Saturday, November 11, 2017

More Alternative Truths

People often ask why writers write what they do. I have never had a clearer answer than in this particular case.

My story in More Alternative Truths is dedicated to my Mom, Helen Dorothy McFarland-Brewer, who instilled a desire to learn in me that often put me at odds with the schools I attended.

Mom loved to do many things: cook, sew, interact with family, play with cats, but I think the thing she enjoyed most doing was teaching. And she seldom missed an opportunity to provide new knowledge. From an early age, Mom taught me to observe the world around me and study it, to read and learn as much as I could, to respect learning in others. From solar eclipses to cooking clay for me so I could learn how to make colors, she seldom missed a teachable moment.

As I grew, she said "Look it up" as many times as she said, "I love you." I learned early how to use both dictionaries and encyclopedias--the only problem with that was I occasionally got lost and couldn't stop!

Every day, I see the new administration decrying facts. Every discipline is taking a hit, particularly science. And if that science interferes with fascist corporate interests, the pertinent disciplines may not be taught at all in the future.

Growing up with a natural educator for a mother, I wondered could someone born to teach stop even if she faced stiff penalties? And what would be the inevitable consequences when those teachers continued to provide their most precious treasure, knowledge, to others?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Alternative Truths Anthology

"This machine kills fascists," Woody Guthrie painted that message on his guitar in 1941 in a fit of patriotism. Other artists subsequently followed suit. At that point, the United States was fighting Hitler.

Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale, describes the conditions in 1939 the year she was born:  "“Having been born in 1939 and come to consciousness during World War II, I knew that established orders could vanish overnight … Anything could happen anywhere, given the circumstances.”

I lost two uncles in that fight. They were both good men who enlisted and believed in the cause. No one ever conceived that fascism was coming to our own country. And yet here we are, 76 years later facing a reality that grows increasingly surreal each day. 

The following comes from Bob Brown, publisher and editor of Alternative Truths:

"Alternate Truths Anthology was formed, when on February 23, 2017 I, and many of my friends, asked what we could do. We could write, we could join that noble tradition of using the pen, to poke the powerful.

So was born, Alternative Truths. And our pens became word processors and our ideas became stories.

Kellyanne Conway was not the first political operative to applying flexibility to truth. But she gave us the best ever description of the premise when she coined the phrase, “Alternative Facts,” in describing what George Orwell had for all previous generations labeled as New Speak.

Like beauty, truth, especially political truth, is in the eye of the beholder, and for years Americans have tolerated the common elements of exaggeration and rhetoric from their politicians. But not since the early days of the nation has such a mockery of truth been made in the name of politics, and in that vein we present to you, Alternative Truths."

The anthology is twenty-four stories from notable authors, including Phyllis Irene Radford, Louise Marley, Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station, and twenty-one others following in Guthrie's tradition creating everything from humor to dystopic horror in the name of truth.

I leave you with words from one of my favorite presidents: 

"It is the part of  America to stand for the freedom of the human mind and to carry the torch of truth."  Franklin D. Roosevelt

R. Kyle, April 29, 2017