Sunday, December 21, 2008

Back it Up!

I have learned my lesson the hard way from a nasty new computer virus killing off all of my Word documents and jpegs.
Back it up and save everything and anything important someplace else. We all know that right? But do we remember to do it every single time we should be doing it?

I have not been saving my writings religiously to my flash drive like I should be and lost an entire chapter of my new novel. I freaked when clicking on my document saved to my hard drive and saw not my treasured, time consuming typed words, but ugly, sickening blue letters reading: FILE ERROR 22001.
Gone are my yet-to-be-published essays, articles, and book chapters. They have been replaced with white space and a file error message.

This is a freelancer's worst nightmare. This could also be a personal identity thief's wet dream.

No one has yet to crack the code on this new vicious virus. If you find a way, please pass it my way.

In the meantime I'll be searching for my lost words.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bye-bye Black Friday

With the recent killing of a 34-year-old New York man who was trampled to death while opening the doors to Black Friday shoppers, I ask you: do we really need a Black Friday? I understand it is the "official kick off" to holiday shopping, but with a senseless death caused by eager, manical shoppers has the Black Friday hype gone too far?

I just don't get how something like this could happen. This should not have happened. This was not an accident. This tragedy did not happen at a rock concert. This man was a worker at Walmart, he was not stage diving into a moshpit. He was simply doing his job, but the shoppers were not doing theirs. Fueled by saving a buck or snatching up a hot ticket item, these brainless, selfish people let a man be trampled to death so they could brag to their friends about "how they made out" with the bargains on the biggest shopping day of the year.

I get up for work everyday at 5.am. The only place I want to be is warm and snuggled safe in my bed the day after Thanksgiving. The turkey and apple pie is still catching some zzzs in my belly, so you will never find me out there at 5 a.m. in the dark, frigid chill of a retail store parking lot. It is not worth it to save a few bucks or a few hundred bucks.

Someone lost a son because of it.

Black Friday has proved its name true. A day of death. Stay home on Black Friday next year. Stores do not need to open early. It is senseless, just like the Walmart worker's death.

To read the entire story, visit:


http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20081129/walmart_trampling_081129/20081129?hub=World

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama is the Man!

Now that our country has made history with its first African-American President, our first female President can't be too far behind! It doesn't matter if she's white, black, Asian, Hispanic, or anything in between--there is hope that maybe someday, someday in every American's future, a female can make it to the top as President of the United States.

Would a man vote for a female as President? No one thought whites would vote for a black President, but plenty did.


So little girls everywhere--rejoice! Put those Barbies down and grab your Hillary Clinton bobblehead! Dream big, work hard, and you too can achieve anything.

God bless America!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Domestic Violence in the National Spotlight: Jennifer Hudson

The Jennifer Hudson family tragedy should not have happened. But now with Domestic Abuse in the national spotlight, our country needs to take drastic measures to prevent any more unnecessary violence caused by domestic abuse from happening again. William Balfour is a CHILD KILLER. This monster with a violent past should not have even been free on the streets.

How can women prevent domestic violence from happening to their family? Like sex offenders, or child predators, domestic abusers often strike again and again. Their rage is a sick hunger eager to disease and hurt those that trust them or even love them. The first step to prevent a sex offender or domestic abuser from entering into your life is to KNOW THEIR PAST.

Like our National Sex Offender data base, I stumbled upon, www.theweakervessel.org, which is the FIRST National data base for convicted domestic abusers. I know that I would want to be aware of any man I was going to date, or even living in my neighborhood had been convicted of a violent crime. These criminals need to be REQUIRED through a court order to register on this site. It looks relatively new and the site owner is asking for help. To volunteer or donate, please visit www.theweakervessel.org.

Friday, October 17, 2008

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO GABBY

enjoy a sneak peek at the first chapter of my next young adult novel

There is no way I am ever going to wear that.
That thing. That hideously plaited monstrosity disguised as a girl’s skirt.
That, that…
uniform.

This is the only thing that goes through my mind as I sit across the desk from Principal Sister Mary Rosa in her office on my first day of school at Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow Catholic High School.
“What’s the matter, dear?” Sister asks, pushing the questionable fashion item into my folded arms. “I think this size medium will do you just fine.”
“No, it won’t do me just fine. It’s so, so…plaid. And gray. I don’t do dress codes, especially unflattering private school uniforms. I won’t wear it. You can’t make me wear it,” I say, tossing the uniform skirt on her desk and placing the heel of my boot on top of it. I slump back in my chair, with my feet resting quite comfortably on her desk.
“Do not disrespect me, my property, or the rules of this school young lady,” Sister says, swatting at my black Doc Martens until they drop to the ground.
Her stern face softens a bit as she places the uniform on my lap. “Miss Grabowski, I know things have been quite traumatic for you lately. You lost your parents almost a year ago, moved to a new city and I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that must be on a young girl.” Sister Mary Rosa shakes her head and clasps her hands in prayer, as if she feels my pain. “And now your uncle tells me you were not adjusting well to that public school you were in last semester.”
Sister Mary Rosa nearly vomits out the words public school, as if the taste of those words on her tongue would actually make her blow chunks.
“You mean, that public school where all my friends go?”
“You will make new friends, dear. Your uncle cares about you and wants to see you get a proper education. Here at Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow we offer a well-rounded curriculum of history, literature, mathematics, and religion classes. You will also engage in many extracurricular clubs and activities with other like-minded young adults of the same faith.”
“Faith?”
“Yes, Miss Grabowski. Your religion, Catholicism. Your Uncle Mark informed me that your parents had you baptized as well as confirmed. You are up-to-date on your Holy Sacraments. You are one of God’s children.”

“God? You mean the same God who killed my parents by some lunatic drunk driver?” My cold gaze is matched by her stern, narrow eyes.
“We all know God works in mysterious ways, no matter how unpleasant or painful it can be, everything is part of His plan.” Sister pauses and reaches over to clasp my hands in her own. My smooth, young, tan hands are now tangled in between wrinkled, white, cold hands. “That drunk driver foolishly claimed your parent’s lives, not God. “Let go of your anger and let God in. To forgive is divine.”
“Yeah, whatever.” I gingerly bite a loose hangnail on the side of my thumb that’s driving me nuts.
“No, not whatever. Praying once a week in our mandatory Wednesday service should help to bring about a positive attitude, and a positive attitude along with prayer will enable you to endure these changes and struggles you face.”
This old woman not only resembles one of those shrunken head dolls, but now she talks as if she’s reading scriptures directly out of the Bible. “What mandatory Wednesday service?” I demand some answers to all Sister’s crazy talk.
“The mandatory school Mass for the entire student body we have here at Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow. Every Wednesday, instead of attending Religious Studies classes, students meet in the school’s field house for Mass. Students love it. It gives us all such an uplift in spirituality that we all need by mid-week,” she explains.
I cross then uncross my legs. “Let me get this straight, Sister. All students meet in the sweaty gym on Hump Day to pray?”

Sister Mary Rosa frowns. “See, dear, it’s that kind of bad attitude and negative thinking that needs to be changed around. I know there’s a positive, sweet girl inside of
that tough shell, and she will come out with the more time and effort you put into your new Catholic education. It’s such a blessing for you to be here and thank the good Lord that you attended public high school for only your freshman year. By the grace of God, you have been blessed with a brand new fresh start.”
Her sweetness is making me angry. “Look, Sister Mary Rosa, no disrespect, but you know nothing about me. I’m not Catholic schoolgirl material. My parents never even took me to church. We were Chriseasters. Isn’t that what you call them? The sinners who don’t keep holy the Sabbath day, but only go to church on holidays?” I don’t wait for her to answer, but continue. “The only reason I’m at this stupid school is because I flunked Algebra and Uncle Mark, being the number crunching crazy accountant that he is, flipped out about it and said that my parents would have never allowed this to happen if they were still alive, and how he’s not living up to his only brother’s legacy, and blah, blah, blah. Because of one bad grade in one dumb class and now I get thrown into this…this…” I stumble for the right words, “hell hole.”
Sister Mary Rosa gasps, gets all bug-eyed and acts as if I just slapped her across the face. “This is a loving and caring, God-fearing environment, Miss Grabowski. You are very lucky your aunt and uncle love you so unconditionally,” Sister replies with a smirk. “As far as I see it, they brought you just in the nick of time, before you travel further down that dark path you are on, and further away from God.”
I roll my eyes. Whatever.

“Well now, I think that is settled,” Sister states gleefully, no doubt because she got the last word. “Take this uniform skirt and make sure you where it tomorrow with a crisp, clean, white buttoned collared blouse. You may wear only a gray, navy, or red
cardigan over it, if you so choose. Your socks need to be knee-high length, and in white or ivory only. Your shoes must be brown or black penny loafers or lace-up oxfords. Any questions, Miss Grabowski?”
I want to ask her what a penny loafer was, but decide against it, seeing as she already sees me as a big smart-ass already. I extend my leg into the air instead, holding up my right foot. “Are these okay?” I ask, displaying my worn-out, faded, ultra-comfy favorite footwear on the planet.
“No, Miss Grabowski, they are not. You may only wear those type of combat style boots in snowy, wintery weather on your way to school, and then upon reaching your locker, must remove the boots, replacing them with penny loafers or oxfords. Mary Janes would be acceptable as well. Absolutely no high heels, open toe sandals, or thongs.”
“Thongs?” It’s bad enough Sister is policing my style of dress, now she’s controlling what kind of panties I wear under this uniform? For God sakes, what kind of prison did Uncle Mark put me in?
Sister laughs and reveals large, frightening teeth. She lightly taps her forehead. “Silly me, I forgot you young people refer to them as flip-flops nowadays. Those are only appropriate to wear if you are coming and going to the gymnasium swimming pool.” She picks up a paper print-out off of her desk and quickly scans it. “No thongs, I mean flip-flops for you, Miss Grabowski. This is your first semester schedule and you are not enrolled in any physical education courses,” she says, handing me my course list.
My flippant response was interrupted because there is a knock at Sister’s office door.
“Excuse me, Sister Mary Rosa, I don’t mean to interrupt,” a voice begins through the cracked door, “but the first period bell is going to ring in a few minutes.”
“Oh, oh, Mr. Truman,” Sister is grinning ear to ear now, “come on in.”
The door opens and a boy about my age walks in. Or maybe it’s an angel. He’s a perfect vision in navy blue pants, white collared shirt, and black oxfords. His hair is dark and wavy, like a younger, hotter John Mayer. Of course, his body is a wonderland.
“Is this the new student I get the pleasure of showing around our wonderful school today?” the angel asks, his dark eyes twinkling like midnight stars.
“Mr. Bennett Michael Matthew Truman, meet Miss Gabrielle Grabowski,” I barely hear Sister say.
“Hello, so nice to meet you Gabrielle,” Bennett says, extending his hand towards mine.
I catch my breath and grasp his hand. “Huh, huh, hi,” I stammer like a big dope.
“Mr. Truman is in your first period class and he will be showing you where your locker is and will basically be your Tour Guide of Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow all day today, Miss Grabowski. I’m sure you will show him the same respect and kindness you showed me,” Sister says, raising an eyebrow.

I could actually be wrong about this place. Maybe it’s just like heaven.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

National Domestic Violence Month

Just a quick post to remind everyone that October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please consider donating or volunteering at one of your local domestic violence shelters. Women and their children need your help. You could save a life.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Pastor's Ass

The pastor entered his donkey in a race and It won. The pastor was so pleased with the donkey That he entered it in theRace Again, and it won again. The local paper read: PASTOR'S ASS OUT FRONT. The Bishop was so upset with this kind of Publicity that he ordered The Pastor not to enter the donkey in another race. The next day, the local paper headline Read:
BISHOP SCRATCHES PASTOR'S ASS.
This was too much for the bishop, so he Ordered the pastor to get Rid Of the donkey.The pastor decided to give it to a nun in a Nearby convent.The local paper, hearing of the news, posted The following headlineThe Next day:
NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN.
The bishop fainted.He informed the nun that she would have to Get rid of the donkey, so She Sold it to a farmer for $10.
The next day the paper read:
NUN SELLS ASS FOR $10.
This was too much for the bishop, so he Ordered the nun to buy back The Donkey and lead it to the plains where it could run Wild. The next day the headlines read:

NUN ANNOUNCES HER ASS IS WILD AND FREE.
The bishop was buried the next day.

The moral of the story is . . . Being Concerned about public opinion Can Bring you much grief and misery . . Even shorten your Life. So be yourself and enjoy life. Stop worrying about everyone else's ass and You'll be a lot happier And Live longer!

thanks to my cafemom friend for this one...funny words of wisdom!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oprah's Book Club

Wow! Can you believe I have not blogged in over an entire month? If you read my last entry you know why. Going back to work teaching full-time and mommying a toddler full time barely gives me any writing time! It's either sleep or write and you know how much this gal loves catching her some serious zzzzz's. But I promise to post a preview chapter of The Gospel According to Gabby super soon.

What I do want to gripe about today, displaying not the least amount of jealousy of course (did you notice the color of this text?) is how damn lucky that David Wroblewski is. If you are not familiar with this Polish fellow, his debut novel, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, is Oprah's latest Book Club pick. What a lucky s.o.b. that guy is. You know everything Oprah touches or even farts on turns to gold, right?

If Confessions of a Catholic Schoolgirl was an Oprah Book Club pick, can you imagine how much money I would be able to give to domestic violence non-profits? So many beds, toiletries, toys, food, and counseling could then be available to all the battered moms out there that have no place to go. A teen novel may not be Oprah's cup of tea, or one of her "favorite things" but what she does love to do is help others. And Oprah if you're out there, remember this writer/mom/teacher is personally donating 25% of profits from my book to help end domestic violence in the U.S. Won't you please help a sister out?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The 3 Hardest Jobs in the World

What are the three hardest jobs in the world? Can you guess? No? Then I will tell you, because they are the three jobs that I currently have.


1. Mother
2. Teacher
3. Writer

Yes, I will be blogging about these jobs today. If you've noticed my tagline, my 4th "hat" that I wear is Dreamer. We all know dreaming is easy.

Mother. It's a full time job, whether you work outside or inside the home. I only have one kid and it's not always easy, especially when he is only three; wanting independence, craving a nap, or throwing a tantrum. Today after a long day at the subdivision swimming pool, Xander decided he needed to poop in every stall in the women's bathroom. After much pushing and sighing, he managed to drop about one kid off at each of the four "pools" before accepting help getting dressed. He's FINALLY mastered the potty training and not pooping in his pants anymore, so who I am to judge this bizarre bowel movement ritual? Twenty minutes later, emerging dry and completely dressed from head to toe, he escapes and runs back into the swimming pool. Very exasperating.
I drag him out out the pool, redirect him to the car and in a tiny voice, he said, "I'm sorry."

Motherhood. The most challenging and rewarding job in the world. HIP HIP HOORAY TO ALL THE MOMS.

Teacher. Yet, another extremely challenging job, yet rewarding as well. I think my job teaching at-risk urban teenagers is especially challenging, with the rewards not always immediate. I look around at the feel-good slogans surrounding my home office and classroom on the many plaques, photo albums, knick-knacks, etc. that I receive. "Teaching is a work of heart" and "Teachers make a difference." There's also one that proudly states "Teachers preserve the past, reveal the present and create the future." WOW! Do we really do all that? I know I try to do that in my classroom, but are my students trying to LEARN what I TEACH them?
"Teachers do it with class!" Hmm??? According to all the recent reports about female teachers on CNN lately, this one should be removed from all t-shirts and mugs immediately! :)

A BIG SHOUT OUT TO THE MOST UNDERPAID PROFESSIONALS IN THE WORLD!


Writer. The final role that I play in life. Challenging when the words don't flow as easily as they should and the sales don't grow as quick as they could. I read once that writers don't write because they like to, they write because they HAVE to. This is something my husband doesn't understand when I vent to him about struggling with the writing of my next book. I can't just take a break on writing, like he suggests. I've had paid writing gigs and unpaid gigs, the rewards come with the CREATION of a finished piece and my BYLINE on it. Who wouldn't want to be the next J.K. Rowling? In the meantime, writing this blog has made me discover that my 3 jobs
are all linked together. 1 mother + 1 teacher + 1 writer= CREATOR.

I have CREATED a beautiful, healthy son, I try to CREATE students into future leaders, and now I have to work on CREATING my next novel. Till next time, see you in my dreams.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pedophile Priests

I am a Catholic school survivor. I am also a child of a domestic violence survivor.
Thank God I never had to survive being abused by a pedophile priest.

According to the organization "Bishop Accountability" more than 4,000 priests, out of the 42,000 in the United States, were accused of abusing scores of children.

How does this happen? How can such a trusted person who devotes his life to serving God sexually abuse a child? Priests who thought they got away with it years ago are now serving time in jail and the Catholic Church is paying out millions to the victims and their families. It's about time. Now it's time to take care of the future. Our children are the future. How do we prevent Catholic children from suffering abuse by priests now and in the future?

How do survivors of pedophile priests move on and have normal, healthy lives and relationships? How do they FORGIVE? How do they LOVE?
Pedophile priests MURDER childhoods.

Should priests be allowed to marry an individual other than God?
Should we never trust a priest to be alone with our child?
Should we turn away from the Catholic Church?
Should we just forget about it and pretend these things don't happen?
What do you guys think?

www.michellekane.com

Thursday, August 07, 2008

KWAME KILPATRICK: THUG 4 LIFE-DETROIT MAYOR

It's bad enough people who don't live in Detroit or have never visited Detroit think terrible things about the city, our bad rep has made a turn for the worse with the mayor of Detroit spending the night in the slammer. Kwame Kilpatrick will go down in history, not as a great leader, but as the first seated mayor in the entire country to spend time in jail.

Laughable because Kwame had it coming to him, but sad for the city of Detroit to have such an embarrassment posing as a leader who was "changing the city around for the better." Kwame is the biggest THUG in a city known for THUGS. Detroit Public Schools are failing, the auto companies are struggling, the neighborhoods are crumbling and now our mayor, who "allegedly cheated on his wife" with his Chief of Staff and lied on the stand in a whistle blower lawsuit, is finally behind bars.

Kwame has to go. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

THIS is The Last Lecture--Randy Pausch's contradictions

It is not about achieving your dreams but living your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.

I thought this quote from the late Randy Pausch tied in nicely from one of my earlier posts questioning if chasing dreams was just a waste of time. I totally agree with this quote and strive each day to live it out loud. I am, of course, still waiting for the good karma to come. Patience. Faith. BELIEVE. I think I'm leading my life the right way, are YOU?

Never underestimate the importance of having fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day because there’s no other way to play it.

This quote reminds me to live in the moment and not just for a wish or hope. Sometimes sadness and frustration kill you just a little more each day and you have to be remember to count your blessings, and have FUN because you never know if tomorrow will come.

Brick walls are there for a reason. They are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop people who don’t want it badly enough.

I have a love/hate relationship with this quote. Does it contradict with number one above? Is my brick wall stopping the good karma from flowing into my life? Staying up late reading, watching TV, blogging, or shopping online could possibly be brick walls that I built myself? Instead of finishing my next book and spending time doing some actual WRITING, please re-read quote number 2 again.

Monday, July 28, 2008

KID ROCK ROCKS DETROIT

Here's a little review for all of you that missed Kid Rock's sold-out hometown performances. For those of you who have not seen this latest tour, you need to RUN to the closest city and go to this concert. I was lucky enough to score V.IP. tix to the SO HOTTEST show this summer.

Uncle Cracker warmed up the crowd with his radio friendly hits until KID finally took the stage to much anticipation and excitement from the crowd. If you are into people watching, KID has a such a melting pot of fans, besides the great performance on stage there is much to look at in the audience. From young to old, rednecks to yuppies everyone enjoyed the show. At one point KID even told the crowd that he loves how all of us are different, but that we all share a common bond of coming out to hear some great f*ckin music. KID then instructed all of us to HIGH FIVE the fans around us. I definitely was feeling not only the 85 degree heat dancing outside on a balmy, Michigan night, but I was feeling the LOVE.

Halfway through the show RUN from the legendary rap group RUN DMC joined KID on stage to jam out together beloved classics like, WALK THIS WAY, IT's TRICKY, IT'S LIKE THAT and many others. The crowd was loving it and RUN thanked us and KID for bringing him out of retirement. KID ROCK proved that once again he can rap, sing country, rock out to a medley of AC/DC and Ted Nugent and slow things down with PICTURE without missing a beat.

My favorite part of the night was singing along with the crowd to AMEN and ALL SUMMER LONG. At just over a little two hours, my money was well spent and not only did I witness a great performance from KID ROCK and one of the best concerts I've ever been too, (sorry CREED, LOLLAPALOOZA, and PEARL JAM) but I had the time of my life.

DON'T miss KID ROCK in concert. You'll be singing SWEET HOME ALABAMA all summer long!


www.michellekane.com

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

FREE BOOK CHAPTER: KIDS OF 8 MILE HIGH

AS PROMISED, HERE IS THE FIRST CHAPTER OF MY NEW YOUNG ADULT NOVEL:

Forward


Strutting down the hallway in baggy blue jeans, some frayed and worn strands at the bottom of the legs drag onto the floor, picking up the dust and debris at the end of a long school day. Tiny bits of loose-leaf paper and miniscule dust bunnies cling to the denim for dear down the sides of legs, badly concealed by an XXL t-shirt.
They walk through the halls, not making eye contact. You know they see you, and you know why they don’t acknowledge your presence. I did the same thing in high school, didn’t I? You ask yourself, remembering that the teacher was the enemy…and now you are the enemy.




1



DeShaun Johnson saunters past the boarded up houses, some half-burnt to the ground, and checks out the overgrown weeds and uncut grass on the front lawns of his Detroit neighborhood. He shakes his head at the broken, jagged glass of what used to be someone’s window, but now serves as the front door to a dope dealer or heroin addict who has made this their new squatting quarters. Overstuffed and torn black trash bags, stained mattresses with rusty, protruding springs, broken lamps, old toys, and other litter line the front curbs and crumbling sidewalks of his forgotten, neglected city.
His old Detroit high school was forgotten as well, but DeShaun still can’t erase it from his mind. The metal detectors, armed police officers, daily fights and gang activity consumed most of the time that was supposed to be in place for learning. One time, his cousin’s best boy pulled a blade on their math teacher for giving him a D- on a pop quiz. “Change it to an A, or I’ll slice your motherfuckin’ cracker throat.” DeShaun recalls the boy’s exact words to their teacher that day because he was trying to solve an equation with a dull No.2 pencil, but with all his classmates standing on top of their desks cheering and laughing it was kind of difficult getting any classwork done. It was a Monday. “Murder Mondays” as they were known around the school, because something violent always happened on a Monday. That’s just the way it was. An old school tradition or something.
DeShaun hopes his new school will have toilet paper and running water in the restrooms, because his old school rarely did. It was typical of everyone’s mama to buy paper, pencils, pens, glue, notebooks, and toilet paper at the dollar store when shopping for school supplies in the fall. But not this fall, at least not for DeShaun. “Baby, I is not gonna buy toiletries for you to take to school this year. And I fo’sho ain’t gonna let you go to school that is run by gangs,” Juanita Johnson had told her son, DeShaun, when she decided that the city schools were not good enough anymore for her eldest, and brightest son. With DeShaun’s daddy in prison, and five kids to take care of on her own, Juanita could not afford some fancy private school. But luckily, her co-worker at the convenience store in the suburbs has an apartment in North Pointe and said the Johnsons can use her address as proof of residency so that DeShaun could attend North Pointe High School.
As DeShaun walks north to 8 Mile Road, he passes liquor stores with check cashing services, along with cell phone and designer handbags sales. WE TAKE FOOD STAMPS signs hang in the filthy windows of these markets and pawn shops. He strolls past the coney islands, Baptist churches, barber shops, auto body shops, jazz clubs, adult video stores, and skinny, stray dogs running in the streets. Homeless men, with their eyes half closed lean against graffiti labeled, closed businesses, and homeless women push their stolen grocery carts full of recyclable plastic bottles down the empty sidewalks. Ten cents earned for each plastic bottle or aluminum can adds up to buy a couple of cheeseburgers or bottles of cheap wine. DeShaun turns his head and his gaze falls to his shoes. Can’t let them see the sadness in your eyes because their own eyes will grow more sad. Can’t fit any more sadness in the eyes of the lost and forgotten.
As Deshaun steps across the busy, one-way four lane traffic of 8 Mile Road to make the next half mile of his walk to his new school, he pauses at the car wash on the corner. It’s on the left hand, north side of 8 Mile Road—just barely out of Detroit city limits. “Wash your car clean of city dirt and grime before you enter our polished suburbs,” is probably their unwritten motto, DeShaun can’t help but wonder. He knows the car wash is there for a good reason.
Stepping out of the city and into its closest suburb, DeShaun notices the immediate differences. Moving on up the suburb’s tree lines sidewalks, DeShaun admires the flower filled medians with their advertised signs. “Mom-to-Mom sale—September 12. St. Rene’s Catholic Chuch.” And “Talent Show—try-out now North Pointers. North Pointe High School.” He admires the gleaming, shining cars of the used car lots, and reads the help wanted signs in the windows of the oil change and auto supplies stores. There’s a frozen custard stand and a family style Italian restaurant. Coffee shops, strip malls and outdoor cafĂ©`s with little black wrought iron chairs and pretty red umbrellas at the tables. Men in business suits and women in high heels sit at these little tables sipping cappucinos and lattes, nibbling on chocolate biscotti and lemon scones. White men with blue collared shirts, long hair, and mustaches smoke cigarettes in their pick-up trucks, waiting for co-workers to meet them before their shift starts at one of the many collision shops in town.
DeShaun steers his new sneakers to the left and follows his feet down a residential, side street to where his new school is located. Well manicured, green lawns with flat hedges and flower beds with big plastic deer lounging in them frame tiny, neat looking all brick bungalow homes. Some of the houses have white awnings over the doorways, and most of them have chain link fences with gates in the driveways. The houses are almost identical and sit in perfect straight lines. Halloween decorations of witches and jack-o-lanterns linger on front porches. Welcome mats and flowered wreaths adorn the front doors. Large SUVs and mini-vans are parked in the driveways. DeShaun has only walked one mile from his house, but has already arrived in another world. He bites down hard on his lower lip to try to stop it from quivering and wonders what his new classmates will be like, and if he’s wearing the right shoes. The shoes are popular at his old school and everyone has them. Somehow DeShaun knows this new school will be different.
DeShaun stops to look up at the worn, brick building with paper bears and pumpkins taped to its classroom windows. Even the colorful construction paper artwork can’t camouflage the fact that this public learning institution resembles an ancient automobile factory. “Welcome Back Students!” is lettered on a large sign above the front entrance. A burning flames his cheeks as he realizes that he is not welcome. He is not “back” because he has never been before. He’s a brand new student with brand new Jordans who shouldn’t be going to school there. What if somebody finds out? DeShaun climbs the large concrete steps with a warm wave of dread flooding over him. He’s early. Where are all the students? Shiny, newly waxed floors squeak under his new sneakers and he notices the smell. The undeniable smell of the first day of school. Doesn’t matter what school it is, or where it is. The smell is the same. DeShaun first noticed the first-day-of-school smell upon entering Kindergarten. The smell hasn’t changed over his years in junior high and now high school. He couldn’t help thinking that his old high school and this school probably will only have the smell in common and nothing else.
A plump looking girl with tight jeans, pretty blonde hair and a face to match was the only other person in the empty hallway outside the main office. She stood under a “Go Grizzlies” banner staring at a bulletin board in front of her. DeShaun looks down at her feet to see what kind of shoes she’s wearing. He smiles. They’re Jordans. Like his, but girly. White and pink and tiny, with pen scribbles of boy’s names and little hearts drawn all over them.
“Hi,” the girl says, as DeShaun approaches. “I could hear you squeaking a mile away.”
DeShaun laughs. “Whattup? My name’s DeShaun.”
“I’m Melissa. Everyone calls me Missy, though. You must be new here. Are you a freshman?”
“Naw, girl, I ain’t no freshman. Do I look like some freshman punk to you?” DeShaun cocks his head to one side and raises both arms up in the air, taking a step back so Missy could get a good full look at him. All fifteen and a half years of his gown-ass manliness.
“I dunno. I just don’t remember you going here last year. If you did, I’d remember you for sure.”
“Why’s that? Because I’m so fine?” DeShaun asks, pulling on his chin as if he were stroking a beard.
“No, because you’re black. There’s only like a handful of black kids that go here.”
“For real? What is everyone racist around here or somethin’”?
“Well, if you want to know the truth, yes,” Missy says, nodding her head.
DeShaun’s nostrils flair and he steps closer to Missy so that his face is almost touching hers. He looks down from the top of her head and into turquoise colored eyes. “So you scared of us niggas too, white girl?”
Missy smiles. “You’re not a nigga. And you shouldn’t use that would. Actually, I know I shouldn’t be using it either, but since you all use it to talk to each other, I guess I can just say it this once. But don’t make me say it again, and don’t say it to me again either. It’s a bad word. A hurtful word.”
“What’s with you girl? You trippin’?”
“Naw. I’m just tired of all the black kids calling each other the ‘N’ word in the halls, and of course, it would be offensive if a white kid used that word to a black kid. But I think fair is fair and no one should use it. It should just be turned off, like our cell phones are supposed to be in school,” Missy says, pointing down to DeShaun’s ringing cell phone on his hip.
“Hey, mama. Yeah, I’m here. No, class hasn’t started yet. No, I haven’t found my locker yet. No, no textbooks yet. Mama! I’ve only been here like five minutes! Yeah, I got my schedule.” DeShaun smirks and looks at Missy. “Yeah, I’ve already made a new friend. Bye mama.” DeShaun turns off his cell phone and puts it in his jeans pocket.
Missy smiles. “Come on. Let me show you around your new school.”

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Chasing Dreams & Having Goals is a Waste of Time?

I can't believe I am writing two young adult novels simultaneously right now (kind of.) Just to give you an update, I am done with the first chapter of THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO GABBY and I know, what happened to KIDS OF 8 MILE HIGH? Well, I am still working on that project, although it has become somewhat of a "backburner book" for now. The good news is a FREE sample chapter will be available soon. Maybe I'll post it here.
When I am not being a suburban wife, teacher, mother, cook, housekeeper, boo boo kisser, chauffeur, etc. (or should I say WHILE) I am writing: personal essays, blogs, book chapters, and in my son's journal that I keep for him.

When I CREATE, even if it's not that SUCCESSFUL, I feel more ACCOMPLISHED. As if my I am one step closer to seeing my dreams and goals become real and possible. I have HOPE.

So here's the thing: I was really frustrated the other day from a mad mess of writer's block and expressed my feelings to my husband, whose response was, "You can't expect to accomplish a goal or conquer a dream to make you happy."

Wait a minute. What?

I told him that it was important for us to teach our son that he should follow his dreams and that he can accomplish any of his goals with hard work and determination.

My husband said, "Yeah, but you can't expect dreams and goals to make you happy."

I know. Total Mars and Venus, right? Some people are simple---work your 9-5, come home, open a beer, watch sports, spend time with your family, etc. That makes them happy. I am happy and grateful for all that I have. But others are always striving for more, it doesn't mean they are not happy with their typical, American suburban lives, but a dream coming true is a dream come true.

What do you make of this? Do WE need MORE? Will you not be HAPPY until your DREAM comes true? DO you still have a DREAM?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Door-to-Door Annoyance

I had just put my 3-year-old down for a much needed nap, when our dog went berserk barking and growling at the front door. This is the 3rd time this week solicitors have come to my door. First, it was the magazine guy while scrambling to get out of the house, then there was the coupon book girl during dinner, and now a Health Care bill petitioner asking me questions, pleading for my signature---during NAP TIME.

Nap time is not only needed for a cranky toddler, but it is also a necessity for a tired mother. But with always a million things to do and get done, instead of using that time to relax...read a book or watch some television, I need to clean or do laundry, start dinner, get some writing done, check email, etc.

So no, there is NOT a good time to come back later or call back later. Why do they always ask this? If I need to purchase something I will go out and buy it, thank you. I will not buy it at my front door during NAP TIME, or dinner time, or any other time.

Now get off my property! Please tell me I am not the only homeowner annoyed by this summer explosion solicitation.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Time Capsule

I cocooned myself today into the latest trend of finding that ever elusive fountain of youth: The Time Capsule. Yes, that is the actual name. The Time Capsule.
NASA research has been done and L.E.D. light therapy is supposed to take years off your face and body, transporting you back into a much more younger version of your previous self---well, as far as your skin is concerned.
This is how it works: you lie down in a bed, very similar to tanning bed, close your eyes, and wait for the fine lines, sun damage, brown spots to disappear and the baby butt smooth skin to reappear. It's painless. After only one session, I can't really see a difference. Although, the seventeen-year-old working at the salon reminded me that someone younger such as himself, would have quicker results than someone my age.
I paid for The Time Capsule on my credit card, forgetting to thank the teen for pointing out that I'm old enough to be his mother and went to check out a mirror.
Wrinkle creams don't work. It's cheaper than a facelift. Maybe this is it! Have I found the fountain of youth in a Time Capsule?
I still have four more sessions to go in The Time Capsule, so the next time I write, it could be from the point of view of a twentysomething, not a thirtysomething. ;)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Writer's Guilt

Well...I feel v. guilty about not keeping up with my blog lately. Being a busy working mom with a three-year-old takes up most of my time---er...life. Now that school is finally out for this exhausted high school teacher...I can concentrate on having fun with my son, writing, more fun, writing, fun, more writing....and so on and so on. Not to mention watching the new season of WEEDS--which is so awesome if you haven't watched it---you MUST.
My first priority is Xander, of course. Now that he doesn't nap much, but likes to spend his time running around the house, playing outside, swimming, reading, and pooping on his tiny potty chair, the only time I really have to write is at night.
So if it takes me forever to get the next book out, you know why. But it will be out. Check back often for more updates on the book or just to read the latest blog on how I'm spending my summer: whether it's playing with Xander, going to a local festival around the metro Detroit area, traveling with my husband, catching the latest rom-com, my thoughts on entertainment, parenting, etc.
I'll be here---but only for the graveyard shift.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May Flowers

I was wondering the other day in my classroom while teaching bored 11th graders how to write a proper thesis statement...who actually said,"April showers bring May flowers?" Someone actually said that?! Now I don't have to google the answer:) While reading Kevin Alexander's entertaining blog---he read my mind and said that it was John Quincy Adams. Hmmm..even teachers learn something new everyday.
I have to share a secret with you! No one else knows this besides my husband who barely managed to mumble a "Hmmm...that's good..." while absorbed in Sportscenter when I excitedly exclaimed,"I've been DISCOVERED on MYSPACE! Apparently, a BIG NYC literary agent noticed my novel CONFESSIONS OF A CATHOLIC SCHOOLGIRL on www.myspace.com/readmichellekane and told me to call him! So after a 30 MINUTE conversation on what he wants....I have sunk myself into reading all the modern young adult novels I can get my shaky (too many skinny lattes) hands on. A book proposal and synopsis to be completed over summer break. (Have fun with your new TEACHER over summer in my HOT classroom with NO A/C---whoever fails my class!)

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Jesus Sighting?

So the Pope was in recently for a visit, and also the Dali Lama was in (Ann Arbor) over the weekend. Hmm....who once said everything happens in threes? Will Jesus himself show his image soon?
Maybe it will just be Jim Morrison...again. Or Elvis. Again. Or the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich.
One more is coming to America. Haven't you heard?

Which spiritual leader would you all like to see? Do you have a spiritual leader/savior?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The New 7 Deadly Sins

Leave it to the Catholic Church to tell us all how to live. The holier-than-thou religion has condemned us evil-doers who throw away those plastic water bottles, move to the suburbs, and practice safe sex. Have you seen this new list of the 7 Deadly Sins? If not, here it is:

1. "Bioethical" violations such as birth control
2. "Morally dubious'' experiments such as stem cell research
3. Drug abuse
4. Polluting the environment
5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor
6. Excessive wealth
7. Creating poverty
Source: Bloomberg

I bet about 90% of Americans are guilty of these new "deadly" sins. Be prepared to fry in hell if you don't go to Confession and repent!

I would like to add my own list of 7 Deadly Sins:
1. Child molesting
2. Domestic Violence
3. Hypocrisy
4. Dishonesty
5. Illiteracy
6. Ignorance
7. Spamming

Did I forget anything?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Feng Shui Update

It worked! It worked! Well...so far. Maybe. I told you I would give you all an update on the Feng Shui experiment. Even though I wrote the mantra, "Everything I have been looking for now comes looking for me," nine times in red ink for only four days, instead of nine days like I was supposed to...I think my luck has actually started to change already.

Here's the good news and kharmic surprise: A literary agent from NYC called me and is looking for young adult novels about Catholic schoolgirls. Who better to try and write one then this Catholic school survivor herself? My book CONFESSIONS OF A CATHOLIC SCHOOLGIRL is already published and a bit too "black comedy" for what the NY editors are looking for. But what a great opportunity to fall in my lap! Can I come up with a hot GOSSIP GIRLS type YA novel set in a Catholic school? Or will I block under such creative pressure? Stay tuned.
As I just wrote another donation check to a domestic violence shelter with the royalties of my book sales...I now live and breathe the reality that the more you give the more you get in return.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My website www.michellekane.com is finally back up! Just an FYI if anyone is looking for a web designer/host do not use the company Boston Dedicated. The owner is a shady con artist who tried to extort money from me and shut down my site because I didn't pay him an exorbitant amount of $$$ to buy my domain name from him...my own name!
After many frustrating months and not paying one cent to an extortionist, I now own my domain name and my site is back up! yay me! Maybe nice guys don't always have to finish last...
Thanks for all the support friends. Check me out:
www.michellekane.com
Got LIT? Read the new book, CONFESSIONS OF A CATHOLIC SCHOOLGIRL

Monday, February 18, 2008

Feng Shui Mantra

For nine days beginning on my birthday, I have to write this mantra in red ink nine times a day to hopefully make "it" happen. As today is my birthday, here goes my very first Feng Shui experience, or maybe it's more of an experiment. I'll let you know if it works.

"Everything I have been looking for now comes looking for me."
"Everything I have been looking for now comes looking for me."
"Everything I have been looking for now comes looking for me."
"Everything I have been looking for now comes looking for me."
"Everything I have been looking for now comes looking for me."
"Everything I have been looking for now comes looking for me."
"Everything I have been looking for now comes looking for me."
"Everything I have been looking for now comes looking for me."
"Everything I have been looking for now comes looking for me."

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Age of Aquarius

One of my favorite horoscopes for Aquarius, my sign:

"A bit of obsessive-compulsive behavior is not necessarily a bad thing. All talented people have a touch of it."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My Space Book Review

in case you missed it friends...

Poised at the Edge Book Review
Confessions of a Catholic Schoolgirl.
Michelle Kane


Valerie Bernowski's story begins in the mid-80's. Life is not easy; money's tight, her father rarely shows his face, and her hyper-religious, beleaguered mother is not emotionally available. Where can she turn? She certainly cannot trust sadistic Sister Mary Angelina, or pervy Father "Fingers."
She begins to rebel against the Catholic Church, her soon to be divorced parents, and just about everything else. The world unfolding before her is world of cyclical abuse. Her mother married a man, who berated, hit, and raped her, just like her mother had before her.
The more Valerie learns about her family, the more she comes to realize that emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, have been long-accepted family traditions. Things come to an ugly head when Valerie and sister Rachel go stay the summer with their father. Not only is he never home, but there's not even any food for the girls to eat. Eventually Valerie calls her mother to go home early. Rachel (who has a boyfriend in the neighborhood) stays. A few days later Rachel is delivered home, black and blue, from being beaten by their father.
Michelle Kane tells a stark straightforward tale of abuse. In the end we see Valerie emerge a strong (yet damaged) young woman, determined to have the cycle end with her.
25% of EVERY BOOK PURCHASE GOES TO HELP VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
Written By Melissa.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Goals

I don't believe much in New's Year's Resolutions because it often seems "resolutions" are broken more easily than setting realistic goals. Hopefully, reaching one's goals by working hard, or harder... can make any "resolution" more attainable. Here's my LIST OF TOP GOALS FOR 2008:

Be the best teacher, mother, writer, wife, daughter, sister, and friend that I can possibly be. To reach my goals I need to be more patient, dedicated, less stressed, and finally stop all the complaining!

That's it. Simple, right? Now it's official---it's in writing. Comment with your own New Year's Goals if you dare. Come on. I double dare you:)