Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Should I be insulted?



A Pennsylvania based library (not the local one I patronize) recently held a fund-raising event featuring what they called “Bad Romance” books. According to the news report the event “had all of the looseness of a cabaret show”. Excerpts of books were read to an audience, many of whom later contributed to the library’s efforts to build a bigger and better library.

I don’t know WHOSE books were selected as “some of the most poorly-written passages ever published in the English language” or if the authors chosen were even aware of their notoriety. I have no idea if any of my books were part of this exhibition, so I really don’t know how I would feel about it if one was read. Would I be insulted that my hard work was, well, insulted? Or would I chuckle and brag “Hey, at least somebody is reading my book, YAY!”?

Parodies are a popular thing in movies and songs; think of well-known parodies like AIRPLANE with its non-stop laughs based on the original air-disaster movie AIRPORT or think of "Weird Al" Yankovic whose song EAT IT poked fun at Michael Jackson’s BEAT IT. Professional literary organizations have  often made fun of words; the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest challenges writers to come up with the WORST opening lines. “It was a dark and stormy night” has often been referred to as an example of a bad opening line, more for its clichéd use than its actual literary contribution.

“A parody (/ˈpærədi/); also called a spoof, send-up, take-off, lampoon, play on (something), caricature, or joke, is a work created to imitate, make fun of, or comment on an original work—its subject, author, style, or some other target—by means of satiric or ironic imitation. As the literary theorist Linda Hutcheon puts it, "parody ... is imitation, not always at the expense of the parodied text."” (Wikipedia) So is imitation truly the sincerest form of flattery?

Would I be flattered if one of my works were used in jest? I would assume my feelings might be colored by which of my books was being made light of. A few of my novels were written (in my intentions anyway) as more than love stories, for example two of them try to look seriously at the incidence of sexual assault, another is meant to open the conversation about hate and prejudice. In the end I guess most of my work is intended to create thought as well as entertain. So would it be entertainment to use my words to make people laugh? I DON’T THINK I would be insulted…

A library spokesperson is quoted in the news article, “Even though this event is incredibly irreverent, it’s still about literacy. It’s saying that you can still have fun with words and that not everything in literature has to be serious. Not to sound cliché, but the library is what you make of it, and you have to be the one to utilize it.” This is one of several fundraising efforts to build a bigger and more complete library, “We are definitely limited in our capacity, but not in our imagination.”

Personally, I think this is a NOVEL idea!





Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Politics ...ssh!



Politics… some would call that a dirty
4-letter word twice over. Campaigns and elections have historically brought out so much ugliness, attacks against each other, name-calling, manipulation, intimidation and sometimes even violence. It is not a pretty time in our society. During primaries and even election night itself there are often horrible displays of apathy, disappointments, name-calling and insinuations, tears for some and jubilation for others — and even that jubilation is sometimes guarded.

I’ve always said, not that any politico has listened, please tell me what YOU can do for me/us/our country and NOT what is wrong with “the other guy”. I am tired of voting for the lesser evil, I want to vote for a champion, for someone who will champion our country and all of its citizens. I want to vote for someone who I can take pride and have confidence in. I want to vote for someone who I won’t regret down the road. I don’t want to vote for someone because of their gender, race, religion, sexual preferences or money. And I don’t want the politics to divide families and friends or leave wounds on people who have taken the time to care.

The eligibility of an individual for voting is set out in the constitution and also regulated at state level. The constitution states that suffrage cannot be denied on grounds of race or color, sex, or age for citizens eighteen years or older. Beyond these basic qualifications, it is the responsibility of state legislatures to regulate voter eligibility.”
[-
Wikipedia]

Our Constitution gives us the right to decide (within set parameters) who we want sitting in the various government seats. Despite the constant
 hue and cry that “my vote doesn’t count” IT CERTAINLY DOES. Even our debatable Electoral College, used in Presidential elections, is based on each state’s popular vote. It has been a very rare occurrence when the elected president has not received a popular vote and in those cases where it has gone differently it has been VERY CLOSE. Yes, YOUR VOTE COUNTS. The President’s spot (and of course the Vice-President’s) is the only election decided by the Electoral College. EVERY OTHER SEAT IS CHOSEN BY POPULAR VOTE.

America doesn’t have a perfect system and there is no denying that dirty politics has reared its head more than once. But when our populace keeps itself informed, THINKS FOR THEMSELVES, and actually gets to the polling place and VOTES, we have a pretty good system where decisions can be made with the best of intentions. It’s also admirable when youth gets involved because, after all, this is their future we need to preserve. Yes, I WILL be fulfilling my responsibility of voting, it is more than just a “right”. You and I may not agree politically, we may vote differently, but it should not be construed that we are opposing one another, it is only with our combined voices that we can effectively keep our government representation on course.

Please do your research, be open to listening to all sides, and think of what is important to you and what you truly believe will be in the best interests of our country and our future. Make sure you vote in primaries and in EVERY general election.
.

photo credit: John Galt


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Overwhelmed



Sometimes it just seems like there is never enough time to get everything done… actually that’s most days for me, LOL. I make my plans in the morning and, well, maybe I’ll get some of it done.

It’s rare for most of us to actually accomplish everything we tell ourselves to do. Too many of us actually, metaphorically, bite off much more than we can handle. Or maybe we don’t know how to organize as well as we should? Then again some of us just don’t know when to say “No”.


If you want something done, ask a busy person.”
~ Benjamin Franklin… or was it Lucille Ball?

Part of the problem with not finishing all of your planned tasks during the day is the resulting frustration and sometimes the feeling of failure. It’s NOT failure if you did manage to accomplish THINGS and you merely optimistically AND unreasonably overscheduled yourself. But then again the next day the cycle repeats itself and the frustration grows. It doesn’t even pay to be a procrastinator, you never manage to get around to it.

And then there is such a thing as life — and somehow life doesn’t seem to stick to a schedule. Something always comes out of the blue to throw all of your carefully planned agenda totally off-track, I mean not even in the realm of completion. Parents may have their offspring’s school suddenly demand an audience. Commuters can’t magically control traffic jams and mass-transit schedules. Sudden family calamities pop up and your immediate response is highly recommended. Office employees may experience their boss’s sudden change of direction. Even home-based workers have to deal with power outages, annoying marketing calls (when you are busy and on the receiving end, it’s annoying!) And then there are always your own personal health issues.

Read up all you want on time-management skills, some of them certainly sound like they would, or should, work, but they are kind of generic.
  •  Make a plan, a list of what needs to be done.
  •   Be realistic as to how long each step should take
  •   Be honest, what are YOUR biggest timewasters?
  •   Allow for needed breaks
  •   Assume a reasonable allotment of time to “work”– NOT all 24 hours.
  •   Prioritize
  •   Try to establish a routine
  •   But if you get “blocked”, move on to the next task.
  •   Organize what you need to work with.
  •   Delegate tasks where you reasonably can.
  •   And finally, prepare to SCRAP the whole plan and write a new one!

Actually that last step is very important. Once you are conscious of your work/responsibilities/want-to-dos and can assess how long something actually takes, re-work your schedule. You’ll probably have to re-work it every week for a few weeks before you even come close to something that works. And if LIFE (that can be one of those four-letter words) changes, be prepared to change with it. You’ve heard the phrase “Man makes plans and G-d laughs”, be prepared and versatile enough to adjust.

But don’t ever let yourself feel like a failure

If it was easy to get everything done for everyone,
there wouldn’t 
be so many time-management courses
or books being sold.

.


Sunday, February 2, 2020

I’m keeping busy with my blogs, yes I maintain a few, I’d love it if you could take a look and let me know your thoughts…

Please stop on by at The Official Website of Author Chelle Cordero for lots of information about my books, who I am, and links to my non-fiction writing persona

Welcome to Chelle's World

~~~~~

I also maintain an informative blog about strokes — my husband suffered a stroke in 2016 and it has been quite a journey. I hope to help others in the same position wade through some of the difficult spots.

Life Goes On, The Caregiver
~~~~~

I host a site where I post occasional book promos (for other authors),
events, book talk, reviews (sent to me), info and other articles

THE POTPOURRI PARLOR
~~~~~

I used to author an Amazon Kindle blog called Living, Breathing, Writing.
All of the blogs posted to that (now discontinued) Kindle blog are
still available online. I posted weekly “lessons” and writing exercises
to help everyone get their creative juices flowing — please check it out
and get writing today!

Living, Breathing, Writing
~~~~~

Finally I host a blog on behalf of my brother (in-law) and our family’s search for a kidney donor for him. Please check it out, get tested and/or become a potential donor (it’s easy to list on your driver’s license), and certainly pass along our plight to all of your family and friends. Thank you so much.

A Kidney For Del Du-Bois
~~~~~

There’s more ways you can follow me and stay in touch,
I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks so much for coming by.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Numbers on Her Arm



Monday, January 27th, 2020 marked the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz (a German concentration camp in Nazi occupied Poland). The International Holocaust Remembrance Day is in commemoration of the day, January 27th 1945, when Allied troops found nearly 8,000 sick and starving prisoners and liberated them.

This liberation happened nearly a decade before my birth and as a young child many of the adults in my family spoke in hushed tones about relatives that weren’t lucky enough to have made it to America, and relatives that died in the concentration camps. I was raised amid whispers of different camp names and the evil “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”. Jewish children, safe in America from Nazi Germany’s plans to annihilate our race were sheltered by parents who mourned loved ones and were horrified by what had happened.

My parents had a friend, her name was Anne, and one day I asked Anne about the numbers tattooed on her arm. My mother gasped. Anne took my hand and quietly told me that it was a mark put on her arm by Nazis when she was taken to a concentration camp. And then she somberly old me a “gentle” version of what she had lived through. Knowing how protective my parents always were I innocently asked Anne where her parents were during her ordeal and she told me. And I cried when I learned that she had watched her mother walk into the gas chamber, and she was separated from her siblings all of whom she was sure of their deaths, and her father was shot to death for not working hard enough.

A few years later, in public school, one teacher was brave enough to show our class a film that was taken by a soldier upon liberating one of the camps. There were corpses and tattered clothing, and even remnants of dolls and he told us how many died during this horrendous time; he even told us that more than 6-million Jewish lives had been taken along with thousands of gay men and women, non-Jews who tried to help their Jewish neighbors, Gypsies, twins who were used for experiments, physically and mentally disabled people, Catholic priests, and others who didn’t look Aryan enough. There were parents who were upset about his harsh reality their children witnessed in the film and there were complaints — I think that teacher was fired, we had a different classroom teacher the rest of the year.

Throughout my life I met several more people with numbers tattooed on their arms and poignant stories to tell. And I heard stories of hope as people rebuilt lives. I visited a small local Holocaust museum some years back. And my own daughter visited Auschwitz during a USY (United Synagogue Youth) Pilgrimage to Poland and Israel. And I learned the name of a young relative in my family who died in one of the concentration camps, Sara was just 10-months old.

I was very distressed to read headlines today which implied that growing numbers of millennials have no idea what the Holocaust was. There have always been some deniers, but it happened… the numbers on Anne’s arm were real, the stories I’ve heard from other survivors are real, the film our teacher showed us was real, and 10-month old Sara was real. I fear that #NeverAgain has become a meaningless cry for too many.

We can NEVER FORGET when any people have been tortured, killed, dehumanized, and singled out because of a religion, race, lifestyle or ethnicity. Please teach your children and your children’s children — we must remember so that we can, G-d willing, stop history from repeating itself.


The Railway to Auschwitz


                                                                                                                                  

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

I Am Who I Am



I began my life as a writer long before I ever married and after marriage I continued to use my maiden name professionally while I used my married name socially (to be completely honest, I was married BEFORE local laws allowed a woman NOT to change her name to her husband’s). I wear both names with pride, both Chelle Cordero and Mrs. E. Even my official IDs carry both surnames.

So it took me back a bit the other day when this rather nasty old man accused me of using a different surname than my hubby for some nefarious purposes! I felt like shouting “I’m a professional woman married to a man who doesn’t suffer from a low ego!” — But I didn’t. In this day and age, why should I have to explain why I use the name I do? And I’ve never hidden that I am married to Mr. E. and anyone who knows either of us has never questioned the legitimacy.

 Several of my friends also use their maiden names in their professional lives, some of them never even changed it upon marriage. None of our husbands are so small minded that they begrudge the names we go by. I admit that when my own offspring were being married I did marvel at the marriage license application where not only were women given the choice of what name they would use, but so were the men! (and it was their decision for the man’s surname to be used) Times sure have changed, I for one applaud that.

Of course we’ve had some amusing events because of the “different” names. For several years we both freelanced for a newspaper, I worked as a writer and Mark worked as a photographer. There were several times we were assigned to cover the same subject and while we never hid our relationship, we always introduced ourselves by our working names.

There was one day when I left the room where I had just interviewed a subject to get some info from his business partner; Mark remained in the room taking pictures. Out of the blue our subject asked if Mark thought I might be interested in going out with him… Mark took a moment and then replied, she’s married. The subject thought about it and then asked Mark if I was the type to date anyway, without missing a beat, he said, “Her husband has a bit of a temper.” Mark told me about the conversation as we were driving home (okay, I admit, it was a bit of an ego boost, lol).

So really, what is in a name? Neither woman nor man should have to give up their own identities because they want to share their lives with each other. The choice of which name or combination of names should only be made by the individuals involved. Be proud of who you are and who you’ve chosen to be with, it is nobody else’s business.




Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Who will remember me?



I went to a shiva call the other night (shiva: In Judaism, the first period of structured mourning. Throughout the shiva period, mourners come together in the mourner’s home to offer their condolences and support.) Although it might sound odd to those who are not familiar with the custom, this shiva was truly what one should hope for.

Yes, everyone offered their condolences and concern for the bereaved, but then the house was filled with smiles, chuckles, and remembered stories to share. The table and counters were laden with trays of cookies, cakes, fruits and hot foods — all brought by visitors or sent by friends to help “take care” of the grieving family.

The house was full, so much so that there was barely a place to sit, with friends who knew the deceased (some from early childhood), knew the mourning family, and distant relatives. The woman had been a teacher and former students and her fellow teachers came, neighbors stopped in, members of her social club. There were a lot of people filled with love.

Seeing how this woman touched so many lives and how many people loved her makes someone wonder at their own mortality and how she will be remembered when her time comes. Of course I know my immediate family will be there and most probably some cousins and even a neighbor or two… but will the funeral chapel be filled and will my loved ones’ home be filled with people who remember me and who will help to ease the grief?

I’ve been haunted by a funeral I once attended. She was, in my heart, a wonderful person, but she had survived all of her blood family and many long-time friends. There was a storm the day of the funeral and while she had been active in her local community, she had pre-made her arrangements in a funeral home that necessitated public transportation for her neighbors to attend. Between those that weren’t left to mourn her passing, the horrible weather, and the distance from her small circle of friends, there were only five of us (plus the officiant) in the chapel. Six people to send her on her way. Six.

When it is my time, will there be a houseful of people to remember me, or only a mere handful to send me off? Which one will I be? I hope that people will laugh and smile, I hope that I will be remembered fondly, and I hope there will be warm hearts to surround my loved ones and help them to move on.

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has left the world better than he found it;
Who has looked for the best in others and given the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory is a benediction.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson