I attended mass at 11:00AM with my mother at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Lakehurst. Father Bernie, the pastor, spoke for a few minutes before mass began and described how the church had been employed as a makeshift shelter and had accepted donations of clothing, food, and other needed items. The church is still accepting donations which workers from the Red Cross are delivering to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Father Bernie’s message was quite appropriate as the Gospel reading explained that essentially, there are two rules one must follow to enter the Kingdom of Heaven: 1) love God with one’s entire being and 2) to love one’s neighbor as one loves one’s self. While not everyone shares similar religious beliefs, the latter half is pretty much universally accepted as a golden rule. Everyone can agree it is important to care for neighbors because everyone is a member of the brotherhood of man and this life is a remarkably long trip to make alone.
The message weighed on my mind as I met my friend Kalie for a brainstorming session at a local restaurant. Kalie went to school for marketing and is vivacious, intelligent, and loyal. Naturally, I enlisted her in assisting me to get the word out about my debut novel Her Beautiful Monster and to drive sales. We both agreed that word of mouth is the greatest tool currently at our disposal and that generating a local fan base is crucial. We swapped names of local, friendly musicians and I spoke of Melanie Wagner.
I have known Melanie since the fifth grade, but we did not become close until high school and into college when we decided to live together. One night during our freshman year, Melanie was secretly playing guitar and singing while I was in the shower. She was not expecting me to emerge from the bathroom when I did and I caught her and her incredible talent. We find ourselves three years later and Melanie is a part of a duo that plays out regularly at various, local venues. She has released an album and a music video. I am truly in awe of her because she is living out her dreams. She inspires me on a daily basis and I am honored to be able to call her a dear friend. I would be remiss if I did not encourage anyone reading this to give her music a listen and support her passion, as she has done for me.
Local artists NEED to support local artists, just as local citizens need to support local citizens. That being said, below is a link and brief explanation to an organization doing its best to restore the Jersey Shore through supporting local businesses. Every little bit helps. Please do what you can for New Jersey, the Garden State, my home.
This is a page dedicated to bringing Jersey together. Buy locally while you recover from Sandy. Let’s turn tragedy into success!
Our goal is for everyone affected by the hurricane to use local businesses for replacement purchases in order to put some money back into our town’s economy. We all need to come together during this time of need and support those around us.
The other day, when I was running, I noticed the road kill had been removed and had been removed quite thoroughly. Macabre as it may be, I looked intently at the previously gory scene for any kind of remnants, for any kind of tangible proof that the dead possum had been there in the first place. There was no evidence – the pavement was stained, no organs had been absent-mindedly neglected, and there was absolutely nothing disturbed or out of place. Admittedly, I was relieved that my eyes did not take in anything that would upset my stomach, but I was also somewhat saddened. That poor creature had been wiped from existence. It was no longer living and as far as I know, I am the only who knows and cares enough to write about it. I understand that the possum was not a sentient being and was not a pet and that to some factions of thought its death is not a tragedy but a mere continuation of the pattern of existence we are all traveling along. I can understand, acknowledge, and accept all of that and still be upset because I worry and fear that the same fate belongs to some human beings, some that I may even know. I have already discussed how a wasted life is my greatest fear.
“Looper,” the new science fiction film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis tackles that same theme, in a manner of speaking. It is about time travel and while that may set off some alarms, the story does not become mired down in hypotheticals and impossibilities and trivial aspects. Rather, the story focuses on the passage of time as humans grow and age and learn and live. Time spent on Earth means different things to different people and it even means different things to the same person at different times. It also reviews and challenges the cyclical nature of time and goes so far as to hint, in my always humble opinion, that it is our responsibility to be cognizant of this cycle, and to sacrifice our own cycle of time to break a cycle in which a neighbor is suffering. “Looper” was a remarkable film and without a doubt, it is a new favorite.
In the movie, both male leads order steak and eggs for breakfast at a diner. I did the same today. Yes, I ordered steak and eggs because I saw it in a movie once. The eggs and hash browns and toast and coffee were great; the steak was okay. It wasn’t the best cut as it was very fatty, so I’m going to try the order again at a different diner. The diner experience was not ruined, however. I talked with an older man about football and his father’s military service. I thanked a table of enlisted men for their service. I chatted with an elderly couple about the economy, employment and the weather. When the female half of the couple observed me hunched over many sheets of lined paper with a pen clutched in my hand, she correctly assumed that I was an English teacher with papers to grade. However, I was not grading papers; I was working – or trying to work – on my second novel. Why didn’t I tell her that? Why didn’t I explain that I was a young, up and coming author? Why did I falter?
Maybe it’s because I do not have a physical copy of the book and as such, my dream has not truly been realized. Maybe I’m afraid that if I say it out loud, it won’t come true because it is still only a wish, a desperate fantasy, a silly girl’s imagination running away.