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“The Love of Debbie La’treck,” the first in a series, is a humorous and dramatic tale of a young girl’s love for reading “Gone Wild.” 

Debbie, a voracious reader, begins to live vicariously through literary characters. Debbie’s mother, Vivian, grows concerned with her daughter’s behavior. Debbie has receded into a shell, blocking-out all reality, creating a world that blurs the line between real and make believe.  Vivian must now coax Debbie back into reality without taking away her daughter’s imaginative spirit. This engaging book explores the delicate balance parents may face when nurturing creative children.

This Story is For You if You..

  • Are about 9yrs/teen/adult (boys and girls)
  • Are a parent or an adult whose best intentions may have not led to the expected outcome
  • Have annoying siblings
  • Are interested in basketball
  • Love drama
  • Read Shakespeare
  • Ever thought about shipping your kid or someone else’s off far, far away…
  • Enjoy reading
  • Have had your first crush
  • Ready for an ending that will have you wondering…
 

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Q & A

Is “The Love of Debbie La’treck” a children’s book?

The age range is about 9 to adult. 

What was the most challenging experience you faced writing the story?

Trying to appeal to such a broad age range. I’ve had to change the language of several scenes so that it would be appropriate for children, yet, write it so that adults would still be interested in the story.

Where did you get the idea for the story?

I’d just completed reading “Indiana” by George Sand years ago and I wrote it that night. The original story, a part of a collection of shorter stories, was about twelve pages long. It was only after I landed a publishing deal that I added more content beginning with the scene where Vivian returns to her room for silence and to think about past events.

What can we look for in the future?

The story was written as a series.  I wanted readers to learn about Debbie and Vivian so I started the story off a bit slower leading up to lots of action. I want to jump right in and pick up the story with lots of drama in Part II.   

Lastly, do you have any other books we should watch for?

Yes, Lord Handkerchief. I really, really love this story and where it’s going. It’s about wealth and choices and the meaning of life. I am hoping to publish it next year.

I actually started seeing scenes for this story while writing another book. The scenes were so vivid and many that I  had to stop writing the other story and start writing this one.

The story is a bit different than Debbie La’treck because Debbie is much more intense and dramatic. Lord Handkerchief is a bit less dramatic but nevertheless, interesting and told with humor. I am really enjoying the relationship between Sir Charles and Lord Handkerchief. Both are hanky’s.

 

 

Becoming Published Blog Posts

Debbie-LaTreck-Front-Cover10-662x1024

 

Entry 1: I Have Seen the Light

June 2, 2015: I guess I’ll start with how the Starz TV show The Chair, helped me understand why feedback is important.

I just finished draft number, I swear 150+ and submitted it to my publisher for feedback. So, here’s how it works to clarify the process of publishing. You write a book, edit it, edit it some more, then edit it again, then edit it a million more times then you submit it thinking you’re done, or atleast you think you’re done. You wait for feedback because now they have to send it out to a focus group. The type of feedback may be, if the book is readable meaning the reader can understand it and you don’t totally suck. Does it make sense, yada, yada, yada. So of course after editing the story about 150 times, I think  I have a Picasso. I submit it and wait for my brilliant reviews. But wait, not so fast….

Before I continue, let me just state that I had great feedback concerning the book, but keep in mind that my little tiny brain thinks I have a Picasso so any questions or wonderings was, well like questioning God.

So there was feedback in which the book read as if it were from the 1800’s. Now mind you a part of the book reflects that time period as the basis for Debbie’s, well you have to read it… So, my little ego was crushed. Something in my best-selling, wonderful, the best thing since slice cheese book needed further explaining. I started planning my goodbyes. I wrote a will leaving all of my ten dollars in my account to my children to be given to them in two parts-one when they turn 18 and the other 21. I came clean to my husband telling him I never loved him because he didn’t look like, Brad Pitt. I told my mother-in-law that her tomato soup needed more tomatoes. I was ready to end it. Ready to kick the bucket. My tombstone would read: “Here lies Habeeba, the greatest un-published writer there ever lived. God bless this genius.”

But low and behold, I just so happen to be turning the channel, as I wallowed in self-pity, and watched an episode of The Chair. Ha. Let me tell you what happened next. Both of the finalist, films were being critiqued. Focus groups were watching to provide feedback as to what worked and what didn’t. And at that moment, I had an ah-ha moment. It was like God opened the heavens and said, “Let there light!” I finally understood the importance of feedback. So, what did I do next?

I made changes and explained the part that I needed to based on the feedback I received and then I asked for more feedback. I realized that it would only help me improve my story. I guess now I’ve become sort of like the feedback queen.

So what is the lesson I learned?

That’s simple-when God opens the heavens and lets in all that light, make sure you wear shades.

Future Publication: The Ambulance Journey of Skateboarder Sean Bradley III

This story is inspired by a skateboard designed by my oldest brother Omar Thabit Pasha.

After the fourth broken arm, Sean’s parent sue him for the amount of money they’ve had to pay for his medical bills. The judge allows the suit to go through and after a few choice words by the infamous family judge Gillert Ryder, Sean is sentenced to time riding along in an ambulance so that he can understand the consequences of his risky behavior. But does he?

 

Chapter 1: Judge Ryder Sucks

Here I am in this stupid ambulance. I can’t believe my parents sued me. I can’t believe the judge called me and my skateboarding friends “freakin morons.” Since when do judges get to use language like that? I mean, if I used language like that my dad and mom would like go into a fit and ground me for like forever. And just to think that Judge Ryder and my parents agreed that I should be punished all because I like broke my arms like 4 times. I mean, Big D broke his arm like 6 times and his parents didn’t sue him. So now I’m in this stupid ambulance riding along with Philicia Jamison. She’s hot and all but like she asks too many questions and she’s like 25, way too old for my type. By the way, I’ll be 13 next week and once I turn 18 I plan to move out and skateboard full time, but until then, I kinda have to like live with my parents Yani and Sean Bradley II and write a diary for like 50 days. It was originally 25 days but I pissed Judge Ryder off so much that he tacked on 25 more days, not without telling me I was an idiot and all just because I kinda like mumbled his hairpiece should be dyed.

Writing sucks. Life sucks. This ambulance sucks and picking up kids with broken arms, that sucks too unless their like your friends and then you get to shoot the breeze and play around, well that is, until you like hit a bump during the ride and the conversation kinda turns to screams.

Well, I guess I should explain everything from the beginning so that you can understand why I’m here. I’m a pretty swell guy just a bit misunderstood. I mean just because I want to skate all the time doesn’t mean I’m dumb and all. I mean if I were like a teenage girl who wanted to wear makeup all the time like the lames in my junior highschool, well except Khaliah, she’s gorgeous and my future girlfriend who doesn’t know it yet, I’d be labeled cool and all and encouraged to be like a fashion makeup queen and everybody would kinda  like want to come around me, all because I know how many different types of pink lipsticks and nail polish there are, and I’d still be all popular and stuff even though I couldn’t tell you what’s four plus four or our first president. I mean I may not have an entourage but atleast I know who our first president is. I was like even on the debate team for a year and out debated everyone that is, until I was kicked off by Mr. Johnson because I challenged him to debate me about students having the right to drop out of college and follow their dreams, more specifically skateboarding dreams.  I guess he thought I was going to corrupt the minds of other students.

But I’m a boy whose only interest is to ride my skateboard which some kids at school think is kinda lame because I don’t do the normal stuff like go to the movies or mall. I mean who wants to walk around a mall when you can ride a ramp? Like hanging in the mall can’t even compare to the feeling I get when I’m in the air becoming one with my board. I mean that’s where it’s at.

I also happen to be a part of the Bradley family which is cool except I’m  expected to like follow in their stupid footsteps and make a ton of money, get married and have kids. But that’s not like what I want to do with my life. I mean don’t get me wrong, the money part is great but I can’t see myself having kids especially knowing what they’re like. Like I have a little brother we call Rabbit because all he does is like hop from one couch to the next yelling and stuff and then like somehow he always runs into walls. Now that I’m thinking about it, I probably should talk to him because my mom might sue him in a few years, like when he turns five for mental stress because she likes has to revive him each time he does it. But back to me and stuff, I’ve known what I wanted to do ever since I had an encounter with DJ. Getdough, a DJ at night but a legendary skateboarder from 9 to 5.

 

Chapter 2: DJ Getdough

My Junior High School sits in the middle of St. Johns Street. It’s like huge and all because like alot of kids go there, anyways our principal Mrs. Eat Soap, except her name isn’t really Mrs. Eat Soap but Janet Mitchell. We call her that because like everyone wants her to like eat soap and die and stuff, decided that since there were no in school suspensions and all for the month of April and May, the two months where like everyone seems to get into a lot of trouble and all because in June everyone has to take tests and we typically don’t have a life, to invite a guest to our school. So that  kinda like became the lame topic in the school for a while. Most of my friends and all thought she invited Fire Chief Williams.

So there was like a big plan and all to break free from hearing his boring lecture about fire. Even Branita, she’s Mr. Williams daughter, thought her father was coming so she started acting all uppity and stuff. I said hi to her one day in the hallway after the rumor started and she just like rolled her eyes at me like you know how sometimes girls do when they get in that #I’msobeautifuldon’ttalktomemood# except she probably thought #myfatherislikecomingandhe’slikeThefireGodsoi’mlikeallthat# and I like just kept walking because like the last thing I ever want to do is get into an argument with Branita Williams because she’ll start like crying and stuff and tell her dad and all his fire friends will be outside waiting for me after school trying to like hose me and all, and like if they do, I’ll never be able to skateboard again because I’ll drown and stuff from all the water and like my mom will have to bury me in a closed coffin because I’ll be bloated and stuff from being filled with water and I’ll kinda like look a puffer fish. I don’t really like puffer fish.

So the plan was for Richard Thomas to pull the fire alarm so that we could break free and I like told him to be careful because I watch CSI and if the detectives find his fingerprints on the alarm he’ll like go to jail and all but all my friends just kinda looked at me so I stopped talking. But once Branita said her father was not the speaker, Kirk Blazzel said that he heard it was like Ariana Grande.

All the guys wondered if Mrs. Eat Soap had the clout to pull that off because she was like nerdish and all and Ariana was like cool and all, but then all the guys kinda like got excited about the idea. The girls all started coming to school with their hair like hers which was so like stupid and all. Well not Khaliah, she really pulled off Ariana’s look. She’s like a princess and all. I’ve loved her since 4th grade. Anyways, the day that we all made up our minds it was going to be Ariana, I like had a dream about her. Not Khaliah but Ariana.

Ariana was like sitting next to me on my couch and all and I was about to plant a big juicy wet one on her and then she started singing, a mic appeared, and I was on stage somehow in her concert and then she was singing and my mom came out and started lecturing me about having girls in the house until she saw it was Ariana and then she started dancing and got #jiggywithit# and I was like totally embarrassed because the crowd went wild and like they totally showed my mom on television and I woke up screaming.

All this, the dream and the rumors about Ariana Grande happened on Friday but by Monday the new rumor was LeBron James, but then that was squashed because he was like having a press conference that night in like Miami about some new show he was a part of. Oh, by the way I’m from Nanuet New York. It’s pretty nice here. You should visit sometimes. We can shoot the breeze and I can show you the “Dome.” It’s the largest ramp in Nanuet.

So like the week went by and all and on Friday we were all told on the PA to go to the auditorium. All the girls still wore their hair like Ariana’s  because they all thought she was still coming. Brian Harris, my best friend, who was also convinced Ariana was still coming sprayed on so much cologne, which kinda smelled like really bad and all, that the only thing that came to mind was that I wished that Richard Thomas could still pull the fire alarm so that water could like fill the auditorium and like Mrs. Eat Soap could like burp up like a bar of soap, and Brian would be able to take a bath and like return to normal.

So like here we all were in the auditorium and stuff waiting when before our eyes, the legendary black stallion, we call him that because of his dark skin, DJ Getdough walked in and like I almost took a crap in my pants….

 

 

Future Publication (2016): Lord Handkerchief

Lord Handkerchief enjoys a life of luxury belonging to his suitor, Lord Yang. When Lord Handkerchief falls from the suit of Lord Yang during a night of entertainment, he finds himself in the presence of Lance Sterling, a working man, who has only heard stories of Lord Handkerchief never being able to afford him. For three days he lives with the Sterling’s where he finds himself faced with a decision, should he return to a life of luxury or engage in one of the most scandalous acts of his life to stay with the Sterling’s and live. 

 

Contents

Chapter 1: The Suitor and his Hanky

Chapter 2: Lord Chi Yang

Chapter 3: The Picking Up of Lord Handkerchief

Chapter 4: Unsuitable Conditions

Chapter 5: A Boy Makes a Child’s Mistake

Chapter 6: Lord Handkerchief

Chapter 7: Bobby Does Well

Chapter 8: Bobby Forgets

Chapter 9: The Wealth of Lance Sterling

Chapter 10: A Wife Remains Silent

Chapter 11: Morning Whispers

Chapter 12: A Decision of Scandalous Proportions

 

Part I

Chapter 1: The Suitor and his Hanky

Lord Handkerchief, an awfully handsome handkerchief I might add, belonged to Lord Yang of the house of Blacksmith located west of Hinsdale. He often accompanied Lord Yang during visits to Lodge Court of Hinsdale, home to Madame Lanette, to discuss the most important matters of finance. Lord Yang was Madame Lanette’s business partner and sole financier. He served in this role for many years and was used to working with the head strong head of court who had a low tolerance for budgets and a very large appetite for all things new.

Lord Handkerchief was a handsome cloth, which of course needs to be repeated to emphasize his handsomeness. He was made from the finest silk found only in Raniere Lords, the finest retail of men’s fashion located in the District of Bloom in Hinsdale. Having been imported from France, Lord Handkerchief suited Monsieur Yang perfectly; for both man and hanky possessed an air of sophistication and desired the finer things in life.

Lord Handkerchief was not for sneezing, coughing, or touching. His sole purpose in life was to sit in the suit of his lord to attract the eye of fellow financiers and those gathering in court for business. Lord Yang took pride in his handkerchief’s appearance sending him daily to be steam-dried and pressed, enjoying the good life and never ever hand washed.

On occasions and in the presence of less fortunate handkerchiefs who themselves were hand washed and dried and whose fabrics often revealed such brutality, Lord handkerchief found himself a bit flustered becoming well, a bit perturbed; for he believed that these “handkermiffs” or “cottonaire’s” belonged elsewhere and not in his presence and immediately made his feelings known to those who dared to stand within feet of him. For all cottonaire’s knew the sound of “um-hume,” the clearing of Lord Handkerchiefs throat, which was quickly followed by any and all cottonaire’s immediate removal from his presence and a return to a mental PH balance to Lord Handkerchief.

On the evening of May 30, Lord Handkerchief gathered at Lodge Court to dine with Madame Lanette, her husband Lord Wellington and guests. Lord Wellington was the fifth cousin removed from the Wells family, owners of several estates and of enormous wealth. Having been recently seated at the dinner table, Lord Handkerchief found himself in the presence of Lady Jasper, the most distinguished daughter of Lady Agnes Roberts and cousin to Madame Lanette.

Lady Jasper sat next to Lord Yang at the bequest of Madame who thought the seating arrangements were most appropriate for what better potential suitor than Lord Yang who most undoubtedly would take charge of Lady Jasper’s finances keeping her from claiming inheritance entitlements against the purse of Madame Lanette; thus, reducing her shopping sprees by one or two.

Madame Lanette and Lord Yang dined at table 1b which so happened to be M. Lanette’s favorite table for no other reason than M. Lanette needing something to favor. A total of eight circular tables sat exuberating light from the most beautifully sculptured candles. Each table’s ambiance revealed a most splendid white and gold theme. Orchards and Magnolias surrounded each table in a most elegant display of opulence. Silk table cloths draped down with center pieces of Bud Orange Roses, a contrast to the beautiful array of all white Almond Blossoms, Carnations, Hyacinth, and roses. Gold salad plates sat upon opulent white colored china service plates.  White and gold laced napkins sat perfectly folded to the left of dinner plates. Bread plates sat directly above salad and dinner forks.  Three glasses sat still, two in which were to ensure a most entertaining evening. Every detail was absolutely perfect. The orchestra of Seńorita Madeline Romano played in the background.

The night’s temperature sat comfortably at 80 degrees. Laughter filled the air as glasses rose. Not one cloud dared to peak down on this grand event. Lake Bell sat feet away from the estate to the right of Table 3b occasionally waving hello. The sweet smells of flowers, Chicken Corden Bleu and Meńot y Meńot were served by the most attentive attendants. All in attendance and who had all by the way frequented M. Lanette’s home many times concured that this evening’s dinner should undoubtedly be repeated.

As the evening carried on with a spectacular night of entertainment, Lord Handkerchief found himself in the most peculiar situation; as Lady Jasper set about to remove herself from the table to powder her nose, she slipped grabbing the arm of Lord Yang and as he held her in his arms momentarily frozen by her beauty, he did not hear the cries of Lord Handkerchief falling. And it was the falling of Lord Handkerchief that would change his life forever and a day.

 

Chapter 2: Lord Chi Yang  

 

Lord Yang’s impeccable appearance is quite the contrast to his humble beginnings. Born Chi Yang, Lord Yang was raised by his maternal grandmother Sue-Li (Gren-gren) and grandfather Fen-Young (Pa-pa) in Pindao, a village in rural China. His parents, viewed more as siblings and poor migrated for work leaving Chi with his grandparents for his care and schooling.

At the age of seven his beloved grandmother died. Chi was absolutely devastated and needed to be carried away from her side. For he loved Gren-gren who’d spent countless hours helping him develop his character strokes and telling him the tales of Xi-Pang, the Emperor who guarded little boys and girls from Xyhing-Tan, the bad spirit who lived amongst the clouds causing them to break traditions and disobey their parents.

In the beginning when Lord Yang longed for his parents more than his grandmother, she’d make his favorite meal, a soup of seasons, radish, and chicken; he’d feel better instantly. As the years passed by, Chi grew to accept his living arrangements and became quite proud of it; for no one in the village could make radish and chicken soup quite like Gren-gren and he began looking forward to the warmth of his favorite meal during the winters and Mung bean soup during the summers.

During the summer, his beloved grandmother would bring him to Xen Hill just outside their village. There she would hymn the sky song, while Chi took in the beauty of China and her captivating mountains. Lying on her lap, he would pretend he were a Black Baza rising high above the hills, landing occasionally to drink from Lake Qinghai and then off again to peek down on the birch forest in Heilongjiang. He would then travel over the valley of the nine valleys and the snow-capped mountains of Shangri-la and into the lingering clouds of the Yellow Mountains before visiting Badaling. Gren-gren gave Lord Yang a sense of escapism from the wooden damp structure called home whose walls gave him no reason to stay other than duty and instilled in him a contradiction of sorts; during your flight away from China take her with you.

Two years after Gren-gren’s death, sorrow would once again visit.  The great river valley of Huanghe provided Chi’s parents with steady income sent home for his care . The Monsoon had brought excessively heavy rains causing the destruction of homes and crops. Chi’s parents were swept away when the dikes surrounding their village gave way to the large amount of rain fall. Pa-pa did his best to comfort Chi who now understood why elders across China referred to the river as “China’s Sorrow,” and the two of them began to rely on each other for care for Pa-pa too longed for Gren-gren and his children.

Daily life with Pa-pa begin with breakfast at 7:00 a.m. with Chi leaving at 7:30 a.m. for school. Classes started at 8:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. Chi would arrive home each day for lunch about 12:30 p.m. somedays later, depending upon how fast his young legs could walk. He would walk the distance with his best friend Ming, an only child who never ceased to talk and found excitement in almost anything including rocks. Ming, the complete opposite of the tall, shy, thin Chi preferred to listen than speak. Classes resumed at 2:00 pm until 5:00 p.m.

Over the years, life eased for them when the government re-distributed land. Pa-Pa became an instant land owner and was permitted to start his own farming business. They were finally able to acquire a small dining table and new pots from town, one of Gren-gren‘s wishes for quite some time.

Chi was in charge of keeping their home orderly, a position that he was quite proud of for it once belonged to his grandmother. Some days Pa-pa would come in rambling about his day dropping his belongings every which way and the ever so patient Chi would simply pick them up and place them in the laundry basket. Chi’s temperament mimicked Gren-gren’s who worried about nothing and believed that order and meditation were essential for a clear mind vital in seeking solutions to all problems.

One day while glancing over his financial transactions, Chi’s grandfather sat perplexed as to the error he could not find but was sure existed in this month’s record. He begin to meditate and when he opened his eyes having a mind free of all frustrations, he begin to search again when Chi, very aware of his grandfather’s moods asked if he could be of assistance. Chi excelled in all subjects but particularly in mathematics and immediately found the error and several others. His proud grandfather appointed his 12 year old grandson the family’s accountant overseeing all transactions and payroll for ten employees.

When Chi was not accounting or finding time to spend with Ming, he studied to place in Qui, the esteemed high school of mathematics. There were days; however, when he simply needed a break from studying missing his parents and grandmother. On these days he would visit Xen Hill and find solace hearing the sounds of the wind and seeing his flying friends as he was sure one of them was Gren-gren watching over him.  Over time; however, the loss of his loved ones seemed to cause about a change within Chi who did not notice a change was taking place. He began spending more and more time studying and less with Ming and Pa-pa. Studying became his reason for living. Even the new pots, once prided had become nothing more than acquisitions. For his young heart who loved him more than anything had now become a shield, a protector against sorrow sure to visit once again with the passing of his cherished grandfather, next in line.

After two very long years of study, Chi placed second in his class and was immediately accepted into Qui where he graduated third in class. Chi and other scholars who placed in their classes, were summonsed to meet General Shan Meng Lou, the leader of the New Revolutionary party. General Lou acknowledged the young men for their accomplishments. He was a true believer of education and open to a limited number of students leaving the country to study.

Lord Yang had been aware of the Universite’ de Esprit, the premier Institute of Mathematics in France. Of course China offered the equivalent if not better study of mathematics, but he longed to see the world. He had read books about other cultures and Gren-gren told him stories of others from around the world and he believed that as long as he followed her advice, he could continue to bring honor to his parents and grandparents. With Pa-pa’s approval, Chi took their entry exam and was accepted immediately; infact, he’d performed so well that the Institute not only traveled to his home to meet him but provided funding for his travels and a handsome stipend which allowed him to pay the year’s salary for their employees.

Pa-pa became very sick during Chi’s third year at the institute; for he lived a long long time. Chi knew that his grandfather would be passing soon and requested a leave of absence to return home to care for him. On the third day and after he had spoken of his last wish for the land, he passed away. He was buried next to Gren-gren. Ming blessed Pa-pa’s passing. Chi left the land temporarily to him having no kin and returned to the institute. Ming wished him a thousand blessings.

Upon his return and after some time, three events would mold Chi into the Lord Yang we know today. First, for the first time in his life and with persons whose upbringings yielded no need of escapism as his, he began frequenting the homes of France’s elite learning to appreciate the finer things in life. Second, he would befriend Lord Fredrico Manuel Mendez, heir to London’s premier restaurant empire, who knew of a friend, who knew of a friend, who knew of a friend who knew Madame Lanette and who thought that Lord Yang’s calm personality would simply be suitable for the carefree Madame who had caused about six resignations in one year! There would be no interview however. One does not “interview” a man from Esprit.  Fees were also not discussed. Lord Yang would be considered a partner of business. He would assist in keeping her as wealthy as she needed to be and he would be compensated with whatever was needed to ensure it.  Finally, Chi’s entrance into the institute would change his social status; for he would no longer be referred to as Chi but rather Lord Yang as all the other monsieur’s in attendance and later Lord Yang of Blacksmith, the estate he would purchase with his first fee from Madame Lanette.

After graduation, Lord Yang moved onto Madame’s estate, a temporary course of action and set about managing her finances. Almost immediately the ever so patient Lord found himself relying on his beloved grandmother’s mediation to combat the infamous “scruple loss,” a disease of mind experienced by former business associates who could not believe or control the purchases of Madame Lanette whose only care in the world was personal hygiene and a sense of pleasure in the form of purchases-many many purchases, for on a good day she could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on things. In fact, Madame Lanette’s purchase endeavors were so many and so grand that Lord Yang found himself too busy to form partnerships with other financially sound families, and the longer he stayed with Madame Lanette, the more he was sought after; for, anyone who could last more than four months with Madame must be sent from heaven, a financial God of sorts. Offers began pouring in promising twice more than whatever Madame Lanette contracted. This always caused about a great laugh for Lord Yang because what he required would evitable guarantee those promising such compensation, financial demise.

After the first quarter and an extensive search, Lord Yang purchased Blacksmith, an outstanding estate which happened to be not too far from Madame but far enough where acres of land could exist comfortably between them. Two Great Danes respectfully named Lord Philips and Lord Max roamed Blacksmith day and night being fierce good boys and compensated handsomely with the finest bones.

The main house, surrounded by manicured shrubs, a large marble swimming pool, fresh cut grass and beautiful rose gardens was more extravagant than the grandest hall. Tall trees watched over acres of land with thousands of flowers blooming fresh scents.  Abutilons, Cosmos, Oleanders, Oxeye Daisy’s and Yarrows graced the grounds.

There were three guest houses. Each house contained pottery and relics from his beloved China along with large French doors, bay windows and solid oak bookshelves with readings from authors around the world. Large statues from Mexico, Africa, and Rome sat at the entry way of each home. Every detail was attended to.

Lord Yang’s impeccable taste and attention to detail were also displayed in his style of dress. Sir Pennings, owner of Raniere Lords and tailor to all persons who could afford his services developed suits, an unimaginable dream to the majority of country-men. These outstanding suits were impeccably made from the finest cloth and fitted his physique perfectly. Looks were finalized by either the company of Lord Handkerchief, Lord Handkerchief’s cousin Lord Olverton, or Lord Handkerchief’s much younger rival Sir Bebe. La Jacques provided his foot wear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonfiction Books I’ve Read

An autobiography by Ben Carson The strategy in which Dr. Carson’s mother applied to combat his failing grades reminds me of the advice given to help struggling readers in, “What Really Matters for Struggling Readers: Designing Research-Based Programs” by Richard L. Allington. In it, Allington states, “..if I were required to select a single aspect of the instructional environment to change, my first choice would be creating a schedule that supported dramatically increased quantities of reading during the day.” In other words, what struggling readers need is more time reading. Not workbook activities, but simply good ole’ fashion reading.

Dr. Carson explains that he did not like reading and his grades reflected this. His mother reacts by not only telling him and his older brother Curtis that they could no longer watch television except for two pre-selected programs a week, but that they had to read two books from the library each week and write a book report for each book because as she explained to them, they were not living up to their potential.

As a teacher of struggling readers, I’ve cringed at instruction based upon large amounts of instructional time dedicated to read aloud or workbook activities. I’m always wondering when our students will have the time to practice what we’ve taught them? In other words, you master skills by independently practicing it. Of course these children need teachers to guide them, but its okay to let them struggle a bit when learning how to apply the strategies we’ve taught in order to become proficient readers. Dr. Carson not only becomes interested in reading, he excels, becomes confident and known as Ben Carson, the brightest student in his class. Now, if a child from a single mother with only a third grade education can become the brightest student in his class simply by being exposed to books, just imagine the gains that other struggling readers can achieve if they had the same exposure and it was reinforced.

Later in the text, Dr. Carson acknowledges that unfairness, racism, and sexism exist but states that individuals who face these biases can acquire knowledge that make them valuable and when they have knowledge that others do not readily have, it does not matter what one looks like, someone will need them.

So many of our youngsters like Dr. Carson stated tend to think of themselves as performers, singers, or ball players instead of scientist and mathematicians. I think about African American males who are not only disadvantaged when it comes to hiring practices due to race, but because of this pervasive self-identification with being a performer, they have abandoned all educational pursuits, so when it’s time to interview the question that I ponder is why should an employer hire them?  What knowledge do they have that would make an employer deem them as being valuable? And even if they were to become self employed, do they have the knowledge needed to run a business, to sustain when competition for the same product exist? Now this situation does not only apply to African American males, it applies to white males or any other one of our babies who are struggling in school and has simply given up. So many of our babies are lost being unmotivated or not mature enough to ask for help. They do not understand the life skill of try and try again until you succeed. It is going to take parents like Dr. Carson’s mom, educators like myself, and other adults to invest in them and show them the importance of persistence, and why its so darn important to see themselves as more than being an entertainer.