Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Book Review: Dusk and Summer by Joseph A. Pinto

Book Review: Dusk and Summer by Joseph A. Pinto
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
It’s not an easy thing – to let go.  We think it is.  We tell ourselves that it is.  We lie to ourselves because we’re comfortable, content, and if change were to come, then we would accept it in small doses.  This way, we would believe that we are letting go of what was to accept what will be, but we are not in control.  And change does not always arrive quietly for it is unpredictable, a tempest brewing that will pull the world, our lives from our hands, and then we will become lost.
I remember sitting in a hospital waiting room down in the city with my family.  The room was dim, and there were other families there.  They looked as lost as we felt, and nobody hardly spoke a word.  My grandfather, may he rest in peace, cracked a few jokes, maybe inappropriate jokes, but it was his attempt to cut through the growing tension.  He didn’t know what to do.  Neither did any of us.  We were just waiting on the nurse to come and tell us that it was okay to see my grandmother, may she also rest in peace.  She was dying of Neuroendocrine Cancer, and finally the nurse came.  I think I was the last to enter the hospital room.  I didn’t recognize the woman lying in the bed.  She was so small and pale.  She reached out to me, and I hesitated, froze.  I didn’t want to go near her, but I finally did.  And I’ve never spoken about that to anyone until now, but I realize as I write this that it’s my story to carry, maybe one that would find its way into a fictional story, and maybe one that would share another’s struggle of holding onto their loved ones, only to watch them suffer and slip away.  And it’s not easy letting them go.
We need to hold onto something.  We need to plant our feet firmly into the sand and allow the past to roll over us like a calming sea, washing away the ugly truth.  We need to chase something, anything, even if it’s just a bunch of ghosts, but it would silence the piercing howl that begs to be released.  We need to disappear, melt into sweet oblivion and forget, but it’s not so easy to forget especially with that lingering touch of death against our skin, a cool shiver to remind us that we can’t simply close our eyes and dream all of this away.  No matter how hard we grasp at what was or drop to our knees and scream out our fury or pain, it won’t change anything for everything has changed.  All we can do is remember who they are, our heroes, our angels, and we need to hold tight to that, the memories and love that we shared.  And even if we let go, this isn’t good-bye for good-byes do not exist.  It’s only, “See you laters,” and maybe we will see them again.  But until then, we carry their torch, lightening the way for others with their own stories to tell like Joseph A. Pinto’s “Dusk and Summer,” who will be donating a portion of the proceeds from his book to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

New Short Story: When The Autumn Leaves Fall Published in Autumn's Harvest: An Autumn Fantasy Anthology

I used to love the fall.  The golden brown and green leaves that gently fell to the earth.  The warm, comfortable weather, the quiet between summer and winter.  The carved, glowing Halloween pumpkins sitting on a neighbor’s porch.  The laughter of children trick or treating down the street.  The approach of Thanksgiving, where family and friends gather around and forget the bad times and create the good.  I used to love all that, but that was a long time ago when my sister died.
A few miles from my house is the Old Withering Tree.  Some people said that the tree was there long before this town.  It used to scare me.  I used to think that it had a twisted face that would glare at me through the school bus window.  The other kids said that it housed a spirit, one that would walk this world from September through November, but they were trying to scare me.  And they did, and now I heard that a developer was eying that land, looking to tear down that tree.  And strange things were happening.  The machinery stopped working.  Workers became sick.  The green grass surrounding that tree became brown, and that twisted face snarled even more, so much that I could not even look at it.  But for some reason, I found myself walking past that tree yesterday, and I stopped to look at it.
I never thought that a tree could have eyes, but this one did.  Little, black eyes.  It didn’t blink.  It just stared.  It just bore a hole right through me, and I shuddered.  Those eyes were so angry, but then for a moment, they looked sad as if they could see the hole in my heart.  But maybe it was a cloud passing over the sun that gave me that thought because the eyes returned to anger, and I stepped away.  But just as I did, a small leaf fell into my hand.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

New Poem: The Wall of Tomorrow

The Wall of Tomorrow
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

It was never written in this world 
that we shall take a seat   
and watch our lives ride 
across their words and actions. 
Why should we be speechless? 
What have we done in previous lives 
to warrant our quiet and obedience? 
We have done nothing wrong, 
and too much history has seen us 
answer only if we’re questioned    
and never stray from their expectance   
of what they think we should be. 
We were never molded for their servitude. 
We are not their clay but brick, 
hard and defiant building a wall 
of our own making,
of our own voice,    
so when you walk by,   
you won’t see us sitting quietly on a bench. 
You will instead marvel at our hopes and dreams    
that have ignited our hearts far too long 
now spiraling across each brick in the wall,
portraying our strength and determination  
for the women of tomorrow.   

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Short Story: The Faceless

The Faceless
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

On December 31, 2018, the media died.  The broadcasts stopped.  If the reporters went live on the air, they either fell ill or just lost their voice.  The last machines of the newspaper industry died.  The internet succumbed to a virus that claimed all leading headlines.  Snow-filled channels met the eleven o’clock hour.  It was as if a switch had been pulled but not by our hand.
On January 5, 2019, a young girl was seen walking through a snowy town.  She was dressed for summer with long, brown hair covering her face.  Her skin was pale, kissed with red.  She wasn’t wearing any shoes.  At first, no one wanted to approach her, but then one kind, old man did.  He asked her if she was okay, and she stopped walking.  She slowly raised her head and brushed her hair aside.  She had no face, and that kind, old man dropped dead of shock.  And she resumed walking until she reached the edge of town, where she fell on her knees and released a heart-wrenching scream.  She then disappeared.
In the days that followed, more like her appeared.  Sometimes, they were alone, but not always.  Some of them were dressed for today, and others were dressed from yesterday.  Their heads hung low, and some of their faces were hidden by their hair.  They didn’t say anything.  They just marched through town until they reached its border.  Then, they fell on their knees and screamed a siren’s scream, shattering cars and homes for miles.  Then, they disappeared.
I thought that would be the end of them, but they just kept coming.  Each time, there were more and more of them, and we started to hide inside, afraid to come out.  There were just too many of them, and then one day as they passed by my window, I recognized one.  He had recently died in a tragic event, an event that seemed locked on repeat with no resolution, and I realized something.  Someone was sending a message, but it wasn’t from us.  It was for us because someone had had enough, and we weren’t listening. 
As the weeks passed, they stopped disappearing.  They just stood at the edge of town.  The ones that had previously disappeared returned and stood with them.  They stared at us, even without their faces.  It was like they were waiting for something, and until then, they were not leaving.  And an invisible barrier formed behind them.  Nobody could leave town.  All we could do was huddle inside our homes or come out and face them.  Nobody wanted to face them because they were afraid, and they were not afraid of them.  They were afraid of what sent them because whatever it was knew that we had failed them.
After a long time, the phones became alive.  The internet sparked.  We started to talk, and we talked about the lost souls and the tragic events that had claimed them.  Then, we realized that we talked too much, and the time for debate was over.  No more politics.  Action was mandatory, and we were lucky that they were asking nicely.  But if we waited too long, then they wouldn’t be so nice or whatever presence had sent them, so a decision was finally made, one that was a long time coming, and one that would finally prevent such tragic events from happening again.  When they were certain that we were finally listening and willing, their faces reappeared, so that we could see them one last time.  And then they stepped back and disappeared, finally released from whatever senseless violence had stolen them away, and on February 1, 2019, the media returned, giving voice to the faceless and not the assailant.