Tuesday, August 08, 2017


Enough is a difficult concept for humans. What we see is what we want . . . for now.

Much of our desire for more starts with our parents and what they modeled for us. We as children do not take the time or have the experience to understand that they did not get what they had overnight or as children unless they were born into wealth and privilege. Parents have to grow up and obtain what they have by the time they have children . . . at least in families where children arrived once the parents had found jobs, each other, and then had children. That situation is different for each family when many children are born to unmarried mothers and raised by their grandparents, aunts, or the system. Children of poor parents are raised with the reality that their needs are provided by the government through welfare or the generosity of their grandparents who may also be on government subsidies, social security they earned and put into every paycheck or continued on welfare from their childhood until they were old enough to sign up for social security when they reached the appropriate age. If social security followed welfare, there may be only the minimum rate since they either did not work or did not earn enough because they did not work enough.

Whether children grow up in middle class or lower class families, what their caregivers (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or foster parents) have and what they teach the children is what the child carries into their adult life. Often the behavior is plenty at the beginning of the month petering out to little or nothing at the end of the month. Every month is feast and famine depending on the time of the month and the spending habits of the guardians.

In middle class families, children are brought up with their guardians' attitudes and behaviors about spending and that varies with their guardians' attitudes and behaviors and how they were brought up and what they achieved in their lifetimes.

In the USA where the prevailing attitude comes from the idea that the USA is all about profit, often at any cost and no matter who it helps or harms as long as there is profit.  Once again, it is feast or famine. Movies do not help generally since movies are all about the rewards and benefits of the end result -- love, relationships, family, children, success.  Success is measured in profit. No matter how one gets to the reward, everything, outside of religious beliefs, and often due to religious beliefs rooted in the system of reward and punishment, the bottom line is much like a version of Santa Claus's naughty and nice list. Naughty and nice sounds a great deal like reward and punishment where the end result is presents under the tree or in the stockings or a lump of coal, possibly even nothing if the child's parents are poor, have no credit cards, and live on the dole (government handouts).

No matter the situation, when you're a child there is never enough. Parents either lavish their children with presents or favor one child over the others, creating sibling rivalry and unhappiness. Enough for one or two is very little or low quality for the child who does not enjoy the parents' favor.

When I was a child, my younger siblings were favored more than I was because I was adopted from a mother who was less successful and less class-wise than my adoptive parents. When I learned I was adopted at the age of 10 and my mother was revealed the difference in what I received versus what my brother and sisters got finally made sense. Until the age of 10, the differences were not as obvious as they became after I was told I was chosen and hadn't been foisted on my parents by the luck of the draw -- or so the newspaper clippings about children who discovered they were adopted (chosen) demonstrated when the news was dropped in my lap. Not only did I not look like my younger siblings, but I was actually their cousin. My mother was my adoptive father's younger sister who gave me up so my adoptive parents, who were better off financially, could give me so much more than my birth mother could afford. My birth mother thought she was making certain I would have a good life full of the things she could not give me. Nothing was farther from the truth.

The fact is that I was the second one of my adoptive father's sisters who was pregnant and in difficult circumstances. The relationship -- or lack of a relationship -- between his wife and his older sister was not good and the sister reneged on her promise to give up her young daughter and newborn son  to her sister-in-law even after the daughter and son had lived with my adoptive parents for a little while. Their mother demanded her children back and that was the end of children for her brother's wife who was unable to bear a living child after a couple of miscarriages during the first 5 years of their marriage.

Lo and behold, another sister turned up on their doorstep, newly divorced and riding the back of her oldest brother's motorcycle, having come all the way from Michigan to Columbus, Ohio pregnant and without sufficient education and resources to provide for the coming child. She, however, was willing to give up her unborn child when it was born in exchange for staying with her brother and sister-in-law who promised to pay for all of her medical bills when the child was born. She progressed from salad girl at a local restaurant to student at a secretarial school and eventually to an unwed divorcee with marketable skills and a future as a secretary. Her future prospects had changed, but she gave her word to her brother and was a woman of her word. After all, the couple had paid for her schooling, gave her room and board during her time in Columbus, and paid all of her medical bills while her pregnancy continued. Her word was her bond and, despite what her older sister said about her experiences and taking back her own children from her sister-in-law, she was going to follow through. What choice did she have?

Even though she met a man who wanted to marry her and was determined to be a good father to her child if she would keep the child and go back on her promise, she was going to keep her promise and give her child up to her brother and sister-in-law so that they could finally have a child of their own. After 5 years of disappointment and miscarriages, things did not look good for her sister-in-law to have a child of her own. Maybe adopting her child and giving that child all they could provide would give her sister-in-law a child she could lavish her love on and make her brother and his wife happy at last. They could be a family at last.

The oldest brother who brought her to Columbus to live was also married and wanted to adopt her child when it was born. He and his wife did not have any children yet and wanted to offer her child family and love, but her brother was unreliable in her eyes. He was less stable than the brother to whom she had promised her child and with whom she lived. The oldest brother, Don, rode motorcycles and did hill climbing races on his motorcycle. He was reckless even though he usually won, but reckless could also mean dead one day. Her other brother, Jim, was in the Army and reliable, the kind of man who would not end up dead falling down a muddy hill off his motorcycle or from a knife or gunshot wound if one of his fights ended badly. She was glad for all that Jim had done and felt good about giving her child to Jim and his snooty wife. They would provide her child with everything a child could want and they had so much love to give. Why else would they have turned to adoption if there was any other choice.

Ginny's doctor said that often adopting a child would help the mother get pregnant with her own child because all the pressure was off while frantically trying to get pregnant. Ginny would gain a mother's love and might end up with a child of her own after her child was born and Ginny satisfied her need to be a mother by mothering the child she carried. Her fiance tried to convince her to keep her child, thank Jim and Ginny for their help, and he would help pay them back for all they had done for her when she arrived pregnant, insufficiently educated, and alone without a job or skills to support them both.

She felt she owed Jim and Ginny and she had promised. She could have more children with her fiance after they were married while Ginny could not have children at all. They had done so much for her, helped her to secure a better future, and had paid for her schooling and her medical bills. She would keep her word and Jim and Ginny would finally have a child to love and care for.

She went through with the plan, denied Don her girl child, married her fiance shortly after she landed a good secretarial job. The die was cast and she would still be a part of her daughter's life. Ginny and Jim promised as much.

Life continued. She eventually got pregnant and gave her new husband a son, saw her new daughter whenever Jim and Ginny were in town, either to see her family or when they were stationed in Columbus, and watched her daughter grow up among Ginny's own children, two girls and a boy (at last).  Children followed her daughter's birth. Ginny got pregnant on her daughter's first birthday and delivered a daughter 9 months later. Five years later, Ginny delivered the son she always wanted and 10 years after her daughter's birth a second daughter was born a few days before her daughter's tenth birthday. That year, 1965, Ginny had to have a hysterectomy and could have no more children, throwing Ginny into menopause and ending the ability to get pregnant again. Ginny still wanted more children and fostered a few more children, mostly boys, but a brother and sister when her youngest daughter and son were teenagers. The brother and sister, two of a family of four siblings who went into the system and were fostered out, were nearly the same age as Ginny's two children. Everything seemed fine. Her daughter graduated high school, got pregnant, and married at 18, following her new husband from post to post as she had followed Jim and Ginny while growing up. Her daughter's husband was Air Force, but evidently the uniform was what caught her fancy and not the branch of military.

This narrative is about enough, but what leads up to what constitutes enough in my case is born of how I was raised.

I was born of a poor mother I didn't know until I was 10. By that time, my mother (who I was raised to believe was my aunt) had become a woman of means. Her husband was a butcher for Kroger's and a sheriff on the weekends while she was the secretary of the manger of an apartment complex. She handled all the administrative work in the rental office and managed the maintenance staff, a far cry from the Bliss Business College graduate who was engaged and recently gave birth to me.

My adoptive parents were successful. Dad was in Admin in the Army and had been an interpreter working in the JAG (judge advocate general's office) traveling all over Europe and had been stationed in Panama at Fort Gulick when I was in 2nd grade. Mom didn't work when we were stationed overseas, but did work when we lived in the USA. She was also the child of a very wealthy man who, through alcohol and infidelity, had lost all of his money. Grandpa went to work for the State of Ohio in mental health, working on the Hilltop in the men's ward on Broad Street. His wife went to work for the State and worked second shift at the women's facility in the secured ward at the same facility in the older building where the doors were always locked and the patients secured.

Mom had been brought up in a small northern Ohio town where Grandpa was the sheriff, the mayor, and the biggest property owner in town. He owned several businesses, one of which was a coal company where his brother, Homer, worked delivering coal for years until the business was sold to pay debts just as the residential use for coal dwindled. Mom had everything she wanted because her parents gave her everything, which was not surprising since her elder brother, Jack, died in 1950 from leukemia and her younger sister, Joan, was a ward of the State and lived in state institutions until the mid-1970s when state institutions dumped their residents into the population to either live in group homes or with their families. Aunt Joan ended up living with Grandpa and Grandma. Mom's other brother, Bob, had already married and made a life for himself as a machinist working for a big government contractor. Mom, however, continued to be spoiled by her parents as the "oldest" child and took full advantage of her parents' generosity, sometimes living with our family when we were stationed in the US and while Mom was pregnant with my brother, Jimmy, but not when we moved back to the US and were stationed in Virginia where Tracy, the boy who was born a girl before Mom's hysterectomy.

Until I was 10, the first of Mom's children, Carol Sue, and I got exactly the same gifts. Mom was convinced that she should make sure we each had the same no matter what our preferences were. Everything was duplicated, one for each of us. The dolls were either blonde like Carol or brunette like me, but otherwise were the same doll in every other detail.

Everything changed when I was told I was adopted. In spite of the sheaf of newspaper clippings about adopted children (then adults) were from the perspective that the adopted felt they had the best kind of life available. Many of them said the same things, they were chosen by their parents not the result of whatever was given by the pregnancy lottery as the luck of the draw. Mom had told me the same thing, "We chose you out of all the children because we wanted you." It wasn't until many years later that I found out they had almost adopted two other children, cousins like me, who had lived with them until my birth mother showed up pregnant and promised to give me up when I was born. When I found out, it finally made sense that those children were the favorites because for a time they had lived with my parents before Aunt Edith took them back. All of my life, Mom had favored them over me just as she favored her own biological children over me.

My sense of self and views about life were drawn from the feast and famine situation where the feast began when I was born and was replaced by famine after discovering I was adopted. I was taught a reward versus punishment system where I was punished for not being hers and only rewarded when her own children were rewarded and I was allowed whatever was left. I was the first punished when her children were bad because I was the oldest and should watch over and take care of her children. I was praised whenever I won awards and accolades at school, but was not paid for my grades as the others were because paying for my grades would bankrupt my parents. I was told I should understand because I was the oldest and always made good grades. I couldn't understand how 10 cents for an A and a nickel for a B would bankrupt my parents since the list of subjects being graded was seldom more than a dollar. Of course, my siblings were rewarded with money because their grades were Cs, Ds, and Fs and Fs were never paid. Punishment and grounding followed Fs and I was ordered to help them with their schoolwork (do their work when essays and writing were part of the assignment). I refused to do their work since I argued, "They will learn nothing and won't be able to pass tests if I do the work for them." I couldn't -- and wouldn't -- take their tests for them anyway. Mom relented at last.

Mom's plan for keeping things equal failed long before I was told I was adopted because she couldn't control what friends would buy for me when it was my birthday. Instead, Mom decreed that Carol Sue would get duplicate gifts and I would keep one of the duplicates for my own since it was my birthday. As we got older and there were fewer birthday parties, Mom denied my birth mom the right to buy anything for me unless she also bought gifts for my siblings so everything would be equal. The only gift I got from my birth mom, Aunt Anne, was Heidi by Johanna Spyri and the electric rollers she bought me on my 16th birthday. Luckily, I only got one set of electric rollers. She bought Carol Sue her own set of electric rollers the following week. Everything was supposed to be equal even though Carol Sue's birthday was until November and mine was in February.

The only time I got a Christmas gift that wasn't the same as Carol Sue's, or cost more than Jimmy and Tracy's gifts, was when I received an easel and paints when I was about 14. I had learned to draw and painted (watercolor and oils) and Mom decided I had some talent. I learned I could draw when I was in the 4th grade and saved the comics from the Sunday paper every week to draw the comics that interested me. I took art in high school and earned a scholarship to the Art Academy when I was in junior high school. I copied paintings at museums and those few hanging in our home and gave away a ship I painted to my junior high school vice-principal when I drew his name to be his Christmas Angel.

I planned to study art in college, but was told that wasn't allowed because artists don't make enough to support a family and I should set my sights on getting married to someone who could afford to support a family because otherwise I would never make it. Good thing I already had a job in data processing when I was informed I wasn't going to college since Mom's first priority was making sure there was enough money so my brother, 6 years behind me in school, could go to college as he would have a family to support.

I had also planned to be writer until Mom searched my room and found my journal, punishing me for everything in the journal she didn't approve of and she didn't approve of much, especially the days I ranted about how she treated me and punished me for my siblings' mistakes which I had not caught and stopped before they were discovered and my parents had to pay for whatever they stole or damaged.

Maybe it was a good thing I got pregnant the first time I had sex and got married soon after being discovered because I had at least managed to find someone to support me even if Mom took my hard earned life savings to pay for the wedding even as she vetoed the white dress I picked out. Since I was not a virgin, I had no right to wear white, but white was all J.C. Penney had and I bought it. She rectified the white dress by sewing purple ribbon on the cuffs and around the neck so everyone in church who thought I was a virgin would know I was already a fallen woman. Mom swore up and down every time the subject came up that she did not sew purple ribbon on the dress until I dug out the dress and handed it to her. The purple ribbons were faded, but quite obviously still purple. "I don't remember doing that," she said. "You must have done it later."

I got Mom's plain gold class ring from when she graduated from high school as my big gift. Carol Sue, Jimmy, and Tracy all got cars and diamond rings for wedding presents. Carol Sue also got a bedroom set to help Carol Sue and her new husband furnish their brand new house. But at least I had Mom's prize possession, her class ring.

When my husband and I asked my parents to help us with the down payment for our first house, Mom said no. Carol Sue, Jimmy, and Tracy were all helped when they went to buy their first homes. Mom even gave Grandma's house to Jimmy and his wife even though Grandma had given it to me. When they sold the house, the money they earned they used as a down payment on their next house. Meanwhile, I never bought a house and we lived from paycheck to paycheck with our three children, except for the time we lived in base housing.

The point of all this is that I never believed I had enough. I always wanted more. I wanted what my parents had. I wanted my own home and we could never afford the down payment on a house. My husband's parents nearly lost their house when his mother failed to make the mortgage payments because she spent the money on herself. His dad had to work extra hard to pay the back payments and get back on track; they couldn't afford to help us when they had to protect what they already had with three young daughters still in school and living at home.

Growing up with a feast/famine attitude, I never had enough. With 2 divorces behind me, I kept the feast/famine attitude long after the kids were grown and gone. I never had enough when I could finally afford it, going into debt to get everything I wanted since all I had was what I could earn. Since my career went into the toilet with what I could earn because no one was paying much for trained and educated workers since much of the work could now be done with minimal human input, it's a good thing I don't need much.

I have finally reached the point where I do not need much, outside of unprocessed food and well water. I make enough to get by, but I have more than enough from my accumulation phase. Instead, my needs are simple, good, clean, organic food which I grow myself when the weather is good, and clean well water without fluoridation or additives. Since I have my own well, I also don't get the insufficiently processed city water full of anti-depressants, mood elevators, and narcotics that are part of the city water that is full of such Big Pharma drugs that have gone undigested through people's digestive systems and have been excreted in urine. The reclamation of gray water is not fine enough to eradicate these drugs from the water and is not part of every city's water system, continuing to treat those who do not drink bottled water that still contains water from such contaminated sources and marked as coming from springs and soft drink bottling companies that are not regulated or tested frequently and accurately enough. After all, the point is profit and not truthful marketing and advertising.

Good thing I have enough. Bad thing that the average consumer is still a slave to the easy credit and highly processed (or inadequately monitored and tested) food and drink where the bottom line is still profit at all costs. Forget about people who own stock in food and drink companies/corporations. It's not like it is in the movies, like Solid Gold Cadillac, where some nice person is involved in shareholder relations and cares about them and what the company does with its money and how much it pays the board. We long ago reached the point where shareholders and board members cared about consumers -- the average consumer -- and what their products do as long as they make a profit in a world where there is never enough. Ask Donald Trump, Obama, and Bill Gates who much of their wealth they put back into circulation and give to the poor, ill, and destitute. There is never enough.

That is all. Disperse.

Monday, August 07, 2017

The Effect of Poppies

I was recently told by a Muslim that I had been banned by the UWI, an Israeli site that speaks out for what happens in Israel and to Israel on the world stage. I have decided to unsubscribe from the site that I have supported and commented on for years because I wanted to decrease the amount of violence and Islamic hatred that stems from the comments from Islamists in their intransigence to accept and make peace with Israel. The whole world has been caught up in this struggle to mediate peace while supporting the violence, bombings, and hatred of Islam and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for decades. So many leaders have spoken out and have offered to mediate between Palestinian leaders and Israel since Israel was declared a sovereign country after the British gave up their claim to the land that has been the homeland of the Israelites since they made their exodus from Egypt more than 2500 years ago. 

I found out that my email address, and consequently me, has never been banned from UWI and the the Muslim who told me so was lying to me. I didn't care about what he said, because I had not seen the message banning me because I had already unsubscribed for the reasons I described above. The only reason I questioned the banning was in order to address the reasons for the banning and make right whatever I had done wrong to end up being banned. I see now the banning was all in his mind and he was seeking to drive a wedge between UWI and me so that I would also end up hating and demonizing them. It's the same type of thing that Islamic nations have done for decades to help engender sympathy for the Palestinian cause in order to get the world to see Israel is evil and Palestinians are being punished for their sins of struggling with the Jews when nothing is farther from the truth. 

The Palestinian people are Muslims and Arabs who have been marginalized by the Islamic nations because they needed a thorn to stick in Israel's side and to garner the world's pity for their victimization. Had the Palestinians any moral right to be called Palestinians then Israel would not have been an obstruction or a problem, but the Palestinians are the refuse of wretched teeming shores of Islamic Middle East countries who have taken up residence in land that was called by the Romans more than 2000 years ago Palestine and existed as the remainders of Israeli land when Israel existed and was called Palestine by Romans. That is the problem with languages; they all have different words for the same things. Pan is bread in Italian, the modern day equivalent of Roman language which was once called Latin which is now given to the Americas to describe the difference between the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking peoples of South America, also known as Latin America in modern parlance where you can buy bread at the panederia (bread store) in countries where Spanish is spoken, like Panama where I once lived as a child when my father was stationed at Fort Gulick in the Canal Zone, a US protectorate until Panama was given back to the Panamanians and the Canal Zone was finally under Panamanian control and not US control. The only reason the US had control was because the people from the US helped to finish the canal between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean by controlling the yellow fever-spreading mosquitoes that flourished in the area and made it impossible for the European powers to cleave the geographically small bit of land between North and South America and provide a shorter route to the west and east coasts of the USA. The trip around the Cape (southernmost tip of South America) was longer and more dangerous than cutting through Panama when the canal was finally completed. 

Yes, crossing the United States from California to the ports on the east coast were faster, but at the time of the gold rush, the continental US had to be crossed by wagon trains, stages, and horses and there were hostile natives to battle to get the gold from west to east. A voyage through the Panamanian canal was still faster and safer once it was built.

The hostile natives called the land belonging to the United States something else in their own language and contested with the US government and their treaties by attacking wagon trains, stages, and riders on horseback when crossing lands that could've once been tribal lands belonging to the hostile natives or land set aside for the natives by US government decree as they moved the natives from their fruitful lands of the east coast to make room for settlements, homes, towns, and cities built by the European immigrants who wanted the fertile bottom land and land close to ports and shipping lanes for themselves. The European immigrants were seeking their fortune in the newly formed United States when they either fled war or persecution for religious, political, and class-based reasons. One might call them the wretched refuse of Europe's teeming shores yearning to be free as is inscribed on the gift France gave to the United States in the wake of their successful struggle for freedom from Britain. No doubt it was wishful thinking on France's part since centuries of warfare between France and Britain had resulted in change of ownership of disputed lands granted as dowry in marriage contracts or conquered in battles that stretched for centuries between the two countries. No wonder France and Britain were among the European nations that built their empires by claiming lands in spots spanning the globe, including the land that is presently called Israel in the Middle East where the remains of Hitler's Final Solution went to live with the consent of the world's nations that agreed to let the Jewish people finally go to their millennia-old home, the land of milk and honey that Yahweh, the invisible god of the Israelites, promised to them and that finally the Christian nations agreed to when the Israelites won from Britain the right to keep their homeland and bring the Jewish people home at last.

The Jews were limited by Britain's rules to how many Jews could immigrate to Israel sparking the struggle for freedom and the right to decide how many Jews would be allowed to immigrate for themselves. The Jews fought the Arabs who refused to allow Jews in their midst in their own homeland and surrounded Israeli soldiers and were determined to defeat them and exterminate the last Jews to bother them. The Arabs were less successful in fighting them face to face than they had been in providing Hitler with the solution to the Jewish problem by being the architects of the Final Solution. The Germans provided the death camps and the gas chambers by rounding up the Jews and sending them to their deaths with their famed efficiency, but the Arabs were the architects of the plan provided for German ingenuity and dispatch that created the Holocaust that exterminated 6 million Jews and nearly 10 million Christians and 4 million gypsies, what the Germans considered as subhumans to be removed from their Aryan Master Race. Neither the Germans nor the Arabs have been successful in eradicating the Jewish people. Is it any wonder the Arabs deny the Holocaust and Hitler's failure to establish his thousand-year Reich that would dominate the world? The Muslims under the Ottomans failed without the need to provide a homeland for the remaining Jews when they sought to create world wide Islamic theocracy and convert the people of the world to Islam once and for all. I imagine their failure is all part of their denial of the Holocaust, especially since they failed to convert the world in their Ottoman colonial phase.

Britain allowed the Jews to go home in reparation for not preventing the Holocaust and defeating Hitler before 6 million Jews were exterminated and their wealth distributed to the conquering Nazis or complicit Europeans who failed to see the danger before Hitler gained power. The British could care less about the 10 million Christians and the 4 million gypsies; they had destroyed many times over those numbers during their wars, transportation of unwanted people, and colonization of wealthy lands in their heydey back when the sun never set on the British Empire. Allowing the Jews to occupy their homeland was a small price to pay. The Arabs wouldn't like it and would fight to the death to eradicate the Jews since their Final Solution failed to pan out with Hitler, but nothing much would change as long as the world could be brought to see that Israel and the Jews were still unwanted even if the United Nations recognized Israel. Once again, the United Nations recognized Israel as a sop to their conscience in the wake of World War II and helped create the country when they mandated a partition of the British protectorate of Palestine to create 2 countries: one Arab and one Jewish with Jerusalem belonging to the world and partitioned between Islam and Israel.

There is no wonder there is conflict between the Arabs and Jews. The conflict began when Abraham didn't believe his barren wife, Sarai/Sarah, would become pregnant and bear his son. That's why Sarah urged Abraham take to his bed, Hagar, her Egyptian handmaiden, so she could succeed where Sarah could not during all their long years of marriage. Hagar proved to be fertile in her youth and bore Ishmael, Abraham's first son by birth. Sarah also became pregnant and bore Abraham's first legal son, Isaac, the patriarch of the Jews and the first of Abraham's offspring. Hagar eventually left Abraham's tribe with an Egyptian soldier, taking Ishmael with her and Yahweh's promise to make Abraham's descendants as numerous as grains of sand in the desert. Yahweh's prediction for Abraham's offspring has provided this world with numerous Arabs from Ishmael's seed determined to exterminate Isaac's seed, the Jews, as half-brothers often do when legacies are to be won. The brothers contend over who will win. The Arabs believe that since Ishmael is the first son of Abraham, they should win, ignoring the fact that Ishmael may be the oldest son, but not the first legal and recognized son of Abraham. If all of Isaac's children can be destroyed, Ishmael will win by default. It's not Ishmael's fault that Sarah and Abraham didn't believe Yahweh's promise to give Abraham a son by Sarah, but Abraham's fault for taking Hagar to bed and impregnate her when Sarah urged her handmaiden on Abraham to soothe her own failure to give Abraham a son. If anyone should pay for the mistake in failing to believe Yahweh it is Sarah for doubting, Abraham for giving in to Sarah's plan and Hagar for being fertile. If only...?

If Sarah had gotten pregnant earlier and hadn't offered her slave to Abraham to bed or Hagar had refused to couple with Abraham or Abraham had refused the nubile slave, none of the struggle between the Jews and Arabs and the rest of the world would never have occurred and Israel would exist and flourish -- as it does already -- in peace and contentment, but human weakness and gods that did not provide a schedule for their predictions or specify dates and times end in errors of global proportions. Since the gods are flesh and share human weaknesses, even with their abilities to see the future, there will always be mistakes.

In the end, it's like strolling through a poppy field and becoming intoxicated on the effects of poisonous poppies. We all fall down. We all sleep. When we wake, danger awaits.

That is all. Disperse.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Review: The Library of Light and Shadow by M. J. Rose

I've enjoyed M. J. Rose's novels, especially the more recent novels that delve into the occult and art, and find intriguing the journeys I make with Ms. Rose into what I thought was history carved deeply into marble. History is more than dates, battles, and details about the famous and infamous. History is as unfinished as art and just as surprising and awe inspiring.

As I began "The Library of Light and Shadow," I was reminded of a book I had recently read, "The Witch of Painted Sorrows," and was ensorceled once again. What began with the social whirl in post World War I New York encompassed so much more than was at first hinted at. Delphine, the artist in question, painted her subjects wearing a crimson blindfold while she sketched their secrets hidden in their souls and bringing them to life and light. The darkest secret lay within Delphine and not because she is a daughter of the cursed and haunted La Lune, a female artist who broke the chains of social etiquette and the second-hand life of women of a certain class. La Lune was so much more than being born as a woman and so much less than the daughter of courtesans.

Delphine's story begins and revolves around a life half lived based on fear -- fear of her talent, her family's legacy, and true love. While Delphine dons the crimson blindfold, she is blinded by fear and the inability to see those she loves in clear light. She fears her gift of bringing the unspeakable into the light almost as much as she fears a deep and all encompassing love she has run from Paris to protect.

Madame Calve', La Diva, a celebrated star of Opera who delves into the hidden secrets of alchemy and magic, approaches Delphine to find the "Book of Abraham" that was hidden by Nicholas Flamel somewhere in the castle she bought 30 years before, certain Delphine is the artist who works in shadows and can uncover the centuries old hiding place that has eluded her so long. Madame invites Delphine and Sebastian, her brother and manager to her castle to find where the book has been hidden.

For a week, Sebastian and Delphine, reside in Madame's Millau castle and strive to shine a light into the darkness surrounding Flamel's legacy, donning the scarlet blindfold to pierce the shadows and bring the past to light. In spite of her fears about what she will unleash, Delphine brings to light many hidden aspects of the castle, from a dungeon to a hidden library, but fails to discover Flamel's hidden tome. As the remaining time ticks down to the party Madame is hosting that will include Delphine's true and first love, Delphine gives into her passion and her desire to reunite with Matthieu, the love she ran from five years before when her gift showed her that she would be the death of him.

At first, I was certain that Delphine was running from Matthieu's already accomplished death. He was not dead. She had painted him blindfolded and envisioned that she would kill him and could not countenance his death by her hand. Matthieu was not dead and Delphine had not witnessed his death. She had merely seen his death at her hands and had run to New York City to make certain La Lune's curse would not find her. Delphine loved Matthieu so deeply that she was willing to walk away rather than let La Lune or her family's curse end him.

Delphine had been blinded when she was very young and her brother Sebastian had held her hand and protected her until her mother, a very powerful witch who had conquered La Lune's magic, restored her sight, and kindled the gift that allowed Delphine to use the blindfold in order to see the deepest secrets of her subjects' lives and bring them to the canvas. Her gift was as much a curse as a blessing as Delphine laid bare what she found as she saw beyond vision. One of her subjects committed suicide rather than allow her secrets to be so displayed.

Throughout the novel, "The Library of Light and Shadow," walks the fine line between curse and blessing, oftentimes never realizing Delphine, for all her talents and abilities, has never truly seen the truth. She remains blind and unprepared for what keeps hidden in broad daylight, flailing about until the light shines clearly and all of her assumptions and sacrifices have been in vain. M. J. Rose keeps the reader enthralled and appalled until the end. Truly a magical and and enthralling tale that will keep the reader guessing right up to the close. Rose brings art and the world in the aftermath of the War to End all Wars to life where every moment is as necessary as the brushstrokes that give reality to the unthinkable. Once again Rose brings brilliance to the shadows of turn-of-the-century art with magic that transcends history and reality. Rose never disappoints.