This article from the Huffington Post is an interesting read if you want more info about how romance scams on social media work and hear from actual victims of romance scammers, and the victims whose faces and identities are used to perpetrate these multi-million dollar crimes.
Note from Kate:
I saw this poem this morning after I read my email. My email notice sounded sexist and I seriously was planning on ‘Unfollowing’ the author. Instead, I was blown away by the sensitivity shown by Luke Atkins. The author informed us that he wrote it at 4 am. Just wanted to give him a round of applause for poetry every woman feels and lives.
Venus. A limbless, lifeless lump of antiquity. A marble slab of meticulous, conscientious sexual tension. A photo opportunity—devoid of meaningful human exchange. No change or range. An estrange…
I remember the summer I read Gone With the Wind for the first time. It was the summer of 1974. I’d just finished seventh grade, and my sisters and I were spending our summer with our uncle, Gerry, and his family at his home in Newtown, CT.
The Newtown of my youth was full of sun, swimming, and meeting new friends. It seemed to exemplify my book-inspired vision of a small New England town with its white church steeples and old homes with shuttered windows and picket fences. The town’s flagpole was a landmark which helped me to navigate in the right direction towards Uncle Gerry’s home. Narrow roads lined with old stone fences were shaded by the woods as they crowded towards the lane ready to return the pavement to a more natural state. I would close my eyes as I tried to picture this community as it might have appeared when our country was newly formed. It wasn’t difficult. Newtown was steeped in history.
It was the summer Nixon resigned as president. I watched his resignation speech on the TV in the den. I was old enough to realize history was happening in front of me. I had been reading GWTW, but my attention became riveted on the President. Not too many things could pull me from the story of the Old South. It is strange how your mind connects certain smells and songs to life events.
I link books with different events in my life. The next summer, I found myself lonely and spending most of my days going to the library in our new town. Dreading the thought of going to high school in a new town without a single friend to bolster my insecure teenaged self. I went through a whole series of historical romance fiction which became the basis for my view on love. The heroine of the series was my only friend.
A few years ago, I wanted to read the series again. The books weren’t in print any longer, but searching the internet auction sites allowed me to acquire the entire set of books. My finds consisted of some hardcovers, some paperbacks and all well used by other readers. I read them again 40 years later. I still enjoyed the stories teeming with adventure, danger, and romance. The author created a world which helped to ease the loneliness of an awkward teen.
Did the book Star Spangled Summer with its Army post setting influence my choice to become an Army officer? A Wrinkle in Time opened my eyes to a world of fantasy and time travel. Yes, I have copies of both books tha
t I hope my future grandchildren might enjoy.
I have accumulated a significant number of books on my Kindles (Yes, plural. One is not enough). So many books I question if I will manage to read them all before I leave this earth. But I do know some books will make such an impact on my life, and I will forever mark that time with their presence in it.
‘If you live to write, you write to live’. I’ve heard that quote somewhere. No, everywhere. It and the quote — ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ effectively speak to those of us who were ‘bitten by the writing bug’. (I know, I know, I’m the Queen of Hackneyed Expressions tonight).
So, I dutifully packed my laptop and lugged it to Puerto Rico with me. My youngest son was getting married and we would be meeting his fiancee’s family for the first time. I pictured myself sitting on the deck looking at the ocean or the sunset while typing away. Carefully dragging my laptop to the beach… You get the picture, right?
Oh, it happened. Once. I wrote a 500-word short story for a writing prompt. The topic was “Lakebed” and despite my usually light treatment of subjects for my short stories, this one was dark. Perhaps my change of mood was the result of being in Puerto Rico and pre-wedding anxiety. That would be a resounding negative.
For me, Puerto Rico was all about warm breezes, floating in a pool, and watching the moon sink into the ocean each night as the stars overhead rotated across the dark sky. It was the sound of the waves slamming up on the rocks at the foot of the forty-foot cliff our villa was built upon. The island will remind me of drinking wine as I reminisced with my best friend about our youth and the escapades which will remain a secret between the two of us. Puerto Rico is the laughter floating in the air while we sat at a beachside restaurant inserted the name of our main entree into our conversations because it sounded funny. “Holy Mofungo, Batman!” will never sound funnier than it did that night. Okay, I lied. I think it still sounds funny, but I’m kind of a nerd.
I guess what I’m trying to say is — Puerto Rico was helping me write my next sentences, paragraphs, chapters and books. It is the source of my memories of the single teardrop on my son’s face while he watched his bride walk down the aisle under strings of lights illuminating their faces as the shadows of the coming night deepened.
Although I didn’t put many words on paper during those twelve days, I did create lasting impressions I will carry for the remainder of my days. The creative spark for our ideas can be found in many places and in many activities including floating in a pool watching white clouds in a beautiful blue Puerto Rican sky.
Each story, while unique, has a central theme that the reader can identify themselves with personally. One of the most poignant themes concerns “Love and Loss”. Stories, poetry, and songs have paid homage to these tender emotions for as long as humankind has walked the Earth.
I’ve laughed and cried while my favorite characters have struggled as they dealt with love found and love lost. I rooted for Rhett Butler to win Scarlett’s love and found myself devastated when fortune didn’t cooperate. Right or wrong, as a teen, I searched for my own hero so that I could live happily forever in a white house with a picket fence. I ignored the “nice guy” in favor of the “bad boy” experiencing my cycle of stories of love and loss.
The flirty banter between our characters is balanced by the angry and tearful rhetoric in another chapter. So goes real life.
Over the past few months, I’ve said good-bye to good friends and family as they left this world. I watched the anguish of love found and love lost knowing I couldn’t change the outcome like I can on the written page. But comfort can be found in knowing as long as our own stories continue — love will be found, will be lost and will be discovered anew.