4 Reasons Poetry Liberates Mind, Body and Soul – Poetry & Iran

How a New York City Girl Came to Love High School in Iran

Shaghayegh "Sharon" Farsijani

Shaghayegh “Sharon” Farsijani

Iran is a beautiful country with one of the world’s richest heritages, but for an American teenager raised in New York City, moving there can be a potentially painful culture shock.

When Shaghayegh “Sharon” Farsijani’s father took her to Iran to experience the traditions of his birthplace, she found beauty in unexpected ways.

“Imagine this: you’re a Brooklyn girl and, just as you’re entering into the most transformative period of your life – the teenage years – you move to a very religiously observant country, where liberties American girls take for granted can get you into lots of trouble,” says Shaghayegh “Sharon” Farsijani, author of the new book, “Lacking Lips of Time.”

Like the other girls at her school, Farsijani wore a burqa, although hers was not the head-to-toe robe common in Arab countries.

“My burqa covered my head and down to the hip, and under it I wore a ‘manto,’ which is similar to a raincoat to cover the rest of my body,” she says.

But while the modest garments required for women hid much from the eyes, Farsijani discovered they could still see into each other’s hearts. They shared many of the same feelings — likes and dislikes curiosity and yearnings, joy in all of the sensations of light, sound, smell, taste and touch.

“We were different but we were very much alike,” she says.

Muslim women wearing burqas - from blog in

Muslim women wearing burqas – Photo credit: National Secular Society, http://www.secularism.org.uk/blog/2012/08/women-can-choose-to-wear-the-burka–but-can-they-choose-not-to

As she tried to adjust to the more restrictive Muslim rules governing women in Iran, Farsijani discovered a powerful source of freedom. Not only did writing poetry allow her to explore and express her own feelings, it helped her understand and appreciate the beauty in the new world around her.

“Whether or not you ever share your poetry, it can be the catalyst for turning a difficult experience into a time of growth and appreciation,” she says.

She offers four reasons why:

• Poetry is one of the freest forms of written art: Poetry is nearly as diverse as the many cultures of the world. There are limericks, haikus and sonnets among structured forms, but there are many free-verse styles that have changed the world, including rap. Poetry is one of the least encumbered forms of written and spoken expression; it is by its very nature liberating.

• It provides a safe place to express what is publicly taboo or prohibited: The very conservative values of today’s Iran means it’s often not socially acceptable for teenage girls to express themselves in terms of personal fashion choices or in behaviors such as dating boys. It was the intuitive nature of poetry that helped Farsijani open the door to the deep inner sensuality of her being.

• It can express a great deal in comparatively few words: Poetry written in English, for example, can seem like a foreign language to many English speakers who do not know how to feel the written and spoken word. While those who’ve never experienced poetry in its fullness may not understand it, poets and poetry lovers appreciate its ability to express the ineffable.

• Easily memorized, it’s also easily recalled when needed: Before the printed word became accessible to the average person with the Gutenberg press, poetry’s rhythm and rhyme verse schemes were used to memorize vast quantities of information. Similarly, a line written and remembered by a young girl enduring social pressure can serve as a mantra — a life raft for sanity and personal integrity.

“It wasn’t easy, but with the help of poetry, I was able to endure challenging teenage years in Iran, which I was finally able to see as beautiful,” Farsijani says.

Farsijani - book signing in New York City - Photo credit:  Sharon Khanoom

Farsijani – book signing in New York City – Photo credit: Sharon Khanoom

About Shaghayegh “Sharon” Farsijani

Shaghayegh “Sharon” Farsijani has a cultural background that is as diverse as her poetry is sensual. Born in New York City, she moved to Tehran with her father, a native Iranian who wanted her to experience the culture of her ancestors. She eventually made her way to California, then to Paris and finally New York City again. After working as a reporter, graduating with her MBA and traveling extensively, she embarked on a journey to write with a deeper focus, culminating in her first book of poetry.

The foregoing article was provided by the PR firm News and Experts, a division of EMS Incorporated, and used with permission.

Lacking Lips of Time

Lacking Lips of Time - Poetry by Shaghayegh “Sharon” Farsijani

Lacking Lips of Time – Poetry by Shaghayegh “Sharon” Farsijani

Shaghayegh Farsijani’s first published poetry collection, Lacking Lips of Time, is an intrinsic look into deep experiences and feelings many of us have left orphaned, dusted, and alone. She gives natural life to anything with the power of sensuality at its peak like an artist splashing colors to everyday nouns and verbs. She will reach out and give life to suppressed and sleeping emotions deep within your soul. Her work is like timeless fractals of the human condition dancing on fearless poppies.  (Taken from descriptions at Sharon Farsijani’s website home page.)   


Rocky Road chapters being discontinued — Read why

shocked-smileyI found out, while reading Anne R. Allen’s blog today, something I didn’t know.  It stunned me, and I could feel the blood draining from my face as I read it.  If you are an author, specifically a fiction novelist, you would probably be interested in finding out why.

I won’t keep you in suspense; the agony of it is impact enough!  Here’s what Anne had to say in her blog (and here’s the link to the entire blog, Social Media Secrets, Part 3: What Should An Author Blog About?).  Below she is talking about what NOT to blog about:

Your Fiction WIP. Especially if you hope to attract an agent. Not only do agents not have time to hunt for novels in the blogosphere, but they generally won’t take a novel that’s been blogged because it’s already “published.” (Selling novels is a different process from selling nonfiction—which is generally based 99% on platform—so the rules are different.

Some writers ARE able to attract a blog following by posting some short fiction or poetry, but I don’t recommend you do it exclusively, because people skim blogs and usually won’t read denser stuff. Plus you are giving away first rights and can’t enter it in contests or submit to journals after putting it on a blog. It’s better to post work in progress on a place like Wattpad which is password-protected and therefore not “publishing.

“But especially don’t blog your unedited, unfinished novel hoping for praise or critique. You’ll thank me later when you’re at your editing stage. Honest. (If you want critique, I suggest you join one of the many online groups for the purpose, like CritiqueCircle.com.)

If you haven’t been reading the Anne R. Allen blog (with Ruth Harris), I highly recommend it.  This woman is absolutely chock full of valuable information about blogging, writing in general, fiction writing, non-fiction writing, publishing, literary agents, contracts, legal obligations and clauses (and when to get a lawyer) and anything else to do with these matters that you can think of.  Every blog of hers soothes me (or excites me as the situation calls for).

However, what I really wanted to talk about is why I am discontinuing publishing my WIP novel The Rocky Road to the End of the World here.  Obviously, the above quote from Anne will give you a clue.  But what it means to me is I won’t be able to try and sell first rights to this book to any publishing house.  Or I won’t be able to promote my book as first-time ever on the book stands, if I self-publish.

Right now, I feel drowned in disaster, especially considering that all the short stories I’ve written in the past three years have been published on my blog. I was planning on trying to sell them either as an anthology of my short stories, or a short, read-one-at-a-time e-book on Kindle.  And I won’t be able to enter the short stories in any contest.  Now it’s a mess which I will have to clean up.

I’m very sorry to disappoint you re Rocky Road.  If you are a writer, however, perhaps you can regard this as a serious matter and a lucky heads-up with respect to your own writing.  I will be reverting to my how-to’s and anecdotes in this blog.  Thank you for sticking with me.

CHAPTER SIX – A Hard Lesson, Learned the Hard Way

CHAPTER SIX – A Hard Lesson, Learned the Hard Way

 (from the novel, The Rocky Road to the End of the World)
Copyright (c) 2013 by Sandra Bell Kirchman
All rights reserved.

         My eyes had barely closed, when Mark patted my shoulder.  “Alex, wake up.”  I jerked awake and sat up stiffly, which produced a groan of protest from Tilly.

“It’s too dark for me to continue in unfamiliar territory.  I don’t want to switch on the lights on the Jeep in case looters spot us.  We just can’t tell where they might show up, and the Jeep is a pretty good prize for anyone heading north.”  Mark rubbed his eyes and yawned.  “I’ve pulled the Jeep over on the other side of the ditch, and I hope we’re hidden by trees here.  It might just be a small patch or it might be a huge forest.  I can’t tell, but it’s the best we can do for now.”

I patted his hand.  “You’ve done great, Mark.  Do you want me to stay up and watch, first shift?”

“I don’t think so,” Mark replied.  “No point in staying up to watch when you can’t see past your nose, it’s so dark.  I would if the moon was out, but you know what a light sleeper I am.  It’s almost as good as being away.”  He laughed, and I smiled, glad that he could still make his little jokes.  “Let’s get some rest, and we might make reasonable time tomorrow.  I hope we can find some purple gas, though.  I don’t want to use our last few cans of regular gas.”  He yawned again, practically inhaling all the Jeep’s oxygen in the process.  “I hope the dogs will sleep okay.”

I hoped they would too and fell asleep practically before I finished the thought.

My dreams were scattered and unresolved, pretty much the way my day had been.  What woke me up was Oreo whimpering in his sleep.  I shouldn’t have taken him our of his carrier then; he was still sleeping along with everyone else.  Mark always said I worried way too much about the dogs.  In retrospect, it was a hard way to learn a lesson I’ll never forget.

I reached past Justin, who apparently slept like the dead, as we had already seen the previous day.  By twisting quietly and kneeling, I could just back and slip open the door of the carrier stacked sideways behind Justin’s seat; Oreo cautiously pushed it open with his nose.

Usually he bounded and/or wiggled his way to me, his tail waving with delight.  This time he crept…past the gap between Justin’s seat and the rear door.  I picked him up, just about breaking my puckering string in the process.  Oreo was a husky little bundle.  Tilly greeted him quietly and Oreo pressed against me, trembling.  How terribly hard this was on him.  He hated the car, and twenty hours in one was almost too much for him.  I felt I should have let him out when we stopped for a little exercise and a potty break.  I have to admit I didn’t want to face Mark with such a request.

Oreo shivered and whimpered again, and I knew what the main problem was.  He had to go out, and not just pee this time.  I didn’t know what to do.  I looked over at Mark and he was sleeping as if he too were dead.  He must have been exhausted.  He wasn’t a youngster anymore, and dealing with people stressed him out.  I began to realize what I had done to him by inviting Justin and Patty to ride with us.

Oreo whimpered again, more urgently, and I made up my mind.  I quietly opened the door and let Oreo down on the ground.  Tilly thought that was a great idea and jumped down as well.  Her silvery coat glowed in the moonlight.  I look up and thought, damn, it’s almost as bright as day.  This is not a good idea.  Oreo had run ahead to find the “perfect” spot for a poo.  I picked up Tilly and trotted after him.  I could see well enough to spot him in the underbrush and I let Tilly down to do her own little duty.  Just as I was picking her up, the sound of someone crunching through the brush made me spin around.

“All right, lady,” a man said, emerging into the full moonlight, “you’re gonna help me get that vehicle.”  He waved his gun at me.  “I will use this if I have to.  I want that Jeep.”

I gasped.  “You’re the man from our last rest stop.  How-how did you catch up to us on foot?  It’s not possible!”

He gave a low chuckle and couldn’t resist a macho boast.  “You never saw me in my old beat-up Chevy.  I came to, just as your tail lights winked around the bend, and followed you.  I’m not stupid enough to attack a vehicle full of possibly armed bozos, so I was just waiting for my chance.  And you’re it.”

He grabbed me roughly by the arm and thrust me ahead of him.  “You’re going to go back to the car and wake up the driver and tell him he has to come out.  Tell him anything…like, you twisted your ankle and can’t get back in the car by yourself with the dog.  That’s it.  Give him the dog.  That’ll distract him.

“Get moving, and limp like you mean it.”

I had almost blurted out about Oreo still in the brush, then thought better of it.  It would serve no useful purpose letting him know about the dog, and maybe Oreo might startle him at a good time.

He gave me a push to get me started.  I stumbled and started limping.  At the same time, a whirlwind of growling fury flew at us…at the man, actually.  I had never seen Oreo in a killing rage, but he had only one thing in mind: to get this terrible man away from his beloved Mommy.

The man pivoted with a startled exclamation just as Oreo grabbed his shin.  From the sound of it, my dog must have taken a chunk out of the leg.  Oreo may have been small, but he had very sharp teeth.  The man was yelling, I was screaming, then there was a shot.  I stood still for a moment, staring at Oreo crumpled on the ground, a dark stain on his side oozing heavily, smearing his fur.  I dropped to my knees, still holding Tilly and set her carefully against me.  She was trembling and didn’t want to go anywhere.  She nuzzled Oreo.

I felt the pulse at his carotid artery, but there was nothing.  I held my hand to his little nose but felt not even a whisper of air.  The pain of his passing crushed my heart, and filled my eyes with tears that would not fall.  I thought I was having a heart attack, but I didn’t care.  My little baby was dead, and it was my fault.

The man jabbed cold steel against my neck.

“Get up, lady.  You are just lucky I don’t put bullets in you and the other little mutt here.”

I got to my feet and trembled, feeling sick to my stomach, and stood there.

“Now turn very—“

Another shot rang out and the man’s body slumped against me.  I convulsively pushed him away, and Tilly yipped as his hand swiped her on the way down.  He lay still at my feet, right beside my baby.  The nightmare enveloped me, my life was running right out of me.  I wanted to scream my sorrow until I had no voice.  I knelt on the ground, sobbing.

A hand gently gripped my shoulder.  “Are you hurt?” Mark asked.

I shook my head, unable to get any words out, the sobs building up into something I didn’t think I could control.  Mark walked over to the man and pushed him onto his back with his boot.  Kneeling down, he felt for a pulse.  He stood up and shoved him again, a monumental disgust showing in his motions.

“Oreo?” Mark asked, bending over to touch the still dog.

That’s when the dam burst.  I cried as I hadn’t since my mother died twenty years ago.  My heart felt like it was about three sizes too large for my chest, and I had trouble catching my breath.  My beautiful little Oreo, such a gentle, sweet soul, and he was gone…and it was my fault.

Mark touched me on the shoulder again.  I looked up and saw the sorrow on his face.  I made a huge effort to get myself under control.  Oreo had been Mark’s little buddy.  He was always telling Oreo, “It’s hard looking after da wimmins all day.  Us guys gotta stick together, right, Buddy?”  A shudder went through me but I clamped down on it.

“Babe, we better get going.  We don’t know if that guy had any friends around, or if all this noise is bringing someone to investigate…or loot.”

I nodded my head vaguely.  “Sure, Mark, soon as we bury Oreo.”

Mark was silent, and I looked up at him again.  His stunned expression faded quickly to a look of hopelessness.

That look shocked me into a state of realization.  I was putting him another corner.  Here I had not only gotten Oreo killed, but I was jeopardizing Mark, the other two people, and the other two dogs with my sentimental notion that a burial was necessary.  I just couldn’t stand the thought of wild animals tearing his little body apart.

Mark jumped up.  “Wait here, I have an idea.”  He ran back to the Jeep while I felt Oreo again to make sure he was dead.  From the placement of the entry wound, it looked like the man had got Oreo with a purely lucky shot, right in the heart.  He was definitely dead.  I tried to convince myself that nothing that happened to his body now was going to hurt him.

Mark returned, carrying Oreo’s carrier, still with the pee pad and the quilt and blanket.

“You’re worried about animals eating Oreo, right?  We don’t have time to bury him, but we can put him in here, bundle him up, and put the carrier, tightly closed and locked, up in a tree.  That will keep him safe.”

Tears streamed down my face.  “Thank you, Mark,” I said softly.

It didn’t take us long to wrap him lovingly in his blanket and for Mark to put the carrier up in the limbs of a burr oak.  It was silly, I know, but I liked the idea of the pretty place we’d found for him.  He had loved barking at strange noises and he loved sitting in the sunshine in our beautiful backyard.  He would feel somewhat at home here.  Oh, damn!  I shook my head and hurried back to the Jeep.

Tilly had followed Mark back to the Jeep and he had put her inside.  She sat on my seat waiting for me.  I needed my dogs now, and Mark sensed it.

“We should probably let Ling Ling out to do her thing,” he said.  “I think with just one other dog, we can let her loose in the vehicle.”

Gratefully, I took her outside.  She wasn’t interested in playing, she was too sleepy.  She quickly did her job and hopped into the Jeep and onto my lap.

By now, both Justin and Patty were awake.  They wanted to know what had happened.  Mark explained quickly to them, and they both offered condolences to us about Oreo.  I didn’t want to talk about it now, so I changed the subject, while Mark backed us out of our spot and back onto the road, heading north.

“Mark’s driving without the headlights on because the moon is very bright tonight,” I explained.  “Hopefully, no one will spot us.  Good thing the Jeep is dark green.”

“Yeah,” Justin said.  “Too bad there isn’t much wind.  The sound of the Jeep will carry.”

Mark agreed.  “There’s not too much we can do about that.  It’s a smooth-running vehicle, but they’ll hear it whether it’s night or day.  If it becomes too much of a liability, we’ll have to abandon it.  But it’ll be at our timing and our choice of location.”

Apparently, Justin wasn’t too fond of the idea of leaving the Jeep, because he was fairly quiet after that.

And I sat there, hanging on to Ling Ling as if my life depended on it, the empty void inside me paining like someone had severed something vital.

* * * * * *

(Author’s Note:  Sorry for being late with this installment.  I had an accident which cause me to rest more than I normally do.  I don’t want to say what it was, but my gluteus maximus and a fall downstairs were involved.) 



Author Shares Tips for Finding Work That Feeds the Soul

Ready to Make the Jump?
Now’s the Time for a Heartfelt Encore
Mother of Re-Invention Shares Tips for Finding Work
that Feeds the Soul*

They’re called second acts, encore careers or reinventing yourself – they’re the completely new and different jobs people take in midlife or later.

From Impactlab.net (http://impactlab.net)

From Impactlab.net (http://impactlab.net)

Today, making that jump is more likely to be a matter of following the heart than it was during the throes of the economic recession, when professionals, caught up in corporate layoffs, discovered they were too old to find jobs in a poor market and too young to retire. They started second careers not to follow a vocation but to pay the bills.

Yarn to Go by Betty Hechtman

Yarn to Go by Betty Hechtman

“I’m glad to see the tide turning again – especially for all the baby boomers who don’t want to  retire but do want to do something gratifying,” says Betty Hechtman (http://BettyHechtman.com), who was on the eve of her 60th birthday when her first mystery series prompted a bidding war between St. Martin’s Press and Berkley Books.

She has since published eight “cozy mysteries,” including her newest, “Yarn to Go” – the first in her Berkley Prime Crime Yarn Mystery series.

Hechtman has had a lot of practice reinventing herself. She has volunteered as a farmworker on a kibbutz in Israel, waitressed and worked in retail sales, and made connections as a telephone operator, among a host of jobs.

“I’ve held jobs just for the paycheck and I’ve pursued my passions, so I know how profoundly different it is to do one versus the other,” she says. “No matter what age you are, if there’s work you feel called to, you should most definitely give it a try — you may well experience a joy unlike any you’ve ever known.”

Hechtman offers these tips for people considering an encore:

• Do your homework. There’s nothing more disappointing them jumping in to something new only to become disillusioned and frustrated because you didn’t take the time to prepare. If your dream is to open a particular business, research the market. Is there a demand for what you hope to sell? Should you give it a trial run as an online business before investing in shop space and other overhead? Start by checking the resources at Score.org, a nonprofit supported by more than 12,000 volunteers dedicated to helping small businesses off the ground. For other encore pursuits, you might take classes or spend a few hours a week working as a volunteer to learn the ropes.

• Join a group of like-minded people. This is particularly helpful for aspiring artists who want to paint, play music, write a book or indulge some other creative talent. You can brush up on your skills and make valuable contacts by becoming a part of a community theater, joining a writers circle, or finding a group of hobbyists. You may find your skills develop much more quickly with the support and guidance of collegial peers who are all helping one another achieve a dream.

• Consider working in one of the five most popular encore fields.  Most people seek second their careers in health, education, government, environment and non-profits — all fields expected to provide abundant job opportunities in the next couple of years, according to Encore.org, a non-profit that supports second careers “for the greater good.” If you need training to qualify, now is the time to get it, Hechtman says. “Invest now in the education, and you can soon have a job that feeds the heart, the mind – and the body!”

About Betty Hechtman

Author Betty Hechtman

Author Betty Hechtman

Betty Hechtman is the author of “Yarn to Go,” the first book in the Berkley Prime Crime Yarn Retreat mystery series, as well as the author of the best-selling Berkley Prime Crime Crochet  mystery series. The eighth book, “For Better or Worsted,” comes out in November.  She has also written newspaper and magazine pieces, short stories and screenplays as well as a children’s culinary mystery. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree and has been active in handicrafts since she was a small child. Hechtman divides her time between Los Angeles and Chicago.*

From Betty herself:

I grew up on the south side of Chicago and in a very busy weekend, got married, graduated college and moved to Los Angeles.

Although my degree is in Fine Arts, all I ever wanted to be was a writer and I’ve been doing it in one form or another for as long as I can remember. My shining moments in elementary and high school always involved stories or poetry I’d written. I wrote news stories and a weekly column in my college newspaper. My first job out of college was working on the newsletter of a finance company. I worked for a public relations firm and wrote press releases and biographies. Later I wrote proposals for video projects and television shows that went through various stages of development.

I tried writing screenplays and wrote three...more

* Press Release from
on behalf of Betty Hechtman.
Used with permission.

CHAPTER FIVE – I’ll Cry For You, Argentina

CHAPTER FIVE – I’ll Cry For You, Argentina
(from the novel, The Rocky Road to the End of the World)
Copyright (c) 2013 by Sandra Bell Kirchman
All rights reserved.

        “You don’t have to be so hard on her,” I whispered to Mark.  “She’s just a kid.”

“She’s a kid who’s trying to survive, same as us, Alex.  But there can only be one leader of this expedition, and that’s me.  If everyone wants to survive, that’s the way it’s going to be.”

I sat back, gritting my teeth, stroking Tilly to regain my temper.  One of the things I was mad at was knowing that Mark was right…again.  He always did that, and it annoyed me enormously.  Fact was, I still didn’t grasp the significance of the situation.  I still believed in the goodness of people.  If the e-Wave, as the media was calling it, hit us, we were dead.  Running away, like cowards in the night, was no way to make a last stand.  It didn’t dawn on me that the e-Wave wasn’t the enemy.

The grass rustled and I looked into the gloom, expecting Patty to emerge.  Instead it was an indistinct figure brandishing something.  As it approached, I gulped and leaned over to Mark.

“He’s got a weapon, Mark,” I said.

“I know,” Mark replied evenly.  Even as we talked he slid his rifle sitting behind me out of sight and put the butt end on the floor.

“All of you, get out of the Jeep,” the man yelled.  At least it had to be a man by the timbre of his voice.  I still couldn’t see his face.  “No funny tricks or I’ll shoot ya, all of ya.”

“Go on, you two,” Mark grated.

Justin opened the rear door behind Mark, as I opened the passenger door.  Both of us stepped out at the same time and moved away from the car.  I could tell by the way the guy was moving his head, he was having a little trouble keeping track of us in the dusk.  Before Mark could even step out, however, a slight whishing sounded, followed by a grunt.  The man collapsed.  Patty walked up on the verge and dusted her hands off.

“Good thing I went to the can,” she said with a smirk.

“You could have been killed!” Mark raged.  “I had it under control.”  He got out of the Jeep, carrying the rifle.

“I figured you didn’t want a gun battle with Alex and the Jeep as targets.  The least we would have gotten was one or more flat tires.”

Mark didn’t say anything.  Knowing him, I figured he had already thought of that and was ready to take the risk.  I also figured he was surprised that Patty had thought it through so clearly.

“Is he dead?” I asked, my voice a little shaky.

Mark returned from checking him out and placed a revolver, presumably the man’s in the glove compartment.  “Nope,” he said, “but he’s going to have a granddaddy of a headache when he wakes up.”  He reached behind my seat and slid the rifle into the slot he had made for it.  “Nice head whack,” he said, grinning at Patty.

“Thanks,” she said, grinning back at him.

I scooped Tilly up from where she had been cowering on the ground—men’s loud voices always scared her—and the four of us got back into the Jeep.

“Maybe we can get some local news,” Justin suggested.  “Might give us a better idea of what’s going on with looters.”

Mark nodded as he geared up the Jeep, heading back onto the road, and I switched on the radio.

 …of Argentina and Chile.  This is the first time only part of a country has been swallowed by the e-Wave, and the results are interesting, although not unexpected.  Accounts from northern Argentina report that communications were normal from the southernmost part of the country.  There was absolutely no warning when the e-Wave struck.  When it did, all communications ceased.

The line of destruction in Argentina was straight along the north border of Santa Cruz province and included everything southward, plus Islas Malvinas, Antarctide Argentina, and the Falkland Islands.  A similar demarcation in Chile was an imaginary line through the Twelfth District of Magallanes y la Antartica Chilena Region extending across Chile on the same latitude as the northern Santa Cruz border.

What was different in this attack of the e-Wave was that it was the first one to dissect a country.  All along the Santa Cruz border was evidence of the scientific precision of the Wave.  Cars, people, plant life, animals that had been crossing the border or lay across the border at the time the Wave hit were bisected at that point.  One person had been walking to the other side of the provincial border when the e-Wave struck.  His leg was removed as cleanly as if with a surgical scalpel.  The person, unidentified at the moment, was rushed to hospital.  A hospital spokesman reported that the man’s chances for survival are favourable.

Many others, numbering in the hundreds, were not so lucky and did not survive.

While scientists have still not determined what the e-Wave is, where it originates, and what its purpose is, they have mapped out a rough pattern that the Wave seems to be following.  The speculation is that the Wave started from Australia as a testing point, a whole country, contained as an island, small enough to study effects, yet large enough for the effects to be visible from space.

The e-Wave moved northeast to Papua New Guinea, hovered indecisively, then for some reason headed south, taking in the Solomon and Fiji Islands and New Zealand…more island countries.  Analysts believe that, after observations by the manipulators of the e-Wave’s behaviour during the tests, these same manipulators caused the destruction to head westward across the Atlantic, missing the tip of Africa, presumably because it was too far north.

The Wave took in the islands surrounding the western hemisphere landmass, and then, unexpectedly, took a bite out of the two countries occupying the most southernmost space.  This pattern would seem to indicate that perhaps whoever or whatever is manipulating the e-Wave is not proficient in handling it operation.  Further speculation supposes that the e-Wave is being pretested on our planet.

Although there is still considerable disagreement about various aspects of this attack, the majority are now in agreement that this is an attack directed by intelligent beings.  We are told that what finally convinced most of the scientists is the doubt and change of course after Papua New Guinea.  There is still a slim chance that it was simply survival instincts veering from the northern route because of some unknown disagreeable factors there.  Still the majority opinion prevails.

Looters are reported running rampant in most, if not all, populated areas.  Because the entire world could be at risk, most people are interested in being with their loved ones.  A small percentage of people worldwide are heading north, in the belief that the southern parts of the world are the most dangerous.  They hope that the north may be missed.

The United Nations has delivered a mandate to the global scientific community to determine the cause of the e-Wave and find a solution with all possible speed.

Mark nodded his head as if the announcer had said something he agreed with or had already known.  Sometimes I had no idea what my husband was thinking.  As the buzz of the station grew insistently annoying, I turned the radio off.

“Well,” Patty said, “that was less than cheerful.  And here I was hoping to see…to see my mom and dad s-soon.”  A soft sob turned my heart to mush.  Mark was fond of saying it turned my head to mush too.

“It’s okay, Patty,” I said.  “If it’s humanly possible, we’ll find them.”

“Only if they’re on the way to Lake Timiskat,” Mark muttered under his breath, but I heard him and turned to glare at him.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t see my facial expression in the dusk.  Fortunately, he had the sense to keep anything else on the subject to himself.

I noticed that Justin’s arm had found its way around Patty’s shoulders, and she had rested her head on his chest.  Probably a better comfort than I could provide right now.

Stroking Tilly’s soft fur, I leaned my head back.  I wished I had been able to talk to either my son or my daughter when I called Calgary.  Leaving a message on their answering machines wasn’t very satisfactory.  I couldn’t tell them the route we were taking north since I hadn’t known at the time.  I still didn’t know.  Just the destination.  As soon as Mark had told me was when I had phoned them.  I hoped I would see them again.

A tear surprised me by trickling down my cheek.