WE PAW Bloggers E-zine — Issues 55

It is the day before the November 3rd election — this issue predominately focuses on the our non-partisan duty as citizens to vote.

As always, the prompt is open only to WE PAW Bloggers group members on Facebook. Member contributors were asked to submit ANY writing about our feelings, our or our community’s situation, our and/or our family’s daily diary, etc. during these multiple crises; any escapism or fantasy writes, poetry or prose inspired by these situation. Contributors were asked to put the dystopia we may be feeling into words. Limits were 1000 or less written only submissions and/or spoken word readings under seven minutes in length (with text attached); contributors were also limited to one submission per week.

These are unprecedented times. Perhaps no one thought the crisis would drag on for so very long. But, we find ourselves now more than six months down this road with no easing of the crises in which we find ourselves. As we drag on and on through this period of national and global crises, this is why, as writers and creatives, we write to cope.

Let us be the clarion call for a better future.

This is why we “Write to Cope” — What we writers, poets, authors, and artists of all types do reflects the joys and turmoils in our societies in which we create.We creatives are the mirrors of our society in the midst of our the still growing global pandemic and a new generation of righteous struggle for civil rights and equal justice.

Hands and hearts and minds and voices committed to working for tolerance, peace, and social justices everywhere, always. ~MomzillaNC

No Knocks on the Door at Halloween

Night Sky in Birr, photo by Thomas Carty

For all those years, like the Grinch I was
When all dressed up they’d be seen
Going door to door looking for treats and cash
In the age old tradition of Halloween…

They’d quick get changed, and then come back
Tell tale same knock on the door
They’d swear to you that black was white
Theyd not been there before!

Shapeshifters of the modern age:
Their aduacity I begrudgingly admire
Yet still I curse when another knock
Brings to the door from the warm fire.

But this year it was eerie
The wind howled in the trees
The silence was like death itself…
I was left alone, at ease.

Everybody is staying at home
Everyone is afraid
It is the COVID19 scare that cowes all
That the streets so silent made.

I hope next year I am annoyed
As they knock knock on my door…
It will mean we are as normal again as we can be…
I promise not to be quite as grumpy any more!!!

BYLINE: Tomás Ó Cárthaigh a.k.a. Thomas Carty

A Much-Needed Break

COVID-19 restrictions were recently eased in our area, just in time for us to make the most of us both having four days off work.

We took the opportunity to sneak away for a break and headed down the coast with our friends, caravans in tow, phones switched onto silent, and four days’ worth of food, drinks and comfy old clothes ready to go.

At this point of 2020, we fully realize what a luxury four days away from home really is. After months of staying home, teaching from home, and only leaving home when absolutely necessary, the change of scenery was most welcome. Of course, Melbourne and its surrounding area are still under restrictions, so this is a privilege most people in my state do not have. I do feel sympathy for them, but not sufficiently to forgo the pleasure of my first real break since January.

We are camped at the little coastal hamlet of Yambuk on the south-western coast of Victoria. It’s a picturesque little spot, overlooking a lake that is kept separate from the ocean only by sand dunes. We can see the ocean beyond the dunes, hear it murmuring all night as we rest, and easily walk to the beach whenever we so desire. The lake has a bird population of a dozen gulls and one magnificent pelican, while our campsite has several blue wrens that keep us entertained.

Camping area at Yambuk on the southwestern coast of Victoria, Australia. Photos by Joanne Van Leerdam.

Not that I need much for entertainment. I’m happy to gaze at the sea, or the birds, or watch the sun dip behind the dunes as dusk cloaks the countryside with a blanket of almost-but-not-quite-darkness, illuminated by stars and a full moon so bright you could almost read by it.

I had planned to record and upload a couple of spooky stories for Halloween, but the phone signal is so low, I can’t even upload images to Instagram unless I drive twenty minutes to a bigger town. This would usually frustrate me but, this weekend, I really don’t care. So, I put my phone down and decided I would also take a good break from screens.

I have taken the opportunity to walk, to nap, to read books, to do puzzles, and to sit in companionable silence with my friend. I have managed to get a few nice photos. I have taken time to contemplate the huge differences in my life between last January and now. I don’t know if this year has changed me, but it has changed lots of things for me.

I suppose I am stronger, but I don’t feel it. It’s going to take more than four days to heal that amount of damage, but at least I’ve made a bit of a start.

I’m very thankful for this beautiful place and the time off that made this little getaway possible.

Camping area at Yambuk on the southwestern coast of Victoria, Australia. Photo by Joanne Van Leerdam.

Most of all, I am thankful for the people who are willing to nourish me physically and spiritually, and to hold my hand or encourage me while giving me time and space to work on myself. I am blessed to have some of those people right here with me this weekend, while others are still on the other side of closed borders. It may have been one of the most rubbish years ever, but I am richly blessed to have some amazing people in my life to help me get through it.

BYLINE: Joanne Van Leerdam a.k.a. WordyNerdBird

This fall, be a new leaf over turning.

Countless proud people are rolling in their graves, hoping for an emboldened you. Our hearts are awakening to the possibility of a good living king not as a single person ruling everything but more over a philosophy manifesting in a democracy, a social democracy I dare say that still fosters competition and creativity but provides a baseline from which our hearts and minds can leap.

Infographic by Cameron Stell

Everyone deserves food, a home, and health. Only then will we fly into great wonder rather than continue to drop in this corporate oligarchy we’ve allowed to persist. To borrow words I read fleetingly while scrolling, this feels like this is the last season of America and the writers are just going nuts! I realize that this may be our rock bottom. In fact I pray it is. We all know how much lower we could go. So I say choose to wake up before too much blaring of the alarm clock, take note before we break! Put out faith and energy in infrastructure for future generations, invest in focusing on New local industry and energy revolutions.

Leaving out CEO leaders to lord over empty corrals. We can organize and build a quality future while they’re busy playing games. VOTE! Be the new leaf.

BYLINE: Chad Bittner Hurt

Get It While the Gettin’s Good

If you’ve ever followed the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems on Twitter, which pokes tongue­-in­-cheek fun at how good people in the first world have it, you’ll understand what I’m about to say: In a country where we face such inconveniences as waiting a full five minutes for someone else to make our hamburger, or having to drive all the way across town to buy the cell phone we want, it can be easy to see voting as an inconvenience­­: the long lines, the standing, the research it takes to know who’s who…

Image provided by Annalisa Parent

And yet, as the old saying goes, when you take things for granted, the things you are granted get taken. The rights we have were not given freely; they were hard­-won. Perhaps because many of us did not fight those battles personally, because time or distance separate us from those who did, we overlook the privilege and rights we have, thinking them irrevocable.

Well, think again. Democracy disappears when the people who are its foundation cease to invest. A government of the people need, by definition, people to maintain it and support it.

According to Al Jazeera­ America, only 42 percent of Americans voted in the 2014 midterm elections, the lowest level of voter turnout since 1978. 58% of Americans thought voting was unimportant, took their rights for granted, and let someone else make their decisions for them.

Power is a delicate thing. It is easily seized and hard to hold onto. Every time a person decides not to vote, he or she relinquishes power to someone else. Is that person trustworthy? Does that person have interests in maintaining democracy, or in seizing power for him or herself­­ — because every time you don’t vote, that becomes a real possibility.

Democracy requires participation and investment. It’s not an inconvenience or a chore; it’s an honor and a privilege. Just ask anyone living under a totalitarian regime­­ what would they give for the burden of having to choose amongst a pool of candidates who best represents their values?

Ask those who fight for our nation every day, or think back to the Civil War, when President Lincoln so famously honored those who had fought with the express purpose:

That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Do not let this cause be in vain. Do your simple part of getting out of your chair, and dragging yourself to the polls. We cease to be a democracy when we cease to participate in the decisions that shape our lives.

BYLINE: Annalisa Parent

Raise Your Voice

Like many Americans, when I was young I was taught that the constitutional right and responsibility to vote were almost sacred. Now we are living through an election cycle where the stakes are too high not to vote. Yet people are more turned off voting than ever. More people are giving up this civic duty and handing over their futures to others.

Pie Chart Illustration by D. Denise Dianaty

Voters do not appreciate the privilege mostly because their vote often does not seem to matter. As a liberal-leaning voter in a red state, I entirely understand. I’m frustrated feeling that no elected official truly represents me.

Frustration with the system has led to people disenfranchising themselves by choosing not to vote. So many truly disenfranchised groups fought long and hard in this country for the right to vote; sometimes, I wonder if they fought in vain.

Of course the system is flawed. No system created by human beings is perfect. But it’s what we have and no one has yet come up with a better idea. Think about the voters in countries who’ve recently gained this right we take for granted, their pride and happiness in voting. Even amid rumors and allegations of corruption in the voting procedure.

They finally had their voice. Why don’t we, as Americans, raise our voices for the values we stand for?

The right to vote is also one of our best methods of expression. I want to be able to express my dissatisfaction with the politicians others elect, and I would be hypocritical if I didn’t participate in the process.

So, everyone, you may be cynical that your vote won’t count, but I urge you all to vote anyway, at every opportunity. Whichever candidate you choose. You’re choosing your — our nation’s — future.

BYLINE: Jennie Baron

If Wishes Were Horses, 2016 and 2020
by Samantha Bryant

I wrote this post in 2016, but very little has changed since then — except that maybe the level of anxiety powering these wishes has grown. So here’s a little Time Warp for you to 2016 and what I was wishing for then:

When I’m frustrated or worried, I make wishes. I throw pennies into fountains, scan the skies for shooting stars, tie knots in my straw wrappers and indulge in all the little superstitions that are supposed to mean the universe is open to considering granting my fondest desires.

Image Source

There’s been plenty of frustration and worry to go around in 2016. So, rather than kvetching about what I’m worried and frustrated about, I’ll talk about what I wish (though my wishes probably reveal my worries).

  • I wish they’d find a real cure for cancer. Not just treatment options that leave you sicker than the sickness itself, if you’re lucky.
  • I wish our education system was tenable, sustainable, and adequately funded.
  • I wish I could vote FOR someone, instead of always just voting AGAINST the option that scares me most.
  • I wish empathy was more common.
  • I wish I could afford to give up my day job to pursue my dreams.
  • I wish I could let my husband give up his day job to pursue his dreams.
  • I wish giving our daughter a college education wasn’t going to bankrupt our family here in a couple more years.
  • I wish weight loss was a simple straightforward process instead of a minefield full of sinkholes and traps.
  • I wish cars didn’t break down and have to be replaced.
  • I wish for a miracle discovery success story that bankrolls my life from here on out.
  • I wish I could manage to travel again.
  • I wish the universe would smile kindly on those I love instead of ripping the rug out from beneath them as it so often seems to do.
  • I wish “mean girls” was just a movie title.
  • I would wish for time . . .but I’m superstitious about doing that, too.

As I come to the end of 2016, I realize that it was a rough year on many fronts. But I also realize I’ve had a lot to be grateful for. So, November is all about finding my heart of gratitude again.

BYLINE: Samantha Dunaway Bryant

Shut up, or show up…

Unless one resides under an outcropping in the middle of Death Valley, it is painfully apparent that we the people are in the throes of yet another election year. Fraught as it may be with candidate posturing on all levels from Joan of Arc championing to consecutive bouts of urinary Olympics, we do ourselves a serious disservice if we choose to lose the remote and simply ignore the state of things until oh, Christmas time. Sure, there are those who fully engage, foaming at the bit for every moment of debate, of early polling numbers and whatever spin Fox deems adequate to garner twenty minutes of air time but for a lot of us politics on any level is comparable to getting one’s gums scraped sans lidocaine. For a few of us that pain is even more intense and a bit lower.

Let’s face it. The incumbent, love him or hate him is on his way out and it’s anyone’s White House. Since the tax payin’, pitch fork weildin’ villagers, love to light a lantern and ferret out a monster, most of the candidates at this point are getting our attention by stacking the digested hay as high as it can go with an effigy of the opponent tacked to the pile. A bonfire gets our attention.

Infographic by D. Denise Dianaty

Unfortunately, the only way to stop the political weanie roasts is for we the people to put down the pitchfork, click the off button on the remote and get out there and cast our vote. And it is to our detriment when we warm our hands over those bonfires, voting against the monster du jour rather than educating ourselves on the real issues and positions of each candidate. Especially in an election year where there seems to be no clear choice, at least to this American the only logical choice I can make is to educate myself on the issues rather than the personalities and cast my vote. Besides, if I do this and I don’t like the results say by Christmas, I can pick up my pitchfork again and start slinging that digested hay with the vindication that I didn’t vote for that idiot.

As a chick with quick fingers and little filter, I could use this opportunity to join in and make a pitch for my personal favorite, with appropriate deferral of any negative positioning against those I deem less suited for POTUS for the next four to eight years. I’d be within my rights to taut my conservative Christian lifestyle as indicative of my candidate support. But I am also a bit of a maverick and I truly believe my quick fingers and my lack of filter would be better utilized if I simply chose the side of “Get out there and vote.” Stop letting the raucous and verbose minority define us as a nation. You and I are better than that. Show up, or shut up. That’s my mantra. Spoken in love and seasoned with salt.

Peace my friends.

BYLINE: Tammy L. Boehm a.k.a. Tammy L. Hughes

May November 3rd see America turn away from divisiveness and draw together for a more just and equitable future, and for unity as a nation.

Illustration by D. Denise Dianaty

A Prayer for our Nation — 2020

Heavenly Father… merciful Lord… God of all…
We pray in all things Your glory may be magnified.
You see how many hate so unreasoningly.
You have heard the false witness preached daily,
Chaos and injustice spoken in Your name Lord.
We thank You for giving us eyes to see and hear the truth,
and for giving us the heart to keep working for Your purpose.
Humbly, we come now in prayer and supplication,
to You our God of grace and solace.
Preserve and make clear our path
to serve Your purpose in this world.
And, we ask, our Father in Heaven,
that You help us let go of anger and fear,
Help us let go of resentment and pray…
to pray for the healing of the hearts and minds
For all those who are adversarial against compassion.
We lift them up to Your perfect love and healing grace, Lord.
Preserve this nation and draw us together.
Heal the sickness of hate gnawing at its heart.
May Your Will perfect the heart of this nation,
and restore restore the strength of our unity.

Amen

BYLINE: © 01 November 2020, by Author, D. Denise Dianaty

If you wish to contribute to this ezine, please join the group on Facebook. All writing creatives are welcome.

Editorial statement

We write to cope because we see a world leadership leading us to our worst inclinations with mendacity and cruelty. And, we see our fellow humanity following, supporting that leadership. We write to cope because the world is broken and we hope our words may help the healing begin.

“If you must support or do wrong to achieve what you believe to be good, then there is no good in your achievement.” ~MomzillaNC

D. Denise Dianaty, Editor and Graphic Designer for the WE PAW Bloggers E-Zine. Administrator for the writers forum “WE PAW Bloggers” group and its sister group “Pandora’s Box of Horrors” on Facebook. In addition to being a self-published author and poet, artist, art-photographer, and administrator of the group, “WE PAW Bloggers,” Denise is a graphic designer with 25+ years experience, predominately in print media.

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WE PAW Bloggers E-zine

WE PAW Bloggers E-zine

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An ezine for members of the FB group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/wepawblog, as well as being the place to curate featured writing prompt contributions.