In light of Roe v. Wade

FeaturedIn light of Roe v. Wade

In light of SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade, I offer the following from A New Eden, Part II of Idolatry:

*****

Sophia’s white-gloved hands were lying in her lap, holding the Easter lilies she had taken from the arrangement next to where the casket had been.

“Keep driving please, Sam.”

Sam kept driving, passing the turnoff to the garage, continuing at a measured pace down the narrow lane, over the rolling grassy hills and through the shaded woody vales, all the way to the back of the estate, to where on the crest of the last hill stood the majestic red oak, where from the oak’s high branch hung the swing.

Sophia could still hear the squeals of delight as Roger or Aaron would push Julie. “Higher! Higher!” Julie would demand, her bare legs and feet reaching for the sky, her head thrown back in abandon as she arced out and up, over the falling slope beyond, over the easterly flatland, finding weightlessness in the open sky.

“Momma, I’m flying. . . .”

As had become their custom, Sam stopped the car fifty yards short. Sophia walked alone the rest of the way. She stood now before the swing, staring blankly at the empty wooden seat as it creaked and rocked gently in a passing lullaby of a breeze. Standing here, she would always be able to hear her daughter’s floating, soaring laughter. The memory, a mother’s sacred blessing, was now her burden forever to bear. Next to the swing was the granite stone, flush in the ground. On the stone’s polished face, unmossed and unweathered, the engraved letters and dates were too fresh, too young, too new. They always would be.

Almost from the moment Julie became a teenager, the laughing had ceased and the struggle had begun. Her driving desire for independence pushed against all restraints—reason and sensibility be damned. Missed curfews, angry arguments, stony silences, hurled accusations, slammed doors. Sophia wasn’t terribly surprised—her daughter had always been willful and independent, as Hales tended to be—yet she was disappointed. She had hoped to be spared. Aaron, through his teens, had never caused the slightest problem or concern. Julie lashing out was wounding, to be sure, but Sophia endured, knowing they would get through it somehow, as countless mothers and daughters through the ages had gotten through such phases. With all the sympathy and empathy she could muster, she kept the relationship tacked and pinned and stitched together through the strains, impasses, bitterness and tears, knowing that the two of them would survive and overcome, eventually. They were strong. They loved. They trusted each other. They were honest. Sophia would be there, waiting on the other side for her healthy, happy daughter to re-emerge. It would only be a matter of time, of perseverance. . . . But it required more patience than Sophia ever imagined she would have to find.

Then, in the middle of Julie’s fifteenth year—sooner than Sophia had hoped or expected—Julie’s demeanor changed. Indeed, her entire personality changed, practically overnight.

She had met a boy from the Church who convinced her to attend a youth service with him. Within a week, she declared herself a Christian, a redeemed Lamb of the Flock—saved. At meals she effused about Jesus’ fathomless love and God’s grace, which was not only her own personal salvation but the salvation of the whole world. Her black jeans, her formless, dark sweatshirts and her ragged sneakers were replaced by conservative knee-length dresses and low-heeled shoes and sandals. Her black hair with the rebellious red streak was dyed back to the original brunette. Her pixie cut was left to grow back out. Her makeup and jewelry were discarded—Sophia quietly rescued a set of diamond studs and a string of pearls from the garbage.

Her mother had welcomed the change with only minimal unease. At the dinner table, Sophia preferred the exhortations and enthusiasm for all things Flock to the seething and heavy silences punctuated with spewed anger. Yet she couldn’t shake the feeling that her daughter had jumped out of the frying pan and into—not the fire, but a vat of warm, sugary, liquid gelatin. The overt kindnesses and effervescent expressions of love for everyone and everything seemed to Sophia little more genuine or justified than the anger and venom. How long would this new spiritual high last? How long would the new medium buoy Julie up? How long before the gelatin would begin to solidify around her? How long before the spell broke?

Less than six months, as it turned out. In the middle of the school year, Julie insisted on transferring from her private school to the Flock’s academy. Roger had refused initially, but with Sophia’s patient persistence and urging, he finally acquiesced.

At the beginning of the summer break, Julie had travelled with a busload of Flock youth to a Church retreat at a campground in southern Idaho. When she returned, the effervescence and effusiveness had vanished. She wouldn’t talk, she wouldn’t open up, no matter what Sophia or Roger or Aaron tried. Once again, she shut everyone out. Through the locked bedroom door, her pillow-muffled, retching sobs could be heard late into the night. Surely, Sophia guessed, the problem was now a boy, perhaps even a girl—but she could get nothing out of her daughter.

After a few days, Julie pulled herself together enough to continue attending church services and activities. She donned a brave smile but remained subdued. A few weeks later, Sophia came home at midday to meet with the electrician about the pool heater. Julie’s book-bag and purse were on her bed. Julie herself was nowhere to be found. On a mother’s hunch, Sophia drove to the back of the property.

Julie was there on her swing, rocking herself gently, head leaning against one of the ropes. After a forlorn search of her mother’s eyes, the dam finally broke and the despair poured out. Julie was pregnant, of course. It had been a Flock boy, of course. She wouldn’t say which. She had gone to a church counselor that morning. He had informed her in gentle but firm terms that her only option was to have the baby—unless she wanted to lose her soul and go to hell for the murder of one of God’s children. Still hardly more than a child herself, Julie was distraught, devastated.

Sophia was heartbroken for her daughter—and furious, not at Julie’s actions, but at the Church’s response. She pried the name of the counselor out of Julie and arranged a meeting. The counselor was polite and empathetic, but he wouldn’t back down. He insisted he would have told the same to his youngest daughter, a year younger than Julie: murder was murder. There was now a child of God in Julie’s womb, and Julie’s duty was to carry her God-given burden, to give birth, and to raise the child to adulthood. Julie’s life was no longer her own. Other young mothers had managed it—Julie would manage it as well. Fortunately she had Sophia to help her. God didn’t promise that our lives would be easy, only that it was our duty to carry whatever cross he gave us to bear on this earth, for which we would be rewarded in heaven.

Sophia next stormed the parish, but Reverend Lundquist was away on a tour of the Flock’s missions in Central America. He couldn’t be reached, or so his secretary insisted. Sophia’s daily messages went unanswered.

For two more agonizing weeks, Julie struggled. She struggled with her conscience and with her hopes for her future, with her hopes for her life and for her soul. When Julie allowed it, her mother was at her side. In the end, with her mother’s approval and escort, she made an appointment at the clinic and had the abortion.

The drive home had been in a thick silence. Sophia reached out to hold her daughter’s hand. Julie pulled away, clasping her own hands in her lap, staring out of the window.

She stopped going to church. Sliding back into her darkness, she began palliating her shame and grief with food—any and all food she could get her hands on, any she could keep down. After gaining thirty pounds, she suddenly stopped eating and lost all the weight—and then more weight. She returned to church and went to a different Flock counselor, this time a woman, who told her that God would forgive her, but only if she were truly and genuinely remorseful and ashamed for her grievous sins, for having sex out of wedlock and for murdering her unborn child. Given the severity of the transgressions, the counselor prescribed a six-month regimen of weekly personal and group counseling and prayer, supplemented by five hundred hours of voluntary duty in the orphanage, taking care of the babies that other young mothers, following God’s will, had given birth to. Julie asked her mother later what had happened to all the mothers of those babies. Sophia could only guess. A couple of them, she knew, had worked at the resort, but they had long since disappeared from the community.

Long talks between mother and daughter and longer silences followed. Julie regretted having slept with the boy, or more accurately, having done so without protection, but she couldn’t bring herself, as hard as she tried, to feel wrong for having done so. She was chagrined at having made what she considered to be a serious mistake, but she simply was not ashamed of it, and she couldn’t make herself feel an emotion she didn’t feel. The act of lovemaking, she told her mother, had seemed neither wrong nor unnatural. She had been following a desire that God surely had given her for a reason. She had felt terrible about the abortion but she couldn’t bring herself to feel genuinely guilty for that either, given the alternative, which was simply unthinkable to her—and she was too honest to fake a remorse that didn’t and couldn’t exist.

She attended another few church services. Of course they knew. Everyone knew. One of the girls working at the clinic probably had a friend of a friend who was a Flocker. The only secrets in Aurum Valley were the ones nobody cared about. As she told her mother afterwards, she felt as if the whole congregation were watching her. Many had gone out of their way to express sympathy and understanding, seeming almost grateful for something they wouldn’t come out and name, as though they were somehow relieved at what she had done—that she, Julie Hale, was a sinner—that she, of all the girls in the valley, had sinned.

Sophia accompanied Julie to church the next Sunday, and she experienced it too. She was approached and greeted eagerly with a fresh, enthusiastic acceptance, as though the Flock members were appreciative that Sophia and her family had been brought down to a status as low—perhaps even lower—than their own. God had revealed that the Hales, too, were subject to human fallibilities and carnal hungers; their weakness and true nature had finally been revealed; they had been brought down to a position from which only God could raise them up again, up to the more humble plane of the Flock.

Julie lost another twenty pounds she couldn’t afford to lose before waking in the hospital with an IV in her arm, having fainted in her room while the rest of the family ate dinner. As her daughter was being released, three days later, Sophia had choked back tears on catching a glimpse of Julie’s back when she was changing into her street clothes. She looked like a concentration-camp victim, all skin and bones. It was less than a month later, on another spring day as faultless and beautiful as this Easter afternoon, that the housekeeper found Julie hanging in her bedroom closet, the belt from her Procession robe around her neck.

Julie had never had a chance to wear the robe. She had been so pleased and excited when she bought it, months ahead of time. She was so looking forward to her first Procession. Sophia had left the robe hanging in the closet.

*****

Quent Cordair, A New Eden, Part II of Idolatry, 2016
https://www.amazon.com/New-Eden-Idolatry-Book-ebook/dp/B01J2KPSNW

Steam

FeaturedSteam

The increasingly desperate fervency, the unshakable commitment and loyalty, the blind doubling down of souls answering the call of their chosen savior – there it is again, the pre-rational, primordial stew out of which so many religions were born. Where there is faith, there are those ready to follow; out of the churning, simmering pools of hopeful followers, leaders will rise. Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, Joseph Smith — how much was forgiven of them, how many sins and improprieties excused, overlooked, explained and polished away by those who told and sold their stories, all for the promise of salvation? The price of a savior — the ready offering of the mind, the sacrifice of the independent individual to the safety of the collective. All now to the temple in obedient lines, none minding the shackles tightening around their ankles, none suspecting that it is their own warm blood to be spilled, the steam rising and curling from the altar in the gray morning chill.

*****

“Steam” was published in 2019 in My Kingdom, my latest collection of poetry, short fiction, and short plays for stage and screen, now available in paperback  and Kindle editions. ~

I could not put the book down! I read the poems out loud to my kids as though I am Cyrano on stage! Inspires me to be the best I can be! Love it! ~ Heather Pendaris

If you enjoy life and a positive view of mankind, if you are a valuer and enjoy reading uplifting works, you’ll love this collection of short works by Quent Cordair. This is a great book when you just want a short read that will leave you feeling better than when you started, when you need a little emotional fuel. No need to read it as a whole, just enjoy a little morsel when you need it. You will find yourself going back for more, over and over. I have thoroughly enjoyed Quent’s longer works, but they are a deeper dive. This collection can be enjoyed even if you have only short spurts of time available for reading. I highly recommend it. ~ Steve M.

I can only say, if like me you admire human independence and have a belief that each of us are sovereign individuals and that the greatest joy can be found in seeing something admirable, reward yourself with a few hours of pleasure. Buy the real book .. read … enjoy. ~ Garrett Seinen

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If you prefer novels, I write those too. I recommend starting with Genesis, the first part of my five-part Idolatry saga. ~

Genesis

Part I of Idolatry

In the twilight of the Roman Empire, a sculptor struggles to keep an 800-year dream alive while honoring the love of his life and raising his adopted son. Part I of the epic five-part Idolatry saga, the story of a wealthy young heir and a devout Christian girl who find themselves at the heart of a 2400-year struggle for the soul of Western Civilization.

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“Beautifully written, on the order of Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, with the historical insight of James Michener, it brings to life a time of great thought, great art, and its clash with religious fanaticism. Cordair writes with a poet’s sense of scene and nuance and gives us a great deal of insight into the mind of a sculptor; I found this an exciting and easy read.” ~ Alan Nitikman

Enjoy Genesis in paperbackKindle, or Audiobook today. ~

*****

Quent Cordair Fine Artwith galleries in Napa, California, and Jackson, Wyoming, was established by artist Quent Cordair in 1996. As a premier provider of contemporary Romantic Realism in painting, sculpture, and drawing, QCFA has grown to serve an international clientele of private and corporate collectors. Explore our select offerings today at cordair.com. ~

 

Character

FeaturedCharacter

This poem becomes more relevant by the day, unfortunately. Penned in December of 2016, may “Character” inspire reflection, from now through November and on.

*****
The shuffling line from dock to deck
Turns up the plank to ticket check.
Those early on the rails above
Wave wanly down to ones they love;
A long look down to ones they love.

Mark the ship, her lines and seams,
A welding of designer’s dreams
And builder’s craft—but is she true?
Or will she break against the blue?
How will she fare against the blue?

New captain there, high on the bridge;
A ship so large, his privilege.
It’s whispered that he’s wrecked a few,
Though smaller craft, that much is true;
Not one his fault, that much is true—

Or so it’s sworn by this fresh crew
And owners old with lifeboats new.
All’s well insured with fading ink,
They reassure with touch of drink;
The trembling calms with touch of drink.

The seas ahead are known to swell,
Lift up to heaven, drop to hell,
Loom overhead till pounding down
To crush the air until lungs drown,
With howling winds until lungs drown.

Threatening isles with teething breaks,
A glancing scrape is all it takes
Across a careless bearing laid—
The reckless bet by all is paid;
The helmsman’s due by all is paid.

The wise will eye both ship and man
To measure both with skeptic scan.
The sea cares not for sentiment
Or fervent prayers to heaven sent;
It swallows prayers to heaven sent.

In character of steel and mind,
In ship nor man a weakness find,
On oceans’ floors, if truth be told,
There lies more faith and trust than gold,
There lies more hope than gold.

~ Quent Cordair

“Character” is from the My Kingdom collection of poems, short stories, & short plays for stage & screen, now available in paperback & Kindle editions.

Featured

Salute to Hongkongers

Friends, please feel free to share the above image widely, particularly with any and all who may have Hong Kong connections. May the photograph and the words help strengthen the resolve of those willing to stand for their freedom, for their lives, against the march of tyranny.

Award-winning photograph by P H Yang, used with permission.

#HongKong #Hongkonger #Freedom #Individualism #FreedomHK #rights #FreeHongKong
#NoChinaExtradition #hongkongprotests #StandWithHongKong

Castle Walls

FeaturedCastle Walls

 

Castle Walls

Peace, peace, but not a moment to be found,

No closet or armoire is free from the sound,

For now your enemies live here in your head—

Sitting at your table—

Waiting in your bed—

And who is to blame for their being inside?

What use, castle walls,

When the gate’s open wide?

~ Quent Cordair

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“Castle Walls” is from the My Kingdom collection of poems, short stories, & short plays for stage & screen, now available in paperback and Kindle editions.

 

The echo

The echo

Nationalist conservatives adamantly denouncing socialism….

Where on earth, when in history, has it been heard before, just so? Today’s sound bite isn’t new. It’s an echo from a hundred years ago, generated from the same source, the cause and implications recognizable to those who have studied early 20th-century history from an ideological perspective, particularly the history of the Weimar Republic:

“What socialism was to the leftists, nationalism was to the conservatives: it was their ideology, their political ideal, their common bond. … The conservatives did not attempt to prove the inherent superiority of all things German. They felt it, and that was enough for them. The German soul … what it cherishes is duty, and self-sacrifice … Most conservatives were religious men, who regarded their basic ideas as in a Christian approach to life. Typically, the public statements of these men dwelt on the such themes as the value of faith, the evil of atheism, the importance of church and family, and the need of religious schools to guide the young and immunize them against radicalism….”

“The deadliest enemy of the country, the conservatives declared, is socialism….”

“The German Republic was an experiment in political freedom combined with economic authoritarianism and defended by reference to the ethics of altruism. The country’s republicans did not wish to choose between freedom and altruism. They thought that they could have both….”

“…the Communists proceeded to act as the people’s vanguard: the party staged a nationwide campaign of violence designed to precipitate a civil war and overthrow the Republic….”

“Ideologically, the clash between the Communists and the Free Corps was a clash between champions of the all-powerful state and seekers after an all-powerful leader; between activists eager for an unselfish (socialist) Germany and activists eager for an “idealistic” (non-capitalist) Fatherland… Wherever the German turned—to the left, to the right, to the center; to the decorous voices in parliament or to the gutters running with blood—he heard the same *fundamental* ideas. They were the same in politics, the same in ethics, the same in epistemology.”

“This is how philosophy shapes the destiny of nations….”

~ Leonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels, chapter: “United They Fell”

The Ominous Parallels is available on Amazon… ~ https://www.amazon.com/Ominous-Parallels-End-Freedom-America/dp/081282850X

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For my published fiction ~ short stories, poetry, novels, stage and film scripts, available in ebook, paperback and audiobook ~ please visit my Amazon page. Thank you!

Check out my Q & A with The Fussy Librarian ~ ~  https://www.thefussylibrarian.com/newswire/for-readers/2018/06/22/author-qa-quent-cordair

Plato’s children

FeaturedPlato’s children

ICE and the FDA are sister organizations, existing on the same plane, born of the same philosopher-king father and nanny-state mother. Both agencies were brought into existence on the same principle, to serve the same end: to stand between the individual and a class of things the individual might value, on grounds that only the government can properly judge whether the thing is good or harmful for the individual. Both agencies employ the same means. Through both organizations the government is to be the tester, the judge, the maker of standards, the sole decider as to the acceptability and appropriateness of the thing in question.

ICE stands between the individual and the immigrant, on behalf of the collective. The FDA stands between the individual and a drug or food, on behalf of the collective. The value to the individual of the thing in question can only be of secondary importance to the safety and welfare of the collective — and it is the collective that should decide what the individual may interact with and what he may not. The object in question is held as guilty until proven innocent, deemed unacceptable and illegal until tested, vetted, and shunted through the line of the government’s screens and the bureaucrats’ in-boxes, to be stamped as safe and acceptable, perhaps, but only as weighed against arbitrarily set governmental standards, and only after the arbitrarily established process has been exhausted. If individuals suffer or die in the meantime, this is of secondary concern to the safety and “good” of the collective.

This is preventative regulation, and it stands in stark contrast to rights-protective law. Preventative regulation violates the individual’s right to use his own mind as the sole judge of what is good for him and what is not. Proper rights-protective law goes after rights violators and rights violators only – and strictly contingent on objective evidence. Where there is objective evidence that a country, organization, or individual has violated the citizen’s individual rights or is threatening to violate the citizen’s rights, it is the proper role of government to act on the individual’s behalf against the threat.

Properly, government does not deem a medicine as dangerous until proven safe. It does not deem a surgeon born in India as dangerous until proven safe. It does not deem a field worker born in Mexico as dangerous until proven safe. It does not deem a friend, a lover, a fiancée, a spouse, an au pair, a student, an employee, or a potential business partner born elsewhere as dangerous until proven safe. It does not come between the individual and the product or person the individual has decided, by his own judgment, to value and to interact with. It does not use force to violate the individual’s own reason, his own judgment, his own choice as to what or who is good for him and what or who is not. It does not deem a potential cure for influenza or cancer or canker sores as dangerous until proven safe. It does not regulate opioids or ophthalmologists or Omanis.

“The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man’s self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law. But a government that initiates the employment of force against men who had forced no one, the employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims, is a nightmare infernal machine designed to annihilate morality: such a government reverses its only moral purpose and switches from the role of protector to the role of man’s deadliest enemy, from the role of policeman to the role of a criminal vested with the right to the wielding of violence against victims deprived of the right of self-defense. Such a government substitutes for morality the following rule of social conduct: you may do whatever you please to your neighbor, provided your gang is bigger than his.” ~ Galt’s speech, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

“Fake news”

Featured“Fake news”

About “fake” news: Never surrender the concepts of true and false. Words are important. How we use words is important. When someone mounts a campaign to conflate false with fake, his goal is to conflate true with real. When you surrender false for fake, you surrender true for real, and when you’ve surrendered true and false—when you’ve accepted real versus fake as the standard—he has you where he wants you, for then he needs only your acceptance of what he asserts as real, with asserted reality having become more important than truth, with accepted reality becoming what is asserted.

Never surrender true and false, if you value being able to identify what’s truly real, if you don’t want to fall for the false reality of a fake.

We allow conceptual lines to be blurred, to be erased, to be forgotten, at our peril. Beware the conceptual sleight of hand, the misdirection — the con artist’s tool. When someone assiduously avoids using the terms ‘true’ and ‘false’, and dislikes one of them so much that he works to replace it with a different term at every opportunity, ask yourself why that might be.

Also relevant: Identifying a second-hander ~ https://www.facebook.com/quent.cordair/posts/1409578702498677

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My novels, short stories, poetry, and plays are available on Amazon…. Thanks so much for reading and for all your comments and reviews ~

Enabling

FeaturedEnabling

You probably know what an enabler is. The term is all too familiar to those who have been in therapy or counseling for their role in a co-dependent relationship, for their role in enabling the destructive behavior of an addictive and/or abusive loved one.

An enabler forgives, excuses, evades, rationalizes, being too fearful of what might be lost, too dependent on the relationship with the abuser to hold him fully and adequately accountable and responsible for his destructive actions. And so the enabler continues to support the abuser in a seemingly inescapable cycle, enabling the cycle of abuse, excuse, apology, the improved behavior until the worse behavior comes around again. The co-dependency and enabling is unfortunately common in relationships with abusive children, spouses, significant others, friends, parents.

Some exhibit a similar psychology in relation to what they believe to be their “heavenly father,” a parental figure praised and worshipped for whatever occasional joy, security, and affection he might provide – while whatever grief, loss, sickness and horror he causes or allows is suffered and endured. Any positive is praised and treasured, while all negatives are forgiven, overlooked, excused, rationalized away. Someone who is psychologically and emotionally dependent on such a parental figure believes he cannot afford to make the parent angry, cannot afford to reject the parent, must defend the parent, feeling utterly dependent on the parent for love and life, no matter how abusive or neglectful, no matter how deaf to the child’s cries the parent may be. In such a relationship, one endures all, justifies all, for the sake of the occasional demonstration of what is interpreted as love and affection, for the occasional “good day” between all the bad, for the parent’s protection, for the parental security. But it is a relationship of utter dependency.

The same psychology and behavior is exhibited by many towards a religious leader, an employer, a führer, a king – a president. The only full and lasting cure is independence: intellectual independence, physical independence, psychological independence, emotional independence. Until independence is fully achieved, the bruising will continue, the enabler finding it necessary to keep the makeup and excuses handy while hoping to keep the abuser sufficiently mollified and distracted, hoping that the bad never becomes worse, while the abuser never lets the enabler quite forget, by how he treats or threatens to treat others, how much worse it could be.

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My novels, short stories, poetry, and plays are available on Amazon…. Thanks for reading, and for your comments and reviews ~