Monthly Archives: March 2009

Randy Ford Author-the rape of a Filipina

      Nothing…even a near head-on car crash as a child…had frightened Lilly more.   And almost as soon as it happened, and an apology was given, she shut down and began reliving the horror in her mind.   The start of it, the petty petting, the kissing and the touching as Don mindlessly explored her body with his hands and his mouth.   He would try to gage her reaction each time he tried something before moving on, and each try became more intense for him.   Her feeling separateness, the distancing of the mind from the body, gave him few clues.   She had no actually experience in this beyond a certain point, though affection in her family had been expressed openly and physically (a time or two she and her siblings had explored each other’s private parts).   Lessons taught to her by nuns about the importance of celibacy before marriage didn’t help her or stop him when the juices of passion and desire kicked in.  It made it very difficult for her when she found herself enjoying it.   It led to a major misunderstanding and the rejection of not only his hands and mouth, but also his penis, an object she clearly wasn’t ready for.

      She wouldn’t talk afterwards.   It was like being shut out; he expected her to say something.   Don had expected her to like it.   He hadn’t expected her, at the last moment, to reject him.   That week he had to take a boat-trip the length of the Sulus, to Sitangkia and back, stopping at each port in between.   Lilly’s “no” hadn’t been forceful enough to stop him.   He was like a man ready to jump overboard and could easily had, as he became more and more despondent over having raped her.   Outward bound, at Jolo, he got off the ship.   He went in for a drink not far from the pier and knew immediately he shouldn’t have been in there.   For the first time, with the Peace Corps, in a town where he had business that depended on diplomacy, he didn’t care what kind of an impression he made.   It was why he didn’t care when a Filipino soldier accosted him and he didn’t try to back out; and then, right then and there, he felt like ratting on himself.

      He normally loved the experience of traveling by boat, the sea breeze and the fresh air, and the motion of the ship and the smell of salt everywhere.   This trip had been planned far in advance.   It was the business he couldn’t talk about; and he and the governor (or was it a sultan) were scheduled to sit down and talk about security matters.   He had his script down.   So he could’ve used his connection with the governor to calm the soldier, and he should’ve.   Instead Don allowed the soldier to become loud and belligerent.   Don’t get into those situations, try to anticipate trouble; don’t let your mind wander.   Luckily, a stranger stepped in and got in between them.

     At Siasi he was asked if he wanted to go ashore.   The captain, a big man and friendly host, suggested it.   Don wasn’t in the mood, but he couldn’t very well turn him down.   Later he would be able to vouch for the captain and say that a carton of cigarettes that the captain was accused of smuggling actually came from Siasi.   He said when he went ashore with the captain he saw the purchase, and the purchase was made in the market.   He walked with the captain around the small seaport, still with a heavy burden, and was in a position to tell just how much the captain paid for the carton of cigarettes.

      On their way out they didn’t stop at Bongao or Tawi Tawi; they saved both ports for the return.   He spent most of his time on board trying to bury himself in a book he didn’t care about.   Reading books had been a big part of his Peace Corps experience; he had read every book provided to him by the agency; but he later couldn’t tell you the name of the book he tried to read on that trip.

     He found himself feeling a little bit better as they sailed along.   After successfully finishing his business at Sitangkia, he felt even better.   They had to row in on high tide, and much of the town was built over water.   He enjoyed navigating boardwalks and saw why the town was called the Venice of the Philippines.   Or was that Tawi Tawi?   He couldn’t give a replay of that trip, even if his life depended on it.

Randy Ford

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Cherokee Sky-Followup on Parade Magazine Poetry Contest $100,000 in prizes awarded annually

(Note: Posting information about the contest generated a tremendous amount of interest.  There were many questions raised about whether the contest was a scam or not.  See the comments in comments section of blog.   Cherokee Sky was one of those people who responded.  Her comment before this one (see comments) explains the mechanics of the contest.  It is worth looking up.   I brought this comment forward because I liked what she had to say.   Randy Ford)

Your Welcome Randy,
      I am glad I was selected in the 60-70% to advance to the next step.   Perhaps we all will be more wiser when it is completed.   We all know THEY are in this for the $$$$$$.   Their gimmick is to compile and sell books, they are a “Hugh Success”.   I have seen such offers throughout my life.

      The money was never the issue with myself or my sister, daughter, grand-daughter.   It’s the feeling of acknowledgement for your efforts.   When in school we knew if we did not do well, we simply would not pass to the next grade level.   Those of us who have entered this contest, wish to achieve a higher standard for ourselves.   Everyone has their own artistic abilities, muses, talent’s, gift’s. With out our outlet’s, we become stagnant.

      We wish to express our abilities in many forms, I paint and write, my writing only comes with inspiration.   Artistic People need to express ones self.   They/We never stop trying to achieve perfection.   The opportunity to express our talent in words, our words, is a pleasure or labor of love.   It gives us opportunities to create.

      Am I sorry for entering the contest, do I feel tricked?   NO and NO.   I expressed my creativity, I used my 60 year old brain once again.   I have written hundreds of poems.  Rhyming words was never difficult for me.   It is, in trying not to rhyme as I write and speak that is most difficult.

      My brother Dale, passed at 27, he was an accomplished writer of songs.   Dale’s range of singing was equal to Charlie Pride and Willie Nelson.   When he sang Rock of Ages, tears flowed.   He used part of his creative gift to design houses.   Was born on my 3rd. Birthday, we were like twins.   We were Gemini’s.   As he slowly left us, becoming a quadriplegic, he never complained.   For distractions from his pain he spoke in rhyme and had me write, only adding my 2cent’s to regain his concentration.   We all have tragedies we can only express in writing of rhymes put to paper and song and many other medium’s.

      When the frustration and tears pass, we can only devise to write once again.  If Eber & Wein are weasels for profiting from our creativity, So Be It.   “WE” are the winners!   We created!   That’s worth more than any monetary gift they could appease us with.   I come from a long line of gifted people.   So Don’t We All!   There remains a good book in ALL of us, SO WRITE!   You are in control of who you are, NOT, Eber & Wein.   They are small peanuts.   They have been creamed.   You are the Jelly that holds the bread together.   Let not the sun go down upon your gift’s.   God Speed….

       Randy, your answer to my name.   I am Cherokee, both my Grandma’s were Cherokee.
One called me Morning Glory, the other, Cherokee Sky. Their gift to me. Neither liked to call me by my legal name……Sincerely…..

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Arizona Mystery Writers-CRIME TIMES Promoting Mystery Writing in Southern Arizona

Next AMW Meeting- April 11, 2009, 10:00  At the Hometown Restaurant at Oracle and River Tucson

Workshop and Speaker-DYNAMIC DUO: HOMICIDE AND SELF-PUBLISHING

       By Carol Dee O’Mahony

      Elizabeth Gunn, local mystery novelist and Mike and Tama White of Ghost River Images to speak at Arizona Mystery Writers Forum on April 11th.

 

      The Homicides, the Hooks and the Helpers

      Elizabeth Gunn, renowned police procedural novelist will conduct an interactive workshop at Arizona Mystery Writers’ on April 11th at 10:00 am.   Ms. Gunn will show writers how to pick the type of crime for a story, how to “hook” the reader into the crime scene and how to use police procedure to best advantage.   She will also give tips on how to research and target information for a crime scene and give examples of how mystery writers use humor and romance to mask grim details.

      Ms. Gunn is the author of the popular Jake Hines mystery series set in Minnesota.   Her two new novels set here in Tucson, Cool in Tucson and Cool River Blues, features police detective, Sarah Burke.   You can find out more about Elizabeth and her work at www.elizabethgunn.com.

      Self-publishing with Ghost River Images

      Mike and Tama White have been helping authors and artists self-publish their works in print and e-book form.   Since 1992 they have helped over 200 authors publish nearly 300 books including a number of mysteries.   The White’s will speak to AMW about the newest and most effective methods of self-publishing including editing, cover design and marketing.

      To learn more about Ghost River Images and the services they offer, visit their website at www.ghostriverimages.com.

      RSVP next AMW Meeting- call Mary Ann Hutchison at 520-293-6373.

 

AMW ELECTIONS By AMW Board of Directors

The first annual elections will be held in May, with nominations due in April.

      What has the AMW Board done for its Members?

 

      The current board was formed in November, 2007.   Since then, they have worked to make AMW a recognized professional group for the promotion of mystery writing in southern Arizona.   Some of its accomplishments include: setting up a variety of speakers and workshops; establishing Crime Times as an e-communication; provided an interactive website (www.ArizonaMysteryWriters.com); coordinating a book signing at Borders for all of our authors; participated in the Tucson Festival of Books (Booth 39); provided detailed accounting records; decreased the cost of the monthly meetings; written   ByLaws to guide the present and future of AMW, and established a $25.00 annual dues in order to provide all of the above. An Endowment Fund will provide the funds for a writing contest to be coordinated next year.

      Speaker-Detective Jimenez of the Tucson Police Department

 

 

      Romance Writers of Tucson Meeting

      Plot is the glue that holds every novel together.   It’s the vehicle that carries readers from page one to “The End.”   In April, Saguaro Romance Writers, the Tucson chapter of Romance Writers of America welcomes Karen Docter in a special, all-day workshop, as she shares the “W” plotting technique she’s used successfully for 12 years.   Bring whatever materials you need to work on your own novel and two or more 3×3-inch Post-It note pads in different colors. Viewing the film Romancing the Stone beforehand is recommended but not required. Join us on Saturday, April 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at El Parador Tropical Restaurant in Tucson, 2744 E Broadway Blvd. For reservations, email Crystal Marshall at crystal@crystalcaterra.com no later than 8 p.m. the Wednesday before the meeting.   The cost is $20 for SRW members, $25 for guests and includes lunch.

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Randy Ford Author-Dating a Filipina, in two hundred words or less

      She appeared one evening when he hadn’t expected her.   He ordered a couple of beers, hoping he wouldn’t have to drink both of them.   He was in good spirits.   She was smaller than he was and dressed nicely in a casual dress, dressed for him in something she bought in a store rather than something she made.   The waiter took their order and left the two of them alone.

      She, not use to drinking but seeing two beers, accepted one of them.

      Don said, in a pleasant way and a calculated manner to put her at ease, “Lilly, is it chilly for you?   The wind’s from the sea, the Sulu Sea.   You can almost always expect it.”

      Don wasn’t sure what to talk about.   It was always hard to pull something out Lilly, and he didn’t expect this evening to be any different.   But she kept showing up.   So it didn’t matter then.   Maybe she was just shy.   And to Don (for someone who avoided Filipina companionship as a rule) this all seemed strange.   His idea of dating…not a one night stand, or a sexual encounter with a prostitute, but a real date, as though he knew what he really wanted.

     Finally she was really going to open up, and he was really going to listen.

     She asked, “Why did you come to Zamboanga?”

      Don said, “My job is here.   I look after people.   These people help your people.   It’s not hard work.   I don’t know how long I’ll be here.   It doesn’t really matter.   There are these things I can’t talk about, these things that have to do with the situation here and the Sulus and the Moros.   And I really wish I could talk about it with someone.   About my traveling from island to island.   I’m afraid that I say too much.   I listen and I assess.   Sometimes I get it right.   Sometimes I get it wrong.   My hope is that I get right more times than I get wrong, and pray nobody gets hurt.”   He spoke quietly, without a lot of emotion, knowing she didn’t understand him.

      She said, “Don.”

       “You remembered my name.   That’s really something.   You’re Lilly.”   This was a game they now played every time they met.

      A little later Don said, “So we’re getting to know each other.”

      “You haven’t said you like me.”

      “I’ve had a lot of things on my mind lately, Lilly.   They wanted to place someone on Sitangkai.   But there was the problem of isolation.   People there, in Sitangkai, haven’t seen that many white women.   They don’t want to believe that.   So someone came up with the idea of sending two or three white women there.   What a disaster that would be.   Don’t get the wrong idea.   I have bigger problems.   There are bigger problems than isolation and the color of someone’s skin.   Discrimination is prohibited.   I used to worry about skin color.   I wouldn’t go out with a woman of color.   You can’t get better people than people of color.   They’re more reliable.   On an evening such as this, influenced by the moon and the Sulu sea, you can be pretty damn sure I’m not thinking about anything as inconsequential as race.   Put aside the Bible, all the teachings of a lifetime, and close that book forever.   And let me be me.   Who am I kidding?   Maybe you heard of me and you came anyway.   Zamboanga is small enough.   I don’t have a girlfriend.   There are no rules that prevent me from dating someone like you.   Do I have to approach your parents?   Should I ask them directly or should I get someone to ask for me?   Or will they take a hint and figure it’s none of their business?   But what if we just want to be friends, you and me, and it is better for you for us to be simply friends?   But it worries me, Lilly.   I want to get it right.   It worries me that I won’t.”

      Lilly thought, “What’s he talking about?   That first night I never dreamed we would see each other again.   I just thought I’d find out about this man, this stranger, this American, and he seemed so strange, so different from what I imagined.

      It was after one of those dinners that she agreed to go to Don’s place.   She suggested it, out of curiosity, and for no other reason.   She didn’t foresee anything happening.   She was new at dating, and though shy in some respects, in many ways was actually assertive.   She knew what she wanted, always knew she would get it, but when it came to men she was never sure.   She made the mistake of trusting Don before she really knew him but dreamed so much about him that the real person would disappoint her.

      He said to her, “You have to excuse the mess.”

      Don had been working hard on making his place comfortable.

      He said to Lilly, “Most of this you see isn’t mine.   So I’ve borrowed.  So I’ve scrounged.   I’m temporarily here: that’s my excuse.   I would be interested in hearing what you think.   Why isn’t there a script for this?   I know someone in the theater in Manila.   I wish he were here to help us out.   In two hundred words, or less.”

Randy Ford

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Abingdon Theatre Company-Tyne Daly sings in a benefit performance

Join us on Sunday, April 26
for a very special preview
from a very special lady!

 

TYNE DALY SINGS IN A BENEFIT PERFORMANCE FOR ABINGDON THEATRE COMPANY

Sunday, April 26 at 7:00pm
June Havoc Theatre
Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex
312 W. 36th Street, 1st floor (between 8/9 Avenues) New York

All tickets are $100
Fully tax deductible and includes a post-performance
reception with Ms. Daly.

Click HERE for your tickets TODAY!
Or call SmartTix, 212.868.4444.

Emmy and Tony Award winner Tyne Daly, most recently on Broadway in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole, will preview her upcoming cabaret evening on Sunday, April 26, as a benefit for Abingdon Theatre Company. Joined by musical director/accompanist John McDaniel, this special performance will precede her debut May 12-16 at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency. Be among the first to see her first cabaret show!

 

 

www.abingdontheatre.org

Please support a Stimulus for the Soul by contributing to our Annual Appeal

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Writers Studio-Spring Writing Classes begin next week

      Do you want to write the stories within you but don’t know where to begin?    Do you want to learn craft and take the mystery out of what it means to have a strong narrative voice in your writing?    The Writers Studio is a technique-oriented method that teaches craft and enables writers of all levels to reach their full potential.    Spring classes begin next week. 

      Level I starts Wednessday, April 1 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM,
Cost for ten weekly classes is $325.   Taught by Juliet Niehaus

      Level II begins Thursday, starting April 2nd, 6:30-9:00PM,
Cost for ten weekly classes is $340.   Taught by Eleanor Kedney.   This class is open to students with writing workshop experience, an MFA or who have published.

      Payment plans are available, so don’t let the recession keep you from taking a class.    For more information, contact Eleanor Kedney at eleanor@writerstudio.com or 743-8214. Register online at www.writerstudio.com (Workshop and Craft Class Calendar page) or call 212-255-7075.

Eleanor Kedney
Director,
The Writers Studio Tucson Program
520-743-8214
eleanor@writerstudio.com

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Randy Ford Author-dating a Filipina, or this may work out with her

      When they last saw Don, Susan asked, “Where are they (the Peace Corps) sending you?”

      “I don’t know.   I’m floating around now, helping out where I can.   Most recently I was up in Aparri (at the tip of Luzon).   They don’t want me to get too attached to one place I guess.

      Later they sent Don to Zamboanga on Mindanao; and it looked as if he would stay there for a while.   He was to establish something but was put off by the idea of being stuck with an office.   The Moros were threatening again, with crossed swords, so it was hard to know if a particular place was safe.   He had to visit each volunteer and use his judgement as to whether they should be pulled out or not.   He had been to Zamboanga many times as a volunteer when he had been assigned to Davao as a science teacher.   That was for recreation.   This time it became messier.   He never intended to get involved with a Philippine woman romantically.   The casual, quick tryst with a prostitute…not something he would do in a city where he knew anyone…was far from being out of the question.   So he made it a policy to keep his distance from Filipinas by shutting down his libido.

      The next time Ted heard from him he was in trouble.

      Don said, “You have to be smart.   But who’s kidding who here.   I wasn’t smart enough.   Don’t criticize when you haven’t been there.   You’re not single so you don’t know how hard it was.   The trouble was: this was not in the manual.   Volunteers, in my case staff, are left out there alone and don’t see how they’re vulnerable.”

      “You obviously handled it before.   For two years and you extended.”

      “Yeah, I made it, but this time…I don’t know what happened.   Sex was the culprit.   To understand you’ve got to do your duty as a priest for while.”

      “Was it that bad?”

      “Worse.   Ask me.”

      Don couldn’t tell Ted what he’d done.   He couldn’t tell anyone connected with the Peace Corps, or at least until he fixed it.   Don trusted no one, and he stayed away from Manila as much as he could.   He came in only when he had to.   And on one of those trips he said to Ted, “Now I know what hell is like.   All because I couldn’t stop.   What did St. Paul say about that?”

      Ted looked at Don and asked, “Are you in that much trouble?”

      Don responded with a simple “yes.”

      If Ted had known St. Paul, he would’ve grasped the significance of what Don said.   In fact, Don’s reference to St. Paul and his letters in the Bible revealed his heart and soul.   But that hardly meant that he was perfect.   It showed more that he was human.   The trouble was, from a Christian perspective, and then the Peace Corps, and then to the Filipino, he had broken the law.   It was still a secret and hopefully would remain one; but there was the young woman’s family…both parents and siblings, with a tradition totally different from his, a concept of shame and retribution that often continued for generations, and with people running amuck and feuding violently, ready to settle scores with knives and guns or with whatever it took.   The woman and he had met innocently enough.   It was a chance encounter at a patio bar and restaurant connected to a hotel.   You could sit there at a table, order a meal, and stick a toe in the Sulu Sea.

      The fact that she had gone there without a chaperon shouldn’t have given Don a license for his conduct.   They shouldn’t have had a good time together, or why shouldn’t they have?  Yes, she was a Filipina, and he was an American with the Peace Corps.   That was how he got to the edge of a cliff, but explain how he fell off of it.

      There was no one more frightened than Don.   He was jolly and talkative and well mannered.   He was a Caucasian, and looked wealthy.   He told her he frequently ate there, which only reinforced her image of him.   Therefore she could’ve been forgiven for taking him for an American businessman, much like the fisherman from Texas that Ted met at the American Embassy (who incredibly based himself out of Basilian, an island Don could almost see from there).   The first question that came to Don was “what is she doing here alone.”   She could’ve been staying at the hotel and was one of those modern women who occasionally out of necessity travel alone.   He would then impress her less then.   Anywho, he invited her to join him.   That was how it all began.

      He asked her first thing, as if he had forgotten he was in the Philippines, “If you were going to have dinner here and had a choice, would you prefer having it with me or alone?”   The young woman without hesitation said, “With you.”   Don should’ve backed off right then.   “The food here is good.   Your choice, on me.”

      During a torchlight dinner they threw coins in the water so that they could watch boys dive for them.   They were warming up to each other, or were already warm, and he wanted sex so badly that he couldn’t see straight.   Don didn’t have a room in the hotel (he then lived there in Zamboanga) but did she have one?   He listened to her intently in an attempt to find out.   Very little of what was said, however, gave him a clue.   There was a lot about the view of the sea, the reflection of the sunset and a prau here and there with brightly colored sails, reds and blues: all of this enhanced the mood.   And when at the end of the meal he asked her for an opinion she said, “I wanted to meet someone like you, but my mother always warned me against it.”   Don knew then.   His head bobbed, he showed this great smile, and he almost fell out of his chair.

      “I don’t know your name.   I should’ve asked for your name first thing and we should’ve introduced ourselves.   Shall we go for a little stroll, in the moonlight, toward the fort?”   Getting up out of the chair he almost knocked it over, the closest he came to feeling clumsy.   But it would take more time for much more to happen.   He said, “I’m not good at this.   It’s this game we’re playing.   I hate it.   I feel it’s not honest.   And it’s too direct for you.   Forget it.   This won’t work.   Not in a million years.   Your culture calls for one thing.   Mine?   Well, mine calls for us to fuck.   Forgive me.   Please forgive me.   I’m shocked by my own crudeness.   You don’t understand me, do you?   You need to scram.   No hard feelings, okay?”   From there, they walked to the city plaza and sat on an iron bench.   They couldn’t get close there, so he said, “You’re still here.   When I said what I said I a while ago I thought that would mean adios.   You should’ve left me.   But I see you haven’t.   I’ll show you where I live.   Yes, I live near here.   And I come down here often.”   She still didn’t run away.   Now whenever he went to the plaza he looked for her knowing she knew he frequently went there.   Other times she met him for dinner, and under torchlight, they’d eat, eat and put up with boys who treaded water while begging for coins.   “Sorry boys, no more coins.   You’re wrong.   I’m not loaded,” and Don thought, “Against all odds, this may, this may work out with her.”

Randy Ford

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