen without these three things.

To achieve, You Must Fail

We learn from failure, not from success!”  Bram Stoker

Dracula Book Cover

No truer words can be said that by the reinventor of the vampire.  We all have dreams.  Whether your dreams are to be the quarter back for the Dallas Cowboys, an actor in the next hollywood blockbuster, or perhaps, something more subtle like getting married and having family.  

And more than anything we wish to succeed at what we want to do.  However, human motivation is always quick to fail when we realize the hard work and focus required to reach our goals.  It usually starts off with of failure, followed by procrastination, and then we put our dreams on the back burner, like a  evaporating pot of boiling water .  All that’s left is the possibilities of what were. 

That old cliché that someone is a “natural” is, well, just a cliché.  There is no such thing as a being a natural.  When you see somebody that does something well it is because they are trained.  People who train and succeed have learned one simple thing that allows them to be good at what they do.  Failure!

Failure is part of achieving your dreams and goals just as much as doing it.  If you believe that because you can just go out and get a contract with the UFC just because you have ripped abs, and brawl on the street well, you’re wrong.  Sure you may be good, but when you get into the octagon with someone trained, unless you have luck, you’re going to fall.  Google Kimbo Slice to see what I mean.

It’s that failure you have to learn from.  Your faults speak more about your character and type of person you are more than your success will any day of the week.  In the last couple of weeks I have learned much about my own.  I have a problem using the right tense and choosing the proper form of irregular verbs; though apparently I was told that I write great stories.  

My dream is to be a published author that makes a comfortable living doing what I enjoy doing.  As a secondary dream, I hope that I will hopefully have one book in my lifetime be on the NY Time Top Ten list.  However, I know that I still need a lot of work between now and then.  Seven times this week I have been rejected, but now I know where my faults lie, and that four of these people are willing to publish my work if I can fix the structural errors in my stories.  This has given me a guide to go by to better my for chances for success.  Now all I have to do is reformulate my strategy for success.

Robin Hood?

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

 Does Robin Hood deserve all the negative hype it is receiving?  I am going to answer both yes and no.  I love what the writers tried by taking real history and mixing it in with the myth.  I did see some inconsistencies, but I don’t want put these down because I don’t want to cross check them.  I  will leave that to some historian or writer who is being paid to write their criticism.  However, to tie the film in with some real history the had to mess up the Robin Hood myth as we know it. 

I was fine with this as well.  The writers did an outstanding job.  I was angry with how Clash of the Titan went, but not with this one. 

My biggest complaints, at times Robin Hood is boring.  Parts of the story seem like a copout.  Not only that, but the climax of the movie ruins the film; which goes something like this.  England unites to repel an invasion from Philip XIV of France.  Suddenly Marion runs into the battlefield and goes after the villain and about dies.  Robin see her fall into the ocean and the movie goes into one of those slow motion scenes, “Nooo!”.  Robin rushes to save her and succeeds.  He finds her alive and the make out with a thousand men slaughtering one another.  It was just yuck.  Bad taste for the scene. 

Robin Hood.  I like they direction the writers tried to go, but someone really screws the thing up.  Ridley Scott, perhaps?  Does Robin Hood deserve the negative reviews it is receiving?  Watch the film and you decide.

Jennifer’s Body: Theme and Myth

After watching Jennifer’s Body (finally), I must say that I am impressed.  No, not because Megan Fox is in the movie, but because I felt it does something that most horror movies does not: Jennifer’s Body went full circle with the plot.  I would give Jennifer’s Body four out of five stars, and deem it as  a cult classic that crosses genres.  Though it may be horror, it has a unique and original myth for contemporary culture.  Not only did the plot come full circle, the film explores themes that are important for a new generation of teens, creating a new myth for contemporary audiences.

I had held off watching this movie for months believing it to be just another campy teen flick.  I was right, and completely wrong.  The movie tells the story of Jennifer Check (Megan Fox).  Jennifer is your typical stereotyped high school cheerleader, which most guys don’t stand a chance, who is better than most, has looks of gold, but with one exception that breaks this stereo typical cliché, Needy.  Nerdy Needy (Amanda Seyfried) is Jennifer’s BFF, the narrator of the tale, and an unlikely heroine.

Not only is the story about Jennifer, but Jennifer becomes the antagonist.  Writer, and Producer, Diablo Cody (Juno) highlights such themes as never get into a car (in this case a van) with a stranger, let alone five strangers who are part of an indie rock band wanting to make a deal with the devil to make it “big”.  They just make take you over to Devil’s Falls and sacrifice you as a virgin to Satan, which is what happens to Jennifer.  However, the band messed up and chose a girl who is not even a “backdoor virgin”.   According to the movie when a girl is sacrificed is not a virgin, a Succubus possesses her body.  A Succubus is a female demon that eats the souls of men by the way.  However, Jennifer ends up eating the organs of other boys to keep her beautiful appearance; if not, she grows ugly and her hair falls out. 

The movie is brilliantly sexy, and focuses on the theme of teen sex by not discouraging it, but rather promotes safe sex by using Jennifer and Needy as a metaphors.   During one scene, the movie switches back in forth between Needy and her boyfriend’s first sexual encounter and Jennifer, who lures a guy to his death by leading him to believe that he will be arriving at her house to have sex.  In Needy’s encounter it is, well, not innocent, but it is thought out.  The boyfriend supplies condoms for their four-minute encounter, which he has problems putting on because they are, at least he is, a virgin.   Jennifer encounter is brief, as she uses her attractiveness to corner the young boy before brutally killing him.  Her casual, murderous encounter exposes in this cautionary example that hot girls and casual sex kills, though usually in the form of the more real demons, like hepatitis and AIDS.   

Friendship is another theme in Jennifer’s Body.  While Needy and her boyfriend are having sex, she begins to envision everything that Jennifer has done, or is doing at the time.   Any good friend knows when something is up with their BFF, or as Needy relates, her and Jennifer are “Biifs”.  Jennifer and Needy’s friendship goes back to when they are little girls.  Jennifer at times uses Needy to boost her self-esteem, yet Jennifer commits the greatest sin a girl can do to another girl by tempting Needy’s boyfriend into having sex with her, and then killing him.  Even though Jennifer has promised not to harm her, only after this does Needy realize that either Jennifer has never really been her friend, or that this is not her friend at all.  Needy finally accepts the change she has tried to avoid throughout the movie by becoming the enraged badass heroine and saves her friend from the demonic possession she that has enslaved her body.

Needy’s friendship, her love for Jennifer is perhaps the greatest theme in the movie.  She is the narrator of the story and from isolation at a psychiatric ward, she tells the story of Jennifer, but after Jennifer is slain, it becomes Needy’s story.  Needy gains some of the demon’s powers by killing it, and in an unexpected turn she redeems the murder of her friend by breaking out of the mental ward, tracking down the band, and killing them as savagely as they killed Jennifer, thus bringing the plot full circle.

Jennifer’s Body has many great themes.  Some are cliché, such beauty is only skin-deep, and looks are not everything.   The ones chosen are the themes that seemed relevant for a new generation that needs a median that deals with real teen issues.  Diablo Cody, by far, has become one of the best in the industry for writing scripts that deal with contemporary issues that this new generation can relate too.  Check out Juno and decide for yourself.  The theme of friendship that Jennifer’s Body explores, the integral idealization of the redemption of the friend, is the most prevalent and important.  Movies and mythology of the past have dealt with what Joseph Campbell termed redemption of the father.  The best example of this is in Star Wars, as Luke Skywalker must either liberate his father, Darth Vader, from the “Dark Side”, or fail, following his father’s example.   The change in the mythos that makes Jennifer’s Body different, and compelling, is for Needy to Redeem Jennifer she was doomed to fall to the dark side.

Sources

Cody, Diablo.  Jennifer’s Body.  Fox Atomic: 2009.

Campbell, Joseph.  Hero with a Thousand Faces.  Princeton University Press: 1973

5 Boys Sent Home For Being American

“Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.”  Samuel Adams   

We, Americans, are just not one nation of people, nor did we come from one exact location.   America’s coast, valleys, and mountains are populated with imbricate multiplicity of ethnicity, culture, and religion with one common dream: to make life better.  Our founding fathers knew that we were all different.  If they hadn’t believed so, the 1st Amendment would not be one that gave Americans almost unlimited freedom of expression.  So why cannot Five American Boys wear shirts to school that on a holiday celebrated by Mexico?

Yesterday was Cinco De Mayo, translated as May the 5th, is a day in 1862 when the French were defeated near Puebla, Mexico trying to collect a war debt.  Yet on this almost 150 years ago, 4,000 Mexican soldiers thwarted France’s advance in near Puebla.  The day according to Huffingpost.com is not distinguished as the Mexican Independence Day as many think, which is September 16th, but celebrated similar to that of the American-Irish St. Patrick’s Day.                  American’s observes, and allow commencement of this holiday too, because that is who we are.  At least I thought. 

In America, I could imagine wearing red, white, and blue anytime I chose to wear these colors; I am American.  I can see anyone wanting to support the American flag on their t-shirt anytime they wanted to do so, too.  Is it a crime to be patriotic in your own country?  It’s not a crime, but it seems to be punishable Morgan Hill’s Live Oak High School in Northern California.

So by now you may have, or you may have not heard that five students from Live Oak High were expelled for the day for wearing shirts with American imagery; some wore plain simple flags, one just one the color, most wore shirt that were by Tap-Out.  Tap-Out is famous for their Mex-American line of shirts, which most of the boys sported. 

The school assistant principal came to the boys, asking them to either turn the shirt inside out, or take the shirts off, but when they refused they were sent home because some other students accused them of being racist.   These boys were accused of discriminating against Mexicans, but how?  One boy was Hispanic; the other boys were friends with him.  The boys wanted to show their American spirit on that day, and were blatantly punished for being American.  But why, I cannot understand this.   

What is the difference in what the administration has done to these boys?  Have these young American boys not been discriminated against for being American?  Shouldn’t the country come first?  I believe it should, not because I am American.  If I was Punkadorian, Punkadoria would come first.  I feel that America has faults, but we should work, as our great nation’s founding fathers done, to make it better. 

The school official felt that there was going to be a fight if something wasn’t done about this.  Well shouldn’t they have done their duty and kept a close eye on the students?  Sent home anyone who they felt would have been a threat to these students?  I am just rambling because this is just outrageous. 

But what are your feelings?  Do you feel that these Five American Boys should’ve been sent home?  Do you feel that the school’s administration should be punished?  Leave me your thoughts and comments; I would love to hear them. 

H. D. Sharpe

So Hard Lately

“It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.” ~ Charlotte Bronte

  Lately it’s been hard for me to get around to write, and it feels like my soul is crumbling from the inside out.  One week though, one week, and I will be able to write all day long, aside from duties as a “house husband”.   Yes.  I said it, house husband.  I am going on week three without a job.

   I lost my job back on April 7th.  Do you want to know why?  I wrote a story about harassment in the work place and my employer went over the top taking it as a threat.  I have had many people tell me that my 1st amendment rights have been violated, and I am pretty sure they have.  For a few years I was harassed, by some particular individuals.  About the middle of March it became intolerable.  I went to my superviser about it and nothing was done. 

   The week prior to my termination I wrote my story.  It was personal to me.  It did contain dialogue of harassing and discrimanating things I have heard, but did not contain any physical, or actual references to any names or people.  It was based in a plant.  I write horror, and dark literary, or psychological fiction.  The narrative stays within the boundaries of those lines.  At the end, my protagonist has a delusion about murdering some people, and then kills himself.

   I made the mistake of posting it on Facebook for my wife to read.  Something for her to do on her break that would give up some small talk over the weekend.  However, I forgot to take it down and it ended up in the hands of human resourses.  Every effort was made by my ex-employer to interpret it as a threat.  It wasn’t.

   It was a writer, blowing off some steam by way of creative imagination, solely for his spouse’s pleasure.  I cannot say how sorry I am to anyone I have offended because this whole thing went as far as being investigated, and I would rather not be around them anyway.  

   But the fact remains I didn’t email to anyone, I havn’t tried to make a sale, nor did I threaten, solicit, or select anyone out.  My theme was haressment in the work place, and the inner turmoil of someone who goes to work everyday just to be made fun of because they are different, educated, and supportive of the human race as one entity of being. 

   Still the conequences are there.  I lost my job in a time when the economy just isn’t happening and I live in a town where the job market is extra slim.  I do plan to use this time wisely.  I am going to use it to kickstart my career by building the foundations of my writing career.

   I have been fortunate to have already made a few aquitences.  I appreciate the help, the tips and advice, I have received from them.  One in particular, a brilliant, young fantasy author named J. S. Chancellor has been awesome and has my greatest praise.  Her blog, Welcome To The Asylum, is posted in my links and you will not regret checking out her work.

   Well I hope by next week I will be able to finish my latest short story, The Living Wood.  Hopefully those voices inside will stop screaming at me.  It will definately help this COD I am going through right now, and I can start picking up those little chunks of my soul and putting the pieces back together.  I still hope the pieces fit.

H. D. Sharpe