Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On Opinions

Opinions. We all have them, and that’s a good thing, I suppose. It’s a sign that the old noggin is working. I have to wonder, however, why some individuals are so free in expressing their opinions without considering first how an idea they are promoting, or pushing, might be received. Aren’t we taught to consider outcomes? Temperance in voicing viewpoints seems to have been swept under the carpet these days; or perhaps the problem simply is that a few folk’s filters are so out of whack that they are unable to reflect first before spewing sentiments that may be misguided, if not inaccurate altogether.

We often are bombarded with the points of view of others, especially these days, with the run for the United States presidency ramping up at warp speed, with under-inflated footballs being the talk of the town, with the one percent paying for power, and with poor, mistaken meteorologists running for cover. Everyone, from terrorists to tourists, from hacks to hatemongers, from politicians to PTA parents, wants to have a say. That baseball player’s salary is what? Are you kidding? Is it true that a commissioner of sports is paid more yearly than the combined income of every resident in my hometown? Which celebrity had an affair? Who said that couple shouldn’t get married? He said that? She’s doing what? On and on, opinions are on fire!

When it gets right down to it though, opinions, per se, are not what bother me; it’s judgments. Why? It's simple. When beliefs, attitudes, or other notions that harbor concealed judgments are let loose unrestrained, the results can be hurtful, if not devastating. Certainly we have a right to own our opinions, but a little moderation in judgment-making, however difficult that might be, would be just fine with me. Just saying . . . and a “select few” people I know understand why.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Giving The National Brain Cancer Society Support

As many people know, I lost my son, Alex, to brain cancer on May 24, 2013. Since that time, I have written a memoir, Tumor Me, The Story of My Firefighter, that tells in detail the story of Alex’s struggle in fighting the disease. For many years, as a result of Alex’s illness, I have donated money to organizations that support cancer research. It always seemed only right.
While I have given, my family and I also have been recipients of incredible support and love from friends and acquaintances, both old and new. In a lifetime I will not be able to thank them enough because their giving never seems to stop. Recently two of my friends, Alicia and Tim Streblow, suggested that, in memory and honor of Alex, and to support brain cancer research, that we form a team, “Alex’s Fighters” and raise money for the National Brain Cancer Society. Well, guess what? It’s happening! After an afternoon of planning, the team has been formed and is “up and running” on the National Brain Tumor Society’s website. We are asking folks that knew Alex to join the team and walk with us or simply to make a contribution.
If anyone who reads my blogs on (I Street Imaginings) or connects to it through Facebook and would like to donate to this important cause, please do. We do so appreciate the support.
Below is a quick link to my personal page.



Join us for an epic day in memory and celebration of those who have fought and continue to fight brain cancer. The Bay Area National Brain Tumor Society’s 5K Walk will take place in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on May 2, 2015. This is a just-over three-mile, easy walk that is family friendly and inspiring. This is an event to raise awareness and much needed resources to fund critical brain tumor specific programs to improve the lives of those affected by brain cancer.

For more information and to sign up go to

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sometimes One Simply Knows . . .
            To Hold On Or Let Go

At times, without even realizing it, a person’s words and demeanor may reveal more than he or she might want. In the scenario I wrote below, a watcher simply knows . . .

            Paula slipped by the woman who gushed with her knowledge. It made Paula uncomfortable and in her heart she knew the woman, aptly named Candy, was sweet on someone.
            “Oh, I heard that story,” Candy had revealed to a small group at the cocktail party just moments before. “Poor Brad was lost in the wilderness for days. Fortunately he has a good head on his shoulders, not to mention a strong body. It’s amazing he made his way out alive.”
Candy continued with enough specifics to write a short story.
            “His adventure has been the talk around the office, for sure,” Paula’s husband, Joe, said politely, throwing a quick glance at his wife.
            “Joe gets it too,” Paula thought sadly. “Poor Lily. Brad’s screwing around on her again.”
            Paula had heard gossip of Brad’s tendency to have his way with whomever he chose even though he had a wife and daughter at home. Candy clearly was his latest prize. The way Candy prattled on about Brad, reciting every detail of his amazing venture, had been a give-away.
            “She knows too much,” Paula told Joe later when they were home. “Every intimate detail. She was puffed up with it. And did you see her face beaming? That’s a woman in love, or lust at least. Poor Lily.”
            “You’re right,” Joe agreed. “Candy was pretty transparent, wasn’t she?”
            “She was. It’s sad. Poor Lily,” she said again. “I wonder what will happen, Joe?
            “I don’t know. They’ll work it out.”
            “Or not,” Paula mused. “Lily’s such a sweetie. She doesn’t deserve this.”
            “They’ll work it out,” Joe said again, not believing for a second that anything would work out, as he had phrased it, in Lily’s favor. He knew Brad too well.
            “We’ll see, I guess,” Paula replied with resolute sadness. “I just hope Lily isn’t completely blindsided and knows when it’s time to let the bastard go.”
            “Time. Looks as though that may be all she has left,” Joe whispered. “Time.”
He took Paula’s hand in his and held on tight, content in knowing that neither of them had any desire to let go. Not this time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Somewhat Uncomfortable Scene

I decided to write this piece today for two reasons. One is because I have seen an ad on television recently about domestic violence. It is heart wrenching. Secondly, I am in the midst of reading a book this week that touches on the subject. I believe strongly that women (and perhaps men in some instances) deserve support in ending the “hearts and flowers” cycle that often occurs when domestic violence is left unheeded. Below is my attempt at writing a short scenario.

When the lights went out suddenly that night, Kate promised herself things never would be the same, but most likely she was wrong. Frozen with fear, she had sat alone in the darkness for what seemed an eternity. It wasn’t. She waited only six hours, until dawn, until she was able to ease herself from the couch where she had shivered in the night cold afraid to move, afraid if she did he would come back. She could not bear that.
No sooner had Nick slapped her hard, did the house go dark as though some phantom had snapped off the electricity signaling that indeed this was perhaps the end. Their bickering that night had escalated into unrestrained anger.
“You are pathetic, Kate,” he spat.
“And you’re a psycho,” she retorted.
When his eyes had drawn into slits, she knew instinctively what was coming. It was not the first time. She watched, as if in slow motion, his arm rear back and then come at her. She reeled from the sting of his hand on her face, but at the same time reached out for him, her fingernails being her only weapon. She did not reach her mark, however, for he shoved her to the floor too quickly for her to connect. He whirled around then in a furry, tearing toward the front door that slammed firmly as he exited. She crawled on her hands and knees, in a black silence to the couch where she huddled, knees drawn to her chest, her arms holding them tight, and her back wedged against the cold leather. After the tears, in time, all emotion left her, but she was not without feeling. Her throbbing cheek had her attention.
When finally she moved at daybreak, she walked stiff and achy down the hall to her bedroom. The mirror reflected what she had feared. Her cheek bore a purple bruise and her eye was hemorrhaged. She knew it would take days for the blood to absorb, and until then, she would have to improvise a whole slew of excuses. A few began to take shape in her mind, but vanished immediately when she heard the door open and listened as Nick’s familiar foot pattern brought him closer. When he stepped into the room, her body tightened and she turned toward him, secretly hoping he would be appalled at the sight of her injuries, that he would be sorry. If he were worried, however, not a flicker of concern was discernable. It was as though Kate were invisible. He strode past her, looked at her sideways, smirked, and she understood.
She walked like an obedient child to the kitchen where a dozen pink roses and a tiny, stuffed teddy bear awaited her approval.

It was a new day.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Writer’s Conversation With Herself

Write the first line and everything else will follow.
That’s true until it isn’t. 
Why do you say that?
Because why?
Today I don’t have anything worth writing.
Yes you do.
Yes. Keep writing.
I don’t want to write.
Write anyway.
What have you been considering?
I’ve been thinking about . . . nothing.
You have to be pondering something.
Everything. Can’t focus.
Pick one thing.
Okay. So what about them?
I don’t understand them.
That’s it?
Pick another.
Yeah. I hate them.
That’s pretty random.
Well, I do. They screw up my alignment.
Go around them.
Not always easy.
Make an attempt.
Not easy, like people . . . sometimes.
Now you’re talking.
I’m not. I’m writing.
Ha! So what’s the problem?
You’re going in circles.
What about people?
They should be nicer.
The ones out there in the world
Who in particular?
The violent ones, the news grabbers
They’re misguided.
No conscience.
Gets to be much sometimes.
All the time
That’s life.
People are potholes.
They do damage . . . sometimes.
Not everyone
A few do.
Avoid them.
I’m going to close the door now.
And hide?
Retreat for a while
And then?
I think I’ll write.
Write what?
            A character sketch
Ha! Do that.
Sneaky, aren’t you?

                                                                        Judith DeChesere-Boyle, January 2015