Holocaust

I have a fascination with fire. The way the flames lisp through the air, tumble and turn and throw themselves to and fro. I read poetry at an open mic back in March or April, and I started with the same words–some echoes of my lines include “This is where it burns / all the flames / fighting their holy wars / let me smolder among them” and “Samson is burning at the broken pillars / limestone capsules and locks of hair / arms shriveled, torso chiseled / too far from marble, turned to dust.” But fire is fire, and words can’t tame any flame.

Certain songs make me think of fire, too. Jewel’s “Kiss the Flame” immediately comes to mind, as does Florence + the Machine “Rabbit Heart,” which I don’t think mentions fire at all. So does Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kosovo.” The flames burn through the melodies.

So it’s only natural I should want to meet the world in fire.

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To Silence the Silent

I have never been brave. I feign courage, I swallow my nerves, psych myself in anxiety until the adrenalin overpowers my emotion and I go. But I do not claim to brave. I follow the path of heroes, one step at a time, sometimes barely one breath at a time.

But I manage.

When I wrote last, I remarked about the number of unpublished posts I’ve written–it’s disheartening, the stories I yearn to tell, that I’m too afraid to share.

Today is one of those tales.

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F is for Father’s Day

Father’s Day for a boy is full of wonder: I’m celebrating my dad–the man who took me camping with Cub Scouts, the man who eats chips and salsa with with me, the man who reclines on the weekends and is sure to answer “yes” to anything.

As I child I couldn’t imagine Father’s Day any other way. I didn’t stop to think, what will I do for my brothers after they have kids? I never considered what Father’s Day would mean when I have my own kids–or the obstacles I’d have to face to get there.

Father’s Day as a man is all of these things–and most of them are anything but wonderful.

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Come On, You Know You Like This

Let me introduce you to some of my friends.

More importantly, let me introduce you to their rapists.

One of my friends at Guilford Tech was raped by his father. One of the guys I worked alongside was raped by his older brother’s best friend. One of the guys I’ve met at N.C. State was raped by his first boyfriend. I have a friend who was raped by her ex-husband, and another friend who was raped by her boyfriend. One of my very best friends was raped twice–by people she didn’t even know.

And people say there’s no such thing as rape culture.

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Looking for Angels

It was my third year doing NaNoWriMo and I wanted new music to help me set the scene for my story. Gothic. Dark and stormy. Evil. So I searched different forums for suggestions, and when I went to a nearby used music store, I came home with H.I.M. and Skillet and maybe a couple others. I quickly realized, for setting or not, Skillet was an awesome group. I’d loved their music on the radio without even knowing it was theirs.

After two or three, maybe four listens through the CD, I stopped hearing the lyrics and only heard the sounds: the beat, the tempo, the edge I wanted in my story. As the words faded into the back of mind, I would sing them mindlessly… “So many nations with so many hungry people,” I’d say, my hands typing away, “So many homeless scrounging around for dirty needles; On the rise, teen suicide…”

Then today, walking home from work, I had my iPod on shuffle and it threw their sound to my ears once more. I wasn’t singing this time (it draws looks), but I was listening–and I realized, for all these years I’ve been singing their songs, I hadn’t heard a word they said.

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What To Do with a Dead Frog

I knew it was raining when my class was interrupted by the squeaking from the hallway. By the time I left the building to cross a small breadth of campus to my second course, it was merely a light rain, and when after that course I crossed to the bus stop, the light rain hadn’t picked up a great deal–but on account of now standing in the rain, by nature it seemed heavier.

I got on the bus, the standing crowd moving slowly toward the back to make room for the new recruits at the front.

Then on we went–and onward I shall forthwith go.

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Proving Wisdom

Endurance training is pretty basic. It simply involves proper pacing, commitment, and determination. Through continued exercise, stamina and endurance are increased accordingly. But how does one make wisdom enduring? Last time we spoke about reverence and how it roots our wisdom, and this time we’re going to continue the narrative.

After all, if we are enduring, we’re practically immortal.

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An Open Letter to the People of North Carolina

To My Fellow North Carolinians;

I am writing to you in concern of the upcoming Special Session on Monday, September 12, 2011, to vote on Senate Bill 106 and House Bill 777, both entitled Defense of Marriage, which seek to amend our state constitution so that marriages between one man and one woman are the only legally recognized domestic relationship in North Carolina.

It is my belief, however, that these bills should not be passed.

Take the future into your own hands today »

Kung Fu Rabbi

It’s been nearly a year to the day since I wrote my very first post about the Pirkei Avot, and I refer anyone new to the series to that post. It’s a good start, and I promise you, it’s the only one I think you should read to get introduced to the whole thing (although my last one is also well worth the word court).

So here I am again. I was in services this morning for our teacher’s appreciation Shabbat and since I was there a few minutes early, I decided I’d read ahead. Obviously you can see it’s now past midnight, so I’ve had plenty of time to let this story steep. And the truth is, I’ve needed every minute of it. And probably then some, too.

So without any further ado… Press the button below to follow me on this next (and I assure you, rather exciting) step on my journey through the so-called Ethics of the Fathers.

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From Precepts to Principles

1.18     Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel taught:

The world rests on three things:
on Justice, on Truth, on Peace,
as it is written, “With truth, justice, and peace
shall you judge in your gates” (Zechariah 8:16).

Ever since I was about nine or ten there’s been this budding mythology inside me that I’ve yearned to write. It began as innocent childish imaginings, spawned of TV shows like Pokémon and Digimon or books about Harry Potter and astrology, but slowly the characters took on lives of their own, the stories became more defined, and this collection of fantasies twisted itself into something rivaling a full mythology. My biggest dream as a writer is to be able to take all of these stories and compose them into a single epic tale.

In one of my earliest attempts to write this, there were two characters I called Truth and Justice. They had come from a magical world to set the main protagonist on his adventures, a catalyst to the fantastic things I’d imagined. By the time I tried to write it a second time, these characters had vanished and been transformed; these events had entirely disappeared and been re-imagined.

What stands out to me, especially when I read this teaching, is that even then—only nine or ten years old, not even half my age now—there was something inherently important about Truth and Justice.

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