Powerful Women: Mom B

This post talks about politics, which I will do my very best to never talk about again. However, there is no way to tell the story I want to tell today without talking politics.


After the events of the last week, I was debating whether or not to talk about it or try to avoid it altogether. However, my Facebook feed has been filled with stories of amazing women and their amazing lives, so I figured I should talk about it too.

I have been very lucky in my life. Not only am I privileged as a white, middle-class, college-educated, woman living in New Hampshire. I have been able to surround myself with wonderful and talented women. I have an aunt that built a small business for herself and one that is a very important person (I’m not sure what she does, but she’s very important) for a big company that gets to travel around the world and speaks a bunch of different languages. I have women in my family that jump out of airplanes, others fight chronic illnesses. I have been able to befriend some crazy talented actors, and improvisers Many of my closest friends are amazing, loving, mothers, raising a generation of young men and women that will be just a fierce and fantastic as their mothers. I have some excellent role models and peers, and I know it.

But in my long list of amazing women, there is one that will always and forever be the biggest inspiration to me. The beginning of this story starts in a weird place, but there has to be an origin story to everything, so for this one, I start on– what I’m going to assume was a cold– January day in my second-grade classroom in the mid-nineties.

I was a new kid in second grade, I moved into the new school at the end of October. As I’m sure some of you know, there is a stigma to being a new kid, let alone the super awkward, new kid even at 7-years-old; and even though my 8th birthday was 4 days after I moved to the new school, the cupcakes a brought in did not make me any friends. Fortunately,  that January we got another new girl, with a weirder name than mine. This girl would become my best friend, and we’ve been friends now for over 2 decades, but this story isn’t about her and I. It’s about that girl’s mother.

I don’t remember when I actually met her, but I’m going to assume it was second or third grade. I remember my best friend’s third birthday party with the kind of accuracy that many remember yesterday. It was right after blue was added to M&M’s, which, as you know, was a historical event worth remembering.  I know that is was the first time I met my best friend’s little sister, but I can’t remember if her mom was part of the field trip chaperones in second grade or not. I really don’t think the exact moment that I met her is important, only that I met her when I was 8 or 9 years old.

I’m sure my group of friends was not the only one where our mothers became the mothers to everyone in our little group, there were two moms who took charge of our little group. For most of middle school, it was like I had 3 or 4 moms, as the friend of my little brother’s best friend also kind of adopted most us as well.  As I mentioned before, I have been incredibly lucky.

Anyway, back to my best friend’s mom, who I will call “Mom B” for the rest of the story. Mom B was the “come here if you’re going to be home alone” mom. I lived up the street from them starting in 5th grade. Their house was a 5-minute walk or 1-minute bike ride from my house. I spent a lot of days over there in the woods across the street from their house. Mom B was always there making sure we didn’t get into too much mischief. Mom B hosted us during what I can only describe as a super weird Thanksgiving tradition where 4th graders got to go home for the middle of the day and were supposed to Thanksgiving like things and then we went back to school and had a feast. She did our hair and makeup for the 8th-grade graduation dance. She took care of my little brother when he whipped out on his bike. She let me into her house at 2 am when I locked myself out of my house letting my dog out while my parents were on a camping trip.

It was during my freshman year of high school that this story really begins. You see, Mom B was in an accident at the beginning of that school year. I won’t go into the specifics as I remember them, mainly because I will probably get them wrong, but Mom B had a severe concussion and post-concussion syndrome, which basically is something that professional football and hockey players get a lot because they get hit in the head all the time. Here is a Wikipedia article about it if you are interested. That explains it way better than I could. In the most basics of terms, her brain bounced around a lot in her head and caused some permanent damage.

Mom B wasn’t quite the same after, she was still an amazing person, just differently. I remember the early days that she wore sunglasses all time because any kind of light bothered her. Do to the concussion, what she could do changed, she had to relearn how to drive and many other things, driving is just the one that sticks out to me because I was learning to drive at the same time. I’m not 100% sure what Mom B did for a job before the accident, because what 14-year-old knows what your friends’ parents do for work, but I know she could no longer do it. Instead, Mom B turned to becoming extremely active in change and fighting for the cause.

I’m sure that before the accident she was also as passionate and strong-willed about being the change you want to see in the world, but when it started to affect my life was in 2004, when I turned 18 and had the opportunity to vote for the first time.

For those who don’t remember, the 2004 election was between President George W. Bush and Massachuttes Senator John Kerry. President Bush was kind of unpopular and would occasionally say things like “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning.” and would misuse the word “resolve” a lot. But as far as Republican presidents go, there was a far less chance that we would get mad and nuke Michigan, and more of a chance his saying something that made no sense and vastly mishandling natural disasters (i.e., Hurricane Katrina). I was in 8th grade to my junior year of college during his presidency and for the most part uninterested in world events– much less so than I am now. So I couldn’t tell you much about President Bush’s policies, I mostly remember thinking that fighting a family feud war about oil was a bad idea and Mom B explained quite a bit about standing up to fight against these kinds of things.

I got to see John Kerry speak in the indoor skate park nearby. We (my best friend, her sister, Mom B, myself and probably other people but I don’t remember) were volunteers for the event. We set up the area and got to stand relatively close to the action when secret service and the Senator showed up. I got to skip school and stand outside the polls in my small town with my best friend, her sister and Mom B holding signs for Senator Kerry. It was a great experience. I got to watch democracy first hand, and although my candidate didn’t win, I saw that the best thing to do when life doesn’t go your way to fight. Stand up against the injustices and find your voice.

Mom B continued her fight, and she instilled in us that the election isn’t the end of the fight. There were midterm elections to ready for and Congress people to write to make sure that we are not forgotten. I wish I had been more involved in the elections since, but I was in college in a different state, and this election cycle was so exhausting to watch, I can’t even imagine what being actively involved in it. However, the outcome and the last few days is changing how I feel about how active I will be in the coming years; because as I’ve been taught if I don’t use my voice, no one else is going to do it for me.

Last year was tiring, my candidate lost twice. I was hardcore backing Senator Bernie Sanders in the primaries, and as much as I didn’t like Secretary Hillary Clinton, she did have her good qualities. I learned this election season that I had to look past my personal feelings that have been instilled in my for a long time, especially about Secretary Clinton and other high-powered policial women, to see the kind of person that they would be at the job. “Imagine people complexly” as on of my favorite authors has said many times.

Over the weekend there was a very large Women’s March. I did not march because I had work to do over the weekend– it’s not a good reason, but it’s all I got. Many of my friends did, my fierce warrior women friends marched in their respective states to voice their constitutional right to assemble and protest in this country that got its start because of civil disobedience. (One of the things that really bothered me this weekend was seeing people complain and say that the founding fathers would never stand for something like this when they, literally, dressed up as Native Americans and threw a bunch of tea in a harbor in the middle of December night and started a Revolution. John Handcock would be proud of what was done over the weekend.)

The point of my story is resilience; to not give up when the world kicks you so hard that it seems completely impossible to move on. What Mom B has pushed into me in the over 20 years that I have known her is to stand up and engage. When life says “sit down.” Don’t. Fight it. Change your course and find a different way to do your thing.  Your voice is worth hearing. It is up to you to stand on the top of the building or march to the capital and scream until they hear you. The collective we are at a point in history where we can’t lay down, we need to stand and scream, and never stop screaming. We need to march and protest and sign petitions and do everything we can to make sure we are heard. If day one brings us “Alternative Facts,” who knows what we will get on day 10 or 100. We need to brace and be ready. Mom B taught me how to scream, and I will always be thankful that she did.

Your opinion may be completely different from mine. I have friends and family members whose political ideologies are the complete opposite of mine, but I have close relationships with them. I think this is why I don’t usually talk about things like I’ve talked about in this post, and I will do my very best to no talk about politics again unless we enter a state where I need to. This blog is my voice, and I like having a voice.

Until next time Internet

Deanna

Review: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

 

Published: September 20th, 2016

Publishing house: Tor Teen

Genres: Young Adults, Fork Lore, Fantasy, Retellings

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb from Good Reads:

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…


This book is weird.

It’s a good weird in my opinion, but it’s still weird as heck. I didn’t know it was a retelling of Slavic folklore when I started reading it, so I was confused but very intrigued. I googled it about 50 pages in. It was then an “AHHH okay” when discovered the origins of the narrative. I haven’t read too many retellings of classic stories before so this was a very new style and kind of storytelling than I’m accustomed to.

I did enjoy the characters and how Babs Yagg was almost Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter brand evil. Vassa is sympathetic her family life is sort of terrible in a nearly Cinderella way.  Once I got past the fantastical ridiculousness of the world, (which isn’t a bad thing it’s just weird) the story was entertaining and I found it a very fast read. The motorcycle rider is amazingly mysterious, and the love interest has a complex, although short arc that can change the way readers see him between his first appearance and the last.

Turn offs for the book would most likely be being unfamiliar with Slavic folklore and walking into the story unprepared and trying to figure it out. Like I said I googled the book early on and learned about Vasilisa the Beautiful and different Baba Yaga stories, so that helped me personally enjoy the story so much more.

This is not the kind of book that I would have picked up on my own. This was the first book I got as part of the Uppercase book box subscription, and it was an excellent introduction to that service. I signed up for it to get different books that I usually do, and that’s exactly what I got.

Overall I think this story had the typical fairy tale arc. It’s a quick read and very interesting to see the folk tales from other cultures. I highly recommend picking this book up if you are looking for something very out of the box.

Until Next time Internet,

Deanna

In Search of Ghosts — Original Fiction

Back home, in John Irving style small town New Hampshire, there are exactly three things to do after nine o’clock at night.

The first is to hang out at Wal-Mart, which is not very exciting, and has become the past time of far too many of the high school kids. The employees have become too keen-eyed for mischievous teenagers. No time for the shenanigans found in irresponsibly published Buzzfeed articles. The overworked, blue-vested associates are looking to snuff out people trying to toilet paper aisle of the store or doing other reckless and annoying things.

The second is to enjoy the dining experiences of one of the seven Chinese food restaurants, which gets expensive and old quickly.

And finally, one could explore one of the several hidden cemeteries in the woods along Blake Road. The third choice is what my best friend I have done since we were old enough to be out after dark. We used to ride our bikes down the long windy road to the west side of town where the oldest graves are and hang out, hoping to see a ghost or two.

As we grew up, this activity seemed more and more juvenile. Strapped with homework or working to expand our college applications with extracurricular activities, we stopped playing hide and seek in old graveyards. Maybe that’s just how teenagers are, to stress and worried about getting out to focus on the simple things we did when were little.

That is until reached college and everything that was awesome when we were kids became awesome again. We could get lost talking about “the old days” before we were too caught up in the internet and video blogs to be out in the beauty of nature. So, Tessa and I decided to go back to where our friendship had grown up, the first cemetery of Epping.

The newest grave is from 1892, and some have dates so old they have been removed by time. We believed as children that some of the Epping Governors are buried there, but if they were, I believe, the town would have taken way better care of it. There were better maintained cemeteries in town if there were people of note buried in Epping they wouldn’t be buried in a forgotten place in complete disrepair.

We trekked the overgrown quarter-mile path through the pine trees to our forgotten playground. In the years since we’ve last set foot there, several of the granite and slate graves have been toppled. No one had raked the leaves since we did it last our freshman year of high school. We had never imagined that we were the primary caretakers of this beloved place. The spot where I wrote my first serious piece of writing, where Tessa had decided her opening credits of first film would take place.

To us the cemetery was our childhood, and that rainy September Saturday, it lay before us in shambles. Harold and Margret’s headstone, our favorite, because Margret had died less than a week after Harold, after being married for over fifty years, which was forever in any context but amazing in the 1880’s, had been one of the victims. There’s was the first story I ever wrote that wasn’t for a class assignment. It’s somewhere in an old notebook, plagued with misspellings and poor punctuation that most fourth graders write in. A poorly constructed love story that has a spark of something, maybe I should try my hand at it again, Harold and Margret deserve someone to remember them.

The two of us stood at the base of the old stone monument looking down at the weather-worn names now carved forever perfect heart. The way the stone had fallen the sides had broken in a nearly improbable way, yet there it sat in front of us: as if the couple wanted the world to know that they still and always would, love each other.

With a quick glance into each other’s eyes, Tessa and I decided that we would have to bring our cemetery back to life. We drove back to my house and gathered the lawn care tools needed to complete our task. At the cemetery, we cleaned, put back the stones weren’t broken enough to long no longer stand. We cut the grass, cleared the leaves, brought a little bit of life back into the long-forgotten place that it seemed only the two of us cared about.

Going back to that place lost at the end of the overgrown path in the middle of the woods off a backroad. Supposed to be simply nostalgic and homey feeling, but it in its way the old cemetery was telling us never to leave it again.

Tessa and I were always to be the keepers of this place. The relatives who remembered those buried there had long ago died themselves or moved far away from Epping. It is up to Tessa and me to keep the memories, albeit the imaginary ones that ten-year-olds think up, alive in someone’s heart. Harold and Margret will always live on, if Tessa and I keep their ghost inside us.

 


Thank you for reading. This is a piece that I wrote a while back that I found when I updated to a new computer this week. I think I wrote when I was a junior in college. I edited it a little and shared posted it here. I think next week I’m going to post a part of the novel I’m working on but I’m not quite sure yet. We’ll see. I found a lot of weird little short stories in an old file of school work.

Until next time Internet,

 

Deanna

 

 

Weird History

I’m from New England, not too far north of Boston, and for as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with history, especially early Revolutionary War history. I could probably give the Freedom Trail tour myself. I’m from a part of the United States that is full of great history and fantastic museums. I went on a field trip to the Salem Witch museums in 3rd grade, and it was the best thing about 3rd grade.

In middle school, I had a teacher who was… well… odd? Interesting? Weird? Would walk around the halls singing “I’m dreaming of a purple Christmas.” The bottom line being his was amazing, and known for going off on tangents about things that either had nothing to do with what we were studying or very little to do with what we were studying (usually nothing). Occasionally could go on for several classes, sometimes half a class.

It is because of him that I was legitimately shocked when I was watching Drunk History awaiting the Alexander Hamilton episode and discovered that is 1919 the was a flood on the north end of Boston. Not a big deal right?  Well, it was a flood of molasses. I’m going to link the Wikipedia article about it at the end of this post, but if you can, I recommend watching the Drunk History episode about it. It’s the one about food.


In Cambridge, there was a large a container that held what I believe can be categorized as a crap ton of molasses. It was used to make rum and alcohol was a big business at the time right before prohibition officially started, but there was still a ban on alcohol at the time. However, the amendment didn’t exist yet. (It was literally ratified the day after the disaster: January 16, 1919, and the county would become “dry” on January 17, 1920), so weird legal territory, but for the most part, the giant vat of molasses in Boston was to help make illegal rum. It was also used for making ammunition. How? I have no idea, but it was.

The tank was, by all accounts, poorly constructed. Many shortcuts were taken in the building of the tank to save money and to build it faster. A modern forensics report says that the walls of the tank were approximately half as thick as they should have been even by early 1900’s safety standards. It was also made out of the wrong kind of metal. Most likely to cut corners and save money.

A few days before the disaster extra, warm, molasses was added to the tank which combined with it being January in Boston, was a major contributor to what happened that afternoon.

On January 15th, 1919, it was a little bit warmer than usual, around 40 degrees and warming quickly. It had been a typical winter up until then with cold New England style weather. About half past noon the 50 by 90-foot vat of molasses collapsed sending over 2 million gallons of molasses into the streets.

Here’s a map of the area the red circle is about where the vat was:

boston_molasses_area_map

Imagine stepping out of your house after hearing what must have sounded like a gunshot to see a wall of molasses flying toward you. This molasses was not as slow as its name would imply. It was in fact, ridiculously fast. A study by Harvard proved that it was not a slow flood but a literal wave, as the news reports of the time claim. 26 million pounds of molasses flooded Commerical Street in Boston forming a15-foott wave of sticky sweet goo that coated everything around it.

Now, this sounds amusing, something to laugh about 98 years later. I imagine a brown wave moving so slow, like it does when I try to pour it out onto pancakes or when I’m trying to make gingerbread, but the force of the wave trapped people. It was quick moving and warm at first, but it slowed and hardened quickly, trapping 21 people, 2 of them 10-year-olds, until they suffocated. 150 people were injured, many horses were injured or killed.

The property damage cost was well over $100 million in today’s money, that’s not including the cost of actual clean up. They used sand to try to absorb it and used fire trucks spraying salt water to spray it into the harbor. It’s said that the harbor (the harbor in Boston that has been known for the stuff that gets throw into it)  was brown with molasses until summer. It took about 80 thousand man hours to clean the whole thing.

Here’s a photo of the aftermath:

boston_1919_molasses_disaster_-_el_train_structure

I can’t imagine what it would have been like to live through something like that. I’ve witnessed floods, but, like, water, so it just went away after a while. I can’t even begin to think about how terrifying, it was to look out your window and see this.

There are many jokes that can be made about this event; I’ve had to restrain myself in writing this for the most part because, in the end, 21 people died a horrible death. And for the rest of the survivors’ lives, they had to tell people that someone they knew drowned in molasses.

It’s said that if the wind blows just right in the North End is still smells like molasses.

Until Next time internet,

Deanna

Mental Floss Article

Wikipedia

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

 

As I mentioned previously, I’m not well practiced at this book review thing. I understand that most bloggers are reviewing book fresh off the presses and not books that were released almost a year ago, but I really loved this book and I wanted to share what I thought about it in a greater way.

I’m sure I will develop a style and eventual be reviewing books that are closer to their release date than this one, but, as I have said before, I don’t want to start doing something when I’m not 100% sure what I’m doing. I want to practice first.

For this review, I have styled it after other bloggers that I’ve been reading recently. I’m sure I’ll tweak it a little as I write more.

Anyway, here is the first installment of my book reviewing:


 

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Published February 2nd, 2016

Publishing house: Philomel Books

Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Synopsis from GoodReads:

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.


My Review:

I picked up this book because I had read Sepetys book Between Shades of Gray last year and I loved it. I’m don’t read a lot of historical fiction, so Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea had much heavier topics than the books I usually read. The characters actions have (sort of) real life implications. I found that refreshing, slightly depressing because both of these books are set in World War II, but refreshingly different from what I usually read.

Salt to the Sea has many of the same deep emotions running through the characters as Sepetys previous book, which I loved. It follows four different teenagers from various countries with very different motives trying to get to the MV Wilhelm Gustloff in the Baltic Sea in January 1945. As the summary above states, each of the four narrating characters has a major secret; something else that personal drama to the mirror the horrific things that were going on around them as they make their way to the Baltic.

I greatly enjoyed the different points of view, Sepetys is able to capture the different personalities of these teenagers, from Alfred’s self-righteousness to Emilia’s innocence. I’ve read books where the point of view switches and it just comes across completely jumbled, but Sepetys creates very different voices for each of their characters. Even without the heading at each chapter, it’s easy to tell which one of the narrators is telling that part of the story within a couple sentences.

What I loved about this book is personal drama. I think it would have been easy to write a novel that just revolved around getting to the Baltic, but the personal stories, each so different, gives the story richness. Three of the narrations overlap for most of the story, and the fourth starts around two-thirds of the way through, yet the very different personalities of these young people are clear from the beginning. My personal favorite was Emilia. I felt that she had the greatest character arc. However, all four have a solid storyline that has the reader asking questions and turning pages.

Each of these characters, as well as the supporting cast, have realized and developed motives and identities, it’s easy to get lost with different narrators, but this book clearly differs as it switches point of view. The same character sees the supporting cast just a little bit differently. I thought that was an interesting way of showing how different each of these young people is; how different every person in existence is.

What I didn’t particularly like about this story is that it wraps up very quickly. There is a conclusion, a good one at that, but the big event that is the center of the story sort of drops off. I think I understand the reasons this was done, but still, I would have a liked a little bit more there.

Overall I loved this book, as I mentioned before I don’t read that much historical fiction, so this was a nice change for my usual reading material. This is a well written and deeply emotional story that comes highly recommended from me. Although I would have loved a bit more resolution, I thought the writing and overall craftsmanship of this novel was fantastic. I will be picking up more books by this author in the future.

As an aside: I didn’t know anything about the  Wilhelm Gustloff before reading this book. If you plan to read this book and don’t know about that ship, don’t google it (major spoilers). I’m the type of person that likes to read Wikipedia articles about historical events that correspond with what I’m reading or watching (it took me forever to finish the first episode of The Crown) and I’m really glad that I fought the impulse with this one.

 

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

 

Books Read in 2017: 2

 

Fenced In- Original Fiction

One thing I want to do with this blog is to share my original stories. I think this platform is a great way to get my writing out there. So, here it is. I hope you enjoy.


Fenced In

She let the door to her uncle’s trailer slam behind her as she stormed out. Kat had had more than enough of living in this hell hole. She deserved better. She’d worked her ass off since she was fourteen and still couldn’t get ahead. No one would let her get ahead. She pulled her pack of Camel lights out of the top pocket of her plaid over shirt and pounded it against her hand before pulling one out; then dug around in her jean shorts for her Bic. She was beyond pissed off. She jumped off the deck and headed across the yard, through the junk cars that her uncle was planning to fix up one day.  She wanted out. She needed an escape. This town, this trailer park, even, made her feel like she was living in a snow globe: a bubble with no way out no matter how hard she pushed. She wandered to the back of the lot where the most beat up of her uncle’s cars were: the ones that were too rusted out to be used for anything except spare parts.

“Kathrine!” a gravelly voice called after her. “Get back here. Don’t be like that.”

“No!” Kat called back sucking in a deep a drag on her cigarette then blowing the smoke out like a train whistle. “You don’t get it! You can’t get it. I’m suffocating. I need to live my own life. I want to get my brother, and I want to get out of here. I want to give him all that shit that our parents were supposed to. You won’t let me take him, but he’s not yours to keep.”

“He’s twelve, Kat,” her uncle said. “You can’t just rip a twelve-year-old boy out of his life and wing him around on your will. You just can’t.”

“I can find a place in town. There’s a couple places for rent on the down the street from the shop,” Kat fought. “He won’t have to change schools. He’ll end up on a different bus. It’ll be fine.” Kat flicked the butt of her cigarette on the ground and crushed it under the toe of her work boot. She leaned back against the rusted out frame of F-150.  “I gotta good job, I can provide for him. He’s my responsibility.”

“No, he isn’t,” her uncle sighed. “You’re seventeen years old. You dropped out of high school for no reason I can understand. You’re not ripping a little kid out of the only stable life he’d ever had to go off on an adventure. You’re workin’ under the table at a body shop. That’s not reliable employment, kiddo.  I understand what you’re trying to do, but I can’t let you fall on your face if Alex’s gonna get the short end. If you want to move out and live on your own, go. I’ll be here to catch ya when ya fall, but I ain’t letting you drag him through the mud along with ya. Both of you deserve better than that, and you know it.”

Kat picked at the chipping paint on the door of the truck and stared dead into her uncle’s eyes. “He’s my responsibly.”

Her uncle never backed down, he matched her stare right back at her. “You’re Daddy left the two of you in my care—“

“When he took off and left us behind,” Kat scoffed. “He told me to take care of Alex. He told me it was my job to keep Alex in order. It’s my job to watch out for him. I don’t get to leave him behind because you don’t want me to take him with me. I can take care of myself. I’ve been doing it for years.”

“I know you can,” her uncle nodded. “You can take care of yourself just fine. What I don’t think you can do is care for a middle schooler right along with ya. You ain’t his mom, kid. You’re his sister. The faster you learn to accept that, the faster this sinks in, the faster you can get over yourself and realize I know what I’m talkin’ about. When you grow up and start thinkin’ like an adult, maybe then we’ll talk about letting Alex move in with you. Right now, Kat, it’s not a good idea. You got no idea what it’s like out there.”

“You can’t tell me what to do anymore,” Kat huffed, crossing her arms across her chest. “You never had the right to tell me what to do. You’re not my dad. You got no legal right to us! We got dumped on your doorstep. I can take my brother and leave when I want to. Maybe me and Alex will head to Virgina and live with Dad. You can’t stop us. I can pack him up in the middle of the night and just leave. There would be nothing you can do about it. Dad’ll take us in. He’d have no problem with it. He’s wanted us to be with him for years. But he said you won’t let him take us back for the same lame ass reasons you won’t let me take Alex. We ain’t yout property. You don’t got no say about what we do. You were just the most convenient roof my dad could think of when he was trying to deal with Mom dying.”

“I could have said ‘fuck it all’ and taken the two of you to child protective services and let you both grow up in the system,” her uncle said. “But outta respect for dead my sister I stepped up and took her two kids in because her deadbeat of a husband couldn’t be bothered to man up. And here you are blindly hero-worshipping a man that you haven’t seen in six years.”

“Don’t talk about my dad like that!” Kat defended.

“You think you know everything?” her uncle laughed. “You think that because he calls you on your birthday and remembers to send Christmas cards he’s an A-plus father? You still hold hope he did the best he could. You think you’re ready to be an adult, start to act like Kat. Go back to school, or get your goddamned GED so you can work for a legit shop. You’re a real smart kid, but you’re acting like a spoiled little brat that doesn’t get to have ice cream for breakfast. Stop making everything so hard for yourself. You don’t have to do anything alone.”

“Alone is the only way I know how to do anything,” Kat spat back. “I’ve been fighting my way alone over half my life.”

Her uncle rubbed his hand down his face the scratched the side of beard.  “I’ve just about had enough of fighting with you about it. You’ve never been alone. You just haven’t been able to open your eyes wide enough to see that you have a support system. Do what you’re gonna do, Kat. I can’t stop ya. But you’re not moving Alex out of the only stable environment he’s ever known to live hand to mouth over a Chinese food place downtown. We both know Alex deserves a hell of a lot better than that.”

Her uncle turned and stormed back into the trailer, slamming the door hard behind him. Kat pushed herself off the rusted truck, took another cigarette from her pack and started to walk.  She walked along the fence surrounding the yard, stepping over spare mufflers and a stray engine. She hated this place. She hated the broken pieces. She hated that she couldn’t leave. Sure she could pack up her little Toyota and take off tonight, but she wasn’t whole without Alex at her side. She couldn’t leave without knowing that Alex would be okay. It wasn’t that her aunt and uncle had ever done anything to them. They’d been more than great, better parents than two abandoned kids could have asked for. Kat felt that she was the only one who could take care of Alex. Her dad made her promise as the three of them stood on her uncle’s doorstep a month after her mother died she’d watch out of Alex, she’d take care of him. She had to do what was in his best interest. His best interest was to be with her.

As she paced the fence, chain-smoking her shoplifted cigarettes, she started to calm down, see clearly. She kicked a tire that was sitting next to a Mazda with only three attached to it: another project her uncle would get to, eventually. Everything about her life was broken: left unwanted and uncared for by the person who was supposed to care the most. She didn’t want that for her brother. Her brother should never have to feel like she did. He should feel like he belonged and be needed no matter what was happening around him. All she wanted for him was happiness. The one thing she didn’t think she was capable of reaching. As the sun started to set over the yard, she started coming to her senses. Her uncle was right, the cool head that he always was when Kat proved over and over again that she was her father’s daughter.

She circled the yard one more time, passing the better cars, ones that ran with help from the rusted out ones in the back lot, as she got closer to the front door.

Alex sat on the deck, legs hanging off the side, kicking back and forth.

“Are you really going to move out?” he asked as she started to climb the stairs.

“No,” Alex answered sitting next to him. She ruffled his dark hair before placing her chin on his head. “I’m not going anywhere. Not yet.”



Until next time, Internet

Deanna

Books read in 2017: 2

Starting this whole mess

I’m new to this whole blogging situation.

I mean, like, I ‘ve written blogs before. I’ve done Blog Every Day in April a couple times with a group of people I’ve met on Twitter through a mutual love of Maureen Johnson, and I wrote a LiveJournal back in the day when LJ first started, but I haven’t seriously sat down and written a blog in about six years. The whole blogging community has changed drastically since that last time I was an active member of it. However, I am eager to get started.

I’ve been lurking and checking out other blogs are dedicated to YA literature or books and writing, and I’m seeing themes that I think I want to include in what I’m doing. It may take a couple weeks or months to get this exactly where I want it, but I’m hoping to become a part of the community that I’ve been looking at from the sidelines the last couple of weeks.

One thing I really want to do with this platform is review books. Right now, I don’t know how to get my hands on new books to review them before they are released like I have seen in other places, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. For right now I’m going to review the books that I’ve read recently that I hope other people will like. I’m a novice at reviewing books, so I think this would be the best place to start. Kind of like not signing up to run a marathon after your second day running on the treadmill for a half hour.

Book reviewers have been a way that I’ve found new books for years; I want to be good (or at least halfway decent) at writing reviews before I take on a bigger challenge.

I have my first review queued up for Monday. It’s book that was released last year, one that I’ve seen on several “Books I wanted to read in 2016 but didn’t” lists, so it’s mostly relevant. I think I want to do a book review Monday as a thing, but we’ll see how it goes.

The other big thing that I want to do is share original pieces that I’ve written. At my core, I am a writer, I have always believed that blogging is a great way to get my feet wet that way. Having a place to share (and possibly have other people read) will push me to go toward my goals of writing more, finishing things, and developing my style. My idea is to have, like, a Short Story Saturday or something. I’ll figure it out as it goes.

Anyway, I  look forward to entering this journey and seeing where it leads me.

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

 

Books read in 2017: 2