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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Should WE be Writing You Ask? ...Write On! And On!

An article titled, Should We Be Writing? appeared in today's Huffington Post

I have to answer a resounding, YES!  H-Yes!  I've been itching to write  myself and update my blog ever since last week.  So this article pushed me to get back on my blog.

I had an assignment for my UCLA children's picture book class, in which I needed to write a letter to anyone and get something off my chest.  This letter not only proved to be a cathartic exercise in forgiveness but, more importantly,  it allowed me to get some blood (no pun intended) on the page and well...find a "voice" outside my own (perhaps a future character's voice).

I chose to write to Harold. Harold you know who you are and you know what you did and yeah, I am so over it now.  Thankfully the letter really gave me a fabulous way to look back and well, sew some seeds.  I do thank you Harold for giving me an opportunity to face a challenge and I do mean what I say in my letter.

Here it goes...hope it inspires you to get pen to paper and find some of your own voices.
That means you too, Harold.

Dear Harold,
I was nine or ten years old and barely 4 feet tall.  I wore my hair in braided pigtails and I remember how my brown freckles seemed to pop out after just a few minutes in the sun. That’s what most kids noticed and teased me forever about. 
I also remember that you towered over me and seemed as tall as the blackberry tree we were standing under. God how I loved that tree- it was the best thing on our block and my feelings about it were forever changed- stained now, thanks to you.
I remember how thick blood streamed from my nose and I swear I saw white light shooting up into my brain. I remember how you swore you’d hit me and you did Harold. Why? I kept thinking after I lay in shock frozen on the ground.  My skinny legs seemed to have nothing left in them after you punched me dead-on in the nose.
I was so very afraid… all kinds of afraid. Afraid you had broken my nose. Afraid to get up. Afraid to lay there  any longer, vulnerable underneath your heckles. What had I done to you?
 I remember you were calling me names.  I think I must have defended myself that day. That was a big day for me.  I had never stood up for myself before then. I didn’t deserve your taunts and I must have told you so.
I finally managed to get up and I think my mom came looking for me or I went inside and she freaked. I trembled. Immediately she grabbed me and marched me with her right over to your back door. 
She knocked with all her might and I wished she would stop. 
I wanted to run but I had nothing in me. I was broken.
My mom was pissed. She told your mom exactly why.
Your mom didn’t seem too interested.  I remember her face.
She had creamy skin like coffee and milk, big freckles too.
She stood there, arms crossed and stone-faced and listened but I could tell she didn’t want to hear what my mom was saying, she glanced at me hard, once or twice and I felt a nasty pang.  I think that was the way she looked at you. 
She called you to the door and I think you looked at me as if you meant to kill me. 
You denied punching me.
I don’t remember what else was said after that.
Finally your mom closed the door and we walked away.
My mom huffed and puffed all the way home and I remember staring at the cold concrete walkway. 

You lived in the rear one-bedroom apartment right by the alley. 
You had no sunshine in your apartment, I think.

I remember walking back home so very glad it was over. 
I remember being able to finally exhale.

There was something else though, something that stuck with me…
You see, I was glad my mom had never looked at me the way your mom looked at you.

I felt sorry for you Harold, I still do.
My mom was my hero that day.
I hope you had a hero, at least once anyway.


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