Thursday, February 3, 2011

Three Way Thursday - I Thank, I Think, I Thirst

By Deena Remiel

It’s a forgone conclusion that anyone asked what they are thankful for will say their family, friends, job, etc. I will not run the risk of sounding redundant here. Instead, I am thinking outside the box and providing a thoughtful and meaningful response.

I am thankful for the Superstition Mountains of Arizona.

What? No, I have not fallen off my rocker just yet. The Superstition Mountains can be seen from most everywhere I live. I turn down a street to go to the library, and there they are, standing majestically in the distance. You should know I go to the library a lot. When I first moved to Gilbert, Arizona, I knew no one and the library became a second home for me. Besides the books providing comfort and a burgeoning inspiration to write, as I sit by the floor to ceiling windows of the library, I can see those towering mountains in all their beauty. They whispered to me one day, “You have a story to tell. Go write it.” And I listened. TRINITY, A Brethren Novel, was born. Now I wonder if I should sacrifice my first born novel to the mountain. No, I think I’ll present it to the world instead.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the state of public education and public opinion.

I’ve been an educator for over twenty years now, and never in my career has public opinion towards teachers been so negative. So negative, in fact, that state governments are systematically dismantling a structure that I’ve depended upon to provide for my family. Laws have been passed by legislators in Arizona to address the “deadwood” in public education that is creating a ripple effect through the entire system, and a new poverty class is born– the educator. Since moving to Arizona and securing a position here, I have not had a raise, health insurance has risen, and the security I once had in terms of tenure is now gone. Now I don’t want to hear from all the business people out there tell me there is no job security in the “real world”.

Let me say this. I have been trained well to educate your children to be productive, viable citizens. I would think society would want to secure our jobs given the amount of education and training many of us have been through. I counsel your children when they come to me about serious family and friendship issues. I am with your children more than many of you are with your children on a daily basis. I directly influence the future of our society by being the best role model possible for your children, so they may be inspired to make goals, reach for the stars and grab them. I do this because it is my calling, it is my career. But that doesn’t mean my services should be freely given. I, too, have a family that I must provide for. From my vantage point, if you value your children, you must value education, pay educators a decent wage, and treat us like human beings, not slaves. When my own children have to be on reduced lunch, it is a crime. When I can’t afford to live where I teach, it is a crime. When I’m expected to do more and more without being paid for it, it is a crime. I am an educator, and I make a difference in your family’s life. But I have had to sacrifice my own family’s well-being for yours.

Now that I have begun to work my other passion, writing, I can see a more positive outcome for my family. And yet, what about the hundreds of thousands of others whose only passion is teaching? What of their families? Something must change. Educators do not deserve to be treated as second-class citizens.

I thirst. I thirst for the guy in the leather pants and wings.

Yes, he has wings. Indeed, I have a major-league crush on Michael, my Brethren Protector from TRINITY, A Brethren Novel. He is one beautifully sculpted man, er angel. I’m so very glad I get to look at him every time I open my laptop. Maybe one of these times he’ll fly right off the screen and into my life and answer my wicked prayers…


Maureen said...

Living somewhere with day to day beauty is a real gift to anyone. I have the Pacific. But I have always loved the stark majesty of the mountains is the southwest.

Yes, so right-on with the stuff about education. I have friends who teach and who are sick with the stress of having to do more with less, constantly.

He's a nice looking guy! But he needs a tricorn hat with some feathers... ;-)

Valerie Mann said...

Man, you're busy!! I'm so glad to see your Brethren novels coming out, the covers are gorgeous and I've heard the stories are awesome. Congrats! And I'll disagree with Maureen since I wrote a paranormal with a demon who was an angel to me - angels look way better with wings than a tricorn hat, LOL

Deena said...

Thanks for the support ladies! It's a tough row I hoe. As for my decadent angels, well, Maureen, they are pretty amenable, so if you wanted yours to were a tricorn hat, I don't think he'd put up a fuss... but the wings have got to stay. ;) Valerie, lots of great buzz around Trinity and my online serial. Very pleased. I'm hopeful when Trinity releases, many expectations will be satisfied, if not exceed them. :)

Kathleen said...

Yes Deena, I can understand how the enchantment of The Superstition Mountains inspired you to pen Trinity.

Once I stayed in a lakeside cabin in Maine, with no television or radio, only the picturesque scenery outside to reflect upon. It made a difference.

Teachers should be valued. Even at my age, I vividly remember some of the wonderful mentors I had in school. It takes a special person to shape young minds. Yes, we need to step up!

Michael does have the IT factor!

Awesome post!!! Can't wait for Trinity's release.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story about the plight of our educators, it's so sad that when we get cutbacks, it seems education is the first hit. I still don't see the reasoning.

I've seen Superstition Mountains, they are quite a sight. Especially in the setting sun :)

Deena said...

Thanks, Kathleen! I get so disheartened sometimes when I see all the amazing teachers I work with and then hear them talking about getting another job because they can't make ends meet. And then I look at my angels and I thank God that I have been blessed witht he gift of writing!

Deena said...

Olivia, thanks for stopping by and showing your support of educators. :) And I agree, the Superstition mountains at sunset are quite stunning.

Kathleen said...

Your welcome, Deena. I know what you mean about being disheartened. I thank God that I rekindled my love for writing, too!