Daniel's Esperanza

Daniel's Esperanza

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

It's Too Hot for the Pets Also

I'm not one to understand why people choose to adopt dogs and/or cats, only to make these fur angels live outside. They're part of your family, and wonderful companions, so why aren't they living indoors with you? At any rate, many people choose outdoor living for their pets.  When temperatures soar, as they are now in the Memphis area, those animals should be brought inside where there is air conditioning, and have plenty of water available to them.  If you're hot, they are too. Try putting on a winter coat, hat, gloves and boots, then step outside in 90-plus degree weather. You wouldn't last long.

Be accountable and responsible pet owners. Bring them inside; it's the humane thing to do.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Overcoming Obstacles

Opening a box and seeing some old art supplies prompted this blog post.  For weeks, I’ve thought about it and worked on it: editing, deleting, rewriting, setting it aside, then coming back to it.  I decided not to share several times, but the need to do so wouldn’t leave.  This volley of back and forth indecision is really explanatory of the whole thing; it is controlling.  So, why not?  They say release is good.
In the fall of 1980, I was a naïve eighteen-year-old college freshman attending the largest university in the state.  At the start of the school year, I was clear-eyed and trusting, excited to be away from home and looking forward to meeting new people; studio art was my focus.  By the end of the year, I felt defeated and demoralized due to the actions of a teaching assistant.  One class.  One graduate student.  Unfortunately, I’ve allowed him and my experience with him define too much of who I am today; I haven’t put paint brush to canvas in thirty-eight years.
This student taught the final art class of the term, and the last art class I ever took.  He charged past that invisible line of appropriateness, and I became the statistic that no woman ever wants to be.  My response: I transferred to another school, changed my major, destroyed most of my art work, and never told anyone.  It’s a lonely club to be in, trying to convince yourself you were a victim while fighting the belief that you’ll never deserve anything better.  Perhaps if there had been camera phones and social media back then, I might have had an easier time of getting through it.  At the very least, the odds of finding a support system to give me a little courage would have been greater.  As it was, isolation was where I retreated, and where this has remained until now.
There are times I can’t remember what I ate for lunch the previous day, yet nearly four decades later I remember everything about that teaching assistant.  His full name, where he was from, what he looked like, the intensity of his eyes, the paint under his finger nails, the color of his hair, how he smelled and what he wore.  Timewise, my experience with him was but a miniscule fragment of my life, yet it has been one of the most controlling and emotional barricades I’ve faced.  And I’ve allowed it.  It was easier to push it to the back of my mind than to face it. 
Years later, the difficulty always surfaced whenever I had to enter an art supply store with my younger daughter.  It wasn’t easy wandering the aisles and picking up things she needed for her classes; the inability to focus, feelings of nausea, and melancholia were real, and they hit hard because of something I had no control over.  Occasionally, I would purchase things for myself with the intention of someday “doing something with it”, but that day has yet to come.  I even enrolled in art courses at the university level and through art leagues several times over the years, convincing myself when I did so that I could overcome it. I cancelled all before ever attending.
When my daughters were younger, I wished for them to be fearless.  This had to do with possessing the inner belief in oneself, of allowing confidence to override insecurity; knowing without a doubt that they had the right to attempt, work for, and earn the same things in life as anyone else.  I don’t think I was the best role model, though; I earned a failing grade with that fearless bit, and I’m pretty sure they picked up on it.  How can I expect things of them, when I don’t exhibit the same for myself? 
A positive movement is happening for women, and this in part has emboldened me.  It makes me hopeful, and anxious.  In becoming stronger, I hope women embrace the past, learn how the paths were blazed, and never forget it.  We weren’t just dropped onto this earth, entitled to the rights we enjoy. There were pioneers who paved the way for us.  Nellie Bly.  Alice Paul.  Lucy Burns.  So many others.  Then there are the rest of us, with our own private obstacles to overcome, complete with history that defines us, hinders us and encourages us.  We might not change the world, but we matter, as do our personal stories.
I’ve followed a different artistic path with my photography, books, and short stories, and I’m proud of these things.  But this other thing lingers, so this morning I did something new:  an art supply search on Amazon.  For myself.  Baby steps.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Resources for Writers

The next step.  If you're a writer and looking for ways to get your manuscript traditionally published, visit www.writersmarket.com, and www.querytracker.net for the next prompts.  Both provide valuable information regarding literary agents, agencies, genres they accept, their websites, locations and timeframes.  It's important to visit the websites of each agency to make sure the agents aren't closed to submissions, then follow each agency's rules for submissions exactly.  Learn to be patient, and don't take rejections personally.  Remember: a legitimate literary agency does not charge a fee for submitting (it's free).  Best of luck!

Friday, February 23, 2018

New Photos

It's time to push my work a little. I've added more photographs to my Fine Art America and Pixels pages. Full resolution photos of the images below (and more) can be found at www.fineartamerica.com/profiles/veronica-batterson.html, and www.veronica-batterson.pixels.com. Thanks for taking a look and if you make a purchase, please let me know. I appreciate it.

Now, back to writing, outlining the next book, finishing the play and maybe hounding a literary agent or two about Williamsburg Hill.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Six Years

During the last few months, it has been a struggle for me to keep this blog going. My personal interest in it has been waning, partly due to my disdain for the role politics has played in social media, and the desire to remove myself from the animosity that’s around every virtual corner.  It’s difficult to like being online anymore.  I’ve almost given up a few times, telling myself that it’s time to move on, but having the blog is goal-driven for me, so it lingers.  An anniversary…six years this month.  However, keeping it fresh and updated is getting tougher. 
I’ve rewritten the beginning of this post several times, unsure as to how far I might go with the words I wish to share. I know what I want to say, but how to express myself without making people angry is what’s nagging at me.  The fact that I worry about this is frustrating.  Part of the reason I’ve wished to discontinue the blog is due to what social media has become: a self-serving, disrespectful, judgmental and vitriolic place.  And this is where I have the greatest disdain.  There isn’t much care if I’m offended or angered.  And I’ve been both quite a bit lately.
The world’s population recently reached 7.6 billion people, yet according to the finger-pointing, fist-shaking virtual world, each unique individual is categorized and compartmentalized. We’re labeled this or that, either/or, good or bad, liberal or conservative, right or wrong (this, of course, depends on who is yelling the loudest at the time); we’re lumped into sameness when we share nothing in common; we’re stifled from expressing an opinion or asking a question out of fear of being unfairly pegged something we aren’t; we’re told, not heard.  When did people become irrelevant as human beings?
Things seem to matter only if they meet certain criteria; a person’s death is tragic only if the life is lost in a questionable manner; causes are embraced in the heat of the moment, then abandoned when the next bandwagon rolls in.  Making assumptions to support the popular cause of the day runs rampant: if a person thinks a certain way, then that person must be (fill in the blank). It seems as if we’re all judged by that checklist of life, deemed worthy or not as to how we’re generalized to be.  That broad brush of acceptance, if it’s given, holds little substance for me since real need is overlooked in favor of causes driven by our political climate.
How can we think need, suffering, neglect, or any level of pain is determined by a checklist? Hunger pains that tear at a person’s belly aren’t lessened or greater based on criteria. Poverty, homelessness, illness, and disabilities affect many people of different walks of life, and are tragic regardless of who is touched or where they live, yet genuine compassion is lost to the movement of the moment.  How shallow and hypocritical our world has become.
An interesting Chicago Tribune commentary (What Chicago's South, West Sides and Appalachia have in Common) details the similarities in poverty, unemployment and violence that plague the areas, but cites the biggest thing they have in common is despair.  It’s the writer’s belief that the overall population in the areas voted differently not because of any party loyalty, but because they wanted to have dignity once again. Politicians had failed them, and I tend to agree with him. Yet, the people of these areas are judged and ridiculed for how they voted, when each one of them generally wants the same things: a better life and opportunities for their families. The American Dream.
Native Americans living in poverty
Additionally, there are over 300 Native American Tribal Lands (Indian Reservations, Pueblos, Colonies, Rancherías) in the United States, and the living conditions have been described as “compatible to third world” countries (www.nativepartnership.org); Native Americans have a higher poverty and unemployment rate when compared to the national average.  Visit or drive through one of them; poverty at its ugliest is glaring.  Why aren’t the masses “rising up” about this?  Why aren’t there marches and demands for change?
Capitol Crawl - 1990
The Americans with Disabilities Act became law in 1990 (www.ada.gov), but those with disabilities still don’t always have access to basic services.  Some pro-business commentators at the time who were against the act said that the ADA “was an expensive headache to millions that would not necessarily improve the lives of people with disabilities.” No doubt the doubters had great headaches seeing the “Capitol Crawl” of 1990, when disability rights activists ditched their wheelchairs, canes, walkers and crutches, and crawled up the steps of the capitol in protest, demanding their voices be heard.  Yet, sometimes those who march for other things today don’t seem to mind too much about parking in a “Handicapped Parking” space just to be closer; or take no notice that a person in a wheelchair doesn’t have access to a public restroom, restaurant, movie theatre, art gallery, or football stadium.  Where is the anger?
Then there is this: the silence regarding daily gun violence. The site www.gunviolencearchive.org collects annual statistics regarding victims of gun crime. In the last four years, the incidents and deaths have increased yearly:
·      (2014)   Incidents – 51,862; Deaths – 12,558; Mass Shootings – 271
·      (2015)   Incidents – 53,723; Deaths – 13,513; Mass Shootings – 333
·      (2016)   Incidents – 58,834; Deaths – 15,089; Mass Shootings – 383
·      (2017)   Incidents – 61,437; Deaths – 15,584; Mass Shootings – 345
According to a New York Times article (Comparing the Las Vegas Attack with Daily Gun Deaths in U.S. Cities), while 58 were killed in the mass attack in Las Vegas, Chicago had the same number of deaths in a span of 28 days that started two days before the incident in Las Vegas.  All of these incidents, deaths and shootings are relevant and important. All of these lives matter. Where is the outcry?
I think the times were better when we didn’t know how anyone voted.  It used to be a private right, kept close to the vest.  People went to the polls on election day, cast their ballots and moved on with their lives.  Since social media exploded with “authorities” behind every keyboard and smartphone, it’s made life online an unpleasant place to be.  Dictating demands, yelling (via all caps, of course), ridicule and general rudeness have replaced common decency.  There’s a lot of talking but little doing.
A balm, in which to heal the festering anger, might be to disconnect.  Turn it off.  Walk away from the virtual world (or at least reduce the time spent there), find a cause that isn’t politically driven or motivated, and actively make a difference.  Find the need; it’s there.  Then listen to it and hear it.  I’m trying.
And the blog?  It continues…at least until next time.

Friday, December 29, 2017

A Happier New Year

Photo ⓒ VRBatterson
My plans for this end-of-the-year post didn't materialize, and I simply ran out of time. I started working on what I wanted to say a couple of weeks ago after visiting the 9/11 Museum in New York, but it seemed none of my words could adequately express the emotion I felt during that visit. I wanted to tie that time with some things that have been on my mind for quite a while, but everything I wrote seemed rushed. My muse has abandoned me it seems, and I need to find her. Holiday demands haven't helped, and perhaps I can blame most of it on that time of year, but darn that muse. Enough with the vacation!

All I can offer at this time are some wonderful poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919), and her reflections of the season. Thank you to everyone who continues to read this blog; several years and counting. May it continue.

My wishes to all: 1) a happier new year than the last, 2) don't drink and drive, 3) best wishes for good health, 4) show the people you love that you do, and 5) stay warm!


What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That's not been said a thousand times? 
The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know. 
We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night. 
We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings. 
We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead. 
We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that's the burden of the year. 

When with clanging and with ringing
    Comes the year's initial day,
I can feel the rhythmic swinging
    Of the world upon its way;
And though Right still wears a fetter,
    And though Justice still is blind,
Time's beyond is always better
    Than the paths he leaves behind.
In our eons of existence,
    As we circle through the night,
We annihilate the distance
    'Twixt the darkness and the light.
From beginnings crude and lowly,
    Round and round our souls have trod
Through the circles, winding slowly
    Up to knowledge and to God.
With each century departed
    Some old evil found a tomb,
Some old truth was newly started
    In propitious soil to bloom.
With each epoch some condition
    That has handicapped the race
(Worn-out creed or superstition)
    Unto knowledge yields its place.
Though in folly and in blindness
    And in sorrow still we grope,
Yet in man's increasing kindness
    Lies the world's stupendous hope;
For our darkest hour of errors
    Is as radiant as the dawn,
Set beside the awful terrors
    Of the ages that have gone.
And above the sad world's sobbing,
    And the strife of clan with clan,
I can hear the mighty throbbing
    Of the heart of God in man;
And a voice chants through the chiming
    Of the bells, and seems to say,
We are climbing, we are climbing,
    As we circle on our way.

As the dead year is clasped by a dead December,
   So let your dead sins with your dead days lie.
A new life is yours and a new hope. Remember
   We build our own ladders to climb to the sky.
Stand out in the sunlight of promise, forgetting
   Whatever the past held of sorrow and wrong.
We waste half our strength in a useless regretting;
   We sit by old tombs in the dark too long.
Have you missed in your aim?  Well, the mark is still shining.
   Did you faint in the race?  Well, take breath for the next.
Did the clouds drive you back?  But see yonder their lining.
   Were you tempted and fell?  Let it serve for a text.
As each year hurries by, let it join that procession
   Of skeleton shapes that march down to the past
While you take your place in the line of progression,
   With your eyes to the heavens, your face to the blast.
I tell you the future can hold no terrors
   For any sad soul while the stars revolve,
If he will stand firm on the grave of his errors,
   And instead of regretting--resolve, resolve!
It is never too late to begin rebuilding,
   Though all into ruins your life seems hurled;
For see! how the light of the New Year is gilding
   The wan, worn face of the bruised old world.

As the old year sinks down in Time's ocean,
    Stand ready to launch with the new,
And waste no regrets, no emotion,
    As the masts and the spars pass from view.
Weep not if some treasures go under,
    And sink in the rotten ship's hold,
That blithe bonny barque sailing yonder
    May bring you more wealth than the old.
For the world is for ever improving,
    All the past is not worth one to-day,
And whatever deserves our true loving,
    Is stronger than death or decay.
Old love, was it wasted devotion?
    Old friends, were they weak or untrue?
Well, let them sink there in mid-ocean,
    And gaily sail on to the new.
Throw overboard toil misdirected,
    Throw overboard ill-advised hope,
With aims which, your soul has detected,
    Have self as their centre and scope.
Throw overboard useless regretting
    For deeds which you cannot undo,
And learn the great art of forgetting
    Old things which embitter the new.
Sing who will of dead years departed,
    I shroud them and bid them adieu,
And the song that I sing, happy-hearted,
    Is a song of the glorious new.

Copyright ⓒ Ella Wheeler Wilcox