Archive for May, 2013

Pig at a Party: A Story with a Moral

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

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A woman heard that a fabulous party was going on in a swanky club downtown. Anybody who was “anybody” received an invitation to this extravagant soiree, which featured live music, comedians, an open bar, and a gourmet-prepared, eight-course meal.

Hearing the sound of happy laughter, singing, dancing, and celebrating, nearly everyone in the woman’s neighborhood wanted to be there, as did the woman herself. She and many people she cared deeply about went to the entrance of the gala, but were turned away because their clothes were not elegant enough, and none of them were popular or powerful enough. All who were turned away felt sad and ashamed at being rejected.

The woman soon found out, however, that all three of her daughters were at the party! She was delighted they were part of such a splendid affair, but now more curious than ever. She decided to take a risk and sneak in to see them, which she managed to do by hiding underneath a cart of hors d’oeuvres being brought to the guests.

Well, the party was everything people had claimed it was! The décor, the 40-foot buffet table, the guests adorned with diamonds and gold…everything was a picture of wealth, success, and joy. The woman, amazed and overwhelmed, looked around for her daughters. But while looking, she noticed something so odd, that she had to rub her eyes to make sure she was seeing correctly. Sure enough, there was a fat, hairy pig sitting on the couch! This was no ordinary pig, though. Besides a sapphire-and-emerald tiara on its head and blue satin hoof-covers, this pig wore medals around its neck to show the many awards and degrees it had earned from renowned institutes of higher learning. The woman could only stare in wonder…

She began to turn to the people around her, pointing out the pig on the couch, which by now had carelessly pooped on the dessert tray. The others only looked at the woman coldly, because they knew that the pig was of great importance and that the party would end immediately if they said anything derogatory about it or even hinted that the pig might be better off outside. To make matters worse, the woman saw her youngest daughter go up to the pig and start playing with it! It looked like her little one adored this fancy pig.

But nonetheless, what was a pig doing at an elaborate party? The woman saw her middle daughter just then, and she went to her and embraced her. She told her daughter that she did not think it loving that so many of her dear family and friends – some of whom were also the daughter’s family and friends – had been turned away from sharing in this celebration because they weren’t rich or powerful enough. Also, why was there a pig here? As a mother, the woman felt compelled to remove her daughters from this strange and snobbish gathering.

She went to her youngest daughter, who was still laughing with the pig, and pulled her toward the door. After all, since this daughter was barely fourteen years old, the woman had the legal right to remove her from the premises! The young daughter was surprised and started crying, as she still wanted to sit with the pig, who had offered to share a French éclair. But as the woman was about to drag her daughter out of the room, she suddenly heard her cell phone ring. It was God.

God told her to leave the party immediately…alone.

In spite of her anger and fear for her daughters, the woman obeyed because she knew that God loved her and was never wrong. She let go her young daughter with a hug and kiss, and walked out.

There are a couple morals of this story, both of them simple.

  • No matter how expensively a pig is dressed and groomed, it is still a pig.
  • When you try to force others to do something they are not ready to do, you start looking like a pig yourself.

Back to the Blog!

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Firstly, I must apologize to the faithful readers of my blog for not writing over the last three months. I want both of you to know, however, that I have really good excuses for neglecting my blog…it’s the truth! I’ve been busy with several projects, not the least of which has been home-schooling my daughter through eighth grade. We have twenty-four days to go before she’s done with the school year. But who’s counting, right? To parents who wish they could take a more active role in their child’s education, let me just say, seriously rethink this silly notion! It’s a minefield of control issues, power struggles, tantrums, and tears. And I’m not even talking about my daughter here…

Alongside this, I’ve been working on a couple major copyediting projects. Honestly, out of all the writing services I provide in my business, editing is my favorite. Correcting other peoples’ mistakes is right up my alley, especially when the authors are not related to me! The blessing and the curse of these kinds of projects, though, is that they have deadlines for completion, and when you’re basically looking at every word of two 90,000-word manuscripts at the same time, it’s best to focus. Hence, no blog entries…but I do miss you, my old friend and outlet for expression and creativity, sometimes even a few laughs.

One of the books I worked on, now in the process of being published, is called From Iran to America – Mahnaz and Shirin, A Love Story. It is basically a memoir, but parts of it are embellished, so it can’t be described as strictly non-fiction. The book recounts stories from an Iranian man’s childhood in his homeland, and later his permanent move to the United States. The narrative, however,  is built around the author’s relationship with two Iranian women, one beautiful, wicked, and deceitful, the other beautiful, honest, and sweet. Why is it that we always choose the bad ones first? Now there’s a question that transcends time, place, and nationality!

The author’s true accounts from growing up in Iran are not only entertaining, funny, and interesting, but they give a rare perspective on day-to-day life in that country under the Shah. As someone who knew nothing about the country of Iran, its people, or its history, I found the stories absolutely fascinating. And not only that, they made me realize once again that no matter how various ethnicities are labeled or criticized, all of us have the same needs and feelings as human beings. In other words, it made me reconsider some of my prior beliefs about Middle Easterners, all of which stemmed, of course, from how they’re depicted in the media

Adding to this is how From Iran to America weaves in the crazy roller-coaster of falling in love, providing poignant testimony that this emotion can drive us to make the most irrational and ill-advised choices of our lives. I predict that once you start reading this book, you’ll have to finish it to find out how this whole love triangle is finally resolved for the narrator, whom by then we’re rooting for just as we would a good friend.

The other manuscript I was privileged to copyedit is a science fiction/fantasy novel for young adults, the second in a planned trilogy. But get this…the author wrote the first book in the series when he was seventeen years old, and the second was completed less than a year later! How many teenagers do you know who even finish cleaning their room, much less write two entire novels?!

The book is called Water Tower, and it will be published in the next couple months. The main character, Sam, is a fifteen-year-old superhero of sorts. It’s an excellent concept…a superhero who’s also an immature, awkward, totally-likeable teenager. Sam battles evil forces threatening world domination in an earth whose population is divided among three “nations” consisting of the Surface, the Sky Nation, and the Water Nation. You can guess where Water Tower takes place, and readers should get ready for a wild ride alongside Sam as he gets beat up, nearly burnt up, and almost drowned. All this, of course, while trying to figure out what to do now that he has his first girlfriend, Rose. Is it any wonder teenagers are moody?

Since I was paid to edit Water Tower, I feel a little guilty telling you how much fun I had doing this! I foresee the author in a few years – maybe even sooner – selling movie rights and knocking out more adventure fantasy thrillers. With an imagination like his, the possibilities reach beyond the boundaries of the Sky Nation.

I plan to provide more information regarding ordering these books once they’re available in print. The freedom writers have nowadays to self-publish – as opposed to trying to find a literary agent or large publisher willing to take a chance on a new author, a rare occurrence indeed – has had a phenomenal effect on what we read nowadays. My only issue with self-published works is that many are launched without being scrutinized by a good editor. As the English language maniac that I am, it appalls me to think that the quality of writing in self-published books is frequently substandard. In my mind, this can’t be good for the overall literacy of our youth and our nation. Anyhoo… pardon my grandstanding on that a bit. The point is, have me read over your material before you publish it. And there is my ego rearing its head now, too.

It’s probably a good time to wrap up this little blogging warm-up. It just seems like forever since I’ve written from my own brain, with my own thoughts. Ah, the joy of blogging again. So until next time…and please, let me know your thoughts, too! After all, friends don’t let friends blog alone.