Tag: history

There’s No Changing History

I’m not a history buff. I won’t even claim to like studying historical events. But when I’m traveling, I do appreciate absorbing historical sites and monuments.

For me, it has nothing to do with the past. Seeing a landmark placed in a specific spot to cement a significant event touches the part of me that realizes time is limited. Life is a river rushing me ever toward the sea of eternity.

But these monuments are like a boulder in the river.

A person could rest on them. A person could take a break from paddling against contrary currents. The boulder offers a solid place in the maelstrom.

Of course, I’ve been rafting on the Deschutes River in Maupin, Oregon. A boulder could capsize your raft. It could dump everyone you love into the foaming mess of whitewater, eager to devour you…or at least scrape you along the sharp and unforgiving stones of the riverbed.

Actual photo of my family rafting the Deschutes.

Recently, my husband and I traveled to Florida for a couples’ retreat. The retreat was held at the Renaissance International World Golf in St. Augustine.

After my first ever lunch of Cuban food, we strolled through the historical fort. There was an old Catholic rectory. The governor’s house had been converted to a museum.

Crowds teemed through the unique shop area. Sun beat down from an autumn sky unlike those in Oregon. A fickle breeze lifted clothes that clung to every inch of perspiring skin.

In a park near the marina where traffic backed up because a draw bridge was raised, there was an old depot platform. Several statues and monoliths paid homage to people and events of the past. There was even an old pillar remaining from the Spanish capital that had once occupied this oldest of American cities.

The Monument to Men

One of the monolithic stones, a quite simple piece of plain rock, had been raised to honor those from the city of St. Augustine who gave their lives protecting it during what southerners refer to as The War of Northern Aggression. (That’s the Civil War for those of us who aren’t northerners, but have been blessed to be raised near the end of the Oregon Trail in God’s Country.) *sticks out her tongue at a particular cousin who will be reading this*

Where I live, there are monuments like this to veterans of Vietnam, Korea, World War I and World War II. I believe there’s even a little something for veterans of Desert Storm.

The point of this monument is to memorialize soldiers who fought for their homes. Some of the monuments honor the survivors. The ones that are most poignant to me are the memorials of those who died for the cause.

What person should not be honored for giving their life for a cause?

The Inscription

I don’t recall the exact words. But on a pole to one side of this simple memorial a metal sign had been mounted.
It claimed that there had been some legislation requiring the removal of all landmarks in honor of Confederates in the Civil War. It went on to state that residents petitioned to keep this simple monolith intact and were granted their petition.

Thank you, petitioners. This is what U.S. democracy is supposed to look like.

Better yet, why pass ridiculous laws that do nothing?

I can imagine the very men honored by this monument rolling over in their graves.

“People say we were fighting to keep slaves,” one would say. “I was fighting for freedom.”

“Freedom from a government that wanted to minimize our personal rights,” another says.

Because this war wasn’t fought over a single issue. The largest percentage of men who died had probably never owned a slave, nor would have chose to if they could.

The Facts

History happened. It’s over. There’s no point in trying to change it.

What is the reason a law might give for tearing down a simple monolithic column in a small park in St. Augustine, Florida? Is there any reason that would be acceptable?

We all know the slogan, “Never forget.” It was painted everywhere from social media to billboards in September. But it had been used decades before for Normandy Beach and Pearl Harbor.

This simple monument reminds us that men died for a cause. Let’s not judge the cause. We weren’t there, and we couldn’t possibly know what what in the hearts as they marched away from their homes and families…never to return.

You and I can attest that politicians say a ton of stuff we don’t agree with. Their words get recorded, and in another fifty years when the next generation reads them, are they going to judge you and I by those words?

Look at the word: history. His story. I write stories for a living, and they are different from the stories other authors of a similar age and gender write. Because they are my stories.

That plain monument asks us to pause for a moment and remember a story: one that cost men in St. Augustine to sacrifice all. Each of them had a personal story, and sadly, those are probably lost.

But the price they paid? It should be remembered. And honored.

Do you like history? What is a historical place you’ve been that impacted you?

Wonder Woman Makes it to the Big Time

Wonder Woman isn’t just for comic books anymore. And no matter what the UN says about it, this female superhero is making it to the big screen where she will be the ambassador for empowerment of women everywhere.

Sure, the United Nations can name cartoon characters as honorary ambassadors, but bringing a bustier-wearing woman to the stage sends the wrong message.

The U.N. recanted, bowing to protesters, but this won’t stop Wonder Woman from stepping from print to silver screen. She has been a suffragist, a sex symbol and a soldier since she first appeared in 1941, conceived by William Moulton Marston. Now, she’s going to be a movie star.

wwmaksitbig

Gal Gadot played Wonder Woman in Batman v. Superman and will carry off the role in her own film in June 2017. Godot is both a model and a soldier, 2004 Miss Israel who served in the Israel Defense Forces, as all Israeli’s are compelled to do.

Why can’t a woman be smart, strong and sexy? And if she isn’t covering up her physical assets, is that begging for objectification?

Plenty of male superheroes are flaunting their physical assets without anyone screaming about demeaning men. Why is there a different standard for our gal, Wonder Woman?

She was created as a hero to represent America’s position in World War Two: a patriot who wanted to protect the innocent. The original Wonder Woman had defensive weapons—bracelets that deflected bullets and the Lasso of Truth.

Isn’t that the kind of superhero we all should want? Not one who’s out to wreak havoc but is bent on keeping people safe.

Now Wonder Woman will get to tell her story to the world. The film won’t follow the comic book canon of the Amazonian princess.

Instead, the story takes place during World War I. When Steve inadvertently leads men to the Amazon’s island paradise, the women warriors face down guns with arrows.

They keep Wonder Woman true to her creator’s vision by making her more interested in peace than conflict. But, as history has proved time and again, sometimes the reality of peace comes at the high cost of war.

This writer is enthusiastic about seeing a female superhero take the tile role in a comic-book-inspired movie.

Sure, we can argue about clothing choices, but as Gadot was quick to point out in interviews, at least the outfit doesn’t hinder her movements. And it doesn’t expect her to run and fight wearing four-inch heels.

Isn’t it time we looked beyond the costume? What’s in the heart of a character? Is she wearing these clothes to distract her foes?

It’s more likely she pulled them on and forgot about them. That’s what I do. I’m not walking through my day thinking about how I look.

Real women have more important things on their minds.

And if this movie trailer is any indication, Wonder Woman doesn’t have any spare moments for thinking about how her body armor makes her appear too sexy to fight.

Do you think the costume makes (or breaks) the credibility of a superhero? Are you excited for Wonder Woman’s debut in her own motion picture?

POISONOUS WHISPERS Releases Today

Happy Book Birthday to Poisonous Whispers!

 
Poisonous Whispers
A Fantasy Romance Novel
By Jana Begovic
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Release Date: December 5, 2016
“Don’t you ever forget about me…,” he whispers during their secret encounters. Like a curse, these simple words now haunt Leandra, a reputable psychiatrist, who finds herself in emotional chaos after the sudden breakup of her illicit affair. Unable to heal on her own and tormented by dreams in which supernatural forces create havoc with her fate, she desperately turns to David, a colleague psychiatrist, asking him to take her through past-life regression therapy. She hopes that this unorthodox and somewhat suspect technique will explain her profound connection to the lover who has abandoned her so abruptly.
The sessions take Leandra through 17th and 19th century Ireland, Italy and England, where love, loss and betrayal are the leitmotifs in an ambiance of co-mingled fantasy and reality. In her hypnotic state, Leandra recounts a saga of intoxicating love, dizzying passion, flaming lust and profound heartbreak. Despite the painful answers she finds under hypnosis, Leandra still cannot let go of the hope to reunite with her lover. Ultimately, the shattering revelations from her past-life incarnations, along with the turmoil over her ruined marriage, become the stepping stones of her introspective path to healing, self-discovery and an appreciation of true love.

With its seamlessly interwoven sub-plots, “Poisonous Whispers” lures the reader from one continent to another, from past to present. The affair at the center of the story is an anatomy of the heart in which the heroine’s sorrow-laced journey reflects the universal themes of love and loss.
 

Available from : Roane Publishing

 EXCERPT:

A tiny streak of pale light is cascading softly down the cell window and making a shy sliver in the veil of darkness. I open my eyes, disoriented. I do not move; I do not even dare blink until I get my bearings. Then I remember and freeze in horror. I sit up, an aching all over my body and cold dread in my heart. Instinctively, I try to disentangle my matted hair with my fingers, but it is hopeless. All around me, I smell mold, decay and death. How can I survive another day in this hole? The sound of the door opening with a screech makes me jump in terror.
The gaoler walks in; a heavy set of keys dangling and jingling in his hand.
“Come. You are being moved in preparation for tonight’s execution. A verdict was reached.”
I speak not but follow him. We climb a steep staircase. Below us, I hear moans and yells and what sounds like the death throes of those hopelessly lost to the world and forgotten by justice, compassion and mercy. Again, I am feeling dissociated from the event of my calamity; I see my body walking, but my soul is not in it and indifference over what might happen floods me. Death is not the end. Death offers me salvation from pain, from the torment of living a human life.
We leave the jailhouse and enter the house across the street to the village inn. The inn owner, James Bourke, looks at me with hatred and disdain. He also always hated my husband because his wife had hoped my husband would marry her. She was in love with him, and when he married me she tried to kill herself. James married her later, but has always known that she never stopped loving my husband.
 The gaoler takes me upstairs to one of the guest rooms and locks the door behind me. The room is wide and clean even though sparsely furnished. The bed is large and looks inviting and I realize how exhausted I am. On the bed is a white, thin chemise and I immediately understand this is what I will wear tonight when I am pushed off the bridge into the water that is cool even on the hottest of summer days. Will I have the strength or the will to swim and save myself? What surprises and almost delights me under such grave circumstances is a bathtub in the corner of the room. There is steam rising from it and I immediately undress and slip into it, relieved to be able to wash off the dirt, the grime, and above all the horrible stench on my body. I rub myself raw trying to clean my skin. Washing my hair is more difficult because at home I have servants who help me with bathing, dressing and undressing. I have been spoilt by marrying a man of wealth and power. Where is my husband now? I crave his protection. If he saved me now, would I give up Kieran, would I give up love in order to live? I surmise I would.
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

As far back as she can remember, Jana has been fascinated by storytelling and intoxicated with the written word. As a young child, she began spinning stories, talking to an imaginary friend and devouring fairy tales. As a teenager, she wrote maudlin love poetry; and as a young mother, a collection of fables. Her love of reading and writing drove her to study languages and literature, resulting in B.A. degrees in English and German Languages and Literature, an M.A. Degree in Literary Studies, as well as a B.Ed. Degree in English and Dramatic Arts. She works for the Government of Canada in the field of military language training and testing and her work, as a subject matter expert, has taken her all over the world. She was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina but has lived in Canada since 1991.

“Poisonous Whispers” is her debut novel. Currently, she is working on her second novel, as well as a collection of short stories.
She lives in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband.

~~~oOo~~~

 GIVEAWAY!

A $10 Roane Publishing Gift Card!
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use a RoanePublishing.com Gift Code.  No purchase necessary, but you must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter, and announced on the widget. Winner well be notified by emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Roane Publishing’s marketing department.

A Mother’s Life

When you’re writing your mother’s obituary, it occurs to you that sometimes words fail. A life is more than education, residence, employment, awards and surviving family. All the column inches in the newspaper can never hope to capture the full story.

My mother’s life conceived mine. If she had listened to the obstetrician who told her pregnancy and her body didn’t mesh, I would not be here to write these words.

My mother worked hard to make sure I had what I needed. She taught me the value of hard work as a means of reaching beyond the necessities of life into the pleasures. Did I appreciate having to scrub the toilet twice a week? (Make that six times if the first attempt didn’t meet her specification for cleanliness.)

Episodes of raw fried chicken and undercooked potatoes aside, I can prepare tasty and healthy meals because my mother taught me how to use a stove. I started drying the dishes at the age of five (lucky older sister got to wash). I recall stirring jam until I thought my arm would fall off, being hypnotized by the valve on the top of the pressure cooker and sending raw venison through the meat grinder.

My mother taught by example as much as by direct instruction. She loved to read. She sat in the chair with my sister on one side and me on the other, reading aloud to us. When we were old enough, we took turns reading the stories to her. She sang along with The Carpenters as their 8-track played on the stereo. She took us to church on Sunday and helped us learn to recite the books of the Bible.

As much as I grumbled about keeping my room clean, I knew what a clean room should look like. Our house was spotless. No need for a “five second rule” in our kitchen. Go ahead and eat directly off the floor; it’s as clean and sanitary as the counters. No joke.

My mother worked at the bank when we were younger. When we were in high school, she returned to college to pursue a nursing degree. She taught me that a person is never too old to pursue a dream.

I resented her determination to get high marks in college. She spent too much time studying, I thought. Of course, when I returned to college as a 40-year-old, I couldn’t settle for less than an “A” either. She had passed her perfectionism on to me – by example as much as admonition.

I wanted to make my own choices. I deliberately chose things she disapproved for my life, claiming it demonstrated my independence from her. Most of my regrets were decisions I made simply because I knew Mom wouldn’t want me to do it. Can anyone say “stupid”?

I didn’t appreciate her advice until I had children of my own. I didn’t understand her grief at my rebellion until my own children stood toe-to-toe with me debating the rules I set for them. The magnitude of her love in the face of my idiocy boomed like a megaphone when I cried over my own children.

How can these sentiments be expressed in journalistic style for the obituary page? In truth, I’ve barely scratched the surface of describing my mother’s life. More experiences lie ahead when the epic boundlessness of her love and sacrifice will be revealed again and again.

A mother’s life is about securing the best for her children and grandchildren. In the absence of financial wealth to purchase this, my mother spent her own blood, sweat, tears, love, wisdom and time to procure success by outfitting us to strive for it.

What words describe your mother’s life or your life as a mother?

Discovering the Freedom Trail

Where the Trail Begins
Image from catchthewinds.com

Boston, Massachusetts, city of historic significance, offers a unique perspective on the issue of freedom. Most specifically it speaks to the quest for freedom in the New World.
There is a red brick path that circles for two and one-half miles through the streets of Boston. Strewn along this marked pilgrimage are bronze markers and numerous monuments to the Revolutionary War and our founding fathers. This trek enlightens the seeking soul – or at minimum – educates the enquiring minds who read the words left behind from our forebears.
My husband an I started at the end of the trail. This kept us meeting up with a parade of people who had started their journey  in the Boston Commons.  At least we didn’t get held up by a string of people less motivated to conquer the trail.
The trail ends – thus began for us – at the Bunker Hill monument. How often does a monument mark the site of a battle that was lost? This 221 foot tall obelisk, a shorter version of the Washington Monument, does just that.
It stands atop Breed’s Hill. (I know you’re wondering why it’s the called the Bunker Hill monument – you and millions of other people). This place where revolutionaries lost to troops of superior number and armament holds inspirational value because it proved that the British army wasn’t invincible. After all, it took them three tries and half their men to overrun the fortification.
Freedom has never been free. It demands a ransom paid in blood. Whether the blood of soldiers or the blood of a Savior, freedom’s immense, innate value requires sacrificial lives to acquire.
It would be cheapened if it could be bought with perishable silver or gold.
“If the Son shall make you free; ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
In America, freedom loses its preciousness because the generations that fought to preserve it are passing away. The younger generations despise war and want to barter for freedom some other way.
It can’t be done. Not that anyone should be a warmonger, but as long as men (I mean mankind here; this is not a push for women rulers) rule the world, war will be necessary. Greed for power, wealth or land will drive some men to oppress others and only warfare will release them from these chains.
It may be a warfare fought with marches and protests, speeches from platforms or guns and bombs. People will be called upon to lay down their lives. The price of blood will be paid. Freedom will be won.
Is there another way to teach our children to value freedom so they won’t need to learn its pricelessness through oppression and warfare? When many of them refuse to stand in honor of the flag or recite the Pledge of Allegiance, their patriotism wanes.
On The FreedomTrail, I discovered and rediscovered the names and stories of many patriots, valiant men and women, who forged into the bloody unknown so there would be a country called the United Satates of America. They marched against king and country, an oppressive regime, emboldened by the pursuit of life and liberty to birth a nation now represented by thirteen stripes and 50 stars.
How much does freedom mean to you? Are you willing to pay the ultimate price so those children who refuse to honor Old Glory with twenty-two words spoken as they stand, hands over hearts?