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Friday, April 6, 2018

Walls


As a kid growing up out in the country pre-cellphone, pre-internet and all that, we had to rely on ourselves for fun . . . and mischief. Mostly fun, though.

I remember when it snowed we built forts and have snowball fights. My brother, Jim, who grew up to be an artist and an architect, built the best forts. Instead using snowballs the size of basketballs like my younger brother, Jeff, and I used, Jimmy would build up his wall with unpacked snow. It was impossible to knock over, unlike Jeff’s or my Walls that could be knocked over with a large ice chunk. Of course, Jeff and I would scream that it was unfair, but Jimmy would only laugh and volley ice chunk after ice chunk until our forts were only piles of, well, snow.

Walls have been around for ages, haven’t they?

There’s the Great Wall of China that was built to keep out the barbarians. Still stands today. Quite the architectural fete. I wonder if Jimmy was around to help supervise its erection. Nah, Jim is old, but not that old.

In the medieval ages, kings and lords and nobles not only had Walls, but a palace and kingdom to go with it! The Walls came complete with a moat. The idea was that the serfs or peasants would work out in the fields, give some of their produce to the king or lord, and when “the bad guys” came, the peasants would flee to the kingdom and behind the Walls for protection. Slick system.

And Walls are used not only against invaders and such, sometimes Mother Nature. When rivers rise, sandbags are used to help protect homes and businesses. Sometimes effectively, sometimes much like the snow forts my younger brother and I made back then.

Yes, Walls can be used for protection. Throughout history, it happened time and again for one reason or another. But man is industrious. Build a Wall, we find another way, a different way. Sometimes under, sometimes over, sometimes around, sometimes through. And eventually, the Wall ceases to be effective. Sometimes we look at it and think, “Why?”

Sometimes we erect our own Walls, don’t we?

To keep out those who might hurt or harm us. To keep out those who might hold up a mirror to our soul, our heart, and say, “Take a long look!” Sometimes . . . most of the time, we don’t want to take a look all that closely at our words, our thoughts, our actions.

And the funny thing about Walls, as much as they keep people and things out, they also keep things in. Feelings. Words that go unspoken. Something to hide behind so we don’t have to admit or face that which we fear the most or that which we don’t want to hear.

Perhaps it’s time to consider that by building a Wall, we hurt others. Sometimes by building a Wall, those who need us most can’t reach us, can’t help us.

And perhaps, we need to consider that by building a Wall, we hurt ourselves. Sometimes by building a wall, we prevent the very help we seek, the comfort that we long for, that which we need. Ultimately, by building a Wall, we prevent love and caring and comfort from ever reaching us.

Paul Simon wrote a song, I Am A Rock that contained the lyrics:

            I've built walls
A fortress, steep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock
I am an island

But who are we kidding? Certainly no one who cares about us. Certainly no one who dares to see the beauty in us. Certainly no one who braves being pushed away because of concern and compassion.

So let us consider that maybe, perhaps, quite possibly, it is time to remove the Wall that hides our heart and our soul. Perhaps we need to consider tearing it down never to be built again. Yes, there is the danger of someone taking advantage, the danger of someone hurting, some unwanted invader like in the old days.

But . . .

There is always the possibility of finding someone out there special who makes us feel whole, who helps us discover who we are and what we’re worth. Perhaps consider tearing down the Wall we built and allow those interested and curious to invest their time, their energy and their love in us, for us. Perhaps. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I had the opportunity to be interviewed in advance of my new book, Caught in a Web, launching April 26, by Fiona Mcvie from Ireland. She asked some really interesting questions and I enjoyed myself. If you are interested, you can read it at https://wp.me/p3uv2y-7Km

And, I received the nicest review from Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer for Midwest Review:

Caught in a Web is a detective piece revolving around drugs, gangs, and deception; and considers the investigations and actions of sheriff detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor, and Paul Eiselmann, who find themselves in over their heads.

It should be noted that the story opens with violence against teens. Detective story enthusiasts who are queasy about the prospect of drugs, teens, and death might wish to look elsewhere, because no punches are pulled in the making of Caught in a Web. That said, the descriptions are in keeping with the serious events and in no way are over-dramatized or over-embellished.

As the bodies of middle school and high school kids who have overdosed mount, the race is on to quash a violent gang from El Salvador and, specifically, gang leader Ricardo Fuentes, who is sent to find out what gang is cutting in on their territory. He also harbors a motive for personal revenge that involves locating and killing fifteen-year-old George Tokay, who murdered his cousin.

Having multiple subplots proffers a level of complexity not usually seen in detective stories. Characters often question if they are doing the right thing, are often caught between cops and bad guys, and teens explore their emotions and relationships against the backdrop of threats and murders.

As the investigators review relationships, affairs, and threats, they find themselves unraveling an ever-increasing web of deception as readers are carried into a thrilling underworld of gang violence and teen involvements which gradually lead to a resolution where characters may fudge on honesty, but tie up loose ends.

Characters are many, but are well-drawn; the action offers just the right blend of tension and intrigue; and detective story enthusiasts will especially relish the level of emotional inquiry which makes the characters both human and believable.

The result is an involving detective piece that probes the worlds of teens and gang members with an equal attention to precise, staccato details that flow smoothly into a story that creates a satisfying conclusion to all conundrums.

If you are interested in getting a copy of Caught in a Web, in the thriller/suspense genre, it is now available for preorder at http://bit.ly/2GtdsXL  . If you purchase your book prior to the publication date of April 26, 2018, you may use the promo code: PREORDER2018 to receive a 10% discount. I hope you check it out.

Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor


Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe