Writing Log #7: Erasure of “Home” by Tammy Subia

Bethany Herold

Professor Egger

ENGL 2060 E01

20 November 2015

Writing Log #7: Erasure of “Home” by Tammy Subia

I never understood why Dorothy was so eager to get home. Home was gray and lonely. During the time of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, people in Kansas were dying. The film came at the perfect time. Oz was bright, fun, magical. Yet all she wanted to do the entire time was go back home to Kansas. My long-time friend, Nicole, was the first one to live totally on her own. I’d always pictured the two of us, with Styrofoam cups of coffee in hand, strolling down the street of a small town, walking past the row of little shops until we reached the storefront of our own bookshop. I pictured us at home where I’d work on my own writing and she would be my first editor.

Twenty-two out of my twenty-four years have been spent in Connecticut living with my mother and grandmother. I couldn’t wait to get out of Enfield and find something more exciting somewhere else. My older brother Tony invited me to move to San Diego, California, to live with him after I graduated from high school, I jumped at the chance. My brother grilled us steaks and hamburgers outside on his patio for dinner. He showed me how to get to the mall, where we went to the movie theater on weekends and shared a large bag of buttered popcorn. I wasn’t in school and it took me quite a while to find a retail job, so it felt more like a long vacation than my new home. Within the year my plane touched down in Bradley Airport in the middle of the night. Now it’s five years later, and sometimes I feel embarrassed that I am twenty-four and still living at home.

Graduating from college seems like the perfect occasion for moving out, so why hadn’t I given it any serious thought until now? I think that Dorothy wanted to go home because Oz was new and often scary to her. Anywhere you go, you can make new stories. What matters isn’t the places you go, it’s the people you’re surrounded by. If Dorothy had just given Oz a chance, she would have been happy because the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion all loved her. I love my family, but friends can also become family over time. Though a part of me cannot imagine leaving my family, another part of me worries that I may soon resent them for keeping me here. Of course, I am free to make my own choice, but I still feel an obligation to stay with them. I know everyone would get along just fine without me, but I wonder how I would get along without them.

I’ve driven from the east coast of this country to the west one, and I’ve seen plenty of interesting places, but none of them felt like they could ever be my home. But I know now that’s what I’m searching for, a home – not an Oz. Oz is the place you go to when you need an escape from your day-to-day life. I realize now why Dorothy was never meant to stay in Oz. Kansas was her home. So how do you know when and where to go? There’s no red sand hourglass or a yellow-brick road to follow. I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do. I don’t have to live with Nicole; I could go anywhere. I don’t have ruby slippers, but I have glittery flip-flops and a yellow Ford Escape. As you get older, you learn how you can create your own home for yourself wherever you go. And if you’re lucky, you’ll also find an Oz to visit now and then when things get rough.

References

Subia, Tammy. “Home.” Home, Creative Non-Fiction by Tammy Subia. 2010. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <http://www.snreview.org/0210Subia.html&gt;.

Tossed but not Sunk:Thoughts and Prayers for the Victims of the Paris Attacks

security-services-carry-away-injured-man-after-paris-attacks

“We lied down on the floor not to get hurt. It was a huge panic. The terrorists shot at us for 10 to 15 minutes. It was a bloodbath.”

Those words transmit a chill throughout my body as I read the eye-witness testimony of Julien Pearce, a reporter and survivor of the Bataclan concert hall massacre where a reported 112 people are confirmed dead. Today is November 13th, 2015, and at least 158 innocent and unsuspecting people were murdered today. Other survivors report the killers shouting “Allahu Akbar” as they picked off the victims in a style reminiscent of bird hunting. Slaughter. Hundreds Dead. Killers Still at Large. Terrorism Ties. ISIS. The headlines continue to cycle like a never-ending nightmare. As I return my eyes back to the breaking CNN report on my television, a young Frenchman sobs through his story, horrified by the bodies he had to crawl over as he rushed himself and his mother out of the concert hall to safety. People appear both numb and petrified as they huddle together on the streets of Paris, the emergency lights reflecting harshly off their foil blankets. President François Hollande has officially declared a state of emergency and closed France’s borders. I am safe in my Colorado Springs apartment, and the contrast from the screen to my living is surreal.

All the actions point towards terrorism, and many experts and officials suspect ISIS. No one argues that it was a well-coordinated attack, involving at least 12 people and up to 6 hit sites. According to a U.S. counterterrorism official, there is much concern over the unmistakable methodology and planning that would have been needed to pull off such a series of attacks. It raises questions for the rest of the world in regards to homeland security. In America specifically, there is talk of cutting off Visas for 1-2 years, banning immigration from certain Middle Eastern nationalities, and doubling FBI staff. Whispers of wolves in sheep’s clothing amidst the Syrian immigrants is also surfacing. I can practically smell the fear pouring through my television and laptop screen as I watch and contemplate the devastation unfolding before me.

My heart goes out, like many people around the world, to the victims and related family members affected by this massacre. Prayers and thoughts surround France, and will hopefully bring this nation some healing. It’s something we all hope will never happen, but because of a broken world, it inevitably does. It’s an attack on life as a we know it, and perhaps a glimpse into the dark corners of the future. There are no words to express the pain and anguish surrounding the situation, and maybe that’s for the best. Sometimes the world needs silence instead of people pretending to get it. It never ceases to amaze me how it takes such a sickening tragedy for people to put personal feelings, nationalities, and races aside for a moment to help other people. Must it always come down to disaster to reach revelation? Beauty from pain, they say. But at what cost?

I wish we could grab this moment and tattoo it into our very souls. Moments like these reveal the worst of humanity, the sin that plagues the world. But it also shows the best of humanity through people living selflessly and acting for others over themselves. It makes us realize how petty our differences, how ridiculous our polarized political parties, and how toxic our judgment can be. That is not the way life was intended. In this horror, we wake up. We take hold of what matters and recognize there’s something bigger than ourselves. It is fleeting, however, for the moment will fade and life will return to the way it was; revolutionary, perhaps, on a large scale of global impact, but with very minuscule changes in the lives of ordinary people who live thousands of miles away. I’ve been guilty of it. It’s like a blockbuster film that bloats ticket sales opening weekend only to be found in Redbox three months later. It’s painful. It’s scary. We don’t know how to help. It simply fades with time. For whatever reason, we often move on without any real change, both internal and external. This is our history. This is our future. This is our now. We can’t lose sight and become victims of apathy. We are called to more. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a powerful response in the face of such wide-scale adversity.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

It still rings true today; it always has and always will. We are not meant to live in fear, but in love. I pray that most people will recognize this sooner than later, even if it’s with tear-streaked cheeks pressed against the cold pavement. We can’t ever stop fighting for the ultimate cause: loving people unconditionally.

Writing Log #6: 6-word memoir

Bethany Herold

Professor Egger

ENGL 2060 E01

07 November 2015

Writing Log #6: 6-word memoir

      1. “Under my thumb,” she whispered softly.

      2. Nightfall; creeping, waiting. A gunshot. Crickets.

      3. Don’t flinch from the unexpected opportunities.

      4. Final breath in. Final breath out.

      5. I still see those red carpets.

      6. The ocean air brings new clarity.

      7. Muscles ripple below. Horseback is freedom.

      8. Stop. Go. Follow the rules. End.

      9. Melted, oiled, crispy, aromatic, savory. Pizza.

      10. I can’t help but think why.

This form of creative nonfiction teaches the writer to present thoughts in a very concise manner. It appears easy at first, but it requires quite a bit of brainstorming and deep thinking. I believe it could be used as a great prompt for a longer piece, or even as a daily writing warm up. It’s a form of writing that nearly anyone can pick up, and definitely something that anyone can read and relate to. It also reveals a little something about the writer, as if they are sharing a secret. Finally, it encourages restraint by showing the writer that longer and more elaborate pieces of writing are not always needed to move the reader or get a point across.

On the flip side, this genre could get stale if it was all one was writing and reading. People need more answers sometimes, and many like detail and development. Not to mention the concept of a character is almost lost in the 6-word memoir. It allows little room for personal flare, simply because there’s not enough space for the writer’s personality to come out on the pages. The endless interpretations could be frustrating to say the least, and overwhelming at the worst. Finally, it’s just not as appreciated as other forms of writing, perhaps because the time and effort requirements are remedial.