Dallas Trip…and Life Update

First of all, an update on what’s happening in my life right now.  Things are still a little confusing at the moment.  I can’t see a surgeon until April 18, so until then I get to live in fear and worry.  Everything hangs in the balance until I meet the surgeon and find out what, if anything, is going to be done to my back.  One thing I do know, regardless of if I have surgery or not, I will have to leave patient care.  My back can no longer withstand the strain nursing puts on it.  No matter what, any job that requires patient care will eventually require the nurse to lift, push, pull, or twist SOMETHING heavier than him-or herself.  I can no longer take the risk of performing one of these tasks and destroying my back forever.  I may already have destroyed it, but if I don’t stop putting myself at risk, it will happen for sure.

My boss is going to keep me on for the time being.  I will only be able to work in pre-op.  Starting IVs and charting are all I can do.  I will also do any computer/secretarial work needed to help fill the rest of the time.  How long they will keep me being limited to only pre-op remains to be seen.  My boss doesn’t want to get rid of me, but the ultimate decision lies with the CEO.  He may end up wanting to get rid of me and hire someone who is capable of doing anything and everything…as I ONCE was capable of doing.

Since I am in no way, shape, or form interested in nursing if I can’t be taking care of patients directly, I’ve been looking into online degree programs for writing, graphic design, and photography.  They all seem very appealing.  I haven’t decided on one yet, it will all depend on funding (I’m working to acquire a grant).  One thing is certain, I will be getting a second bachelor’s degree in one of these three areas.  After that I will start a new career, quite possibly doing so in the big city of Dallas, Texas, where more opportunities await.  Which brings me to the trip I just returned from…Dallas was nice, as always.  Had some lovely food, fantastic time visiting with family, saw my aunt’s new home–which is fabulous–and was given some mementos of my beloved Uncle Mac.  It was very hard visiting this time, because practically everything in my aunt’s house that reminds you of Mac was gone.  Either taken down and packed, or given away to family and friends.  My aunt has kept the few things that meant the most to her, the rest of his things she is in the process of giving away to those who loved Mac, to cherish them along with his memory.  I was given some of his music, one of his treasured LSU game footballs, and some pictures of him and my cousin–his son–who sadly passed away when he was 15, back in 1992.  Here are some photos of the trip:

Welcome to Texas, y'all!
Welcome to Texas, y’all!
Driving through Dallas...
Driving through Dallas…
Dallas looks very different from Little Rock!!
Dallas looks very different from Little Rock!!
100+ year old cactus located near my aunt's present home.
100+ year old cactus located near my aunt’s present home.
The most incredible lemon bar I've ever eaten. Had about half an inch deep layer of powdered sugar on top! I love Dallas dining!
The most incredible lemon bar I’ve ever eaten. Had about half an inch deep layer of powdered sugar on top! I love Dallas dining!
Dallas
Dallas
Phenomenal steak at Saltgrass Texas Steakhouse.
Phenomenal steak at Saltgrass Texas Steakhouse.
Katie, Kyle, Michael, and me again.
Katie, Kyle, Michael, and me again.
Cousin Katie, me (in blue), cousin Michael (who died in 1992) and cousin Kyle.
Cousin Katie, me (in blue), cousin Michael (who died in 1992) and cousin Kyle.
My late cousin Michael holding my cousin Kyle...Kyle is 26 now!
My late cousin Michael holding my cousin Kyle…Kyle is 26 now!
I was given some pictures of my beloved Uncle Mac who recently passed away. Here he is about to do something he loved best: driving fast.
I was given some pictures of my beloved Uncle Mac who recently passed away. Here he is about to do something he loved best: driving fast.
The church is beautiful. Happy Easter!
The church is beautiful. Happy Easter!
Iced Sweet Tea-A Southern Staple!
Iced Sweet Tea-A Southern Staple!
Pina Coladas were glorious.
Pina Coladas were glorious.
My cousin Taylor and his lovely wife Grace, at their combined birthday celebration.
My cousin Taylor and his lovely wife Grace, at their combined birthday celebration.
The view from my aunt's new townhouse. The pool belongs to the neighbors, whom I hope she becomes good friends with!
The view from my aunt’s new townhouse. The pool belongs to the neighbors, whom I hope she becomes good friends
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Combined Martha Long “Ma,” Series Review (Or Better Yet, Reaction)

I’ve been promising to review the remainder of Martha Long’s books for several days now, but circumstances beyond my control have prevented me from taking the time to sit down and write everything I wanted to say about this fabulous series of books.  I have already reviewed Martha’s first two books in the series. My Ma, He Sold Me For a Few Cigarettes can be found by clicking the preceding link.  I also reviewed Martha’s second book Ma, I’m Gettin Meself a New Mammy, but unfortunately that review, along with several other of my posts have been lost to the abyss.  They are unrecoverable and that is something I’m very distraught about.  I can’t get them back no matter what I do.  I have virtually restarted this blog from scratch after it was compromised by a hacker.  I’m just glad I was able to salvage the original blog and some of the posts I had written.  Anyway, that’s a story for another day.

I have decided in the interest of time and space-saving, to provide a brief synopsis of each subsequent book following the first book, Ma, he Sold Me For a Few Cigarettes.  The synopses can be found by clicking THIS LINK.  They are fairly brief and not too detailed in effort to prevent ruining the whole story for those who haven’t finished the books.  Remember, the synopses do contain some spoilers, despite their brevity, so don’t click the link if you haven’t read any of the books and don’t want to learn about what happens in each book before you read it.

This review, I suppose, will not be a typical book review for a few reasons.  In fact, it shouldn’t be called a “review” at all, but rather a “reaction.”  First of all I decided to take a subjective, totally personally opinionated  approach to this review, rather than providing an unbiased look at what you are getting into when you read the “Ma,” series.  I am not ashamed to admit I am very biased when it comes to Martha Long.  She is my favorite author hands-down.  I admit that and refuse to apologize for it.  I have many feelings and opinions on Martha’s life saga, and it is this I have chosen to discuss.  I am also covering five books as opposed to only one.  In attempt to prevent a novel coming out of this post, I am leaving the blow-by-blow descriptions to a minimum.  So here it is…my review, my reaction, my response…whatever you want to call it.

In her incredible “Ma,” series, Martha Long provides the public with a look at her very unique, harrowing life experiences coming of age in Dublin, Ireland…a very sad and difficult life to say the least.  Martha shares her story from the time she is three years of age and carries us, the readers, through her life experiences all the way up to her thirties.  At least she is in her thirties when the sixth book in the series, Ma, I’ve Reached For The Moon an I’m Hittin The Stars ends.  Hittin The Stars is not the end of Martha’s journey, though.  Her seventh, and final, book in the series, to be titled Ma, Jackser’s Dyin Alone is due out in September of this year.  I have no idea what kind of story this book holds, but I do know I have many unanswered questions and loose-ends I’m hoping she ties up.  Martha has an exceptional gift for weaving a story that keeps you interested, never leaves you bored on any one subject or character, and always leaves you desperate to know more.  She knows how to keep her audience and ensure they continue to read her books and buy them as they become available.

I’d like to take this time to discuss my thoughts on Martha Long as a human being.  As anyone knows, there are just certain people one feels connected to.  Drawn to.  Like they have known each other their whole lives, or perhaps–if you believe in that sort of thing–knew each other in a past life.  From the very first chapters of Martha’s first book I felt that kind of connection with Martha.  She and I come from backgrounds as different as night and day, but there is something in her very spirit that I feel drawn to, connected to.  I suppose that is my personal reason for becoming so emotionally invested in her remarkable books.  One can’t help but feel desperately sad for her when things go wrong, and intensely protective of her when someone hurts her.  Although she is a self-proclaimed private person, she has the God-given ability to draw you in and show you the inner depths of her soul.  It is a unique ability and combination that isn’t seen in many memoirists.

The more you learn about Martha through reading her experiences, the more you wish you could reach out and step into the book, meet her, and become her new best friend–reminiscent of Mary Poppins when Mary, Bert, and the children stick their feet out and jump right into a sidewalk artist’s picture, finding themselves completely immersed in the world depicted in chalk drawing.  In her sixth book, Ma, I’ve Reached For the Moon an I’m Hittin The Stars,  Martha describes her thoughts on Leonardo DaVinci and how he painted.  The way he was able to capture the essence of a person in his portraits.  Always up to a bit of mischief, which is what is so endearing about this incredible woman, she also describes how she thinks Leonardo was able to get his portrait models to work for him.  Her views on life, love, and art are so unique and adorable one can’t help but adore this mysteriously magical woman.  It’s no wonder Ralph–the priest sworn to a life of celibacy–falls madly in love with her.  She has it all.  She’s beautiful, she’s intelligent, she’s seen it all and heard it all, giving her experience and wisdom far beyond that of her years.  In short, she is a rare individual.  The proverbial diamond in the rough.  No, there are not many women in this world like Martha Long to be sure.  It is in the very same way Leonardo DaVinci was able to depict the story and even the very soul of a person in his paintings, Martha is able to weave an intensely vivid, incredibly detailed story.  She brings it to life in such a way you feel you are there with her as all these things she is describing are taking place.  You almost feel you could reach out and hug her when something terrible happens.  Or give her a gentle slap on the back when she gives you such a belly laugh she makes tears stream from your eyes.  She is one of the most gifted storytellers I’ve yet to encounter in all my years of reading…I may be a young person, but I’ve read an insane amount of books.

Martha Long has many, many fans.  I am but one humble fan in a sea of others who find her work as fascinating as I do.  I would still like to take a moment and share exactly how important Martha is to me personally.  I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, finding her book somewhat by accident back in December was one of the best things to happen to me.  I was introduced to a person so inspirational, so incredible, I can’t imagine not knowing who she was just a few months ago.  Martha and I are not what you would refer to as friends, yet I feel like we are.  We have never met in person, yet I feel I’ve known her for years.  I find her unquenchable thirst for life inspiring.  Her never-give-up attitude leaves me in awe.  The fact that she has suffered so much in her lifetime and is still able to look at life with a bowl-of-cherries style positive attitude astounds me.  I’ve not been through even a quarter of the horrible things she’s endured and I find myself feeling sorry for myself quite frequently.  It isn’t a trait I am proud of, but it is the truth, and I always try to keep it real.

I feel people are brought into our lives for a reason.  Although the way they enter your life may vary drastically from person to person…whether you meet someone through a mutual friend, you meet a stranger off the street, or in the case of Martha, you “meet” them through reading the story of their life, I firmly believe these people are in our lives to make a necessary impact.  They are brought into our lives at just the moment we need them.  This is where I will get truly personal…

I discovered Martha’s books, and thus, Martha herself, at the exact time I needed to discover her.  Reading her story has taught me how to endure life’s hardships and take them on with everything you have while maintaining your strength and dignity.  When something terrible happens, you don’t let it defeat you, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go at it again.  Since reading Martha’s books, I have endured some of the hardest times of my 29 years of existence.  I’ve been plagued with depression, illness, deaths of loved ones, and –most recently–a life-changing, career-ending injury.  I honestly don’t think I could have gotten through a lot of these things as well as I have without the model of Martha’s own story to show me how these types of situations can be handled.  It’s all about never giving up.  If you do slip and give up, that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  My last post describes the injury I just suffered which has basically changed everything about my life.  Martha Long has already provided me with inspiration to get through this just by telling her story…and she doesn’t even know any of these things have happened!  It’s amazing what a person I’ve never even met has done for me.  She has my gratitude, no doubt about it.

Through discovering Martha and her books, I was able to find her on Twitter.  There we have had the opportunity to get to know each other in some small capacity, which is amazing.  I’m so happy to have the opportunity to actually communicate with the very person who has provided me unknowingly with so much inspiration.  Martha has affected me in other ways as well, though.  Through a mutual admiration for Martha’s work, I’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” some incredible people on Twitter.  Emily and Carolyn especially.  I view you both as dear friends.  Which brings me to Carolyn…

I already gushed about Carolyn and her amazing heart and compassionate spirit in my previous post…but if it weren’t for Martha Long, we would never have met.  If it hadn’t been for Carolyn’s willingness to open up to me and let me come to her with my problems, acting as my “therapist” almost, I might not have been able to cope with all that has happened to me recently.  She is so kind and loving, so generous to give of herself while she is going through so much in her own life.  I only hope I am able to give back to her the support and help she has given me if she should ever need it.

Let me conclude by saying this…If you haven’t read Martha’s “Ma,” series, you really should consider doing so.  If you are looking for something to read, her story is a powerful and extremely interesting one.  It will not disappoint.  She is one of the most talented, generous authors writing today and reading her books will provide you with a very powerful, amazing experience.  Information for purchasing Martha’s books, as well as ways to connect with Martha via twitter and facebook can be found here:

Martha Long Information

Should you decide to make the investment, I do hope you will find her books as incredible and uplifting as I have.

**Up Next Time: My Trip To Dallas with Pictures…and an Update on the Injury and life-changing plans***

Life Can Throw You A Curve! But You MUST KEEP GOING!

Well, I had intended on making this post my big review of the latest four books in Martha Long’s “Ma,” series…and I will be posting that tomorrow.  I have have been putting a lot of thought into it, and though I have notes, I have decided to write it on the five hour journey back to Little Rock from Dallas.  It will give me something to do on that long, exhausting ride.  Tonight, I am far too exhausted to put the amount of effort into the post that it deserves, and it would end up a poor excuse for the rave review I have in store.  I will say this, in her usual fashion, Martha Long has again not failed to amaze me.  She is a woman of great courage and strength and will always hold my utmost respect.  Her series has blown me away, and I’m devastated I have to wait until September to read the final chapter of her amazing, harrowing life saga.  Anyway, if I don’t stop myself now I’ll go on and on about how wonderful she is and how amazing her books are.  No.  All that for another day.  Tomorrow, to be exact, so be ready.

Tonight I have decided to share something that is lying heavily on my heart.  Something that I don’t want to talk about, don’t want to even think about…but I am an adult faced with the ultimate dilemma and sadness.  As an adult and a realist, I must face this seemingly hopeless situation head-on.  I have been given news today that, at first, I thought would destroy me.  My very spirit.  Never in my life have I been so devastated or destroyed inside.  Depressed doesn’t begin to describe how I have felt the majority of this day.  Thank God, however, I have the love and support of an amazing mom, dad, and aunt who have helped me see my life is not over, in fact I should look at this situation as a new beginning, a way to start over.  I also have the amazing life of Martha Long to look to, as she has revealed so much about her never-give-up spirit in her incredible books.  I have also been given the unimaginable gift of friendship of one of the kindest-hearted, warmest, loveliest women in the world.  Without the miracle of technology we would never have known the other existed, but thankfully–through the mutual admiration of Martha Long and the incredible social site that is twitter–I was introduced to a lovely lady named Carolyn.  She is a beautiful person inside and out, and although we live 4,200 miles apart (and yes I calculated it), she has become one of my nearest and dearest friends.  Her family as well, her daughter is an amazing human being with a huge heart…and 3 of the most adorable grandchildren ever.  Carolyn has seen me through some very difficult times in my life, willing to talk to me on the phone at all hours of the day or night for as long as I needed, to help cheer me up.  Then she will talk to me when I’m perfectly happy and content! My emotions have been a roller-coaster lately, and through it all Carolyn has been there for me, even being so far away.  I am so very grateful for technology and so blessed to be born in a time when it is available.  Thank you Carolyn, for you kindness, concern, and above all, your friendship.  You’re a treasure and I now consider you and your wonderful family a part of my own.  And thank you Martha, for sharing your story, giving me something to cling to, a hope I would not have found otherwise.  Two amazing Irish women who have made my life better simply by being themselves.  I am grateful to you both.

As I said, my emotions–my life–has been a roller coaster ride I would rather not have taken.  I’ve been through it all…illness, hateful people putting me down, loss of some of my dearest loved ones, all of which have broken my heart beyond anything I had felt up to that point.  At this very moment I’m in Dallas, Texas visiting my aunt whom I just mentioned and whom I love dearly for being a compassionate voice of reason in my life.  It has been a very difficult trip for me.  First of all, coming into this house, which she is preparing to move out of, and seeing it completely transformed.  Everything belonging to my uncle has all but vanished.  I don’t feel his presence here like I did before.  I understand why she is doing this.  Giving his things away to those who loved him most.  She has kept the things that mean the most to her and has given the rest away to his children and friends to treasure forever.  I received a memento today of my beloved uncle Mac, which I will treasure forever and display proudly in my home.  It’s such a shame that sometimes you don’t realize how very special someone is to you until you lose them.  I adored that man.  He was so very, very dear to me.  My uncle and my friend.  Next to my daddy, one of the few men in my life to ever show me unconditional love.  Something he showed to everyone he knew well.  He was an amazing individual and the world is a less happy place without him in it.  I have nothing left now but his memory to keep him alive, and I will remember him and cherish his memory until the day I die.  Mac McCuistion, you were a beautiful human being.  May your spirit live on in all of us who knew and loved you best.

Now, as I sit here crying thinking about this, I will share another bit of news I learned today that hit me like a ton of bricks.  I injured my back a few days ago at work, while trying to lift a large patient.  I was attempting to help turn him from his side to his back, and inadvertently was not given much help in the process–leaving the majority of the strain on me flipping this man over.  As soon as I gave it all my strength, I felt an all-too-familiar pop in my back.  It terrified me, I knew I had really done it. I felt the pain shoot down my spine and left leg immediately.  I chose, however, to ignore it and continue on with my job.  I’ve had surgery once for a back injury and it was without a doubt one of the worst experiences of my life to that time.  It took ages for me to return to my old self physically.  Now, feeling fit and fine, doing well and almost always pain-free, I was happy and doing well in my new job.  The thought of repeating this horrible incident horrified me beyond belief.  Ignoring it eventually made me forget about it, and the pain–although still ever-present–eased to the point I was able to continue my work day.

As the days went on, however, the pain worsened…and worsened.  Each day the pain would get worse, and although I didn’t want to face it, I knew it was not a good situation brewing.  I still chose to ignore it and not have it seen about, although I did make my boss and a couple co-workers aware of what was going on.  I continued to work as usual, still pulling machines, pushing stretchers, and still positioning patients twice the size of my five-foot-nothing self.  I’m not an athletic, skinny person, but I am tiny nonetheless.  All this physical labor on my small frame was not doing my paining back any favors.  Well, the injury occured on Tuesday and by Thursday I was in agony.  The pain got so bad at one point I felt myself getting sweaty, weak, and nauseated.  I somehow managed to finish the case we were working on, but once we finished I had to immediately excuse myself to the bathroom, where I got sick and promptly passed out smacking my head on the sink…leaving a lovely knot and bruise as evidence.  I had to leave work early because the rest of the day I was completely worthless.  I slept most of the day.  My boss asked me if I was coming to work Friday, and knowing we were swamped that day, I said I would.  If I had declined, she would have been very gracious about it, but my naturally guilty spirit and helpless need to do whatever I can whenever I can to help people in need, I just couldn’t turn her down.  So I went to work with the stipulation that I was leaving early.  I would finish my cases, help get cleaned up, then I was leaving.  My parents were picking me up and we were leaving straight for Dallas.  I slept most of that ride and that’s when the trouble started.

When we arrived, the pain in my back and leg was almost unbearable.  It was all I could do to haul myself up the spiral staircase to the second floor where my bedroom is at my aunts house.  I ended up going to bed very early but barely slept a wink.  No matter what I did, I could not get comfortable.  No position helped.  I was in agony.  The pain and the worry kept me up most of the night.  I finally did doze off around 5 a.m. but was awake by 7 a.m.  When I woke up I knew it was bad.  I couldn’t feel the back of my left leg and the bottom of my left foot.  Totally numb.  My back felt like someone had a knife stuck in it, a hot knife, which they were slowly twisting causing me as much pain as possible.  I finally got myself up and went to the restroom and discovered it was virtually impossible for me to use the bathroom.  I couldn’t go! I know that is too much information but it is to be explained soon.  I then hobbled myself into my parents’ room and told them I had to be seen by a doctor.  Something was wrong and I had the instinct and very bad feeling that something was really, really wrong.

Dad got himself ready…I did nothing but comb my hair and brush my teeth.  I didn’t have the energy or strength to even bathe myself.  Something that is absolutely unheard of for me.  I DO NOT leave the house unbathed or without at least a little makeup.  Not today.  I didn’t give a dang how I looked, I just wanted to feel better.  My parents knew it was serious when I insisted on going to the doctor, knowing I avoid that at all costs, regardless of the consequences to myself.  Here in Dallas they have these lovely institutions.  They are Emergency Rooms, ERs…or A&E whatever you call them in Europe…but they are free-standing.  Not attached to a hospital, virutally eliminating the ungodly wait times and all the riff-raff that comes through. I was there by 8 a.m. filling out paperwork.  I was in a room by 8:15.  Seen by a doctor by 8:30, who immediately ordered an X-Ray.  I was then brought back to my room where I waited for a good thirty minutes, nervous as a cat.  I was not looking forward to the doctor’s report.

The doctor returned and the look on his face said it all.  I knew it was bad.  He told me “I’m not going to mince words with you. I know you are a nurse, and I’m going to give it to you straight.  Your lumbar spine is destroyed.  Every disc you have in your lumbar spine is damaged.  Bulging out from between the vertebrae putting pressure on your nerves.  There is one of particular concern which is nearly flattening the nerve.  Only having an X-Ray machine I can’t see for sure, but I believe it is herniated and the disc contents are damaging the nerve.  That is what is causing the numbness, difficulty walking, and difficulty using the restroom.  I’m going to send you over to Parkland and have you meet with a neurosurgeon there today…”  My eyes must have been as big as saucers.  “Whoa there, whoa…I don’t live here Doctor. I’m from Little Rock.  I really would prefer to be at home when I have this seen about.” I replied.  “Oh, I didn’t realize you weren’t local.  Well you ABSOLUTELY cannot work right now.  I’m going to give you a note explaining this to give your employer.  I don’t want you moving anything, touching patients…I don’t want you so much as bending over.  Get someone else to pick things up for you if you drop it.”  I just sat staring at him, shock obviously showing in my face.  I knew it would be bad news, but I had no idea how bad.  He continued, “I can’t recommend any surgeons in Little Rock as I don’t know any, but I want you to get in to see one as soon as possible.  If your insurance requires it, just call here and I will fax them a referral when you find the one you want.  Do not delay, the longer you let this go the more damage will occur.  Right now, if you get this taken care of quickly, you have a very good chance of the nerve damage repairing nicely…probably not completely, but enough to where it won’t cause you much trouble.  But if you let this go, Brittany, you could permanently lose the feeling in your leg and your continence.”  Dear God.  I sat there in awe at what he was telling me.

“I’m no neurosurgeon, I’m an emergency doctor.  There is always the hope that maybe you can find a good surgeon who will know a way around it and you won’t need an operation.  Perhaps the disc is just badly bulging and not herniated and you can have therapy and things like that to avoid it.  Again, though, I’m going to be straight with you.  You may avoid it now, but if you continue your nursing career, caring for patients in a way that requires any physical strain on your part, you are only delaying the inevitable.  You will need surgery eventually, and the longer you wait and the worse it gets, you are facing a spinal fusion…you do not want that. And you may still need that in the future.  It is just so sad that one so young as you is facing this.  I don’t want to, but I feel it is my responsibility to be blunt with you, knowing your knowledge of medicine.  I don’t know how else to say it other than your career as a patient care nurse is over.  You are going to have to find something else to do with your life.  You’re young, and there are many other jobs in the medical profession you would be great at.  Granted most nurses are not interested in those jobs at your age, because you become nurses to help people.  To interact and have that hands-on experience.  I hate to break the news to you that you are going to lose that so soon.  The truth is the truth though.  And I don’t want to see someone like you, with so many years ahead of you and so much intelligence and so much to offer, ruin your life by ignoring this advice. I’m so very, very sorry.”  I sat there for a moment, staring past him at the wall, the burst into tears.  My body heaved with sobs.  I felt like the very life had been sucked out of me.  In one visit to the ER, my whole life had changed.  I cried mercilessly, unable to stop.  The poor doctor, as kind as he was, was clueless on how to comfort me.  All the nurses were men, the other doctors were men, there were no women or men available who knew how to deal with a severely upset person sobbing like a child in the exam room.  He kept telling me how sorry he was, patting my back, offering me tissues, looking totally helpless.  I finally managed to pull myself together.  I stopped sobbing, just sitting there sniffing and heaving, finally able to talk, though stuttering through my stifled tears.

So there it is.  My days as a registered nurse in the operating room are over.  I am out of work.  I am not fired from my job or anything, not yet anyway.  I will be leaving Dallas tomorrow and Monday will be meeting with my boss, and hopefully, the CEO of the clinic to discuss my future with the company–if there is a future there for me.  I have worked very, very hard making myself indispensable to my boss, showing my other skills beyond those of nursing.  My secretarial skills, typing skills, and computer skills.  I am hoping SOMEHOW these will be enough to find a place for me in our clinic office, something to temporarily support me where I don’t have to leave the company and while I’m able to decide what I am going to do with the rest of my life.  After talking with my family, I have made a tentative decision that rides on my ability to find non-physical work to sustain me while I carry out the plan.  I will probably have to go on disability, meaning I can work but can only make a certain amount per week, while being supplemented by the disability funds.  I am confident I would be able to obtain a grant or scholarship to take college courses, or even possibly online college courses, to complete another degree.  Something totally different.  I have decided to leave nursing entirely.  I love being a nurse, but if I can’t work one-on-one with patients I will spend the remainder of my working days depressed at sitting behind a desk working on patient cases without ever seeing the patient I am working with.  I have decided I will try to obtain a second degree, this time using my more artistic side.  I have narrowed it down to three choices.  Three things I do very,very often on my own time…on the side of my nursing job, honing my skills because I enjoy it so much.  I would like to earn a degree in either photography, graphic design, or English literature and writing.  The only other things I am passionate about besides nursing…with the exception of reading and learning about fascinating people and educating myself in all things Old Hollywood.  I doubt I could make a living doing those things though!

So that is where my life stands now.  A tentative plan riding very heavily on the unknown.  It feels better to have some kind of plan, but at the same time my stomach is in knots with the worry about what I will do if any one of these elements falls through.  I know with the help of God and my family, I will get through this seemingly insurmountable obstacle thrown my way.  I’m nothing if not persistent!  In the words of Martha Long, “life can be a bowl of cherries!” I just have to get out there, take a risk and make it happen.  At the suggestion of my aunt I may possibly move to Dallas, Texas to start my new life and career.  There are infinitely more possibilities for me in Dallas than there are in Little Rock.  Although my mom and dad were not keen on the idea of their little (29 year old!) girl moving away from them, they eventually agreed my aunt was right.  She has offered me a place to live with her until I find a place of my own and get on my feet.  The timing of this big move is still up in the air, though.

That may have been way more information than any of my readers cared to read, but it is weighing so heavily on my heart that if I didn’t get it down in writing I may very well have lost my mind.  I had to write it down.  Get it all out.  Have a means of coming back to read it and see what I have decided to do.  I have a plan–unstable, yet doable.  I will make it.  And who knows, I may look back on this and see this horrible occurrence as simply a blessing in disguise.

To my faithful readers, my family, and my dear and wonderful friends who are so good to me in my seemingly many times of need, you have my undying gratitude.  Thanks for offering your kind words, your advice, and your shoulders to cry on.  Without you all I would not be able to face this.  My love to you all.

Pulling An All Nighter

Well, I’m not sleepy in the least.  I have to get up for work in the morning but I can’t settle.  Too much going on in my head.  I had hoped this post would be a mass review of Martha Long’s 3rd-6th books (which were phenomenal, no surprise to me), but I can’t focus on getting it written.  I know what I want to say but can’t say it the way I want to.  I’m having major focus problems, no doubt due to back pain, hormones, blood pressure fluctuations  and the whole passing out at work thing that happened today. Yes, I passed out at work.  Started feeling dizzy and sweaty (diaphoretic)  in the middle of a procedure and was fortunately able to complete it.  I then excused myself to the bathroom where I got sick, dizzy, and fell forward giving myself a nasty knock on the head.  I’m feeling better now, but my brain is literally going a mile a minute.  Not to worry though, I’ll get the review finished, it should be my next post.  I have a lot to say about these amazing books, and I can’t wait to share with you all what a remarkable life Martha Long has led.  Her next book is out in September and I don’t know how I’m going to wait that long!  Fortunately I’ve found some other subjects I want to read about, and Carol Burnett’s book Carrie and Me: A Mother Daughter Love Story comes out April 9, so that should fill some of the time.  I although I already own the first edition, I am also eagerly awaiting the mass market edition of  Ma, I’ve Reached for the Moon An I’m Hittin The Stars to be released in May for reasons Martha knows ;).  But it’s only being released in the UK and Ireland.  I MUST obtain a copy of it.  How will I be able to do that?

Anyway, I thought I’d spend this time blogging about something else.  Vacation opportunities.  I have a friend, Melissa, who may be coming to visit me during my week off in May for a trip to see Little Rock and Dallas.  I haven’t shared this with anyone as it just developed about an hour ago.  We realized she could fly into Dallas relatively inexpensively and we are beside ourselves excited thinking about the possibility of her visiting the South and us having Barbara Stanwyck and Carol Burnett marathons.  Why can’t I have more friends like her who live close to me??  I was also able to find very inexpensive tickets to New York if I wanted to visit her instead.  I haven’t a lot of money, but I’m getting a tax refund and the price would barely put a dent in it.  Mom and Dad, I know you don’t think I should spend my money on a vacation, but I want to splurge just a LITTLE with it! I will still be able to pay for the things I need.  😉  I need something fun to happen, it’s been such a crazy, sad, stressful, overwhelming 6 months.  I need something to look forward to…

On yet another note, I’m afraid I’m going to have the arduous task of job hunting again.  My back has been injured yet again, and although I love where I work, I can’t continue working in patient care if I continue to injure my back.  My spine is sort of necessary for walking, functioning, etc.  It’s always been my worst nightmare to leave patient care and enter some kind of desk job/administrative position.  I have never had a desire to work in that branch of nursing but the reality is, it’s going to have to happen and soon.  I imagine I’ll need to talk to my boss soon.  They are probably fed up with me hurting myself and getting sick, losing loved ones and all the other horrible things that have happened in my short time working there.  I’m not sure what in the world I could do…or if I’ll even stay in nursing.  I’m very upset about this whole situation but am trying not to let it drag me into the pit of despair I seem to find myself in quite frequently lately.

So, anyway, be watching for my Ma series review coming soon.  I’m really looking forward to sharing it. 🙂

My Hometown

So, many people know I’m an American girl, hailing from the southern state of Arkansas.  I haven’t really devoted much time, however, to talking about my hometown.  Whenever I’m asked–especially from a non-Arkansan–where I’m from, I always just say Little Rock, because it’s easier than trying to explain where I’m really from.  Truth is, I am from “the north side,” of Little Rock, or as I like to call it, the better side!  If you ask me, the best people live north of the river!  So, here’s a breakdown of my home…

Little Rock is the capital city and largest city in Arkansas, with a population of approximately 894,000 in the metropolitan statistical area.  My home town, North Little Rock, is part of the metropolitan statistical area of Little rock, with a population of approximately 63,000 people.  A good size city.  Nothing compared to New York or Chicago, but compared to the country towns in Arkansas, my town is enormous.  I spent the first eleven years of my life in the city of North Little Rock.  North Little Rock borders Little Rock, with the boundary being the Arkansas River.  I’ve lived on the north side my whole life, with the exception of my time spent in southwest Arkansas for college.  The part of North Little Rock I grew up in was called Rose City in a community once called Rich Acres.  In the 1930s, Rose City was a decent, middle-class place to live.  It’s where my dad grew up.  By the time I came along, however, Rose City was one of the least desirable places to live in North Little Rock.  Gangs had infiltrated the area, the homes were run down and the middle class families were fleeing in droves.  My family stayed, enjoying a low cost of living and still enjoying decent neighbors who were elderly and had been there for ages.  Then one night it all changed.  A fight broke out between two local gangs.  Shots were fired and people were on the run.  We heard the gunshots from inside the house.  The next thing I remember is literally being thrown under the bed by my dad.  He had my mom and I as safe as possible hiding under the bed while he spoke to the police on the phone.  We could hear the gunshots and people yelling all around our house.  The police came, the situation was brought under control, and some of the perpetrators were caught in our backyard.  Unwilling to allow their only child–me–to grow up in such a dangerous environment, our home was put up for sale within days.

That is when we moved to the much smaller–much safer–town of Maumelle.  Maumelle is what I generally refer to as my hometown.  It is where I spent the majority of my youth and made the majority of my friends whom I am still in contact with today.  Maumelle is a lovely town located on the Arkansas River and and at the foot of Pinnacle Mountain and surrounding mountains at the foothills of the Ouachitas.  I really enjoyed growing up in Maumelle, especially living in a subdivision that had not yet been completely developed at the time we moved there.  So there I was living in “the city” but with a world of forests and other wildlife right outside my front door.  The empty wooded lots surrounding our home provided me with countless hours of exploring, fort building, and make believe.  I treasure those times.

Now, here I am all grown up.  Still living very near my childhood home of Maumelle, but technically living in my first hometown of North Little Rock.  I have the best of both worlds.  I am fortunate enough to own my own home that is much nicer than anything I could have bought in Maumelle, but still near enough to feel like I live there.  I’m in a place where there are just enough homes around to make it seem like a town, but it’s also secluded in a way, surrounded by a forest providing the sounds of wildlife at night which I love.  Any spring night you can sit outside and be serenaded by thousands of tree frogs signing in the woods.  The summer is filled with a symphony of night insects making their beautiful music.

Many people not from this great state don’t believe me when I tell them that Arkansas truly is a great place to live.  Southern hospitality at its finest, beautiful rivers, lakes, and mountains.  I am proud to be from Arkansas!  Click the links where provided to learn more about these places…Here are some photos that may show you why I love it so much.

Little Rock, Arkansas
North Little Rock-Argenta District (Beginning at Cregeen’s Irish Pub on the left and continuing down Main St.) North Little Rock was named Argenta at one time.
The Arkansas River at Little Rock-Headwaters begin in Rocky Mountains Colorado, flows into the Mississippi River
Pinnacle Mountain, Highest peak in Little Rock
The lovely beyond description Ouachita Mountains, foothills begin in Little Rock

 

Home Sweet Home! Maumelle, Arkansas

North Little Rock’s Own, Mary Steenburgen, receiving her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:

Mary Steenburgen, who went to the same school as my dad and uncle, talking about her home state:

There you have it, a taste of the place I call home!  🙂

If My Friend Could See Me Now.

I had a dream the other night, my uncle came to me.
He told me he’d been watching and I was no pleasant sight to see.
“What do you mean uncle? Have I been living the wrong way?”
“Yes,” he told me firmly.  “You’re throwing your life away.”
“I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong, I work, I do the best I can!”
“You’re not the girl you used to be, your spirit’s pale and wan.
You go through life from day to day just struggling to get by.
You find no joy in simple things, like when I was alive.”
“You’re right,” I told him sadly, understanding what he meant.
My life’s felt meaningless and empty since to heaven your spirit was sent.
On earth he was a partner in crime, my confidant, my friend.
When he died so suddenly, I felt my life too, would end.
I no longer find joy in simple things the way I did before.
Now I live in search of happiness and always needing more.
“Did you think I would be proud of you, for living your life this way?
You can’t go through life just trying to erase the day.”
“I don’t see the point anymore now that you’re not here.
I’ve lost you, my friends, my joy…all the things I hold dear.”
“I’m sorry you’re unhappy, your sadness I hate to see.
But you can’t continue living life waiting to join me.
There’s a whole world out there–amazing things–just waiting for you to find.
I may not be there physically but my spirit’s right behind.
Go live your life as I would do, drive fast, play your music loud.
Be the special person you are and stop disappearing into the crowd.
We’ll reunite soon enough but until that day arrives,
You must stop feeling so much pain and go out and live your life.”

One of those days

It’s been one of those days where I could type a 12 paragraph entry on how horrible it’s been, but I’m not going to do that.  I’ve been in a depressed funk for the longest time and the problem is none other than myself.  If I don’t make the effort to be happy, no matter what, then I never will be.  Seems I’m always turning over a new leaf, but here I go again, attempting to change my outlook on life.

It just seems like bad things keep happening to me…one after another…and it’s thrown me into this never-ending pity party.  I need to stop dwelling on the negative aspects of my life.  To talk about them would benefit me greatly, but I’m such an intensely private person I find it very difficult to share my problems with people, even people I’ve known and loved my whole life.  It’s a character flaw I need to deal with at some point.

Anyway, I’m determined to make the tone of this blog upbeat, so I’m choosing to talk about the few good things that happened over the weekend.  I was fortunate enough to get to take a trip down to see my best friend and my 3 beautiful Godchildren Ava, Jack, and Ruby.  Ruby, the baby, gave us quite a scare.  Since birth she has been exhibiting the early warning signs of cystic fibrosis.  It’s agony knowing the child may have such a horrible disease, especially since the test they use to rule it out can’t be performed until the baby is, in general, a year old due to the test involving testing the child’s sweat.  Babies don’t sweat much until they’re a little older.  Well they were able to get the sweat they needed and test Ruby.  The results are in and they are negative.  This means she is a perfectly normal, healthy baby girl.  My friend is, of course, beside herself with joy.  I’m so relieved I can’t even describe it.  They may not be my children but I love them as if they were.

In other news, I’ve been feeling dissatisfied and restless lately.  I keep thinking I want to move somewhere else and start over.  Make a new life on my own.  I’d love to move to Dallas and be in a bigger city with more to offer.  More jobs, more opportunities, etc.  My problem is, I never talk to anyone about it.  I’ll be headed to Dallas for Easter, maybe we will discuss it then.  I just know I’m starting to feel claustrophobic here in Little Rock.  Like my life is an endless cycle of boring headed toward a dead end.  It’s time I had a little adventure.  I’m long overdue.

Hope everyone is glad my blog is no longer private.  It’s back up and available for all the world to see.  I promise to have something more interesting to talk about next time I post!

 

The Ennio Morricone Project

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The Greatest Composer Blog Project

Designed to acquaint those who are unfamiliar with the work of a brilliant man, this profile will highlight the life, career, and inimitable music of one of the greatest composers of all time.  His work is internationally recognizable, even to those who have never heard mention of his name.  My aim with this profile is to shed light on a brilliant man, an amazing career, and some of the most hauntingly beautiful music ever created.  This is a profile on the man–the genius–the legend:  Ennio Morricone.

Ennio Morricone was born November 10, 1928 in Rome, Italy to Mario and Libera Morricone.  Young Ennio was exposed to music from the very beginning of his life, being born to a well-respected trumpet player.  His talents were discovered very early in his life, having written his first compositions at the age of six.  Upon discovering Ennio’s remarkable gift, his father became his first instructor, teaching him to read music and play a variety of instruments.  Ennio was attracted most to the trumpet, like his father, and entered the National Academy of Santa Cecilia to take trumpet lessons at the age of nine.

In 1940, at the age of twelve, Ennio formally entered the conservatory as a student to begin study for the four year harmony program.  He studied trumpet, as well as choral music, music direction, and composition.  The exact time it took Ennio to complete the program is disputed, but the highest estimate is two years, half the usual length of time to complete the program.  His instructor was Goffredo Petrassi, who influenced Ennio greatly.  Many of his concert pieces were dedicated to Petrassi.  Ennio finished his formal education in 1954.

Since completing his education, Ennio has created a phenomenal career spanning over sixty years.  Morricone’s work can be recognized in any country in the world, with an astounding influence reaching all across the globe.  Many of Hollywood’s most memorable film scores were composed by Morricone.  His greatest recognition comes from composing the scores for “Spaghetti Westerns,” produced by Sergio Leone.  The most notable titles of Morricone’s Western scores include A Fistful of Dollars; For a Few Dollars More; Once Upon a Time in the West; and–perhaps his most memorable–The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

Apart from Westerns, Morricone partnered with European directors to create the scores for films of every genre–from thriller to comedy–cementing his place among the most versatile film composers of all time.  Some of his most beautiful and memorable scores were for non-Western films.  The greatest of these being The Mission, Once Upon a Time in America, and Cinema Paradiso.  Other notable scores also written by Morricone include The Untouchables and In The Line of Fire.  In the last decade, Morricone’s work has been extensively reused, most notably by director Quentin Tarantino for his films Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2, Inglorious Basterds, and Django Unchained.

This profile is by no means extensive, as I have barely skimmed the surface of this great man’s achievements.  I haven’t even discussed his concert pieces and television work, all of which is equally impressive.  As far as his personal life is concerned, Ennio married Maria Travia in 1956, who has written lyrics for many of her husband’s pieces.  Together the pair have four children: Marco, Alessandra, Andrea (also a conductor and film composer), and Giovanni (a filmmaker).  Before sharing some of his music and links to some Ennio Morricone resources, here is a list of facts about the Maestro:

  • Morricone was offered a villa by a Hollywood Studio in effort to get him to move to the United States–Morricone has always refused.
  • Nominated five times for the Academy Award, but did not receive one until 2007 when he was awarded the Honorary Oscar for his achievements.
  • Has long-time associations with director Sergio Leone and actor/director Clint Eastwood (who translated his 2007 Oscar acceptance speech into English).
  • Known for frequently using the female voice as an instrument in his pieces.

Some of the greatest of Ennio Morricone’s musical Achievements:

The Mission Main Theme

Once Upon A Time in America

Cinema Paradiso

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Ecstasy of Gold

Once Upon A Time in the West

The Untouchables

A Fistful of Dollars

Dal Sex Appeal al Primo Fellini (Cinema Paradiso)

Gabriel’s Oboe & The Falls (The Mission) Performed by Yo-Yo Ma

Il Maestro e Margherita

Some Ennio Morricone Resources:

Ennio Morricone Official Website

Top 100 Tracks for Ennio Morricone (YouTube Playlist)

Ennio Morricone YouTube Channel

Ennio Morricone Accepts Honorary Oscar (he is absolutely adorable and beautiful)

Ennio Morricone Documentary Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 (BBC, 1995.  Unfortunately Part 5 has been removed from YouTube)

Morricone’s Piano (Passionate Ennio Morricone Fan/Blogger…also on Twitter)

A Rare Interview with Ennio Morricone

Ennio Morricone: IMDb

End of Profile…

ALSO! Don’t Forget about Martha Long’s US Radio Interview February 26! Click here for details!  US Martha fans don’t want to miss this! By the way, Martha is a HUGE Morricone fan, proving she has impeccable taste. She may be a bigger fan than I am! (In fact, I KNOW she is!) 

As I said, this is by no means a comprehensive profile.  There is so much more about Maestro Morricone to learn.  Any and all readers feel free to add any comments/videos/resources in the comments below.  May this blog transport you to a world of haunting beauty and peace. Happy Listening!

 

Martha Long’s American Interview!!!

I have exciting news for Martha Long fans in the United States!  Martha will be giving an interview discussing her “Ma,” series of books (Mainstream Publishing bestsellers in Ireland and the UK) on Tuesday, February 26 from 12-1 p.m. Central Standard Time for the hour-long talk program A Public Affair, WORT FM-Madison, Wisconsin.  Martha’s first book, Ma, He Sold Me For a Few Cigarettes, was released in the United States late last year by Seven Stories Press.

Details:

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Click the photo above to read more about this fantastic opportunity to be a part of Martha’s first experience with the American audience.  Let’s support Martha and show her how much we love and appreciate her story!  It’s a call-in program, and the phone number is provided in the photo and on the website.

Don’t live in Madison, Wisconsin?  No Problem.
Visit www.wortfm.org and click the “listen live” link at the top right of the page.  The show will be broadcast live online, and listeners can call in from anywhere in the United States.

Don’t miss it!

Ma, He Sold Me For a Few Cigarettes

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Ma He Sold Me For a Few Cigarettes, by Martha Long. Photo edited by Florence Fallon.

*Note* This review may contain spoilers.

How does a person begin to describe a book that had such a profound influence on them they haven’t been able to stop thinking about it for days.  I’m not sure how to describe it, but I’m going to give it my best attempt.  Let me begin by saying this:  If you pay attention to nothing else I have ever said or ever will say, please listen to this.  I cannot recommend a book more highly.  It is a story of a downtrodden girl with a fierce will to survive.  Martha Long, the author of this book, says she suppressed the little girl she once was, trying to forget the nightmare that was her past.  She wrote her life story as a means to show her children where she–and thus, they–came from.  It must have taken a lot of courage to allow the haunting memories of her past come flooding to the surface in order for Martha Long to write this gripping memoir.  She wrote the story as “Little Martha,” allowing her to tell the story in her own words.  For one who suffered so greatly, she writes with a great deal of understanding and compassion, depicting her mother and “stepfather” as flawed rather than evil.  The fact she survived to adulthood is, in itself, a miracle.  Martha didn’t just survive, though.  She thrived.  Her childhood proved to be a horrible existence,but she came through on the other side with her strength, resolve, and even her sense of humor intact.  Martha Long is an inspiration.  Her story should be heard by many and should cause each and every person who reads it to examine themselves and their situation and be grateful for what they have.  Even little things like a clean, warm bed to sleep in and food to eat.  Seemingly insignificant things most people take for granted.

Martha Long wasn’t so lucky as a child.  Born to a sixteen-year-old girl in Dublin, Martha Long’s childhood started out hard and progressively got worse.  The story begins with Martha and her mother living in a room with her Aunt Nelly and cousin Barney.  Nelly has a perpetual problem of drinking away the rent money, and eventually leaves for England with Barney, leaving Sally and Martha alone to find their own way.

Sally gives birth to another child, Charlie, before becoming involved with the monster called Jackser, a maniacal alcoholic coward who thrives on making Martha and Charlie suffer.  His power was derived from the fear of those who were physically weaker than he.  He regularly beats Martha and Charlie leaving them with injuries they were lucky to survive.  Physical abuse wasn’t the only abuse Martha endured.  The title of the book is derived from an incident involving Jackser and a man willing to pay him enough for some cigarettes in exchange for taking advantage of Martha.  Even Martha’s mother, Sally, is not immune to Jackser’s fits of rage.  Although the book never indicates that Sally and Jackser married, they still had a total of four children together, becoming a family of eight.

Neither Sally nor Jackser work, nor do they have any intentions of doing so.  They get by on the Irish equivalent of welfare and rarely have the money needed to get the messages (buy the groceries) or pay the rent.  When they did manage to scrape up a little money, Jackser usually ended up spending it at the pub.  Due to their inability to pay rent, the family moved from tenement to tenement, sometimes the entire family being forced to sleep in the same bed. The conditions of their homes was always deplorable, smelling of urine and beds infested with hoppers (fleas).  The children rarely bathed and were constantly infested with lice.

As Martha aged, she started to devise ways to earn a little money to help the family get by.  One time she made the mistake of stealing butter and selling it to people for slightly less than it could be purchased at the supermarket.  Once Jackser found out what she did and got a look at the money she produced, Martha was “promoted” to breadwinner of the family.  Martha’s butter theft became more and more frequent and higher and higher in quantity.  She was a regular at the police station, being caught for stealing on several occasions.  After numerous charges of theft, she is finally punished and sent to live at a convent.  The judge sensed the intelligence Martha had, which only needed a little education–something Martha had not been able to receive–to make her blossom to her full potential.

I don’t want to spoil any more of the book, but I did have some reactions to the book that bear mentioning.  Do not go into this book thinking it’s going to be a light, easy read.  It most certainly is not.  There are parts of this book that I had to stop and put it down because I didn’t think I could take one more bad thing happening to that poor little girl.  It leaves the reader desperately reading page after page searching for something good to happen to this unfortunate child.  There are occasions where Martha meets good people and is cared for.  Good things do happen occasionally for her, but as a whole, her life is one hellish experience after another.

When I first started reading the book, I noticed right away it was written in dialect.  I tend to shy away from books written in dialect for reasons I couldn’t explain.  I just do.  In this instance, however, I think writing the book in little Martha’s uneducated, feisty Dublin accent is essential to getting to know her.  Being American, there were several words and expressions I had never heard before, but this did not take away from the power and poignancy of this story.  It didn’t take long for this yank to catch on to the Dub slang.

This book will quite possibly leave you emotionally drained from time to time, and I do not mean that in a bad way.  It is a story worth reading and a story that very much needs to be heard.  Many of us–especially in the United States–tend to live in a bubble, shutting out a world full of people who are homeless, starving, and in need of a helping hand.  If nothing else, this book should make you think twice next time you’re presented with the opportunity to help someone in need and consider letting the chance pass you by.  Many people turned a blind eye to Martha and other children suffering great pain and injustice in Ireland.  People knew it was happening but chose to ignore it.  Many people of higher social status looked on the likes of Martha as trash, not worth the effort to provide them with help.  Because they chose to ignore the problem happening right in front of their faces, many people missed the chance to realize Martha was actually an upstanding individual just trying to make her way in the world the best she knew how.

This is an attitude taken by many Americans especially.  Homeless people and those less fortunate are often viewed as lazy and not worth taking time to help.  We don’t know these people’s situations.  Why they are in the condition they are in.  How they ended up on the streets.  Why they’re unable to find employment and support themselves.  This book taught me personally not to judge ANY book by its cover.  There could be many more Marthas out there being ignored by society just needing a hand up to help them become productive citizens.  It taught me EVERY person has value, whether they’re the CEO of a major company or a homeless person living under a bridge.  No one deserves to be abused, ignored, or treated unkindly.

To my overseas readers, namely in the UK, you probably know all about this book and this incredible lady; however, to my American readers, you may or may not have heard of Martha yet.  This book was only recently released here in the United States.  If you read no other book this year, be sure to read this one.  It can be purchased online at amazon.com or at Barnes & Noble.  Once you finish reading it, you will be left wanting more.  Not to worry, she has written five more books and another book is due out in September of this year.  Only Ma, He Sold Me For a Few Cigarettes can be purchased in stores in the United States at this time, but if you can’t wait for the rest of the books to be released, they can be purchased through amazon.com.  According to Seven Stories Press, the books American publisher, Martha will be brought over to the States in February 2014 for a book tour.  I for one am eagerly anticipating this event and hope the tour brings her within easy travelling distance to my little corner of the country.

So, here’s hoping you take my advice and read this book.  I think you’ll be glad you did.  And do me a favor.  If you do read it, be sure to pass it on to a friend.  Let’s get Martha’s popularity in the United States to explode.  There is no more deserving person.  Cheers and happy reading!

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Florence Fallon Review Rating: 5 Stars

Ways to Connect with Martha Long:

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Martha Long’s Website

*Disclaimer* This review is a personal interest, personal opinion blog.  I was not asked nor paid to write it, nor am I connected to Martha Long in any way other than being a fan of an outstanding author.

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