TIPS FOR PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS: What Can Job Hunting Teach Us Authors?

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

businessman-with-the-notebook-3-1362248-mJob-hunting and writing: these have been the major focus of my life lately. Being the former grad student I am, I started comparing them: the techniques they involve, the different things that can lead to success in each.

Sadly, I haven’t been writing lately. Haven’t worked on my WIP in a week. I’m just too frustrated and too stressed to feel like dealing with it. That said, I have picked up a lot of leads on the job front: so hopefully I’ll find myself employed soon, which will help me feel more secure.

Anyways, this post isn’t supposed to be about me. It’s about those things that help us writers both write and find jobs. (I know I’m not the only writer seeking employment. I have heard from LOTS of you guys in the same boat as me).

These abilities and resources will really come in handy:


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Paranoia: Copyright Infringement & Destroyed Work


So here I am, back talking about crap that no one really cares about. I have issues, you see.  😉

Well, not only am I anal retentive regarding my story titles, but I’m fearful of copyright infringement. So paranoid that I’ve guarded my work with guns and knives over the years. Yes, I’ve said it. I know I’m not the only one. I realize that I’m not the only writer who’s hesitated to put any of their work on the World Wide Web.

It’s not that I’m a great writer, but I feel some things I write are more than okay. They might even be great in and of themselves. Sometimes we create that one wonderful piece of work when the Muse puts forth her best effort…once every decade.

I want to be able to offer my poetry to others and post excerpts or even full chapters of my books beforehand. Today, things are just as safe on the Internet as they are exposed and vulnerable. Meaning, our writing or drawings, etc., are protected by the Web, but they are also dangling in that Web, bared to would-be plagiarists who wish to take our stuff and re-word it in attempts to make it their own. Well, I might add that some don’t even bother to reword it. They just take what they want and hope that we, any member of our posse, or a fan doesn’t spot it.

How is our original work protected then? Well, once we post it…it’s there, for good. Well, for now anyway. If World War III sparks, then all is lost and we’d have little way of knowing if someone on another coast is claiming our work as his own. After we post something under our name on our blog, or Facebook, MySpace, or any other site, it’s embedded there, seemingly burned into the atmosphere forever – indefinitely anyway. So it can be proven, say, if you posted it before the other person posted or published it. That’s good.

Okay, well, I know there are authors who have written an entire book, or most of one, on their blogs or website. I don’t think I’d ever go that far – despite it really engages readers, but I’ve always liked the idea of giving people a look at a work in progress just like I’m doing now with Angel Maker. However, I cannot guarantee how much of Angel Maker will make it to my blog. Maybe only through Chapter Two; then I’ll post excerpts and tidbits from consequent chapters to keep interested peeps up to date on my progress with the story.

I penned my first poem at probably 11-12 years old or so. I’m 43 now. I was stingy with my work even as a kid and was reluctant to let others read it. Even my own mother. Today, however, I read my chapters to her one by one as I proceed with a story. She can’t see and read like she used to so I read it aloud.

I remember when I first broke down and posted something on the Internet. Back in like 98 -99. It was fan-fiction poetry. I put it up on a website I had back then, and it drew a lot of attention. In fact, the owner of the largest fan site of particular wrestling superstar (mind you, it was WWF’s Attitude Era!) asked if she could post it on her fan site – the largest, most popular website on the Web – in the world. The feedback I got from that poem was phenomenal. Yet, ‘til this day…I wonder if it’s somewhere under someone else’s name. The site is closed now and has been for years and I wonder if I saw it somewhere else, how could I prove now that it was my work? Outside of the fact that I have it saved on a disk somewhere.

I write this blog because I once was a victim of creative theft. It wasn’t that big of a deal. Many years back I caught a person who posted something of mine on her website and didn’t give me credit. She gave no name of the author and when others commented on it, they told her how good “her” work was. She never acknowledged the piece wasn’t hers. After numerous emails from me politely asking her to remove it, she finally did. There was a small fight, but not too bad. It was just upsetting that people liked the piece and she wouldn’t give the real author – me – the credit.

I had an acquaintance who once who wanted to learn how to write novellas in a particular genre. So she took a book and rewrote it…sort of…line by line. Is that plagiarism? Of course, she did it as a lesson and research. It was later destroyed and there are no copies in existence. I would’ve never even thought of doing that. I mean what if someone took your book and changed the setting and the character’s names and did that, but decided to publish? Oh, jeepers!

Now do you see what I mean? Paranoid. I could write pages about how I didn’t even like turning in book reports, research and term papers to teachers and professors. No. I kid not.

How do you other writers feel about infringers and breach of copyright?

Next, let’s talk about losing our work. As I mentioned above, for now our unpublished work can be stored on the Web. If you post or store your writing on a blog, your own website or a writer’s group, etc., whatever you post will still be there after your home or office burns down or blows away during Hurricane I’m-Going-To-Destroy-All-Your-Shit rolls through.

But what about that new stuff you’re laboring over nearly every day and you never thought to store it somewhere in the spider web of space? OMG! Tornado I’ma-Destroy-It blew down your house & you forgot to grab your computer or flash drives during evacuation to the basement. Now what?

So? What? What do you do if you’re not saving to the Cloud?

I save mine on three different flash drives. I do this so in case one fails I’ve got two more. Since this bad weather’s been driving us bonkers this last couple of years, I’ve taken to carrying one of those flash drives in my purse & I update it every time I write. So if my house burns down while I’m gone, my stuff is safe. I’m contemplating buying a waterproof/fireproof lockbox for said flash drives and important notes.

The truth is, my work being destroyed by fire or weather is more of an obsession of mine than infringement.

Have I gone insane? What do you all think? How many of you have ever considered that the only copies of anything half written are the copies on your hard drive and that one flash drive that you keep on your writing desk. What if you lose it to thieves or to destruction of your home or office?

Okay…Let me know what’s on your mind. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep things safe?

Again, thanks for reading.

Sneak Peek: Chapter One (The Sheriff’s of Robertson County: Angel Maker)

As promised, here is Chapter One of Angel Maker. This is a draft, of course, and subject to change, but I hope you enjoy it!

If you didn’t get a chance to read the prologue which I posted last month, you can find it here. Read it first, if you have time. It’s the book’s setup.


The Sheriff’s of Robertson County: Angel Maker



July 2008 – Robertson County, Texas


Barely mounted in the morning sky, the sun sizzled; muggy air brewed like heat from a steaming cup of tea. The desert willow trees cast shadows around the cemetery that played heavily with Ramiro’s imagination, showering him with shivers on that sweltering morning. On every morning.

Driving slowly around, he strained to see beyond the lines of tombstones, praying to avoid a ghostly encounter of any kind. Twenty years of working in St. Theresa’s Cemetery, all hours of the day and night, equipped him with many an impressive, spooky tale.

“Yeah, yeah. I know, Linda,” Ramiro talked into his cell phone as his old beat up pickup truck crept along the isolated cemetery road. “I told him that ten times already! Jesus, Mary, Joseph!

“He doesn’t listen. At all. That boy!” His wife, Linda, said.

“Nope. Nope. And…and…what? Wait. Who the hell is that?”

“Who’s where?” His wife asked.

Ramiro brought the truck to a halt and peered out the open window, trying to make out a form through the shade of the trees.

“Wait, wait, Linda,” he turned off the engine. “I have to go. Something’s wrong. I’ll call you later.”

“Be careful, Ramiro,” was coming from the earpiece when he flipped his cell closed and dropped it into his pocket as he exited the truck. Afraid it might be a vagrant of the unlawful element, he grabbed a hoe from the pickup bed. He eased cautiously toward what appeared to be a person lying on the ground.

“Hey! You there! What you doing?”

When there was no response, Ramiro cagily studied the person from a distance then scanned the area looking for other people. He construed that the person lying on the grass was a child, a girl, dressed in a white and gold dress. She was laying on a grave on her back, her head near the tombstone.

“Little girl, you okay?” He said as he cautiously drew nearer. “You asleep?”

Did she move? He crouched down and reached out to the unnatural-looking sleeping child.

“Hey, how’d you get here?” He touched her bare arm to wake her. “Where’s your mommy and dadd…oh shit!” He drew his hand back, dropped the hoe, fell onto his butt and scuttled like a spider away from the youngster. “No. Not today.”

Ramiro fought for control of his shaking body but it was useless as his emotions could not decide between breaking down in sobs or to scream. He heard his own heart pounding.  He closed his eyes and turned his head away; then reopened his eyes one at a time. They settled on an old pecan tree. He took a couple of deep breaths in an attempt to secure his nerves.

“Oh, Jesus, Mary, Jo…oh this isn’t real,” he said to the tree. “What’s going on here?” His eyes wandered toward the child but stopped short as his courage failed. He made the sign of the cross as his eyes flitted back to the tree. After a couple more deep breaths, he blinked hard, trying to clear his watery eyes. He gradually turned his head toward the child, hoping she’d be gone. But she wasn’t.

Ramiro knew he had to look at her. She deserved that much from him. A black child of about eight, dressed in a white and gold angel costume complete with wings. She wore a halo, had glitter dusted over her cheeks and a pink plastic rosary in her hand. Her flesh was an ashy color and she resembled a dark marble statue lying there. Despite her appearance, there was a peaceful look upon her face.

Ramiro winced and whimpered a little as he gathered himself. The reality truly hit him when he realized that he knew her.

“Oh, God. Hope!” he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and dialed 911.

“Shit! Why does this kind of shit always happen to me?”

“911. What’s your…”

“Listen, I’m at St. Theresa’s Cemetery. There’s someone dead here.”

The operator on the line fell silent for a moment.

“Hello?” Ramiro said.

“Is this a joke?” the operator asked.

Taken aback by her question Ramiro spoke his urgency all in one winded sentence.

“Look this is no joke lady goddamn it why would I call and make a joke like this? What’s wrong with you people!”

“Okay, sir. Calm down. I apologize. What’s your name?”

“Ramiro. I’m the grounds manager at St. Theresa’s,” he started to breathe heavy. “I was making my morning rounds…oh, god, there’s a dead kid here. Send someone.”

“Okay, Ramiro. Settle down. Where in the cemetery are you?”

“Around on the south side of the mausoleum,” he directed.

“Officers are on their way, okay? My name is Rita, by the way.”

“Oh, okay, Rita.”

“Ramiro, I’ll stay with you on the line until they get there. Tell me what’s going on. How did you find the child?”

“I always start earlier on Sundays because of church. I check things out. Clean up any messes. Oh, God. What a mess I’ve got now. Anyway, I was driving and I saw a person lying on the ground. Thought it was someone asleep. Maybe drunk or homeless. Checked it out. It’s a dead kid. She’s…she’s dressed like an angel. Another angel!”

“Do you recognize the child at all?”

 “It’s Hope. She’s been missing. Oh, Jesus, Mary, Joseph.”

“What’s the child’s name again, Ramiro?”

“Hope…Hope Roseland. Karla Roseland’s girl. Poor Karla…she’s dead too. Only about a month now. Phil must be worried sick. Oh. He’ll die when he finds this out.”

Rita fell quiet.

“Hello?” He asked.

“I’m here. I’m checking for information on Hope. I see she disappeared about 72 hours ago. There’s a missing persons report made by her father, Phillip Roseland.”

“Yes, Phil. They attend church here. Well, they did before Karla died. Phil and Hope haven’t really been back since…since then. But, they did come to the cemetery.”

“I’ve informed the deputies regarding Hope. It’ll be a few minutes more before they get there, Ramiro.”

“Okay. They should hurry up.”

“They are,” Rita assured him.

“Ramiro, did you see or hear anyone else around the cemetery this morning?”


“Was there anyone else around when you first reported to work?”

“No. No,” Ramiro said, taking off his ball cap with his free hand and wiping his forehead with his shirt sleeve.

Rita engaged Ramiro with conversation, trying to ease his nerves. Being a rural region, it always took law enforcement a good amount of time to get to most areas.

“Ramiro, deputies are inside the cemetery heading toward you.”

“I see them now. Thanks,” He flipped the phone closed and took off for the road as a squad car pulled up near his truck.

The small, well-kept, 20-acre cemetery of St. Theresa’s was sandwiched between two unincorporated tiny Texas towns, Janice City and Marksville. Both towns were serviced by the Robertson County Sheriff’s Department, being as they had no police departments of their own.

A ghost town with less than three-hundred adult residents – most retired or single, Marksville was the smaller of the two and rarely saw serious crime outside of some drug sales or bar fights. Murder, however, was unheard of. There were only a few businesses in town, among them was the Lone Star Bar, a Mobile gas station and convenience store, Leanne’s Beauty and Nails salon, and the tiny Grace Baptist church.

Janice City was a larger town, home to over six-hundred adults, complete with two small cafes, an ice cream shop, two mechanic garages, a realty office, a high school and two grammar schools – one public and St. Theresa’s Catholic School. Janice City was going through the incorporation process, and the city council was scrambling to raise the funds for their own police services. On the border of Janice City was St. Theresa’s Catholic Church to which the cemetery was adjacent. St. Theresa’s Cemetery was the land bridge, so to speak, linking the two small towns. All of the town’s teens were bussed over to Janice City for high school.

The two deputies approached Ramiro. In their rural home, Ramiro and Deputies Wallace and Miller were not complete strangers.

“Ramiro?” Deputy Wallace greeted him.

“Yes, thank heavens, Deputy. Come. This way,” he gestured for them to follow.

“Ambulance is on the way,” Deputy Miller added.

“Oh, no,” Ramiro said, shaking his head at her. His voice trembled as he walked faster, losing his breath. “No need. There, ma’am.” He pointed to the still child.

The officers walked to the child and Miller bent down and felt for a pulse.

“No need for that either,” Ramiro said. “She’s dead.” He put his hands on his hips and shook his head. “Why does this shit always happen to me?”

“Gone?” Wallace asked.

Miller looked up at Wallace and nodded. “For a while now.”

“This is insane,” Wallace stated as he bent down to analyze the body. “Who the hell does shit like this?”

As ambulance sirens drew closer, Miller stood up and dug out her notepad.

“Come on, Ramiro. Let’s step away from here and talk. I’ve seen you in this cemetery over many years, haven’t I?”

“Yes, uh-huh. Over twenty now.”

“What’s your full name?” Deputy Miller lead Ramiro away from the scene to keep him focused on her questions.

“Ramiro Gallardo. I live in Janice. A couple blocks from the church on the corner of Redbud and Pecan Streets,” he said. “Gee. Who’s doing these things to the kids?”

“I wish I knew,” Miller said.

“Oh, boy. It’s getting late,” he looked at his watch then glanced around nervously.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s Sunday. Why couldn’t this be Monday? They’ll be coming after church. You have to take this poor kid away before church.” He made the sign of the cross. “Jesus, Mary, Joseph.”

“I’m afraid that’s not going to happen, my friend. We have to tape off the scene. It’s best if we don’t have folks wandering around the cemetery until we check the grounds for any evidence,” Miller informed. “Start from the beginning and tell me how you found the child.”

Ramiro told his story to Miller while Wallace went to the meet the ambulance as it roared up.

Wallace waved his hand. “There’s no emergency,” he said to the driver as she hurried out of the vehicle.

“Oh no,” EMT Macy Walker said. “Dead?”

“Several hours,” Wallace informed. “Another kid. Girl ‘bout eight or so. Been missing for a few days.”

“Well, let me have a look just the same,” Paramedic Will Justus said. “We should check if the county examiner will come get the body or if we should take it. It’s Sunday.”

Justus started toward the scene as Wallace opened the squad car’s trunk and rummaged through, pulling out a crime scene case. He flipped it open – crime scene tape, gloves, evidence bags and markers, camera, etc.

“Fuck Sunday,” Wallace complained. “What fucking medical examiner doesn’t come out because it’s Sunday?”

“What? Crime Scene not coming?” Walker asked.

“Eventually,” Wallace shrugged. “I hope. We have to close off the entire cemetery. We don’t know if she was killed here or not. We can’t have the scene compromised Storm will kill us. You know how this got out of hand the last time.”

“I’ll make the call and see what to do with the girl’s body,” Walker offered.

Wallace caught up to Justus.

“They’re sending other deputies to help out, right?” Justus asked.

“Yeah,” Wallace said. “Man power’s short though. State police is coming. We need help roping off this whole place. Good thing is, the congregation isn’t that large. Hope we can keep ‘em outta here.”

“Macy and me will stay for as long as we can to give ya a hand.” He paused. “Do you think the FBI is gonna come?”

“I hope not. You know how Storm feels about that. The State Police is, as he would say, hindrance enough where getting his work done is concerned.”

As Justus and Wallace walked neared the victim, Robertson County Sheriff’s Detective Alan Keith arrived on scene. He called out as he strode after them, his cowboy boots striking the ground hard, making small dents in the dew-moistened grass and dirt as he hurried.

In his early forties, Detective Alan Keith was a remarkable-looking individual. At six-foot-six, medium build and a hardy cowboy through and through, not only was he Texas big, his heart was just as huge. A daunting appearance was where it ended for the most part especially after he bared a smile which softened his ruggedly handsome face and exposed his sympathetic nature. His best friend, Robertson County Sheriff Dorian Storm, teased that Keith’s compassion often ruled his head and he should’ve been a kindergarten teacher or a veterinarian, not a cop.

“Wallace, hold up!”

“Hey, Alan,” Wallace reached out his hand as Keith caught up to them.

“Hey,” Keith shook his hand. “What-a y’all got here?”

“Dead little girl,” Wallace said. “Hope Roseland. Been missin’ since Thursday morning.”

“Aw hell. Poor kid. Who knows the hell she went through,” Keith said. “I prayed we’d find her alive.”

“Yeah,” Wallace said. “The whole thing’s shitty.”

They stopped next to Hope’s body to assess the scene. Justus bent over the girl, checking for a pulse or any signs of life. And, as he was told, her spirit left hours before.

“Detective!” Ramiro called out to Detective Keith as he hurried toward him.

“Yes, sir?”

Miller came up behind him. “This is Ramiro, Detective. He found her body.”

“Ramiro and I have met before. I’m sorry about…” he was cut off.

“Detective, look,” Ramiro pointed to the tombstone. “I just realized now. See?”

All eyes turned to the headstone on the grave.

“Oh, shit,” Wallace whispered.

Detective Keith read the engraving aloud. “Karla Roseland. Loving wife and mother. June 12th, 1978 to June 5th, 2008.”

“Jesus! It’s Hope’s momma,” Ramiro confirmed. “She was left on her own momma’s grave. Who keeps doing this?” He shuttered and shook a moment then broke down with a sob and took off toward his truck. “Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, Jesus, Mary, Joseph. Jesus, Mary…” could be heard slowly fading away as he got farther from the scene.

“Fuckin’ people, man,” Detective Keith grumbled. He bent down and fingered Hope’s dress, smoothing an imaginary wrinkle. “Fuckers’ll do anything anymore. Kill anyone anymore.”

~ Copyright 2013 Wanda S. Paryla



Here’s the link straight to Chapter Two:


A Re-blog…For Veteran’s Day:

**I began writing this poem way back during Operation Desert Storm. It was finally completed in 2009. I leave the copyright at 2009 because the poem hasn’t been changed much since. I wrote it for the people and animals who’ve died in “wars” for us since our beginning. I always like to share it somewhere on Memorial Day, Independence Day, & Veterans Day.**  I hope you enjoy reading it. Someone once called this poem “profound.” I don’t know about that but I consider it the best piece I’ve ever written in my life…and the best piece I’ll ever write. I doubt I can ever top it. Nor do I want to.


American Flag Eagle




This work was written for every hero, past, present and future, of every state and nation:  “Strive to forgive me as I seek forgiveness; seek forgiveness as I strive to forgive, for we are all nothing if not humankind.”  ~Winter NightTiger


Some had an easy time, maybe even a good time; many had it insane.  But, they all went, never knowing for sure what consequences it might bring, and that makes them brave.




I wish only to hold your head in my hands

And tell you I am sorry that you were tortured on foreign lands.

But I am afraid to speak and I dare not touch your face,

For I fear you’ll look upon me with disgrace.

Young and beautiful heroes –

Defenders of a government’s cause –

Without questions,

Without pause.


Pardon me

For my naivety.

For I was not there to see;

Had I been, I’m sure I would have lost it all to insanity.

Hear my plea,

Pity me, forgive me, forgive me!


Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Middle East, and in other places, not afar, but right here.


That’s where you’ll find their ghosts.

Ghosts of both the living and the dead,

Young and beautiful heroes,

Many Champions whom we have never seen.

People whom the Ass and the Elephant dare not look in the eye

Lest they display cowardice and for the grandest of excuses vie.


But, not I – I shall write in ode to you, to the freedom defenders, alive and dead

Who walked on many a foreign land,

Crossed many dark and watery seas,

Who, reluctantly or not, killed many a monster that, once dead, was just another man,

Like he, with unheard cries and pleas.

Oh, the things I wish to say; how they spin around in my head.


I dream of looking into your eyes,

Even as my American spirit slowly withers and dies,

For I can never be as you,

An American peoples’ Champion, true.


I recognize the heroes – I’ve seen some here, some there,

With their American spirits lost everywhere.

And then, they return to us,

Dead or living,

In boxes or for life, striving,

And the politicians only pretend to care

Because they know – hell, they’ll never ever have to go there.


So, here I am,

Sad that I cannot give you empathy

For I have not witnessed first hand

The vile acts of political man

Upon my young and beautiful heroes.


I am not even sure if I have a right to offer you sympathy,

So please forgive me,

For I cannot claim to understand

Your suffering and your woes.


I wish only to hold your head in my hands

And tell you I am sorry that you were tortured on foreign lands.

But I am afraid to speak and I dare not touch your face,

For I fear you’ll look upon me with disgrace.

I am humbled before you, Champions –

Young and beautiful heroes –

With biting souls

Wrecked with the poison of political scorpions.


Your pain could never be eased by another.

No, not by your father, mother, sister or brother, and certainly not by any lover.

Your eyes have seen a wild animal darkness,

That no other person’s sleeping mind would dare dream to harness.


Their wars become no good for anyone.

Once it is found that the crusade cannot be won –

They always leave you there then, with praise left undone,

And at just thirty, twenty-one, or as young as eighteen,

They asked you to behold things that, at any age, you should never have seen.


They leave behind the real defenders of the cause – taking with them their congressional bets.

The cowards leave you there, deep in the oceans, in stifling jungle-laden lands,

In strange desert countries strewn about their burning sands.

They leave you to die, young and beautiful heroes, without any damned regrets.


And, lest they be called failures,

They dare not turn to you a saving hand.

They leave you to your lunacy and wounds, without allowing any cares or cures.

They leave you there, burning, dreaming of easier days and helping hands.


I lived not through any wars,

But, I have shared in our government’s alleged reaped rewards.

They don’t feel to owe you a damned thing,

Even as in your head, sickening night terrors ring.


But, as – when just a child – my father fought,

I owe you everything.

However, I can offer you naught,

Save with my pen, your praises can I sing,

Through mediocre poetry –

writing being my single grace –

I attempt to offer you dignity,

As I dare imagine my hands touching your beautiful face.


You who will never be the same,

I am full of disdain

For the harbinger of your undeserved fate,

And I cry out for a cure to your pain.

It’s the only thing that might ease my hate

Lest I go guiltily insane

And end up myself at hell’s iron gate.


To the freedom defenders of now or then,

Those who risk their lives so people worldwide may live dictator free –

As our government has always claimed to us it should be –

Wherever you are, wherever you roam, wherever you die – I pray you’re not alone,

And for you, to the gods of warriors I beg for a safe return to your memories of home.


No matter how much time has passed us

Since your terrible war left you restless,

On my heart, you’ll forever be –

Young and beautiful heroes –

As I know that your night terrors

Will never see you free.


Do not be ashamed.

Keep your heads high.

Don’t take any blame,

For you have no reasons to deny

Your magnificent valor.


The one forgiveness sought here –

Outside of that between warriors –

Is the mercy that I seek from you

For the crimes of my country’s leaders.


The Ass and the Elephant owe you a debt –

One, shamefully –

They can never repay.

Forgive me, though, for the courage they lack.

And alas, to me you must make yet another promise,

Please come back,

And this time, say that you’ll stay.


I wish only to hold your head in my hands

And tell you I am sorry that you were tortured on foreign lands.

But I am afraid to speak and I dare not touch your face,

For I fear you’ll look upon me with disgrace.

Pardon me

For my naivety.

For I was not there to see;

Had I been, I’m sure I would have lost it all to insanity.

Hear my plea,

Pity me, forgive me, forgive me!


The way I remember and the way I know,

Is through television and history books.

This is how I seek young and beautiful heroes,

Of both today and yesteryear –

The freedom defenders who seemed to not fear,

And never knew what it took

Until they had already become history,

By another man’s quest of glory.


Defenders of the cause, I must share –

Courage is not the absence of fear,

It is but the conquest of it.

You are true glory,

Armed with many a mighty story –

Young and beautiful heroes

Of today, of yesterday,

Of every day

And I would never deny it.


Whether you are dead,

Or still yet cursed with nightmares in your head,

Whether you trudged across frozen Europe,

Or you met with torture in Korea,

Whether you sat in silent madness in the land of the Vietnamese,

Or crawled through the desert sands of Iraq –

You are beautiful heroes.

No matter what they say,

You are the Champions of our way.


Your childhood will forever remain

Somewhere far away – left behind –

Carrying on somewhere out there without you, left lame.

Your youth and beauty, and maybe even your mind,

Is where you abandoned the child

To become a person of class, rank and file.


And while there will always be some in denial,

There are those of us who shall never put you on trial.

There is no need for you to tell me –

Lest it helps to ease your pain and dread –

But only you can help me to see

What it is that lies deep in your head.


I wish I could ease your heart,

But I don’t know where to start.

I know that no words I could ever say,

Could hold your beast at bay.


Pardon me

For my naivety.

For I was not there to see;

Had I been, I’m sure I would have lost it all to insanity.

Hear my plea,

Pity me, forgive me, forgive me!

Young and beautiful heroes –

Defenders of a government’s cause –

Without questions,

Without pause.


I wish only to hold your head in my hands

And tell you I am sorry you were tortured on foreign lands.

But I dare not touch your face,

For I fear you’ll look upon me with disgrace.

Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Middle East, and in other places, not afar, but right here.


That’s where you will find your ghosts…


Young and beautiful.

Copyright 2009 Wanda S. Paryla