Tag Archive | rhet effects

Life As a Classroom, Compassion As the Teacher: It Takes a Fool by Sasha Dreams

Cover

The bell rings

Class is in session

The chalkboard is wiped clean,

ready for today’s lesson

One student is late and not seated at the table

She’s diving in and out of currents of circumstances,

trying to steady herself toward the shore

She arrives late with the weight of the world as her backpack,

ready to give her pain away to part with her problem

But Compassion, her teacher, offers a better solution

~By A.C.

Book Blurb

Life couldn’t be sweeter for ten-year-old Sasha…
She’s the darling of her fifth grade class and her best friend always has her back… just like a sister. But simmering beneath the beautiful life are the dark secrets her parents harbor, secrets that slowly wind their way around the heart of the family, choking the life from Sasha. Helpless, afraid and alone, she fights the only way she can, but her desperate quest for survival could lead to her own destruction!

It Takes a Fool explores the darkest depths of poverty, addiction and bullying, and how even the innocence of a child can be twisted into something monstrous. Sasha will do all she can to survive a nightmare she can’t wake up from, but in protecting herself, she might just destroy everyone around her.

biopic-1Meet Author Sasha Dreams

Bio

Sasha Dreams is a no one from nowhere pregnant with dreams. She dreams of hope, ambition, fulfillment and success. Sasha has learned from the mistakes of her childhood and transformed her weaknesses into strengths.

Sasha believes wholeheartedly that writing is healing. At times throughout her writing process it was painful, but now that the tears have dried and the past forgiven a horribly beautiful story has emerged. Follow Sasha on her journey as a writer, business woman, wife, daughter, sister, mother, and friend. Watch as her dreams come true. 

Q & A with Sasha Dreams

What did you do before becoming a writer? How has your career path led to or shaped your writing career?

I currently work in serving my community. I am sure that my career path has shaped my writing by allowing me to stay connected with our youth. I feel I was able to connect with my inner child more because I am surrounded by our youth daily. It Takes A Fool is told from my ten year old self but is appropriate for middle school aged children starting in the eighth grade.

Why did you write It Takes a Fool?

I wrote It Takes A Fool to heal from my past. This story has been brewing inside of me for over 25 years. It was ready to be heard. Even though I was not necessarily ready to share my pain with the world. I become more and more ready everyday.

How has social media and technology affected bullying?

Social media and technology have affected bullying positively and negatively in my opinion. On one hand an individual or a group may choose to abuse social media. They may choose to harass, embarrass or oust a person unfairly. On the other hand because of technology a person who has been bullied or who is a bully can find resources to stop what is happening.

What advice would you give to someone who is being bullied?

Bullying is a major problem throughout the world. We see it everywhere, from schools, work, sports, online and in homes. If you are a victim of being bullied or you are a bully please visit www.ittakesafool.com/resources.

Why did you become a writer?

I became a writer to share my story with others. It is my hope that by sharing my story others will choose to make better choices. Remember, every new day is an opportunity to make better choices.

What tips would you give other aspiring writers on how to complete and submit a novel, and survive the publication process?

My advice for new and aspiring writers is to do as much research as possible on traditional vs. self publishing and decide which option is best for you. Once you have decided, keep pressing forward.

What impact do you want to leave on the literary world?

The impact I want to make on the literary world is to have written a story that is told from a place of genuine pain but the reader is able to feel the wounds heal page after page.

Describe your writing process or ritual.

My writing ritual was to clean my room top to bottom. Climb in bed with my note pad and a freshly sharpened pencil, some music and an open heart.

What are you most passionate about in your life?

I am most passionate about being the best person I can be. I want to lead by example for my childrens sake. Sometimes I make mistakes, but each new day, I try harder to be a better me.

If you could include a character from any teen movie or movie dealing with middle school students, who would you choose to be in your book?  How would he or she fit in at the school?  Who would she or he befriend:  Sasha or her best friend?

 If I could include a character from any teen movie or movie dealing with middle school students, I would choose, Skai Jackson. She is a very talented actress. We also share some similar features. I think she would portray Sasha in a light that viewers could relate to. She would have definitely befriended Sadie. (My best friend in It Takes A Fool) Everyone loved Sadie.

If you could create a soundtrack for your book, what songs would you choose?

The soundtrack for It Takes A Fool would include so many popular hits from the Spinners.

Rubberband Man

Love Don’t Love Nobody(It Takes A Fool)

Could It Be I’m Falling In Love

Sadie

 

 

Press Release

 

fool1web

Much Anticipated Memoir on Bullying Finally Here

Washington, DC (December 5, 2014) – The highly anticipated book by Sasha Dreams, It Takes a Fool: A Lesson Learned on Bullying, is finally available on Amazon.

It Takes a Fool is a short “creative memoir” about a 10 year old girl, named Sasha. Sasha is the darling of her fifth grade class and her best friend always has her back…just like a sister. But simmering beneath the beautiful life are the dark secrets her parents harbor, secrets that slowly wind their way around the heart of the family, choking the life from Sasha. Helpless, afraid and alone, she fights the only way she can but her desperate quest for survival could lead to her own destruction.

Excerpts from the book have already been making an impression on, the largest community of readers and writers, Wattpad. One Wattpad reviewer said: “Powerful writing. Quiet, soft-spoken but speaks straight into readers’ hearts. A place of vulnerability.”

“I am excited about the release of the book,” said Sasha. “I hope valuable lessons will be learned through the sharing of my story.”

It takes a fool is available in both kindle and paperback format on Amazon.com for $4.95 and $7.95 respectively. For further information about the book and the author, visit: http://www.ittakesafool.com.

 

 

If you want to read a moving story that will leave you changed, pick up your copy of It Takes a Fool today!
Connect with Sasha Dreams!

Website:  www.ittakesafool.com

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/It-Takes-Fool-Learned-Bullying-ebook/dp/B00O4LTNRM

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/sashasmemoir

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sashasmemoir

Email:  sashasmemoir (at) gmail (dot) com

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Flash Fiction Monday: Cutting Corners

cutting corners

 

 

The Catfish directors pounded on the screen door.  The right corner of the screen flapped like a wire mesh shade, playing peek-a-boo with the truth hidden inside.  Carlos rocked side to side on the heels of his feet.  He removed his hat and scratched the back of his head furiously.  He kept pulling up the fake FB profile on his smartphone.

Everytime Carlos saw her bow-lipped smile, his stomach did a double flip, bile gurgling in his throat.  Eva was not real.  He was about to meet the real woman.  Carlos was no stranger to the MTV show.  He clenched his fists repeatedly, wondering what the crackerjack box-shaped house held inside.

Was the person even a woman?  Was she overweight?  The birds in the nearby date tree chirped behind him.  To Carlos, it seemed more like they laughed at him like those birds on his son’s favorite movie, Finding Nemo.  David.  He had grown so attached to Eva.  God, he even let this woman into his 4-year-old’s life.  Six months of hour long phone conversations, 3500 FB inbox messages, 5000 texts, and endless Pinterest posts of her dream boards.

Odd questions about what he would do in some town called Headly Rock, CO.  He Googled the city and had never heard of it.  Odd questions about why men behaved like they did on first dates.  Who cared?  Carlos was waiting for their first date to happen.  She always said that the muse was calling and she could not disappoint her.  Carlos wanted to know who this muse was so he could tell her that she needed to back off or get a life.

He felt like a bonafide fool.  What kind of person would do this?

 

The directors banged on the door again.  Finally, a mousy, 4 ft. 2 woman appeared.  Pencils crisscrossed like chopsticks in her disheveled ponytail.  She cradled a tablet in her hand; a book cover with Eva’s FB profile cover filled the screen.

She flashed her gap-toothed smile and stared into the cameras.  “Hi, I’m Reva Ramone, the author of Eva’s Grace.  My book just came out today.”

Carlos and the directors stood in shock, their mouths open wide like they were elongating an acapella note.

 

 

 

Make Time for the Pause or You’ll Miss Its Intended Meaning

Photo found on Google Images

Photo found on Google Images

The road once travelled,

feet planted firm on solid

ground, interrupted

 

by roots thirsty for

the strength that you possess. They

demand your attention.

 

You decide: let them

overtake you, your lower

limbs petrifying

 

into suspended

thought and motion or pause

briefly, study its

 

intrusion, finding

its point of origin,

harvesting instead

 

its fruit so you can

move on, girded with wisdom

and understanding.

—by Alexandra Caselle

Trees are Mother Nature’s grapevine.  Not only do they anchor the ecosystem, but trees also communicate history through the rings of their trunks. Once a person enters a tree’s space, he or she feels nature’s vibe.

Place an ear against its bark. Listen to how it amplifies the scurrying of the squirrels and the knocking of the woodpecker’s beak. Tarry a little longer in its presence, and become connected to a network that extends farther than any Wi-Fi system.

A tree’s placement affects the overall landscape.  It can enhance the area, change its composition, or attract other wildlife. These positive changes unearth a hidden attribute of the landscape, something that broadens Mother Nature’s or the developers’ original design.

Trees can also block paths. Their roots disrupt the leveled planes of sidewalks and driveways.  People can either ignore them or choose to remove them.

The placement of a comma can affect a sentence’s overall composition.  A comma can add layers and depth to a sentence and extend its meaning.  It is that blinking caution light, alerting readers to slow down before they miss something that will be of great impact.

Those pesky little pronunciation marks account for a lot of writing errors. Teachers break down its plethora of rules to one basic concept: a comma means pause.  That one word, pause, leads writers off on a tangent.  They begin writing how they talk.

During the writing process, writers may reread the emerging piece, listening in their minds for places between words where a break would go.  The problem with expecting a pause is the misperception that writing should mirror the normal flow of conversation.

The pauses of everyday dialogue do not always indicate a need for a comma when translated into the written word. The comma does direct the reader to pause, but there is a reason for it.   It emphasizes or elaborates a point in the sentence.

The pauses that occur in life definitely direct people’s attention to a deeper meaning in their lives, and if they juxtapose their lives against some of the comma rules, people may see how their life’s hiccups extend their conceptions of themselves.

When Sentences & Life Make You Take a Time Out

A common use of the comma is to separate nonessential clauses and phrases from the main sentence.  These groups of words function as extra information, but when removed, do not alter the original meaning of the sentence.  Those supplemental syntactical elements function as the scantily clad cousin who saunters in the middle of the wedding vows: they interrupt the flow and steal the show.

These interrupters may be appositives that further describe the subject:

Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a medical professional who examined the liver and ate it, too, is one of the most frightening villains in horror films.

Now compare the above sentence to the one below:

Dr. Hannibal Lecter is one of the most frightening villains in horror films.

The addition of the nonessential element adds character and makes the reader notice.

For me, losing the ability to walk on my own for an extended length of time forced me to appreciate things taken for granted.  That pause was an incubation time for me.  It emphasized past hurts that I needed to release and it instilled gratitude.  There is nothing more humbling, than having a rotating round of nurses remove all ounces of dignity while assisting you with simple things like bathing or using the restroom.

Nothing strikes a blow like having your parents, who are in their 70s and 80s, see you struggle with a walker decked out in green tennis balls during your physical therapy session.  My legs were like blocks of concrete.  I willed them to move, wishing I had Magneto’s mind control.  I was more like a flimsy rag doll being held up by three medical puppeteers in white.

That pause broke my pride, a necessary interruption.

That elongated period of physical therapy and loss of independence led me to examine a series of actions and thoughts that did not belong in my emotional, spiritual, or psychological being. Yes, they were sequential events, happening successively, like a list of life events. But their timeframe was definite, not infinite.  They had an end date that occurred in the distant past, but I refused to evict them from my life.

They were like a serial comma, further reflection on them, just added problem, after problem, after problem in my present, nonessential items in a series.   In writing, teachers instruct us to place a comma or break after each item in a series until you come to the conjunction and.

But there has to come a time when we stop placing breaks into the composed lines of our lives and let the comma or past event actually fulfill its role.  If we were to look up the meaning of serial in the dictionary, we would see that it means “pertaining to the transmission or pressing of each part of a whole in sequence.”  (www.dictionary.com)

Commas and those life’s hiccups may force us to slow down but after we learn the meaning, then we must press forward.

They were designed to detain us only for a little awhile.

Review the most common rules here:  http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/commas.asp

Running On and On and On: Having the Courage to Get Off Track

Image found on Google Images

Image found on Google Images

The pin of predictability prickles into the grooves of my memory.  It scratches the surface of the present and inserts a loop of random thoughts. The soundtrack of the past drowns out the development of my ideas and my life.  Here I go again, cluttering my mind with white noise. This cycle spirals out of control and leaves my creativity chalk-lined on the writing pavement.

I head to the neighborhood track for a long walk, usually three to four hours of extracting the pin out.

A cul-de-sac of trees lines both sides of the winding trail.  I lean against one of the trees, a sage with a crop of hanging moss twisted into dreadlocks.  I palm its aged bark for guidance amidst the gold and green foliage of its followers.   With no answers dispensed, I step gingerly around the carpet of freshly dug dirt and fallen leaves.  I continue my stroll.

Lap after lap, the scenery does not change and neither does my train of thought.  I feel like Neo in the opening scene of The Matrix Revolutions.  There is nothing here to separate one thought from the other.

In life, we get stuck in the groove sometimes.  We replay memories over and over again.  Some of those memories are pleasant, often stirred by a scent, a song, or a photo.  Some are mistakes we have made, things we wish to retract or redo.  So even though we have grown a lot from the place that we were in when those memories happened, those thoughts creep up like weeds and pose a threat to threaten our very existence or hedge our newfound wisdom and growth.

With comma splices and fused sentences, those pesky run-on errors, wrong placement or non-placement of punctuation buries the idea into an ongoing string of sentences just like our present is sometimes buried inside our past.

Run-ons threaten the clarity of an idea.

One way to correct this error is to separate the complete sentences or independent clauses with a period:

Example:  The St. Johns River flowed under the harpsichord Dames Pointe Bridge, a mystical being lulling God’s creations into its womb, I lounged over the braided rail bordering the balcony of my townhouse, the soundtrack of Jacksonville’s rush hour traffic dwindled in the distance as the sun left its footprints in the horizon. (comma splice—independent clauses or complete sentences joined incorrectly by commas)

Correction: The St. Johns River flowed under the harpsichord Dames Pointe Bridge, a mystical being lulling God’s creations into its womb. I lounged over the braided rail bordering the balcony of my townhouse.

The soundtrack of Jacksonville’s rush hour traffic dwindled in the distance as the sun left its footprints in the horizon.

Here are three more ways to correct them:

  1.  Add a  comma and a coordinating conjunction between the independent clauses.
    1. Complete sentence      , FAN BOYS    Complete       sentence

                                                 FAN BOYS =For And Nor  But  Or Yet So

Example:

Two floral flasks of tea-tinged gin and the dulcet tones of jazz set the mood a king-sized bed shrouded with black lace and flanked by hearts made of strawberries created the ultimate aphrodisiac. (fused sentence— independent clauses or complete sentences joined incorrectly with no punctuation)

Correction: Two floral flasks of tea-tinged gin and the dulcet tones of jazz set the mood, and a king-sized bed shrouded with black lace and flanked by hearts made of strawberries created the ultimate aphrodisiac.

  1. Add a semicolon between the two independent clauses.
    1. Complete sentence      ;     Complete sentence

Example:

He retrieved the cigar from my fingers and inhaled the fumes exhaled in a fugue.

Correction: He retrieved the cigar from my fingers and inhaled; the fumes exhaled in a fugue.

  1. Add a semicolon, a conjunctive adverb, and a  comma between the two independent clauses.    
    1. Complete sentence   ;       transition word,     Complete       sentence

Conjunctive adverbs/transition words:  moreover, however, therefore, in fact, nevertheless, etc.

Example:

The baritone notes of the bass signaled the horns to glide in with their beats, the drums barreled through the composition, the piano chimed in as Billie Holiday crooned.

Correction:  The baritone notes of the bass signaled the horns to glide in with their beats; moreover, the drums barreled through the composition. The piano chimed in as Billie Holiday crooned.

By finding where one complete sentence ends and the next one begins, we can ask ourselves if they are joined correctly where they meet.  The period, the semicolon, the coordinating conjunctions, and conjunctive adverbs act as equalizers.  There must be a complete sentence on both sides of them.

With life, my future self is that equalizer.  On each side of it lies my present with the steps that I am taking every day to make sure my purpose is complete.

Getting off the beaten track of the past, the status quo, and the run-on sentence will lead to clarity in life and in writing.

Sowing Seeds of Perspective in Our Writing

The new year often brings about resolutions.  Lose weight. Check.  Exercise more. Somewhat check. Stop drinking so much caffeine. Uhh–yeah about that.  Start a blog. Double check–started 2nd one today.

As a former educator, I have noticed that some of my students view writing as some Holy Grail that is only given to the gifted.  So I liked demystifying the writing process and the rules and exceptions to the rules of the writing conventions.  I hope to continue doing the same for all types of readers on this blog.

As a writer, I like to share how I engage with my own writing process.  I stumbled across a writing metaphor exercise that I did with my students a long time ago.  It made me want to re-envision writing as a starting place to my resolution of working more on my writing.  For me, writing is birth.

Just like when women give birth, my writing/creation is not perfect; there are some idiosyncrasies, characteristics that are imperfect,  that others except the mother/creator may see as flaws, but  no creation is intended to be perfect. Writing is something I still love to do because the power is in the process of nurturing the creation and teasing out the best in it.

As writers, the creation becomes an extension/representation of ourselves, our psyches, our humanity—the fragility, wonder, and mortality/immortality of it—that is what writing is.

The power is in the creative process and the creation itself.

Now writing as birth is a commonly used comparison.  Here are some other metaphors that my students created:

*Writing is a puzzle.

*Writing is exercise, depending on whether you like to do it or not.

*Writing is health food.

*Writing is a useless thing only meant for the teacher.  ( Ahh…the blunt stab of honesty here.)

*Writing is traveling.

*Writing is the wind.  It has no ties, and it comes and goes when it wants to.

*Writing is a dream or a stream-of-consciousness.

*Writing is therapy.

*Writing is schizophrenia.

*Writing is a spider web because you start from a small idea and make something beautiful out of it.

So what is your metaphor or simile for writing? How do you see it?  How can re-envisioning the process help you with your own writing?

 

Feel free to comment!       Writing is or is like . . .

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