Dream of Sanctuary

LETTERS

Written by: Lily Dauphinee

Some ghosts haunt us, some serve as constant reminders of what we could have done or been. Some take their time before they find solace elsewhere. Some drag us down for the rest of our eternities. Mine lives with me, making my greatest accomplishment the only thing I’ve truly done wrong. When called to strength, I prevailed, yet made the lives of others increasingly worse.

When I could’ve shared the burden of my past with those I loved, I decided instead, to shed the sins of my father for a better life of my own. I’d be leaving behind my own blood, the only person I ever truly loved and wanted to protect with my life, my sister.

It’s funny how three words, spoken a dozen times in my head had no effect until I said them aloud in a moment of weakness. The phrase “he touched me” left my lips and turned the life I knew on its head. Then my mother locked the doors and shut the blinds, all because of three little words. Yet previously, the words “stop” and “no” served no effect other than to encourage misbehavior.

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My mother held me all night as she cried into my hair, and I cried into hers. She cried for not being able to protect her children from her ex-husband’s temper and heavy hand; I cried for leaving my blood, not being able to protect my only sister like I had done for years before. I knew then what I had done could never be changed, I knew then that I’d never let anyone hurt me again if not for me but for my sister. I had failed her and left her in his grasp for no reason other than my own weakness.

That night I dreamt of my sister…

While we shared a father, her skin in contrast to mine was dark, though even in the shadows, I could tell she was crying. Her tears ran silently down her cheek, not letting as much as a whimper escape her lips, for we had been trained not to show weakness. We were told weak women were undesirable in the eyes of man, and man should be the only thing we seek. I wiped her tears and soothed her with impromptu stories of fancy all through the night.

In the world of our room, we weren’t victims of child abuse…

rape, or the injustices that came with being women in a household dominated by a man. The covers provided us sanctuary guarded only by our imaginations. Beneath these yellow-stained sheets, we were spending our Sunday’s playing in a swimming pool, suckling on strawberry popsicles, and drinking homemade lemonade out of mason jars. Here the worst pain in life would be the sunburns on our backs, reminding us of a day well spent. I knew in this environment I could truly do anything, be anything. Too soon, however, the daydream would end. Too soon, a knock on the door would come. Too soon, we’d be ripped from the sheets that kept our utopian fantasy safe. Eventually, as all things do, the dream we could never reach came crashing upon on us, as the winds knocked down the door and swept up the tented sheets.

He’d separate me from my sister…

As we drifted apart, my sister let out a single sob, not of sadness or even of fear, but one of longing, longing for the sanctuary she knew she could never have. The sanctuary I would achieve just three months after that day. For I was grounded in my mom, tethered to the possibility of achievement; of the love and respect that comes with freedom, while her life remained in the air, never to know what could’ve been. She remained in the eye of the storm while I sought refuge elsewhere.

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I haven’t dreamt about her since…

and let myself accept the fact that I left that small, trembling girl in the hands of the devil. Though I never saw him touch her I wouldn’t let him, she was mine to protect, and that had been my purpose, to put myself in harm’s way so she could be strong and…

grow. Yet with those three little words that she’d never even heard, her life had drastically changed forever. She would lose a protector, and I would become bereaved of my purpose.

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Now I live my days trying for the best. I do all that I can and make the most of this life I would give back in a second just to wipe away that one last tear. I will forever be grateful for the existence I’ve carved out for myself, and do my best to succeed in spite of my father and all of his wrongdoings. I triumph for my sister, and look forward to the day when I can hug her once again. But for now, I continue on the path I’m on and vow to make not only my family proud but myself proud. I believe in that, my dream of sanctuary can transform into a reality.

Female Writers and the Pseudonym

Literary writing is no longer the middle-class occupation it once was during the 20th century. An Authors Guild survey revealed that the median pay for full-time writers in 2017 was $20,300 and including part-time writers, $6,080 (NYT, 2019). These figures represent a 42 percent drop since 2009, and also reflect declines in journalism. Today most writers’ salary is supplemented by a partner or another occupation. This need to subsidize income, according to the Guardian (2019) experts say, is directly linked to the survey data indicating a 94 percent Caucasian demographic.

Markets

Written by: Berti Walker

Do genders still play a prominent role in society in regards to writing? Or, with the epoch of gender fluidity and diminishing pronouns upon us, has society finally moved on from pigeon-holing genders and genres? There have been countless arguments, articles, and papers written on the subject, so I’m going to focus on my experience and what advice I would give now to someone who may be choosing their own pseudonym.

Seven years ago, my first short story was published in a controversial magazine. The editor informed me that there were cases of hate mail addressed to the contributors, so I decided a pseudonym would be best to make it harder for the crazies to track me down, should they feel so inclined. Choosing a pseudonym is a big commitment. It’s your new identity, your alter-ego, your brand. I could be anything. Anyone. Total anonymity. So, I thought long and hard. I researched. I asked other authors. The advice I received was that genre, audience, and expectations mattered. Women wrote romance. Sci-fi and fantasy genres were predominantly male readers and authors. So were horror, crime, and graphic novels.

Fantasy writers used initials, like J.R.R. Tolkein. You would think, “Well, initials are not gender-specific. That seems safe. The gender isn’t important. It’s just initials and a surname.” I think so, too. But people still assume that the author is male when presented with a pseudonym consisting of initials. That’s on them. You just need to be aware.

Joanne Murray (J.K. Rowling) was influenced in choosing her pseudonym. She spoke about it in an interview with CNN. “Oh, because my publisher, who published Harry Potter, they said to me, ‘we think this is a book that will appeal to boys and girls.’ And I said, oh, great. And they said, ‘so could we use your initials?’ Because, basically they were trying to disguise my gender.” She even went on to write a crime novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

After looking at the genres I was interested in (horror, fantasy, sci-fi, Bizarro), I decided on what I thought was a gender-neutral pseudonym, leaning toward the masculine. I chose Berti Walker. Berti (could be short for Robert or Roberta) and was a nod to P.G. Wodehouse’s character, Berti Wooster. Walker, in recognition of my first published short story, Zombie Lovers Anonymous. As to be expected, most people did believe I was a male. I was, however, using my own photo on social media profiles for Berti and in book bios. So I didn’t hide my gender, necessarily, though I did use intentional deception in hopes of better sales and more publications – as I was operating under the assumption that more people still preferred male writers in those fields.

I mean, take a look at the Hugo Awards winners. Once again, last year, its organizers were in the spotlight due to controversy surrounding the gender imbalance. James Davis Nicoll was kind enough to do the numbers for us, tallied over the last 65 years of Hugo Awards in his Tor article Gender and the Hugo Awards, By the Numbers. These were his findings:

Zap: The Targeted Justice Movement and Space Development

Activism READ@ www.frompwcd.com

Written by: m.wilson

Harvey Weinstein’s use of a company called Black Cube, reportedly hired to intimidate victims and journalists (FFTI,2020), was probably a rare instance of media exposure to the phenomena addressed by the Targeted Justice Movement. Targeted Individuals (TI’s) also came into public awareness as part of the ongoing investigations into the Church of Scientology and its practices, with its many former members, their families, and friends claiming to have been stalked and harassed by church employees (FFTI, 2020). The Guardian (2018), published a story about a company called K2, a private security firm that infiltrated an anti-asbestos organization by posing one of its operatives as a documentary filmmaker within the establishment for four years.

Electronic Harassment

The Targeted Justice Movement is activism meant to address instances like the cases mentioned above, however, it is probably best known for its ‘crazies,’ or its incidents of targeting via “electronic harassment,” which the organization says is currently “growing out of control.” Citizens Against Harmful Technology, for example, is requesting signatures via Change.org as part of its petition of harassment stemming from ‘cell towers, vehicles, drones, satellites, and numerous other appliances that establish electronic slavery.’

Of course, it would seem somewhat biased to disregard another person’s experience, especially if it is causing the individual pain, no matter how impossible it may seem to be. And in the broader sense, ‘crazy’ is probably best measured in terms of behavior management and basic functionality. While common sense might reference various electronic tools such as X-rays that are invisible to the human eye, but extremely useful to help that same eye penetrate multiple layers of matter and view what’s on the other side. Moreover, it would also be necessary to assume that everyone with access to such technology uses it publicly and in a way that benefits every citizen.

It is possible then that recent outer space events, including massive satellite coverage of every region of the globe and the militarization of space, would be the type of activity to send persons like the author of Satellite Terrorism In America  Dr. John Hall M.D., (who professes first-hand knowledge of illegal intelligence programs), into red alert (Lighthouse, 2017). 

The DPL Electronic Surveillance website cites the 2014 electronic harassment case of Watterson vs Aro, in which neighbor Kathleen Watterson was awarded a temporary restraining order against Mr. Aro due to microwave assault, as one of the movement’s shining victories. Watterson had described her neighbor’s electronic presence as something “like controlling fog (stopgangstalking.com, 2014).” She was awarded the case the judge stated not because he felt Mr. Aro had done the harassment intentionally but instead was the result of negligence related to his satellite equipment.

Havana Syndrome

American and Canadian embassy staff in Cuba and later China complained of a variety of health problems beginning in 2016. Later testing, including brain imaging, blood tests, cognitive assessments, and other medical studies of these diplomats, revealed the presence of brain injury but did not diagnose the cause. The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) indicated that microwave weapons were “a main suspect” (Wikipedia contributors, 2020). Following this physical evidence of brain trauma, was a study published in Neural Computation identifying pulsed radiofrequency and microwave radiation via the Frey Effect (microwave hearing effect), and noted a similar microwave attack documented at the U.S. embassy in Moscow (Wikipedia contributors, 2020). The brain injury itself is described as acquired neurotoxicity with neurological manifestations such as:

multiple functional and structural impairments, including significant spatial memory impairment, abnormal brain-stem evoked potentials, degradation of fibretracts in the fornix and posterior corpus callosum, blood-brain barrier injury to the right basal forebrain and anterior insula, and abnormal paroxysmal slowing events of cortical activity. Subsequent mass-spectrometry and blood analyses documented reduced serum cholinesterase activity and the presence of organophosphates(Temephos) and pyrethroid metabolites(3-phenoxybenzoic acidor 3-BPA).

(Friedman, Alon, et al. “Havana Syndrome Among Canadian Diplomats: Brain Imaging Reveals Acquired Neurotoxicity.” medRxiv (2019): 19007096).

“Edgar Wallenheim” hates my guts…’

Cause Stalking, was defined in a Vice (2017) report as stalking based on a victim’s lifestyle, political orientation, or beliefs. Cause Stalking may entail goings-on as subtle as the filling up of a parking lot just as the victim is arriving or traffic behaviors involving numerous cars, which cause the driver to miss an exit or an appointment. While it may sound rather far-fetched, it would certainly seem possible for anyone at any time to be targeted as an individual by someone who: dislikes them, wants something they have; objects to their race or sexual orientation, etc. – perhaps by a person(s) with the means, time, and/or knowledge required to do so. 

If you feel that you have been targeted, there are many books on the topic written by academics, including “Surviving and Thriving as a Targeted Individual by Cathy Meadows and “Gang Stalking: the Threat to Humanity” by Dr. Corkin Cherubini.