Goodbye #WATWB We are the World Blogfest

As many of you know, I have been a participant of the #WATWB for almost five years. This was a group of authors who posted something positive every Friday on the last Friday of each month to deflect from some of the negativity going on in the world. While I was on winter blog break, I didn’t know that March was the last month for this.

It was nice to be part of a set scheduled posting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t randomly share posts on goodness at our leisure or whenever we come across something worthy of sharing. So this past weekend I was feeling a bit nostalgic and was surfing through some different genres of music videos on Youtube and came across one of my favorites by Tim McGraw – ‘Humble and Kind’, and another classic relic by Teddy Pendergrass, sung when he was still lead singer of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes – ‘Wake Up Everybody’. Both these songs spoke to me with renewed emotion on reminders of the state of our world with big messages to remind about patience, tolerance and actions needed, reminding us about compassion. Like Teddy sings, “The world won’t get no better, if we just let it be …”

We are all, still the world. McGraw’s video is beautiful – both words and video. Pendergrass’ song is still very much of importance, despite the 70s being long gone, the message remains relevant, wake up everybody!

I hope you enjoy and are rejuvenated in compassion as you listen to the words. Not sure about you guys, but McGraw’s video has me reaching for tissues everytime. That song has been the ringtone on my phone now for quite a few years.

Official Soultrain video – by Philadelphia International records

Tim McGraw official video

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran – #Inspirational

My Sunday Book Review is for Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Gibran is a Lebanese born writer who emigrated to America with his family. He’s known for his mystical English and Arabic works translated into over 40 languages. This book of poetic essays was written in 1923, and spoken by the wise man Almustafa.

 

 

 

Blurb:

The Prophet is a book of 26 poetic essays written in English in 1923 by the Lebanese-American artist, philosopher and writer Khalil Gibran. In the book, the prophet Almustafa who has lived in the foreign city of Orphalese for 12 years is about to board a ship which will carry him home. He is stopped by a group of people, with whom he discusses many issues of life and the human condition. The book is divided into chapters dealing with love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.

Each essay reveals deep insights into the impulses of the human heart and mind. The Chicago Post said of The Prophet: “Cadenced and vibrant with feeling, the words of Kahlil Gibran bring to one’s ears the majestic rhythm of Ecclesiastes . . . If there is a man or woman who can read this book without a quiet acceptance of a great man’s philosophy and a singing in the heart as of music born within, that man or woman is indeed dead to life and truth.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer, born in 1883 in Lebanon and died in New York in 1931. As a young man he emigrated with his family to the United States where he studied art and began his literary career. In the Arab world, Gibran is regarded as a literary and political rebel. His romantic style was at the heart of a renaissance in modern Arabic literature, especially prose poetry, breaking away from the classical school. In Lebanon, he is still celebrated as a literary hero.

 

My 5 Star Review:

A collection of spiritual and philosophical poetic essays from the wisdom of Almustafa sharing sage advice as he prepares to board the ship for a long waited journey back to his homeland. Each essay divulges the human condition and the essence of soul.

Almustafa waited 12 years in the city of Orphalese for his ship to return to take him back to his birthplace. At the harbor the people flock to him and ask him for advice. A beautiful book to gift. Chapters on life.

I bought this book in ebook version, but like hundreds of reviewers mention, this book is one to keep close and makes a beautiful gift, so I’m also getting the paperback.

Written in rhythmic language, conveying timeless messages, this book covers many subjects of life imparting powerful messages, delivered as sermons from the profit Almustafa. Twenty-six poetic stories of wisdom on love, marriage, children, giving, joy, sorrow, and more, encompassing many of life’s chapters – all sage advice and good reminders to search inside our souls.

 

Some of my favorite quotes from this book:

 

“Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”

 

“For even as love crown you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.”

 

“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls. For their souls dwell in the house of to-morrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”

 

On teaching: “If he is indeed wise, he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.”

 

“I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house. Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.”

 

©DGKaye

bitmo live laugh love

 

Sunday Movie Review – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Welcome to the Sunday Movie Review. I’d recently read a fantastic review for the book, The Hate U Give, by an author friend and had added the book to my TBR, but as it turned out, I found the movie on HBO and was compelled to watch it. The book was published in 2017 and with the escalating systemic racism in the US, the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality protests that have ballooned even louder since then make this book a compelling read.

Below, I’ve shared the book and blurb, but for those interested in watching and don’t subscribe to HBO, this movie is also available on Amazon Prime.

 

 

Blurb:

8 starred reviews ∙ Goodreads Choice Awards Best of the Best  ∙  William C. Morris Award Winner ∙ National Book Award Longlist ∙ Printz Honor Book ∙ Coretta Scott King Honor Book ∙ #1 New York Times Bestseller!

“Absolutely riveting!” —Jason Reynolds

“Stunning.” —John Green

“This story is necessary. This story is important.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“Heartbreakingly topical.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A marvel of verisimilitude.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A powerful, in-your-face novel.” —Horn Book (starred review)

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

 

My 5 Star Review:

With almost 7000 reviews and a full 5-star rating, it isn’t difficult to think how powerful this story is. With the current climate in the US and racial inequality, the story of the wrongful murder of Khalil takes us into the world of what it’s like to be a black person living in these volatile times. I will note, I’ve read several reviews about this story before writing my review and was stunned to actually see some 1 star reviews, which tells me a lot about how racism is alive and well.

This story is a powerful telling by the central teenage character – Starr Carter. The movie begins with Starr and her two younger brothers sitting at the kitchen table with their parents and her father giving a lecture to his young children, educating them on how to behave in society – mainly, when faced with police in possible confrontations. Father demonstrates as he tells his children – if you are stopped by police, always remember to show your hands, as he presses his own hands firmly on the table for demonstration.

Starr grows up in a poor black neighborhood, and through the movie as she narrates, informs us that where she lives everyone is poor, offering no opportunity for work, explaining why so many turn to drug-dealing and crime, for many the only way to survive. Starr struggles with where she fits in society as her parents sent her to a better off preppy high school rather than the hometown high school where Starr tells us there’s nothing in those high schools for advancement other than a life leading to crime and getting pregnant.

Starr struggles with her black identity in a mostly white school and with a white boyfriend. At first she’s embarrassed to let her boyfriend Chris know where she lives, but as the movie progresses, that all changes once Khalil, Starr’s best friend from childhood, is murdered by a policeman right in front of her. Chris must first face acceptance by Starr’s dad, Maverick, and as Chris proves himself worthy of Maverick’s daughter, we can’t help but love his character.

Starr struggles with her blackness and her white world. At school she’s always leery of others the way they judge her as she struggles with fitting in and questioning if her best white girlfriend is really a racist. At the same time, when Starr goes home from school, she’s back in a world where her own roots are strong, creating confusion and uncertainty about where she fits in. Until one day when one of her black friends invites her to a party and her longtime old friend Khalil, who she hasn’t seen in years walks in and they are catching up with each other when a brawl breaks out and shots are fired. Khalil grabs Starr and they flee through the commotion to Khalil’s car and he drives Starr home. As they reminisce about their childhoods and Khalil declares his love for Starr, the sirens approach and Khalil is pulled over on a dark empty street for failing to signal when changing lanes. The instilled instruction that Starr’s father drilled into her as a kid kicks in as Starr immediately places her hands on the dashboard and urges Khalil to do the same. But Khalil is pissed off when the officer asks him to step out of the car and when told to stand there while the officer checks out his I.D. While standing there, Khalil ducks his head inside his car window to listen to what Starr is telling him to do to comply and not ask for trouble, and when he stands back up as the cop approaches the car, it’s pitch dark out and Khalil’s resistance to the situation has the cop shooting Khalil as Starr witnesses the whole event.

Starr is at first hesitant to speak about the crime as she’s traumatized by the witnessing of her best friend’s murder and the tragedy of how black people are treated by society. But she is finally determined to speak out about police brutality and goes live on air to tell the public everything that transpired leading to Khalil’s murder. She goes on to explain how black people don’t stand a fighting chance and why so many are forced to lead a life of crime just to survive. And King, the local druglord was not happy about her talking about that on air, decides to take revenge on Starr’s family for doing so.

I’m not going to let spoilers out what happens after, but suffice it to say, this is a powerful story with so many societal problems and struggles the black population endures, for some on a daily basis. The humanity in this story is astounding, and each character in this story have compelling personalities. Aptly titled – The Hate U Give, as Starr explains stands for THUG – Thuglife. My personal opinion, is this book and/or movie should be required reading/watching in all junior high level classes.There is much to discuss from this movie. Some low-rating reviewers defend the police, stating that they risk their lives when they don’t know if a pullover has a weapon. But humanity has to ask, how does one take a fifty-fifty gamble that there is or isn’t a weapon, so let’s just kill them just in case, dismissing the cost of a human life? I shed many tears throughout this movie so would highly recommend a box of Kleenex by your side when reading or watching.

bitmo Kindness Matters

 

©DGKaye2020

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Book Review – Order Number 227 – From Stalin with Love by Marina Osipova

Today’s Sunday Book Review is for Marina Osipova’s short put powerful novella – Order Number 227 – From Stalin with Love. Don’t be fooled by the subtitle, this is no satire…….As many of you know, one of my favorite genres to read is historical fiction, as I’ve always been fascinated at history. Marina has become one of my favorite historical fiction authors to read, because she knows how to bring out the humanity in characters despite some of the ugliness her characters live in. I find her stories unputdownable.

 

About the Author

Marina Osipova was born in East Germany into a military family and grew up in Russia where she graduated from the Moscow State Institute of History and Archives. She also has a diploma as a German language translator from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages. In Russia, she worked first in a scientific-technical institute as a translator then in a Government Ministry in the office of international relations, later for some Austrian firms. For seventeen years, she lived in the United States where she worked in a law firm. Eventually, she found her home in Austria. She is an award-winning author and a member of the Historical Novel Society.

 

 

 

From the Author

The story is based on my grandfather’s history and one of the events of the Great Patriotic War as it was and is called on the post-Soviet space. The main facts are accurate, but they are presented through fictional characters except for my grandfather. I took the liberty to give names to thirteen of the Soviet people who among 427,910 men shed their blood in defending their motherland in punitive military units. In Matryona, I hope I have conveyed a collective image of a Russian woman who, despite her difficult fate and the life full of hardship, retained her humanity and tenderness.

Blurb:

“It is necessary to defend each position, each meter of our territory, up to the last drop of blood, to cling for each plot of Soviet land and to defend it as long as possible.” – from Order No. 227.

Based on the actual events on the Eastern Front of World War II, this short story is a rare account of a Soviet penal company, told from a perspective of a real person, the military prosecutor, Jakov Antonovich Krivenkov, and a fictional character, an ordinary Russian woman, Matryona, both caught in the horror of an impossible situation.
427,910 Soviet men shed their blood in defending their motherland in penal military units. They were to stop the enemy regardless of cost. Eighty percent of them did not survive. This is the story of thirteen of them.

 

My 5 Star Review:

Short and powerfully, Osipova once again takes us into a story of war – 1942 Soviet Union fighting the Germans. The story is initially told through Jakov Antonovich as he led one of the penal batallions to ready them for war. The penal soldiers were men who had committed lesser crimes in their country and doing jailtime, recruited to war – some had never even held a gun. The story moves through what the men endured awaiting their time to be called to the front, their training, and their built up loyalty for the man Jakov who trained and nurtured their humanity, and what came of these men as they were eventually sent off to the front.

Although the story is historical fiction. Jakov was not a fictional character, blended well into the story he told of those who worked under him. Later in the story we meet a woman, a rare human who chose to stay behind in her hut and do what she had to do to survive, despite everyone else in her village who had aleady fleed – feeding and nursing soldiers who banged on her door – whether Germans or Russians, her compassion was big enough for all. Later in the end we find how the two stories of the soldiers and the woman would meld. A good reminder in our current world of what war does to man and a woman, and how despite the evil and despair, how humanity can still exist all in the name of fighting for one’s country. #Recommended.

 

Copyright
© D.G. Kaye and DGKayewriter.com, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye

 

Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge -D.G. Kaye, Poet of the Week

What a thrill to be named Poet of the Week at Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge. There’s some wonderful competition in this group so I was doubly touched to take the honor for my Haibun on Humanity.

 

Life is like a cup of tea

 

Each week, I like to highlight a poet who I call the Poet of the Week, who has shared an exceptional message, or shown impassioned creativity through words or form. Poetry is all about perception, so don’t be shocked if you don’t feel the same way about a poem that I do.

This week, I’ve chosen D. G. Kaye, aka Debby Gies and her Haibun, double Senryu (with video) called “Humanity,” as the Poet of the Week. Not only did her poetry speak to me but the video is moving beyond words. Sometimes, we need a reminder of who we are and what is at stake.

 

Poetry Rules: – Choose your form of poetry and use SYNONYMS ONLY for the words – Hobby and Play

 

“HUMANITY,” BY D.G. KAYE

I believe with all the madness in the world, these moments in times of  turmoil serve as reminders of ongoing world struggles we live through  and somehow overcome. But the past has a way of resurfacing. This  video is a quick refresher course on some of the biggest things in life  that can happen to us – things we often take for granted thinking   they’ve been eradicated – things we think won’t happen again.  But they do.

 

Life is like a sport

We keep on striving to win

Winners and losers

 

Keep sight of the wins

The alternatives are dire

Lives become the game

 


when you watch the video – Even though I did…

 

You can find my original post with the video the poem was based on HERE

 

Source: Colleen’s 2019 #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge Recap No. 129, #SynonymsOnly – The Faery Whisperer

Sunday Book Review – Touching the Wire by Rebecca Bryn

This week’s Sunday Book Review is on Rebecca Bryn’s riveting read – Touching The Wire. One of my favorite genres to read in is historical fiction – mainly WWII era and the Holocaust. I’ve read many wonderful books in this genre, but none like this one that takes an interesting approach to the story by including a mystery throughout the book, keeping us glued till the very end of the book.

 

 

Blurb:

“He had no way to tell her he had given her life: no right to tell her to abandon hope.”

A fictional tale of love and darkness in Auschwitz-Birkenhau, and of every man and woman who bore the Auschwitz tattoo, or were interred in Nazi death camps throughout WW2, this novel is inspired by real events. It is a tribute to the courage of victims of Nazi war crime during the Holocaust, sadly an inescapable part of Jewish history. The horror of holocaust experiments carried out under the auspices of war and Hitler’s obsession with a master race are hard to understand, impossible to condone, and difficult to imagine forgiving. The human spirit that can find love in such a place must be rare indeed, but a person in dire circumstances will grab at a kindness where it is offered. Such is the premise of this story, and it asks the question, could you forgive? Part One transitions between 1944/45 and the 1970s and continues in Part Two in the present day.

 

Part One – In the Shadow of the Wolf

In a death camp hospital in 1940’s Poland, a young doctor and nurse struggle to save lives and relieve the suffering of their women patients. As their relationship blossoms, amid the death and deprivation, they join the camp resistance and, despite the danger of betrayal, he steals damning evidence of war-crimes. Afraid of repercussions, and for the sake of his post-war family, he hides the evidence but hard truths and terrible choices haunt him, as does an unkept promise to his lost love.

 

Part Two – Though the Heavens should Fall

In present-day England, his granddaughter seeks to answer the questions posed by her grandfather’s enigmatic carving. Her own relationship in tatters, she meets a modern historian who, intrigued by the carving, agrees to help her discover its purpose. As her grandfather’s past seeps into the present, and more carvings are discovered, she betrays the man she loves and is forced to confront her own guilt in order to contemplate forgiving the unforgivable and keep her grandfather’s promise.
How many Jews were killed in the Holocaust? Estimates vary around the 6 million mark, a number that is hard to imagine. 100 coachloads a day was how one person quantified it. A Holocaust thriller.

 

Excerpt:

“A young woman bent to retrieve her possessions. An SS officer strode past. ‘Leave. Luggage afterwards.’
She stood wide-eyed like a startled deer, one arm cradling a baby. Beside her an elderly woman clutched a battered suitcase. The girl’s eyes darted from soldier to painted signboard and back. ‘What are we doing here, grandmother? Why have they brought us here?’

The wind teased at her cheerful red shawl, revealing and lifting long black hair. She straightened and attempted a smile. ‘It’ll be all right, Grandmother. God has protected us on our journey.’
Voices rasped, whips cracked, dogs barked… An SS officer pushed towards a woman of about fifty. ‘How old?’ She didn’t respond so the officer shouted.

He edged closer. As a doctor he held a privileged position, but he’d also discovered he had a gift for languages. He translated the German to stilted Hungarian, adding quietly. ‘Say you’re under forty-five. Say you are well. Stand here with the younger women.’ He moved from woman to woman, intercepting those he could. ‘Say you are well. Say your daughter is sixteen. Say you can work or have a skill. Say you aren’t pregnant.’

Miriam’s eyes glistened. ‘May He rescue us from every foe.’ She touched her grandmother’s cheek, a gentle lingering movement, and placed a tender kiss on her baby’s forehead. She moved to stand where he pointed.

Miriam’s eyes met his. He had no way to tell her had given her life: no right to tell her to abandon hope. ‘Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.’ ”

 

My 5 Star Review: Hard to Put Down this Book

“It was forbidden to approach the fence, forbidden to shout out to husbands, wives and loves. It was forbidden to love.” This poignant sentence stood out to me in the gripping story of horrors of the Holocaust as told by a tortured soul – Walt, a.k.a. Chuck Blundell through the present and flashbacks of the past. This story is brilliantly told in two parts as Walt’s story haunts him the rest of his life, first, living through the horrors of the Holocaust then bringing us into the present as the memories continue to distract his life.

Walt is now 72 living with his loving wife, daughter and two granddaughters. His fight to survive and save as many as he could during his capture, only to ‘supposedly’ take his own life decades later, consumed with nightmares and horrific heartbreaking memories from his time in Auschwitz-Birkenhau.  The flashbacks were too real and time didn’t heal. Walt kept notes in a diary, risking his life in doing so as he hid them from the SS, knowing that he must one day share with the world, deciding to put those grimoires in time capsules only to be opened in 99 years.

In part two, Walt’s family who knew nothing about his past life as a Polish prisoner or the woman ‘Miriam’ who he fought to save and fell in love with, discover his secrets, and the story of Walt’s life unfolds, spurring the curiosity of one of his granddaughters to investigate the mysteries beginning with the carvings Walt created throughout his life, initiating the search for who was Walt really, and who was this woman Miriam whom Walt’s present day family had never known about.

This book was chilling and often difficult to read with the explicit descriptions of the horrors and tortures that went on in the concentration camp, but the storyline was hauntingly compelling and addictive and brilliantly written.

Although the story was written in fiction, the facts and some of the characters were taken from history. If you enjoy reading stories about humanity combined with a great mystery, you will definitely want to read this book. I look forward to reading more from this talented author, Rebecca Bryn.

#WATWB – We Are The World Blogfest – Human Rights and Heroes in the Darkness

We are the World Blogfest

 

I am Canadian and I’m disheartened and disgusted at what’s been going on at US borders. You don’t have to be American to feel empathy for what is going on there.

 

#WATWB is about posting good things happening in the world. Sadly, besides the other dangers that tRump (I’m sorry, I cannot capitalize his name) is posing to the US and the world, this situation is atrocious and is against Human Rights – snatching children at the borders.

 

Thank you to this lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who is quickly becoming the newest hero in America by offering his pro bono services to assist these poor people being treated as insignificant and criminals, just fleeing for their lives looking for sanctuary. And thanks to Avenatti, so many other lawyers are joining the action. That is what America is about!

 

https://twitter.com/MichaelAvenatti/status/1008336866427334657

If you want to feel more inspiration, click on this Twitter link and read the outpouring of stellar comments.

 

And if you’d like to read more about what Avenatti is doing, please visit these links:

http://www.liberalmountain.com/us-politics/michael-avenatti-has-a-new-mission-to-bring-down-ice

 

http://www.liberalmountain.com/us-politics/michael-avenatti-offers-his-help-to-parents-separated-from-children-gives-big-warning-to-trump-admin

 

Every month a group of bloggers post something inspirational on the last Friday of every month, to deflect negativity and focus on something positive. I know this border situation is appalling to most people, but it is a reality that needs to continue to shine in the forefront of the media and so I’m sharing today, highlighting that there are many good citizens rising up and doing their part to help for justice.

 

Your hosts for the month are:   Simon FalkMary J. Giese Shilpa Garg Damyanti Biswas and Dan Antion.

 

If you’d like to add a post to join in #WATWB, please follow this link to add your posts.