April 2, 2016
A for Amazing
I spent the afternoon at a very proper tea room with exceptional women. Many subjects were discussed.
One lady and her mother went on a riverboat cruise that traveled to several destinations in the South. I couldn’t help but feel that my mother would have loved to attend this luncheon. More importantly, I remember that going on a riverboat cruise was on her bucket list.
April 3, 2016
B for Buy
Right before Sunday school started, a little girl from the preschool class refused to leave my classroom for second to fourth graders until her big sister gave her a hug. This one moment, reminded me that my former values of being a ‘getologist’ is no longer suitable for my current beliefs and values.
To further emphasize my beliefs and values, I watched a DVD title, Money and Life. Our current economy system is based on debt; and has been since Nixon took our dollar off of the gold exchange in 1971. Simply put, our money is backed by debt and has no real value.
Since my former values was being a ‘getologist’, then present value is witnessing that single moment between sisters. That single hug reminded me of my belief from a Lakota saying, “The more you give, the more there is to give.”
April 4, 2016
C for College
I was in my college’s book store (several years ago and waayyyyy before any social media) when I bumped into a fellow technical writing major. We exchanged pleasantries and she told me about a newsletter that she sends out to everyone who she thinks would be able to help her in finding a tech. writing position. Then she said (and I kid you not) that she didn’t think it was necessary to put me on her mailing list because she felt that I wouldn’t be able to help her. Pity. Too bad I didn’t tell her that my company at the time was looking for another technical writer. I wished her luck. Business School Rule #101: treat the janitor with as much respect and courtesy as you would the CEO.
April 5, 2016
D for Dahliea
I once worked with a lady who told me a story about her high school friend’s incidence with another student. I loved the story so much that I used the idea in Stars’ Fire:
“Earthborn!” Behm yelled, more as an accusation than as a taunt.
Dahliea’s shoulder blades pinched together in defense but she would ignore Behm.
“Earthborn!” This time Behm and her friend stood right behind Dahliea and Althea.
“It’s the last day. Let’s go, Dahliea.” Althea put a hand on her friend’s shoulder to give a gentle push to the exit.
She allowed Althea to lead her out when her other arm was grabbed so hard that the jolt spun her around the other way and caused her schoolbag to fall off her shoulder and splatter into a muddy puddle.
Behm wore a satisfied smirk. “Oh, I’m sorry. Now your bag is all dirty. Fitting for a dirty Zonpres just like you.” Then she gave it a hard kick into another muddy puddle while her friend giggled behind her hand.
With as much composure as she could muster under the circumstances Dahliea said through gritting teeth, “Pick it up.”
“You pick it up. I don’t touch anything that a filthy, dirty Zonpres touches. I hear that you’re going to live in tunnels just like a little burrowing rodent.” Now Behm’s smile was malicious. “Some of us are going to live in a camp in First Star. It’s a good thing that my parents can afford the very best.” She paused again for effect as her malicious smile became even brighter, and she began to laugh at her own taunting. “Oh, I almost forgot, you don’t have a father anymore and your mother is and–”
The past days of pent up emotions of anger, fear, and anxiety rose to such a crescendo inside of her that she shook while trying to prevent the explosion. Dahliea curled her hands into tight fists as a feeble way to control herself but the effort was futile because impending tears began to blur her vision and the heat rose to her cheeks. She didn’t let Behm finish. She spat out
rose to her cheeks. She didn’t let Behm finish. She spat out each word in a low growl in spite of her clenched jaws, “Ever since the first day of school, you’ve been rude and nasty to me.”
“You deserved it.” Behm faced Dahliea squarely with a defiant stance.
“I deserve better.” Dahliea felt Althea tug at her arm and she swatted it away as if it were an insect before she finished, “You never bothered to get to know me.”
With a look of terror, Behm’s friend took a step back and quickly left the courtyard.
Behm continued to smile in almost a snarl now. “I didn’t have to. The media said everything anyone needed to know about you.”
With a sudden flash Dahliea finally understood that from the very first day they met until this moment, Behm’s animosity towards her was due to jealousy. “Your loss. You’re worthless and pathetic.”
“Worthless and pathetic? Your House is worthless and pathetic. It’s in ruins now that your father is dead. My Uncle Agon-Sa will take control of the Council and our House will become the primary House.” Dahliea’s palms stung as her fingernails cut into the flesh from clenching her fists so tightly as Behm’s final words devoured the last shreds of Dahliea’s calm. “Actually, your House has been worthless and pathetic for a very long time because of your father!” Now Behm’s snarling smile grew even bigger and more malicious as she continued to antagonize Dahliea.
Behm gave Dahliea a hard push that caused her to bump into Althea and emphasized, “You freak of nature!”
Dahliea roared in rage and pounced on Behm so quickly and with such force that Behm fell sprawling backwards into a muddy patch of grass with Dahliea landing on top of her. Muddy water splattered out from under Behm as she hit hard on the ground. When Dahliea’s right fist made contact with Behm’s left eye, the girl started to shriek in pain. She grabbed Behm’s ears as if they were two handles and pounded Behm’s head into the squishy, muddy ground. ‘Splosh.’ Pound. ‘Splosh.’ Pound.
Behm held Dahliea’s wrists to stop her from pounding her head and to push Dahliea off of her. Dahliea screamed at Behm, “I’m not a freak of nature or an Earthborn!” Dahliea emphasized her words by pounding Behm’s head into the mud, “I’m not a–” ‘Splosh’-pound. “Freak of nature!”
Behm cried out again in pain. “Get off of me! Help! Get off!”
Somehow Dahliea was pulled off of Behm so that she now stood. With her anger burning itself out, she found that her escort and Teacher Lahn were now on either side as they left the courtyard and entered the school.
Dahliea realized the kind of trouble she gotten herself into when Teacher Lahn barked the orders, “Into the Headmaster’s office!” Onlookers pointed at the trio while laughing or calling out after them.
April 6, 2016
E for Envelope (Snowfall’s Secret)
He (Tom) held the envelope up to the light as he thought about the necessity of having to help her with her school work, especially with history. He saw the outline of something small still inside. Turning the envelope upside down, he shook it until two cards fell out: a debit card and a business card. He picked them up, suspicious of this new little ‘coincidence.’
He read the name and address on the business card: Mrs. Margot Greenfield, Education. I wonder if she’s any good. It doesn’t state her degrees. He flipped it over to the other side and read her address, e-mail, and phone number that were framed with little gold apples. The tutor was only four blocks away.
He looked at the debit card in disbelief as he read and re-read his name. He needed to turn it over twice to make sure that the card really belonged to him. Do I need to cancel it? Of course I do! What am I thinking?
Tom looked inside the envelope and withdrew a note that was stuck to the side and read it: The tutor is paid in full. The debit card is for all of Jamie’s expenses. The amount is inexhaustible. . . .
F for Fellow Writer
I’m jumping ahead to “F” to help a fellow writer: FREE! FOUR CHAMBERS. Today only, April 5,
Two clicks and it’s yours!
April 7, 2016
G for Gratitude
I practice being grateful for everything and wishing for the best. Of course, some days are harder to being grateful than others.
What three things are you grateful for at this very moment?
April 8, 2016
H for Health
Weight Watchers is not a diet, it’s a life style. I should know: I’ve been a Maintenance member since August 3, 2011. I went to my weekly meeting last night and got a huge smack upside the head. Yes, I’m now making a course correction, because the trail that I’m going down won’t be a good one if I continue. Quite frankly, I’ve worked too hard for too long to give up.
So dear friends, I’m putting out there that my goal for the next two weeks is to lose two pounds. It may be only two pounds, but two pounds can easily turn to ten or more if I continue.
April 9, 2016
I for Invitation, The (Stars’ Fire, Chapter 21)
“Please wait here for his Lordship.” The aide turned around and walked away, not even allowing the seventeen year old acolyte to reply.
The young acolyte nodded his head and patiently waited while he watched people hurrying about their business. A S’Renen maid carrying a mop and bucket scurried around the corner. She stopped long enough to bow and say, “Good day, Teacher.”
“Good day,” the young man replied.
A young woman’s voice filled the main hallway long before she entered. “Did you remember to pack an extra change of clothes?” The young woman jostled a fussy baby in her arms. She saw the acolyte and she bobbed her head in acknowledgment.
“Yes, my Lady. I did.” The Zonpres maid who was no older than the acolyte walked five steps behind the woman and the baby. She too acknowledged the young man by bowing.
So this is how the wealthy and powerful live. He looked up and counted all the floors and rooms that overlooked the main entrance way of the Gherac House. I wager that every member of my tiny village could easily reside in this House and that everyone in my family could take the staircase at the same time.
A man came briskly down the stairs and stopped in front of him. “You are addressing Cyr Gherac of the House of Gherac, Twelfth Councilman of Second Star.”
The acolyte bobbed his head quickly in a respectable enough bow for a low ranking Councilman. “I have a message for his Lordship,” and reached inside his sleeve for the hidden pocket to withdraw a sealed and folded piece of parchment.
Cyr raised an eyebrow as he took it. How quaint. He broke the seal and unfolded the letter to read it.
April 10, 2016
J for Justice
I was teaching Junior Achievement in a local high school and walking to my next class when the announcement for the Pledge of Allegiance came over the PA system. All the students and teachers in the hallways stopped what they were doing, placed his/her hand over his/her heart, and said the Pledge. I was stunned and impressed at this simple act of patriotism, because I never had to do this since I left grade school.
My belief of true justice is teaching all children to be educated: teach a boy and he’s an educated man; teach a girl and you teach a nation.
April 11, 2016
K for Keep Secret
Stars’ Fire, Chapter 14, The Promise
“It’s a miracle that your ears weren’t as damaged as they could been,” said the physician during his final visit.
Dahliea began to say, Because of Prophet Amuanath, but she said, “Thank you,” instead. At least I didn’t have to hear anything at all the memorial services I needed to attend.
He nodded his head before placing his instruments in his case and rising to his feet. He deeply bowed to Victoria. “Your Ladyship.”
Victoria returned a shallow bow while seated in her chair. “Thank you. Good day, Doctor.”
The doctor now turned to Dahliea who still sat on the sofa, “Good day, Miss. Stay well.”
She returned his bow. “Thank you. Good day, Doctor. I will.”
Dahliea waited for the physician to close the door behind himself before she asked her mother in English, “Do I have to go back to school? I really don’t want to. Besides, most of my cousins are still home, I like being with them, and I’m fairly sure they like being with me too.” Then she paused. “Maybe not the older ones, but most of them. I always liked studying at home any way. Please?” As a final point she added, “And I like helping them with their homework.”
Her mother’s mouth curled in a slight smile when she saw how apprehensive her daughter looked. Her mother’s reply was in English, “Schools are closed and it’s not safe outside yet, so your aunts and I talked about making arrangements to have your cousins and you continue your studies at home. But I want an honest answer from you; are you sure you don’t want to be with your friends?”
Dahliea thought over how she really missed being with her school friends. She liked talking to them when they had the chance to be in the courtyard–at least when it didn’t rain. Then she mulled over what the Third Prophet told her. What if she went outside the confines of her home and she was accidentally Read? She had to keep the incident a secret.
April 12, 2016
L for Lali
Stars’ Fire, Chapter 15
“Dahliea!” Lali yelled in one solid pitch and frantically waved her arms while trying not to stumble as she ran alongside the fence after Dahliea and her hierete.
Even though her cousin clearly wanted Dahliea’s attention, she ignored the girl so that she would leave her to ride undisturbed. As a true Gherac, however, Lali would not be deterred. She thought it was almost comical how Lali tried to keep pace with a fast hierete, while avoiding all the neglected overgrowth along the fence.
“Dahliea, Stop! Stop!” Even though Lali stopped running and waited for Dahliea to ride another circuit of the paddock, Dahliea and her hierete continued their quick pace.
STOP!!! Lali Thought to her cousin.
“Iey!” Dahliea yelled in surprise and pain. STOP! crashed inside her mind so loudly that it blinded her and made her jerk the reins quickly towards her body with such force that the hierete bellowed and reared up. She grabbed the saddle by reflex to keep from falling off.
When her hierete stopped rearing, she took in several quick gulps of air to make the echoing in her head stop quickly. Yet, Dahliea felt her heart pounding out of her chest as she leaned forward and calmly patted the hierete to quiet him. She was so angry at Lali for almost knocking her out of her saddle that, as punishment, Dahliea made her cousin wait as she nudged her mount to slowly walk over to where Lali stood.
“Were you trying to kill me?! That was very stupid of you! Don’t ever do it again!”
Lali tilted her chin down in shame. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know how strong that was.”
Realizing her harshness she repeated again, “Never do it again,” less sternly.
Lali now looked up at Dahliea. “Uncle Tholawm wanted me to get you.”
“We’re going to do a public service announcement.”
April 13, 2016
M for MS Society, The
I have three main charities that I give with in open heart and hand; one of them being the MS Society.
I was told that MS is grossly underfunded because it’s considered an ‘orphan’ disease. I like to believe that if a cure for MS is found, then the cure for other neurological diseases will also be discovered. Better still, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the root cause of any neurological disease be discovered?
Sunday, May 1 will be my favorite fundraising event: Walk MS. I intend to be there. And donate.
April 14, 2016
N for No (Credit Card Debt)
I can see the light at the end of a two and a half year tunnel at this very moment! I made it my mission/goal on New Year’s Eve 2013 to be rid of the debt I incurred by (with great affection) what I named my ‘dental debacle.’
I joined my local Library’s Money Challenge Meetup Group; tore through books written by Mary Hunt and Dave Ramsey (and many others); took frugal cues from the Amish; and became a coupon queen in the process.
The end result is that I’ll see a big fat 0 on June’s credit card bill! In a way, I’m grateful that I got into toxic debt in the first place: how else would I develop such knowledge and friendships?
April 15, 2015
O for Off World (Stars’ Fire, Chapter 7)
… “I want everyone to stop fidgeting and passing messages to one another! Pay attention!” Teacher Zche interrupted.
With a start, Dahliea stopped long enough to glance to her right and saw Ji-Hu hunched down over his desk. Dahliea watched him as he quickly looked around and then sneaked something in his mouth.
Ignoring their teacher, Dahliea quickly wrote a message and sent it to his viewer: What are you doing? You know you’re not supposed to eat during lessons.
A message returned to Dahliea: I’m not eating.
“Is anyone paying attention to me?” This time Teacher Zche emphasized her question by giving her desk two loud raps. Dahliea and her fellow classmates straightened in their seats and momentarily re-focused their attention to the front of the room. Dahliea looked at Ji-Hu; at least he tried to make himself look attentive.
“I’m aware that today is the first day of Festival. However, as important as it may be, we still need to finish today’s lesson or there will be more homework for tomorrow.” Audible groans rumbled throughout the room. “Would all of you rather write about why we celebrate the End of the Chaos with a week-long celebration instead?”
There was another round of groans.
It wasn’t long before Dahliea and her classmates began to fidget again. It was useless; they weren’t going to learn another thing today, and their exasperated teacher knew this. Defeated, Teacher Zche sighed and turned off her viewer. Contrary to Teacher Zche’s usual routine, she thought it would be best to dismiss the class early. She finally said, “Students rise and give respect!”
All the students snapped alive and quickly rose in unison, accompanied by the sudden scraping of chairs. “Good day, Teacher Zche!” All the students became excited. Early dismissal! What could be better than early dismissal on the first day of Festival? Each student could barely wait for the most wonderful word to be said.
Viewers couldn’t be turned off fast enough. Everyone hastily and haphazardly tossed school supplies into school bags, before rushing for the door. Students spilled out of classrooms and filled the hallways with electric anticipation. Dahliea and Li joined the scurrying crowds. She scanned the mass of rushing students for Ji-Hu, as she somehow lost sight of him in the throng. Then a familiar head bobbed forward and another one.
“There’s Althea and Ji-Hu!” she shouted over the noise to Li.
“I see them!” said Li, as the two made their way to a column in the hallway where Althea and Ji-Hu tried to wait and stay out of the way of the rushing students. Making their way to Althea and Ji-Hu was like swimming against the waters of a rushing river.
“Laluca! Over here!” she yelled and madly waved her free arm.
When Laluca finally joined the small group, Althea suggested, “We better go to our meeting spot for Sh’Um.” Dahliea and her friends pushed their way outside the crowded and noisy front entrance.
“Did anyone see him yet?” Li yelled.
“Sh’Um’s coming. He just Told me,” said Laluca. Then more amicably, “As usual, Sh’Um’s always late.”
A boy with wavy hair ran up to them. “Sorry, I forgot to get my homework.”
“Come on, before we miss our tram,” said Li.
“Wait! I want a group photo!” Ji-Hu took out his hand flash album and blinked hard over the black screen until it flicked on.
As Ji-Hu let go of the small device and made it float out in front of the group, Laluca smiled, and said, “Pose and smile!”
Everyone gathered around in a pose and smiled. After the album flashed, Ji-Hu retrieved the floating device and put it in his schoolbag.
As the friends broke away from their clustered poses and started towards the trams, Althea held back Dahliea by her arm. “I just Saw something I need to tell you.”
She was anxious to go to Festival, but she decided to listen to her friend. Now that they were free from prying adults, maybe Althea would tell her want happened at the Ruins. “What is it?” she asked.
“Ji-Hu and his family are going off world tomorrow.”
Dahliea was surprised and upset by this bit of news. “Are you sure?”
“He’s taking medication to Block his thoughts. We know he’s not the most Skilled person in school when it comes to Blocking.”
Dahliea didn’t say anything. She mulled over the thought of having Ji-Hu leave with his family by ship to live on a world that was part of the Union.
April 16, 2016
P for Party
Of course I attended a science fiction party tonight!
Here are some topics of discussion:
Old shows that broke our hearts when they went off the air: Northern Exposure, Law and Order, and Criminal Minds.
We understood when shows had to go off the air: The Good Wife and Agent Carter.
There were shows that we can’t wait to see again: The Expanse and The Colony.
There are shows that we love: Gotham, The Walking Dead, and Fear The Walking Dead.
No self-respecting science fiction fan will miss the opportunity to mention the original Doctor Who.
There was no heated discussion about the state of our healthcare system and costs, presidential race, and educational system because we were pretty much all in agreement on each subject.
April 17, 2016
Q for Quip
I was a Junior Achievement volunteer at a local high school last year. One of the students asked me if I weren’t a writer, what other career would I choose? I gave him a flippant answer (at the time I thought it was a truthful answer). When I returned to the same high school this year for Junior Achievement, I answered thoughtfully and truthfully: A day without the fine and performing arts is not worth living. I would now like to amend this: A day without creativity is not worth living.
April 18, 2016
R for Read, (Stars’ Fire, Chapter 3)
“All we need to know is that the Last Emperor’s final order was to permanently close the Portals after his family and he escaped the Civil War between the Zonpres and the S’Renens,” said Althea.
“Yes, I know. The Chaos.” Why couldn’t her friends understand her?
While being careful not to touch the Stone, Dahliea traced the Prophet’s words with her right index finger and read each phrase to herself:
Be not afraid of a power gathering.
So swift, so slow it will be.
Be not afraid of the journey.
So far, so near it will be.
The child will know.
Do not be afraid of what the child
Let us unite the Three Stars.
There will be Stars’ fire.
Hate sees blindly.
Our blindness almost destroyed us.
April 19, 2016
S or Soma (Cube)
This was one of my favorite toys when I was 6 years old.
My local library recently had a Maker Day that was very well attended. A giant Soma puzzle made out of cardboard boxes was in the lobby. Several boys tried to put the puzzle together and were getting frustrated. I asked them if they wanted a hint. Bless them, they were determined to figure out the puzzle.
One bystander even suggested taking the boxes apart.
I after a third attempt, they were going to give up. I helped placing three pieces in one solution and stepped back to watch them complete it.
Parents took their boys’ pictures as they stood in front of the completed cube.
The Soma cube was my plaything, but it was never meant to be a toy.
April 20, 2016
T for Thought (Stars’ Fire)
…While helping the bride, Uncle JiLu and Dahliea’s grandmother were mindful not to touch the many bangles on Aunt Ura’s arms as it was considered bad luck. Each bangle represented a member of her new husband’s immediate family. Aunt Ura would give the arm jewelry to the women of her new family when she arrived at the W’Jol House later in the day.
Dahliea watched Aunt Ura’s red dyed bare feet carefully feel each step before descending. When Aunt Ura lifted the hems of her elaborately embroidered traditional wedding dress and over-jackets, she saw the many bangles encircling her aunt’s ankles that represented each of her immediate family members.
Because of the heavy, thick veil that hid her face, Aunt Ura tilted her head down to see if she was near the bottom of the stairs. When she reached up with her left hand to catch the elaborately embroidered headdress from almost slipping off, the many silver stars on top tinkled out of sync with her descent.
Dahliea wondered why her aunt chose to wear a wedding headdress the same width as her shoulders. Didn’t Aunt Ura realize the dresses and jewelry alone made walking difficult enough? Somewhere, perhaps in the back of her mind, she hoped that her aunt would trip and tumble down the hallow stairs. She imagined Aunt Ura flopping, tumbling, and ‘oomphing’ down each step with her wedding headdress bouncing directly behind her, tinkling wildly at each thump and misstep. Tinkle. Bounce. Tinkle. Bounce. Tinkle. Tinkle. Tinkle. Suppressed giggles almost escaped her. Now feeling guilty, she quickly dismissed the image in fear of accidentally being Overheard by someone. She glanced around hoping her that her family thought her giddiness was due to her aunt’s nuptials.
I’ll never have a traditional S’Renen wedding, she thought. She occupied her mind with her most recent ride to the Ruins only a few days ago.
April 21, 2016
U for Unbelievable
My parents taught me to always see anything I do to its conclusion. One of my favorite movie quotes say, “Never give up, never surrender.”
I collected my fair share of rejection letters for Stars’ Fire. Then 38 years later, I got my unbelievable big break from Dark Oak Press and Media.
I owe my gratitude into the introduction in this fun, and at times heartbreaking, world.
April 22, 2016
V for Vision Board
When I discovered YouTube three years ago, I got hooked—big time. I came across one segment on how to create something called a “vision board”: pictures and words pasted on a poster board that represent a reminder for a goal.
On December, 2013, I created my own vision board with seven goals. The biggest goal was to see Snowfall’s Secret published. The next biggest goal was to get rid of the debt from the dental debacle. My vision board is the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I see when I go to sleep.
After Snowfall’s Secret is released in August, I’ll create a new vision board.
Are you curious on how to create your own vision board? There are plenty of videos on YouTube to give you ideas.
April 23, 2016
W for Waiting (Stars’ Fire, Chapter 4)
Dahliea finally had enough of biting her lower lip and she took a deep breath. She thought about trying to engage the seamstress by herself without waiting for Shota to come into the room. She looked down at Leyli, who knelt on the floor running her pinner against a future hem. “Did you like attending school?”
Leyli paused from her measuring and pinning. She pressed her lips inward at the question as if trying to swallow them and deliberated about what to say while looking at her pinner. Then she looked up at Dahliea. Her deep golden eyes looked earnestly at the girl.
“I have some good memories of my classes and my friends. We were lucky that my friends and I never had to be among Zonpres until we came to the city for Festival. Some of my schoolmates weren’t that lucky. Two of them wanted to take up husbandry and agriculture. They had to work side-by-side with some of those people.” The woman allowed herself a wisp of a grin before returning to her task.
Dahliea thought about the seamstress’ remark. She never said anything like this before. Why now? Why did she dislike the Zonpres so? Dahliea didn’t understand. Shota was a Zonpres and Dahliea loved her.
She was about to ask the seamstress to explain what she meant when her mother came into the room. The seamstress gave a respectful bow from her kneeling position.
April 24, 20126
X for X Where You Reach Your Goal
I have a Weight Watchers charm that I received after attending six or so consecutive meetings. It looks like a map with an X.
I was raised to always have a plan with a goal as an end result. How else, as my parents taught me, can I determine if I accomplished anything?
April 25, 2016
Y for Ye-Ya, Stars’ Fire, Chapter 15
Dahliea waited for the door to close and to make sure that her uncle was a safe distance down the hall before the corners of her mouth turned up into the widest smile she had in a very long time. “Ye-Ya!” She exclaimed with both arms raised. She looked down at her plate of food, and with her appetite amazingly appearing, she started to eat. Then she swallowed hard because of something she now considered: who will be coming tonight? I wonder if Aud-Teeli would ask her father for me. After the awful way I’ve treated Uncle Tholawm, why would he answer if I asked? She ate a little more slowly now while she thought of a way to approach her cousin to ask Uncle Tholawm.
April 26, 2016
Z for Zest in Living
I did it! I completed the 2016 A to Z Challenge in 26 days!
I’m sharing with you my all-time favorite quote which is so appropriate for the Challenge’s theme: Moment.
Nothing else matters much — not wealth, not learning, nor even health — without this gift: the spiritual capacity to keep zest in living.
This is the creed of creeds, the final deposit and distillation of all our important faiths: That we should be able to believe in life.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick