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Thursday, 7/28/16 & Friday & 7/29/16
REFLECTIONS OF EL
In Search of Self
You never know when you’re going to experience something that makes sense to you on a thoroughly deep level and changes things forever. Always be on the lookout for unexpected life-lessons.
I was about fifteen and I was in the movie theater watching “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” The guy playing Sidney Poitier’s father (Roy Glenn) was on a tirade about how as a mailman, he had carried his heavy bag for long hours and then years, in order to help Sidney to be the man that he had become. His father demanded that Sidney should be appreciative of his efforts.
Mr. Poitier interrupted his father and pointedly said, “You did, what you were supposed to do. I did not ask to be here. From the time that I was born, you owed me. All that time that you carried that bag and all of your hard work, you did for yourself.”
Prior to hearing this speech, I truly believed that as the child, I was obligated to ensure that I made my parents happy because I owed them (I still felt that that was the right way to feel but I guess that’s part of being a good kid). After hearing Mr. Poitier’s speech, I suddenly understood that when a person makes a decision that a child might be conceived, the obligation begins with them and not the child. But actually, I said all this in order to tell the story of the birth of my first daughter.
Towards the end of the nine months, I was frequently speaking to my daughter and calling her by her name often. After all, it wasn’t too soon for her to get to know her daddy.
As she was being born, I could first see her hair. I was touched and amazed. Regardless of all the conversations she and I had had (which were a bit one-sided), I still could not believe that she was really going to be here. After she had been cleaned and had this little pink wool cap placed her head, a strange event occurred.
There had been many not so easy times for my wife, so I felt that the least I could do was to make certain that she was comfortable. In addition, I found that because of these trials, my devotion and love had grown stronger towards her over the past year but that's a story for another time.
Unexpectedly, the nurse then stated that she had to take my daughter to another area for whatever tests. I felt as if I was torn. I didn’t know whether to stay with my wife, as she lay there dealing with the aftermath of birth or to go with my helpless daughter, to make certain that she was all right. I stayed put in the delivery room but this would become one of the many marvelous life-changing events, which I could only attempt to get used to. In the long run, I found that I could only try to keep up with the ever-changing events of this new life.
I have always found it difficult to understand how any guy can just walk away from the life that he has helped to create. Whether by accident (yeah, right) or planned out to the last detail, once a child is conceived, it’s the responsibility of both parents (especially the father) to ensure that the kid has every chance for a happy life. At least that’s what I’ve always believed.
The time had come for the presentation to an eight year old that not only does she have some extra weight to lose but all the good times at McDonald's and the unrestricted ability to eat as she please was about to cease. It seemed like really scary experiences were ahead.
I was told a story from a friend at work about a similar experience she had gone through with her child. When she and her husband attempted to get their daughter to stop eating extra sugar, they found candy hidden in the oddest places around the house. When they were able to put a stop to this, they then got calls from the school about how the child was overeating and/or eating unhealthy foods since she could not do it at home. In other words, their daughter felt she was justified in lying and hiding food in order to continue fulfilling what she was missing. My wife and I could only pray that we did not have to deal with the issues that this couple did.
We sat our daughter down and explained that it would be better for her health if she cut out the sweets and the junk foods. We also made it clear that nothing else would change, like the weekend outings and the trips to the toy store when she and her sister were good. Her answer to all of this was "Okay". We waited for the "Willy Wonka" revolution but there was none.
As the months rolled by, we were amazed by the reaction of our daughter. She followed every food restriction without a fuss. She ran and played as she had always done and the new dietary routine that was set up for her simply became part of her life. By the time she was nine years old, it was amazing to see the difference in the way she looked.
As much as I would like to take a big part of the credit for the weight reduction, there was another factor going on which was really driving the little guinea pig. As much as my wife and I wanted her to lose the weight for her health, our daughter wanted to follow through with the program because SHE wanted to look a certain way. She was headed towards teenage years and wanted to change her image. It seemed that the little darling had a master plan of her own.
I worried for a while that she would relapse and gain the weight back but that never happened. I guess she liked the way that she looked
Here she is at age ten, then age eleven and then age twelve.
By age thirteen there was no stopping her. The love and concern that she had gotten from her parents helped but the dream that she had and the love that she had for herself is what drove her across the finish line and beyond. Not only is she still my little cutey but she is a true inspiration for me. She made me as a father proud, that she was so determined and she succeeded. The End.
Author Interview: Valerie Auguste-Partin, author of Mom Me: E-mail 2 Heaven
By Lloyd A. Green
Welcome all! I’m thrilled to present the awesome Valerie Auguste-Partin. Valerie is a writer with quite an impressive resume. She’s written fiction and non-fiction books, where she has displayed a remarkable ability to blend her imagination and true feelings and pen them to paper. Recently, Valerie and I recently discussed how her writing career came to be.
LLOYD A. GREEN: Thank you for the interview. First of all, please tell me a bit about yourself, your interests and when you first decided to become a writer.
VALERIE AUGUSTE-PARTIN: And thank you for allowing me the opportunity to do an interview for your blog.
I was a full-time Literacy Through The Arts teacher in the Bronx for numerous years. In 2012, a few months before she died, my Mom asked me to slow down my rigorous work pace. I honored her wishes two weeks before she passed away. I currently work part time as an Arts Specialist for Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation. I teach Dance as well as Spoken Word to children in Grades 6-8. I am also a Co-Director for fundraiser Talent Shows and Open Mic events.
GREEN: On a personal note, you and I share a bit of educational background. We both attended the High School for Music and Art, which was located in Manhattan, New York.
AUGUSTE-PARTIN: Those were among the most memorable days of my life. WOW!! After completing high school I immediately went on to college. By the age of 23, I obtained a B.S. in Elementary Education and M.A. in Dance Education from NYU.
GREEN: Has your education at M&A and beyond ever worked its way into your writing?
AUGUSTE-PARTIN: My education at M&A and NYU has not worked its way into my writing. I began writing at a young age. My beloved Mom gave me a red leather journal. It contained two gold colored keys that unlocked and locked my book. I began writing poems and short stories at the age of 8 years old.
GREEN: Your newest works touch upon your dear mother, who suffered from cancer and diabetes. You delved deeply into how you loved and cared for her and its affect on you. These must have been two really difficult books to write. What was the process like of putting it down on paper?
AUGUSTE-PARTIN: The process of writing two books that delve into my diabetes, cancer and grief journey with my Mom was extremely raw, surreal, dark and filled with twilight zone anguish. The first book Mom Me: Soaring Through The Pain was quite disconnected in terms of the writing process. It was written on torn sheets of paper, which reflected the emotional pain that I was experiencing on a daily basis. I completed the writing of that book in (7) months.
The sequel Mom Me: E-mail 2 Heaven was a bit more structured and written in a journal. I completed the writing of that book fairly recently in 2015. Writing through the pain allowed me to be EMOTIONALLY NAKED with my readers. Through this horrendous experience with my Mom, I learned numerous new lessons about life. First of all, I learned that diabetes and cancer are equal opportunity KILLER DISEASES that do not discriminate. They can strike anyone at anytime WITHOUT WARNING!!!!! Secondly, I learned that grief has no set timetable. Grief has no expiration date. Grief is like drifting in and out of consciousness.
GREEN: Who are some of your favorite authors and out of your published stories do you have a personal favorite?
AUGUSTE-PARTIN: Some of my favorite authors are Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Judy Blume and Sidney Shelton. Out of my four published books my favorite one is Eye Was Blind...Now Eye See. This book is the sequel to an indie movie that I wrote entitled Eye Was Blind. The film won a BEST DRAMA award in the 2005 International Independent Film and Video Festival. Some of the other awards that the indie film EYE WAS BLIND won were:
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Southern Appalachian International Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Macon Georgia Film Festival
FINALIST: 2005 Arizona Black Film Festival
GREEN: Do you have any advice to newer writers out there about ways to utilize their own real-life stories in their writing?
AUGUSTE-PARTIN: My advice to newer writers is to dig deep and totally utilize your own life real stories in your writing. Share your life stories with the entire world. This is especially important if you have experienced traumatic events in your life, which you would like to share with the world. Unfortunately, life is not a happily ever after fairy tale. Bad events happen to good people. Diabetes and cancer are snatching people's lives daily. Those of us who have personally lived these horrific experiences owe it to other people out there to tell our stories. There is no sugar coating watching someone you love (especially your Mom) wither away like a dying flower from a terminal illness (s). I decided to turn my pain into purpose. My mission is to spread the word world wide and globally through my riveting story. My books were written with the sole purpose of creating an awareness about these devastating monsters named DIABETES and CANCER!!
GREEN: And finally, any suggestions on how to get inside the heads of fictional characters and make them realistic?
AUGUSTE-PARTIN: My suggestions on getting inside the heads of fictional characters is just to go with your inner voice of creativity. Write outside of the box. Don't be afraid to be a literary risk taker. Make your characters come alive. Create your characters as if you were watching a movie on the big screen. Now sit back, relax and enjoy the show, which you have created on paper.
Huge thanks to Valerie Auguste-Partin for being our featured author!
Mom Me: Soaring Through The Pain / Cancer and Diabetes: The 10 Year Journey
Mom Me: E-mail 2 Heaven
Eye Was Blind
Eye Was Blind ... Now Eye See
* Available in softcover and e-book version on:
Barnes and Noble.com
Xlibris.com (888) 795-4274
You can also follow her on-line at:
Between the ages of five and six, my lovely daughter had gained some extra weight. Perhaps you can tell the slight difference.
I guess the problem was that my wife and I couldn't see it. Being so close to the angel caused us as parent to say things like, "She hasn't really gained that much" or "Her body is just going through a change" or the ever popular "It's just baby fat. She'll grow out of it soon." By age seven she was still growing but she looked so cute.
Life was going along smoothly with the whole denial thing. It was only mother nature we said to ourselves. We loved our daughter too much to possibly be responsible for her gaining. As loving and protective as we were, that just could not be so. Unfortunately, during the next visit to the pediatrician, we were in for a rude awakening.
Usually the our visits were friendly and I tried to be humble with all the compliments being thrown in my direction but this time Dr. Bombay blasted us both for being inattentive parents. He said that her weight gain was too fast and we were not taking what was happening to her body seriously. Finally he said that there was no need for this kind of weight gain and we needed to seriously do something about it or what was happening might affect her for the rest of her life.
Well blow me down and call me Elmer but I could not have been more embarrassed. We were given pamphlets and written instructions on what the child should and should not be eating. The junk food and any kind of fatty foods were definitely out of the question and this is not to mention sweets of any kind. We now had to admit that we had been loose and free with the "showing our love through food" game. We were the responsible parties.
We knew that we could cut off the pipeline but how was our little darling going to react when we told her that there would be no more Flintstone Dinosaur-Burgers? We were about to find out.
Our eight-year old darling would hopefully understand.
To be continued...........
The greatest happiness you can feel is when you share with someone you love.