Saturday, August 14, 2010

Caring for Carson

As I agonizingly rolled over this morning to grab my phone in hopes of discovering three more hours to sleep, I groggily discovered that I only had about five minutes. So, instead of prolonging the inevitable, I turned off the alarm and rolled off the bed.

It's a Saturday morning. WHY am I up at 8:30 a.m.? Well, it's actually pretty special. And pretty heartbreaking at the same time. I have an interview with a family in Canton at 10. The interview is to write and article to raise awareness of a condition their little four-year-old Carson has, CMV. The family is trying to raise money for some special therapy in Wisconsin.

As I get ready this morning, I can't help but think how silly it is that I'm moaning over losing a few hours of sleep. Especially because I know better. I know that I'd give up all the sleep for the rest of my life to have been able to make my little sister "all better." I know this family must be going through the most trying time of their entire lives, probably ever.

I have a picture of the little guy sitting on the passenger seat of my car. "Research." He's the cutest little guy you'd ever see. Sitting in his wheelchair, he's wearing bright reds and blues, but his smile is brighter. The strength and bravery of children never ceases to amaze me.

Life-changing or even life-threatening illnesses are nightmares that a child should never have to deal with. But they do...every day. I don't know if Carson will ever walk or talk normally again. But getting up two hours earlier suddenly doesn't seem like such a terrible thing when this might be the one way I can help these guys. And I'm pretty excited to meet Carson:).

Monday, August 9, 2010


Of all the elements that first pulled me to literature, the deep complexity of unanswerable questions was never one of them. While it can be fun and even, occasionally, enlightening to ponder the what-ifs of the world, that wasn’t what I was looking for.

Yes, the pondering does happen, even for me, but that’s not why I dive into a book. I’m not hoping for some mind-bending revelation. This could be a flaw, granted, but just in the interest of honesty, it just wasn’t why I’d pick up a book. I just wanted to be sucked in. That’s all I asked. The world had to be real. The characters had to be real.

The magic that I find in literature is the power of connections. The ability to take the simple, everyday elements of life and reveal them for the complexities they are in and of themselves. I may be contradicting myself here, but what I’m trying to say is that there’s power in that. There’s power in being able to connect with someone you have never met and probably never will through common experiences and emotions…in a story. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a life they’ve lived and are living. The elements that make up those lives are what make the stories. You can’t have a story without people.

This also connects to my desire to pursue journalism. You can throw a bunch of facts together and tell the world that a bridge collapsed or that a budget hearing is being held next Monday. But it’s the stories of bravery and courage and heartbreak that unite people. Even with that budget hearing, it’s understanding how that budget effects the people that live in that area that makes it worth caring about.

Sorry, I apologize if this turned into a rant, but I blame Yeats. I was reading some of his poetry and it just sticks. Some of his poetry is so other-worldly you’d think I’m crazy to say that it connects with the simplicity of everyday life. But that’s the beauty of it. The enchanted forest of a child’s imagination is never that far away no matter how old you are. We all have a Byzantium, or will. Everyone has a moment like the child dancing in the wind where the world stands still and nothing exists outside of that moment.

Those connections are sometimes all that keep us going. Knowing that we’re not alone in our struggles, knowing that there’s someone to share in our joys. Literature can certainly reveal truths about ourselves that we may have never thought about otherwise or make clear something you simply couldn‘t articulate. Or maybe it’s just reaffirming something we already knew. Whatever it does, the good stuff connects. And that’s what I love about it.

Someone's Gotta Do It

I sit patiently, quietly and inconspicuously at a little desk at the rear of the Canton High School Public Library. Surrounded by knowledge, Great Illustrated Classics, posters of modern-day children’s books-turned-movies and a panel of board members discussing the price of school lunches for going on 30 minutes now.

I’m supposed to be covering the Canton Board of Education monthly meeting right now. Which…I am. There’s just room for…not listening, I suppose. The current item of discussion is disciplinary action of less-than-satisfactory academic standards. The biggest issue last meeting was how much money should be spent on basketballs. Of course, one meeting was mostly about drug testing. So there can be variety. But there can also be half-hour debates over the age of prom dates.

Welcome to the world of school boards. This is the way they work. Someone has to make these decisions, mundane as they may seem. And someone has to alert the public, keep them informed. That’s what I get to do. It could be worse…I could be getting bored and not being paid for it, right?

Observing the library is also somewhat entertaining. I’m appalled to see the Twilight series displayed in at least two different locations on the library walls. *sigh* I suppose they know what sells.

And now, I get to figure out how to sell a meeting discussing school lunch prices and facial hair policies to the public of Canton. I always did enjoy a good challenge.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

In Other News...

I just tonight finally saw most of “Pretty Woman.” I still haven’t seen it in its entirety, but I caught the majority of it on TV. Cheesiest ending ever, but there’s a feel-good movie if ever I saw one. And tonight was certainly a feel-good movie night. And I love the theme song. This movie is like the original “Moulin Rouge.” This may also have helped me understand what all the fuss was about over Richard Gere.

Also, I think one of the most entertaining and amusing jobs on the face of the planet would be writing screenplays for Syfy Channel Original Movies. Seriously. They’re hilarious. I can just picture a room full of giddy middle-aged guys snickering over how many buckets of blood they can spill, how many limbs they can sever, how many hot girls they can cram into one bathroom stall, how many different creatures they can possibly have genetically mutate and how many cheesy one-liners they can whip out for their hero…who will ultimately be the last one standing…besides the girl. Well, the one girl. All the other hot girls will get eaten or explode by the end of the movie. Along with the token stupid and annoying people.

In all seriousness, I think that would be a fun job. My current slices of inspiration were “Ice Spiders,” “Yeti,” and “Abominable.” Check ‘em out. You will not be disappointed.


The concept of forever is difficult to wrap your mind around. On this side of it, anyway. When you’re waiting for it, it’s an eternity in and of itself.

While I probably wouldn‘t have admitted this, when I was little I think a part of me just sort of trusted that everyone I knew would live forever. From a logical standpoint, I knew that wasn’t true, that no one is immortal, but that never really occurred to me on any sort of real level.

A dear friend of mine just lost her grandmother this weekend. She said to me, “I just wish she could live forever.” We’d all probably say that if asked, right? It’s impossible to fully understand that now she *is* living forever…because we’re not there. We’re here…without them. It’s so much easier to feel the pain of not having them here, the void, then to understand the peace and fulfillment they’re experiencing in eternity.

Until we’re forced to say goodbye, that’s kind of subconsciously how we view the people we love. We just sort of assume they’re going to be with us forever because we can’t imagine life any other way.

That mindset really doesn’t change with age. It hadn’t for me, anyway. It’s not growing up or maturity or any sort of advanced understanding of the way things work that wake you up to reality. It’s the first biting encounter you have with saying goodbye. And it’s so biting because you’re forced to see them’s not your choice. You’re not ready. You never are.

It’s a heart vs. head thing, I think. Your head knows that someday you’re going to lose grandparents, or that there’s always a chance that someone you love won’t be here tomorrow, for whatever reason. But your heart can never be ok with that, and because of that it won’t let you admit that reality.

Again, forever is a weird concept to wrap your head around. There are almost two sides of it. Forever can either be really good or really bad. The really bad side is the one where it’s a waiting period. The other side is the one where you’ve reached it.

Heaven is such an incredible gift, to know we have eternity to look forward to, to know that I’m going to see Tarah again someday and to know that she’s in the best place she’s ever been and ever will be…forever. But on the other hand, it’s so distant. We have no idea what it looks like, what’s going on there, what they’re doing. That takes away a level of comfort, not knowing. Not all of it, certainly, but some. And knowing that she’s there…and I’m here. Sometimes it’s easier to think about that distance than how happy she is. But she is happy. And she’s not going anywhere.

The wisdom of Pooh Bear once told me that “forever isn’t long at all, as long as I’m with you.” Forever is terrible when it stands between you and someone you love. Forever is the greatest thing in the world when it means being with that person every day for the rest of eternity. Thankfully, I’ll never have to wait ‘forever’ for that.

Maybe that’s why forever is so hard to understand. It doesn’t exist on this side. It’s something I’ll only ever be able to look forward to until I’m on the other side of it. But I do get to look forward to it. Forever isn’t too good to be true. It’s just a little further away than I’d like at the moment. And there is peace in that.