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Magazine This publication is a contribution from the Tarrant County College, Trinity River Campus Writing & Learning Center

“Strong , Open Communication”

SPRING ISSUE

2010 EDITION


Contents NOTHING— a word that means more than you think Most of us give little thought about some of the words we use every day; the word ―nothing‖ has to be one of them. Believe it or not, it can be one of the most powerful as well as one of the most abused words in the English language. Want to know why? This article provides us a unique perspective of the word, and how everyone from huge Fortune 500 corporations to six year olds learns the art of spin by using the word ―nothing.‖

Steven LeMons

FINDING THE THEME

INSIDE THIS ISSUE TCC WRITES Here on our Trinity River Campus, we are extremely fortunate to have some of the best student writers of any college. In this issue we are proud to showcase the writing from six incredible Trinity River students who not only have a passion for writing but also use the art of written expression to connect with others. We are excited to have them in this edition and we hope you will be just as excited to read it. Every student writing will be recognized by the TCC Writes Student Writing badge.

MOTIVATIONAL MINUTES: PUSHING THROUGH THE PAIN Life is so amazing. In fact, that‘s what we all love about it. But what happens when you‘re hit with a painful life-challenge you never saw coming? The loss of a loved one, a relationship, or a job can be painful to process. Steven LeMons offers three suggestions for pushing through the pain and moving forward.

Finding the theme of a work is one of the most challenging assignments in any literature class. When finding yourself stuck on an assignment, you may sometimes ask, ―What am I looking for, and how can I find it?‖ ―I wish there was a much simpler way.‖ Well there is, and Shawn Stewart gives us a quick three-step method for finding the theme of not just certain types of work, but of any work.

Shawn Stewart

HOKE & PAW PAW—He didn’t drive Miss Daisy but he sure came awfully close Morgan Freeman played the unforgettable role of Hoke Colburn in the award winning movie Driving Miss Daisy. But was Hoke just a fictitious character on a movie screen, or was he a real person? Published writer Maricia Johns introduces us to the real Hoke Colburn: her grandfather, only she refers to him as Paw Paw. ―Hoke & Paw Paw‖ is the true story about a man with principles, integrity, and a granddaughter who can still remember the impact he made. Maricia Johns Looking for something fun to do on the weekend but running out of the usual options? Sam W. shows us how to make the best of our weekend on a budget. If you‘re tired of the same old same old, but are still concerned about the ―benjamins,‖ this is the information for you. Samantha Windschitl


SPRING 2010

According to Shakespeare ―the whole world is a stage ― but to Cheryl Roberts, dean of humanities at Trinity River, the classroom is her stage and boy does she play her part well. In this issue, Shawn Stewart gets up close and personal with a true, unflappable renaissance woman.

Six up and coming student writers who are

“Setting the Standard”

by Candy Boerwinkle


An Unshakeable Focus on Student Learning Service and Community Engagement Strong, Open Communication Professional and Personal Growth Multicultural Competence and Language Acquisition Interdisciplinary Collaboration Wellness


Don’t let your next history, argumentative, or research writing assignment knock you out!

Come by and see us first.

The Writing & Learning Center has new extended hours Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. In room TREF 3221 Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sunday 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. In room TRTR 3829 Or call us for an appointment at 817-515-1069


“Just one last adventure,” he would say, then he’d turn it in for good, settle down. But he knew this was more than mere wanderlust.

A

single ray pierced the early morning fog. It danced up and down the ship‘s mast, like the fading gleam of twilight. The Corwin‘s pearl sails billowed out in a morning gust. Standing on the wharf, John tugged the collar of his coat closer to his face, the fragrance of too many winters in Yosemite still woven in the wool. He was too old to go, they told him. ―Just one last adventure,‖ he would say, then he‘d turn it in for good, settle down. But he knew this was more than mere wanderlust. This was no 1,000 mile walk to the Gulf coast; no young man‘s tramp through the Everglades. Those days were far behind him. Truthfully, he thought, maybe he was too old to stay. He had put his Louie in the ground last summer. The sting of her sudden loss had robbed him of something. The sharpness of his blue eyes had dulled. Even the granite face of El Capitan and the canopy of the Sequoias no longer held his affection. The great outdoorsman had retreated inside himself, they said. Maybe they were right. And so he was going. Going on one last adventure, indeed. They said goodbye at the pier – one of dozens of piers jutting into the bay, as if the city were a hand with too many fingers. Mothers, fathers, wives, and children, all said goodbye at the pier. Some were eager to climb aboard. Most were reluctant to go. The younger ones clung to each other with arms still hungry and cheeks still moist. The older ones bid farewell with a kiss on the cheek, a squeeze of the hand. There were too many young ones on this voyage, John thought to himself. ―What a shame.‖ John said his own goodbyes. His two daughters had traveled to the city to see him off, his three of his ten grandchildren with them. He hugged each one for a moment longer than usual. Each nestled beneath his beard, now gray as the mid-morning fog. The final traces of chestnut had long since abandoned his tangled whiskers.


The brown had matched the trunks of his beloved trees, The captain blew the horn when other ships might be as if he‘d been one of them. Now the gray seemed near, but there were no others going the way of the more fitting. It almost disappeared amidst the low-hung Corwin. clouds that hovered over the hills and the deep. From his seat along the portside, John kept a steely His farewells finished, John shuffled up the gangplank, gaze over the bow. ―It‘s too late in the year to make glanced over his shoulder with the hint of a smile, and such a journey,‖ a middle-aged man muttered to no one then disappeared into the bustle of the ship‘s main in particular. He walked along the deck in short, quick deck, like the sun behind foggy skies. A seat along the steps, his hands buried deep in his pockets, and the portside rail with a blurred view to the East Bay and collar of his coat turned up against the wind. Marin beckoned. He watched amused as wealthier travelers hauled trunks of God-knows-what up the ―No man chooses when to make the journey,‖ a crew gangplank. member on patrol answered. He carried a lantern with him, as most crew members did. Other than the ―Sorry,‖ a crew member would humbly admonish them, window of the captain‘s quarters, the lanterns provided ―not on this voyage.‖ the only light and warmth on deck. Some slid the heavy trunks back down the plank into the care of a family member. Others had no one to see them off, their trunks deposited in the waiting waves of the bay. The men came aboard with only their boots and the coats on their backs. For many, their departure was sudden and unexpected. There had not been time to gather belongings or bid loved ones goodbye. On the deck, some made small talk with other travelers. Others kept to themselves or looked back at the city longingly. All of them sought to mask their fear of the coming voyage.

“I have heard that this far north, there are days when the sun never rises.”

The bay teemed with traffic that morning: ferries shuttled businessmen to the city, merchant ships bound for New York blasted their horns through mist, and vessels such as the Corwin ventured out, destined for the open sea. The city soon disappeared from sight, blanketed by the gray haze that enveloped earth and sky. The wind whipped as the ship approached the Golden Gate, reddening John‘s cheeks and tickling the tail of his beard. Once through the Gate, the Corwin turned its heading northward, toward the open sea and waters unknown to all but a few of its passengers. John had ventured north before. Seven trips to Alaska‘s bays and glaciers made him more of an expert than most men. But the destination of this journey was well beyond the glacial peaks of the northern wilderness. The foreboding fog of the Corwin‘s departure never lifted. ―Why?‖ he asked. Travelers paced the deck anxiously as cloud cover preserved the darkness.

Night fell on the first day but only a handful slept. The darkness of the skies and the dampness of the air took their toll on the minds of many. John heard cries come from the hold below. Some men left on deck prayed; others cursed. The morning came, according to the hour on John‘s pocket watch, but there were no visible signs of it. For two days, they sailed under a dark ceiling of cloud and mist, the night almost indistinguishable from the day. The shadowy skies remained as dark at noon as at midnight.

―I have heard that this far north, there are days when the sun never rises,‖ one young and weary traveler whispered to John from beneath his scarf. A smile crept over John‘s face as when his daughters were still young. He looked at the weary traveler with tenderness in his eyes.―I think you will find that where we are going, the sun never sets,‖ John answered in an assuring tone. ―And how do you know that, old man?‖ came the voice of an eavesdropping skeptic. John stared into the infinite gray surrounding them. He thought of his life in Yosemite: the granite of the valley walls and flowers of the valley floor. ―Which way does a blade of grass bend during the day?‖ John asked. The older men from the city looked quizzically at one another. But a young farmer from the central valley raised his voice. ―It leans east in the morning, but west in the afternoon,‖ the farmer answered. John looked at the farmer with approval.


―It follows the sun across the sky, I guess,‖ the farmer said again, slightly less sure of himself. John nodded slowly. ―What captain sails his ship toward the darkness?‖ John replied in a steady voice. ―The grass perseveres through the night because it knows the light will come.‖ Night fell on the second day. The passengers who could manage a few hours of sleep dozed in the hold below. John kept constant vigil on deck, his eyes fixed to the east. Then, it happened. Their destination approached as quickly and as unexpected as their departure. In the sixth hour of darkness on the third day, it came: the eternal sunrise. John felt the wonder of warmth on his face as the brilliant light broke the eastern horizon, and shattered the darkness.

Craig Gipson ―I enjoy writing for the same reason I enjoy reading - there is something unique about the written word that allows us to share events, experiences, and emotions common to all of us. Creating interesting characters and storylines can entertain or inspire others, and sometimes teach ourselves a thing or two.‖ Craig Gipson lives in Fort Worth with his wife Jessie. He enjoys writing, sports, and the outdoors, especially exploring Texas State Parks with his wife.

How would you like to know even more about some of your professors than you already do? What challenges, if any, did they face while struggling to achieve their own education? Which professors have bared their souls to share secrets about themselves you do not know?

Presenting A motivational, inspiring, humorous, and thought provoking new program by the Trinity River Writing & Learning Center, where your professors share many of their most unforgettable and sometimes most touching thoughts, from both inside and outside the classroom.

TRC Writing & Learning Center

Coming Soon to


W

arrior because I am a fighter and invincible I am a princess I am beautiful No need for a knight I can slay my own dragons Warrior Princess Ready to take on the world A shield on my side A sword in my hand My shield is my Strength My sword is my Faith I fear not my failures I embrace my successes The Impossible is my destination My family and friends are my inspiration To begin my journey in this concrete jungle of life Not only walk along with the greats But to become my very own knight To fight the battles of this cruel world My past is not my priority It‘s my destination Warrior Princess I will be my own hero To fight my own battles I write my own fairytale Overcoming my battles I will never surrender I will take my lessons learned To make them my own And one day pass them down

To a princess of my own To teach her the values My mother taught me. To embrace my beauty Warrior Princess My head held high towards the sky Because I know I will conquer For I stand proud to know my life is in my hands I am the one who writes my unfinished story With this pen come my thoughts My thoughts that become my dreams My dreams that become my visions, My vision a reality. A Warrior Princess I will fight to the end So in return my life is not in vain; The blood of my ancestors runs through my veins I will make them proud, For whom I am But most importantly Who I will become From the fields of Mexico To first generation college student I thank them for their trials For I stand tall In me this warrior will never fall WATCH ME CONQUER IT ALL!

Ariana Rodriguez ―I am a first year student here at TCC Trinity River. I am also a work study during the week in the continuing education department. I am also the President of the Latino Club, TLSA, and Vice President of the History Club. I am very involved in community service. I volunteer at Cook‘s Children‘s Hospital on Wednesdays and Saturdays, deliver meals to the elderly through the Meals on Wheels program on Friday mornings, and assisting refugee families through Catholic Charities. After TCC, I plan to transfer to the University of Michigan to major in Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering. I live my life one day at a time. Live by faith and not by sight!‖


with Shawn Stewart

with Steven LeMons

“Students respect her because they know that she has the utmost respect for them. That creates a very positive environment for learning.� Judith Gallagher Divisional Dean


T

he word of the day is kismet. It‘s a noun meaning fate or destiny. It‘s as good word as any to describe Cheryl Roberts‘ choice of careers—teaching. Cheryl Roberts seemed destined to become a teacher. In addition to running the humanities department at the downtown campus, she is currently teaching British literature, her first love. If ―All the world‘s a stage,‖ then Cheryl Roberts feels right at home pretty much anywhere. The classroom is her stage. Teaching is like performing, she believes. She says that her drama background helps her get into ―showtime mode.‖

And what‘s a stage play without music? She may at any moment break into rousing show tunes. She once serenaded a program director in Salzburg, Austria, with The Sound of Music. She sang ―How Are Things in Glocca Morra?‖ in a pub in Ireland. And she has sung the ―National Anthem‖ at a campus event. ―I started singing when I was four years old, standing up on top of a table at fellowship hall,‖ she said. Roberts holds a bachelor‘s degree in speech/drama from Texas Wesleyan College and two master‘s degrees: one from UT Arlington and another from TCU. They‘re in history and English respectively. Perhaps, as a renaissance woman, she understands that students must likewise have varied interests. ―I understand that they have other priorities, other needs and desires, other than school,‖ she said. To help them find their calling, she gives a piece of advice straight out of a Joseph Campbell textbook: follow your bliss. ―In every class, find something that you can do well, and the rest will follow,‖ she said. The example she gives is when she took a course on Geoffrey Chaucer, her first graduate class at TCU. Chaucer is her favorite author. ―I really love the prologue,‖ she said, ―the way he describes all the characters.‖ In class, everybody was introducing themselves around the table. Even though she had one master‘s degree already, she was intimidated by all of the Ph.D. candidates. Then it came time to actually read the text of The Canterbury Tales, written in Middle English. After all of the Ph.D. candidates stumbled over reading Chaucer‘s ―General Prologue,‖ she read smoothly, Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licour Of which vertu engendred is the flour; ―And once I did that, I knew I could do it,‖ she said. ―And that‘s what I tell them. You‘ve got to find the thing that you can do, and the rest will fall in.‖ In addition to Chaucer, author Elizabeth Barrett Browning has a special place in Roberts‘ heart. ―I fell in love with her poetry when I was in college,‖ she said. ―And I told my parents that I was going to marry the man who gave me Sonnets from the Portuguese. And that was kind of a running joke.‖ Four years later, after discussing literature with her boyfriend but not telling him the story, he finally gave her the right book. They were married in 1972 and they‘ve been together ever since. Her husband, Rodney, was librarian at Boswell High School for 20 years. ―I have used everything I‘ve ever studied,‖ she said ―When I teach literature, I teach history. That‘s why I teach these travel courses to London. I give a lot of history background.‖ Next month, she‘ll be leading a group of history and English professors to London, where she‘ll introduce them to some friends, retired actors, who play the parts of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson at 221-B Baker Street. In the last few years, in fact, she‘s been to Italy, Greece, London, and Salzburg. Sometimes teaching, sometimes touring. She brings that experience back to the classroom for students to draw upon. Her students have been generous in their evaluations over the years: she ―brings literature to life in class,‖ says one student; she has ―compassion for me as a real student,‖ says another; she ―didn‘t talk to us but with us.‖ She is described as having ―zeal,‖ ―energy,‖ ―enthusiasm,‖ and ―caring.‖


One of her favorite all-time quotes from a student evaluation is this: ―I love John Milton, Beowulf, and Cheryl Roberts.‖ Smiled Roberts, ―That‘s pretty good company to keep.‖ But probably the word which comes up most often in her evaluations is ―organized.‖ Organized, organized, organized. Organization, it seems, runs in the family. Her father was an auditor and a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. Her husband was a librarian. (Never mess with the Dewey decimal system.) Her dedication to detail even applies to chocolate. On her first trip to Austria, she bought a box of chocolate to take back home. Unfortunately, there was a heat wave in Europe that summer. Rather than turn the little oscillating fan in her room on herself, she left it blowing on the chocolate the whole time she was there, so that her prized possession would make it back to the states unmelted. ―She is one of the best organized, clearest thinking individuals I‘ve ever met,‖ said Tahita Fulkerson, campus president. ―She is logical yet still emotionally connected with students and faculty. She‘s generous. And she always remembers people‘s needs.‖ One of her closest friends agrees. ―I want to be like Cheryl when I grow up,‖ said Judith Gallagher, her counterpart at south campus. ―She is one of the most organized and most productive people I know. There isn‘t anything which needs to be done that she can‘t do. And she does it quickly and accurately.‖

R

oberts has an eclectic professional background. In addition to being a double major, a humanities chair and English chair, she has been a P.R. director for the Ft. Worth symphony, an international vice president for Alpha Delta Kappa, the society for women educators (where she once raised nearly 2,500 pounds of books for a school in Africa); and she was a Miss Texas pageant contestant during her senior year of college. Beauty pageants have lost some of their luster in recent years, probably because there are ―more avenues for women,‖ according to Roberts. But in 1968, she had a lot of fun wearing the Miss White Settlement sash and sashaying across the stage. ―It was a lot of fun,‖ said the former beauty queen. ―There were 63 contestants, not like 20-or-so nowadays. And we were all like sisters.‖

Spending time with all of her nieces and nephews is one of Roberts‘s favorite pastimes. ―Family is very important to me,‖ she said. ―I‘m a great aunt. I have lots of nieces and nephews.‖ And three cats: Winston, Kizzy, and Chloe. (Kizzy is short for kismet). Her office is filled with stuffed cats and cat pictures and paintings of her own cats. In fact, her cats are like her kids, she admits. Gallagher agrees. ―She is just a little bit short of the Crazy Cat Lady. I tease her, if she gets one more cat, she might just qualify.‖ Like another Christmas baby, Roberts‘ life has seemed almost charmed, at times. In 1996, she survived breast cancer, something that would shake any mortal person, but Roberts was unshakeable. ―I had a light case. I was very fortunate. I never thought that I was going to die. Never did. I told my husband after the surgery that ‗I had breast cancer, and until they tell me otherwise, it‘s past tense‘.‖ This has led her to a simple philosophy of life. ―‗Thou shalt not sweat it,‘ that‘s the eleventh commandment,‖ she said. ―And the tenth Beatitude is, ‗Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape‘.‖ The unflappable Cheryl Roberts is admired throughout the district, especially at northwest campus where she taught English for 20 years. There, she was department chair and faculty association president. Apparently, there was a running joke among the other faculty that they all wanted to achieve some higher state of perfection known as Cherylness. ―Students respect her because they know that she has the utmost respect for them,‖ said Gallagher. ―That creates a very positive environment for learning. They know that they are safe in her class… to explore, to ask questions, and to think.‖ Even Roberts would have agree that teaching was her destiny. It‘s kismet.


More from Cheryl Roberts: The Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile. The Canterbury Tales Project (canterburytalesproject.org). <http://www.sd-editions.com/AnaServer?HengwrtEx+0+start.anv> Resendez, Jonathan. ―Direction providers: Cheryl Roberts.‖ Collegian. 01 September 2009. Web. <http://collegian.tccd.edu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=228:coordinator-aids-careerplans&catid=58:benefits&Itemid=85> ―Tarrant County College Names Cheryl Roberts Trinity River Campus Dean of Humanities.‖ 30 June 2009. Web. <http://www.tccd.edu/About_TCC/News_Releases/News_Archive/CRoberts_6-30-09.html>

Shawn Stewart Since leaving RealWorld, the student advertising agency at TCU, Shawn Stewart has been working as an instructional associate in the Writing and Learning Center at Trinity River Campus. He has nine years‘ experience in public relations, media, and communications; five years freelance writing and photography; 20 years in higher education. Shawn Stewart, AA, BA, MA Email Shawn at: shawn.stewart@tccd.edu

Bryan Young

where marriages come to die

―I plan to major in business and minor in English and writing. I'm a CPHT (certified pharmacy technician) for Walgreens. I love writing because besides being told I have a talent for it, it's a great outlet when verbal expression fails. Words are so much easier for me to articulate on paper than in conversation.‖

Candy Boerwinkle

moving in circles

―Writing is like breathing for me, not necessarily a hobby, but a passion. The use of linguistics to mold and shape phrases and sentences for the purpose of invoking emotion, thought, curiosity, understanding or appreciation is the most wonderful thing about communicating. It takes us past barbaric grunts and hand signals to open doors for poetic reasoning and romantic ideals. Some people will never hear what you're trying to say until you say it in a different way. And that's fun for me!‖

Craig Gipson The Final Voyage of John Muir ―I enjoy writing for the same reason I enjoy reading - there is something unique about the written word that allows us to share events, experiences, and emotions common to all of us. Creating interesting characters and storylines can entertain or inspire others, and sometimes teach ourselves a thing or two.‖ Craig Gipson lives in Fort Worth with his wife Jessie. He enjoys writing, sports, and the outdoors, especially exploring Texas State Parks with his wife.

Ariana Rodriguez

The Warrior Princess

―I am a first year student here at TCC Trinity River. I am very involved in community service. I volunteer at Cook‘s Children‘s Hospital on Wednesdays and Saturdays, deliver meals to the elderly through the Meals on Wheels program on Friday mornings, and assisting refugee families through Catholic Charities. After TCC, I plan to transfer to the University of Michigan to major in Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering. I live my life one day at a time. Live by faith and not by sight!‖

Carl Howell

Ideal Creation

Carl is a native of Fort Worth, Texas, and happens to be quite shy when it comes to talking about himself. However, when asked what he enjoys, he says ―I enjoy writing poetry, playing video games, riding my motorcycle, and reading anything good I can get my hands on.‖ Having graduated high school at 16, Carl continues his pursuit of academics here at Trinity River. Carl also comes from a very active family of five sisters. Good luck Carl, we look forward to more writing from you.

C. Monday

My Treasure True

―I have lived in Texas all of my life, born and raised. I enjoy writing, whether it be novel, short stories, or poetry. I write about the things close to me. One of my most important dreams for my writing is to spread the love of God and bring something to someone's heart who reads it whether it be love, light, hope or joy. The thing that inspires me most is my Lord Jesus Christ, whose inspiration I hope to share with the world because He is the one who has granted me with this gift.‖


“I just got back a paper I thought I did really well on, only to find that many of the points I missed were due to citation errors. I asked my friend, who really knows how to cite sources, but I must’ve gotten some wrong information. What’s the proper way to do citations so that I will do better next time?” Agonizing in Arlington—Arlington, Tx. Dear Agonizing, sorry that happened. One of the worst things that can happen to a student is to get a paper back with a lower grade than you expected, especially when the low grade is a result of citation errors. However, during your college career you will be required to write tons of research papers and reports; whenever you use someone else‘s information, or words, proper citing of those sources will always be necessary. Citing helps to give credit to the person who originally wrote the article. It also allows your professors to know where that information came from, including the volume, series, publisher or edition. Citations can cause a lot of confusion if you‘ve never used them before. The first thing to do when citing a source is to figure out exactly what style guide your instructor wants you to go by: MLA, APA, or Chicago. MLA (Modern Language Association) is used mainly by any subject that falls under the humanities department; APA (American Psychological Association) is used mainly by any subject that falls under the social sciences department; and Chicago style, in my experience, is commonly used by history departments.

Now that we‘ve found which style book your instructor prefers, we should find some resources which illustrate how your citations should be laid out. The Writing & Learning Center, located at TREF 3221, and its libguide have handouts that can provide you with additional information about the MLA and APA styles.

Building Better Relationships through Developing Positive Communication

Citation resources are also available at the Trinity River library, both inside the library and on their website. Both handouts (which were created by the TCC library) provide the ―formula‖ needed to complete the works cited/references page, as well as examples of in-text citations. Another great resource is Purdue University‘s OWL (Online Writing Lab). The OWL provides numerous examples of MLA, APA, and Chicago style, and is probably the next best thing to owning a style guide yourself. Listed on the website are sample essays which illustrate how the final products (in-text citations and works cited/references page) should appear. The biggest advice I can offer you, besides the resources, is to ask your professor. If you have a particular question about a citation and you can‘t seem to find the answer anywhere, ask your professor. While the resources above are helpful guidelines, your professor may have their own way of doing things and of completing the assignment. So keep sending those questions in. The next one I tackle could be yours. ■

If you have a question you’d like to ask the professor, send your email to “Ask the Professor” tr.writes@tccd.edu.


Meet your Writing & Learning Center Staff

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Nidya Chavez

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―The Writing and Learning Center is a great place for helping you achieve academic success. Whether writing a literary analysis, or creative writing, help is always available to you when needed. The tutors always go the extra mile to help you work toward that perfect score. And if you're a perfectionist like me, that is very important. Thank you Writing and Learning Center staff for your time and assistance.‖ Ariana Rodriguez ―I think the Writing and Learning Center is a great place. They are friendly and always try to help you to the best of their knowledge. Many students come to study here because of the staff. They all make you feel so comfortable.‖ Karen Hairston ―My experience in the Writing & Learning Center was a magical kingdom ride. The staff is a remarkable group of people. They have a tenacious ability to help others in need with writing, grammar and other writing related issues. They have the patience of Job (in the Bible), and are always happy to help anyone. I am truly blessed to have met these individuals who care about our education. I am so grateful for TCC and the Writing & Learning Center. Keep on doing what you are doing. It does work. Thank you once again. Lorraine Hutson

We now offer new and extended hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m –9:00 p.m. Saturday-8:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m. Sunday-1:00 p.m.—5:00 p.m. TREF 3221 or call at 817-515-1069 Saturday and Sunday hours are held in TRTR 3829


m

by Candy Boerwinkle

oving in circles, i can almost see the light but getting closer, it takes flight. the deep well that exists within me is empty of water that should sustain me. thoughts click and clang against the wall‘s cavity as it kicks and pushes its way helplessly against gravity. the unheard thud at the bottom, nonetheless makes the sound then reverberates through the air till it reaches higher ground. peeking above the hole, it raises its head is there anyone alive, is there anyone dead? the sound moves through the trees, floats on the wind. it slips in and out of the ears of mindful children who stop in mid-play to raise their eyes to the sun unsure of the sound they heard or how it had begun, a momentary lapse in their imaginative minds, they ponder the split second sound of unknown design. but more than quickly return to play realizing the pitch had not cared to stay. moving ever gently, looking for a host, the sound of a thought lurks like a ghost in and out of places, for a moment or two, seeking, searching for it knows not who. until it is picked up by three small and tidy rats who sit around and say it means this or it means that. and though none are particularly correct, it is the cat who hears the thought best as it pounces upon the fearful creatures that stumbled upon the worst feature of a wild and untamed heart whose thoughts cannot be contained and ought not to be spread out of the thick brick walls of the surrounding cell ten feet tall under the ground of unquenching thirst and desire that moved in circles looking for the fire.

Candy Boerwinkle ―Writing is like breathing for me, not necessarily a hobby, but a passion. The use of linguistics to mold and shape phrases and sentences for the purpose of invoking emotion, thought, curiosity, understanding or appreciation is the most wonderful thing about communicating. It takes us past barbaric grunts and hand signals to open doors for poetic reasoning and romantic ideals. Some people will never hear what you're trying to say until you say it in a different way. And that's fun for me!‖


by Shawn Stewart

T

he theme is the main or controlling idea of a story, poem, or play. This compares exactly to the thesis of an essay or nonfiction work. Finding the theme of a work is one of the most challenging assignments in any literature class. Here‘s a quick three-step method for finding the theme of any work.

Three steps to finding the theme, or thesis, of any written work . . . specifically Stephen Crane‘s ―The Open Boat‖ 1. Decide what the general subject is “Librarians serve as information guides. It is part a. Put it in one or two words, or aof short phrase our job to teach a new generation the art of b. In ―The Open Boat,‖ this is: properly evaluating the tons of information they (1) man (2) nature are bombarded with, as opposed to accepting every (3) and how these interact (man v. nature); their relationship

source as being accurate.”

2. Find the strongest statement made, in the author's own words, about this particular Carol Everhart subject. a. Should be a complete, declarative sentence, using the general subject above (#1) as the subject or object of the sentence. b. In ―The Open Boat,‖ this could be: (1) ―When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important, and that she feels she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply the fact that there are no bricks and no temples. Any visible expression of nature would surely be pelleted with his jeers.‖ (1) ―It represented in a degree, to the correspondent, the serenity of nature amid the struggles of the individual -- nature in the wind, and nature in the vision of men. She did not seem cruel to him, nor beneficent, nor treacherous, nor wise. But she was indifferent, flatly indifferent.‖ c. Make some simple word equations: (1) ―she‖ = nature (2) ―the individual‖ = mankind (3) ―indifferent‖ = not good or bad d. This then is the best theme, according to the author.

By Carol Everhart

3. Restate this theme in your own words, and explain. a. Nature is neither a force for good nor a force for evil… it‘s just nature. It‘s neutral. Attempts to personify it are futile. When man finds himself caught in the middle of one of nature‘s perfect storms, as are the men in Stephen Crane‘s ―The Open Boat,‖ he often tries to lash out, to blame nature. But nature doesn‘t care. There is no man versus nature. There‘s only man versus his own nature.


My Paw Paw didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t drive Miss Daisy, but he sure came awfully close.


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love the movie Driving Miss Daisy, I really do. Hoke (Morgan Freeman) is just awesome in that role. Before you start telling me why I shouldn‘t like the movie, let me tell you why I do. It reminds me of my grandfather, Rev. Willie Cooper. Hoke and my Paw Paw were so much alike. The walk was the same, the mannerisms exact. I can see Paw Paw now walking to our house to mow our lawn. He walked about 5 miles with a push mower and never wanted you to pick him up or take him home. The only thing that he asked for was a glass of water (Hoke only wanted soft food, remember that scene?). We lived on almost an acre so it was no easy chore to do our lawn. I can still see him turning the corner to our house in my memory. He always wore overalls; at least that‘s what I remember. But on Sundays he would put on his suit and tie with his hat. My grandmother always made sure that he looked good. His hat was the same one Hoke wore in the movie. Although he did not start to preach until later in life, he was an avid reader of the Bible. I know that Paw Paw didn‘t get past the second grade, but he could read the Bible better than Billy Graham. My grandmother who made it to the third grade helped him with his reading. Together they would read the Bible, newspaper and magazines on their front porch (Ms. Daisy taught Hoke to read). On Sundays at our home church, St. Mark C.M.E., he would have to leave early to get to his job at the First Christian Church. Most of the time he walked, and later when my dad taught them both to drive, my grandmother would take him

(remember the snow storm in the movie). After church, we would go and wait for him until he finished cleaning up the fellowship hall. We would raid their refrigerator while we waited. Sure he had to call them Mr., Mrs., Miss, but you must realize that was the times he lived in. As I got older, it would make me angry, but his demeanor never changed. He would go to the First Christian Church to mow their lawn, and take pride because it was the best looking church lawn in town. Paw Paw never forgot home, after he did their lawn, he would go home and do his own. He had the best looking lawn on Washington Street.

strong material. They were never allowed to live up to their potential. They took what was given and made more out of it than most men do today. Paw Paw would walk my sister home from elementary school and carry her books.

He never drove Miss Daisy, in fact he never became a very good driver, but if she had been lucky enough to ride with him she would have enjoyed the ride to the Piggly Wiggly. He made everything special. Paw Paw knew what it meant to be a man even when society dictated his life‘s circumstances. He took sour grapes and made champagne. He was a I can remember him being a simple, man—he was my Paw Paw. proud, handsome man. My father Happy Father‘s Day to all the Paw went to see his parents every day. Paw‘s of the world.■ They would sit and drink coffee before he went to work. Paw Paw and daddy would discuss world events as they applied to Longview. I never heard my grandfather ever say a harsh word about anyone. He never used profanity, but could make us stop in mid air with his tone of voice. Maricia Johns is a published I can remember how we broke his journalist, published poet, editor and bed doing belly and back flops. I motivational speaker. She is a can‘t remember him getting angry at proud graduate of Texas A&M us, but I seem to remember our Commerce (East Texas State grandmother doing so. My Paw University). Maricia is a dynamic Paw was a soft spoken man with speaker who has spoken to various everyone (Hoke), he never yelled at groups including schools, Upward me when I would throw the plate in Bound programs, colleges, clubs, the chicken yard. I was so scared of civic organizations and churches. the rooster. Maricia teaches business at Tarrant County College, Trinity River He and I would go out and dig for Campus in Ft. Worth, Texas. bait so that he would go fishing. He never owned a rod and reel; he always had fishing poles that caught so many fish. When I went fishing with him, we would just sit and contemplate. We never did much talking, just thinking and walking. Rev. Willie Cooper was a strong, handsome, elegant man with the intelligence of a genius. He and Hoke were made out of the same


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never knew until I saw you that a part was left out in the legend of creation

God may have created but he was inspired by an idyllic being he created the stars because of the twinkle in your eyes he created the sand because of the complexion of your skin he created the wind so it could move your hair he created the ocean so you could see your beauty

he created the crescent moon so all could see your smile he created the sun so all could feel the warmth of your body it is fitting that you like roses he created them from the beauty of your lips he may have done a lot but he knew how to make you smile one more time He made me 

Carl Howell Carl is a native of Fort Worth, Texas, and happens to be quite shy when it comes to talking about himself. However, when asked what he enjoys, he says ―I enjoy writing poetry, playing video games, riding my motorcycle, and reading anything good I can get my hands on.‖ Having graduated high school at 16, Carl continues his pursuit of academics here at Trinity River. Carl also comes from a very active family of five sisters. Good luck Carl, we look forward to more writing from you.


Haven’t been to the Writing & Learning Center lately? Here’s what you’re missing. Our friendly full or part-time associates can help you with any of the following: Avoiding Plagiarism Story and Poetry Analysis Sentence and Paragraph Work Basic Grammar Finding and Citing Sources Essay Construction Assignment Brainstorming Resume Assistance PowerPoint Assistance Literary Terms College Entry Essays Technical Writing We also provide: Private study rooms equipped with video and DVD players Access to over 50 desktop computers Full printing resources Writing & PowerPoint Workshops Handouts and resources Opportunities for getting involved in TCC Writes

Our expanded resources for TCC students also allow us to bring you these quality services and opportunities: TCC Writes Program

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Stop by or call us for an appointment at

817-515-1089


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t‘s the weekend again and you finally have a break from writing papers and studying for tests. Like any good college student, you‘re going to carpe diem-it-up! (If the meaning of carpe diem escapes you, please rent/watch The Dead Poet’s Society. Now.) When you really start to think about it though, doing ―the usual‖ sounds a bit too boring. You‘ve been to the movies three weekends in a row. You went to the same restaurant with your friends last week. You already took your family down to the local park last Sunday, so now you‘re really tired of the same old same old. This weekend calls for something new, something adventurous! You want to take your girlfriend someplace original. You want to take your family somewhere fun. You want to hang out with your friends somewhere where you‘ll have a blast! There‘s two problems with this situation, though: one, you don‘t know what to do and two, being a college student and all, you‘re kinda on a budget. Well, fear no more! Being the group-appointed event planner (yes, sometimes greatness is thrust upon us), it has always been up to me to keep everyone happy and keep the weekends fun. It wasn‘t always easy but it showed me the great resources out there that let you in on local events. The best place to find happenings in your area is your city newspaper. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News both have great sections every Friday that give you the lowdown on things to do in your area. The Star-Telegram‘s pull-out is called Go! and offers movie reviews, upcoming concerts, and local festivals. The great thing about Go! is that at the change of every season (fall, spring, summer), they have one issue completely dedicated to that season‘s festivals, exhibits, and shows. They have ideas for dates, family outings, or even if you just want something to do with your friends. The best part of it is that most of the stuff listed is completely affordable (and some of it is even free)! My personal favorite resource, however, is the Dallas Morning News‘ pull-out, Guide. Although many of you live in the Ft. Worth area, you might still be able to snag the Friday edition of the paper and get a hold of this nifty booklet. From my personal experience, Guide has a more complete listing of events in the area. The earlier section of the book lets you know what events there are and tells you ahead of time when it is, where it is, and how much it is. For the parents out there, there‘s a kids-friendly section near the end of the book that lets you in on some fun stuff to do with the family. Like Go!, Guide provides you with the place, the time, and the price (and again, you‘d be surprised how much of this stuff that happens is free!). If you‘re feeling even cheaper (meaning you don‘t want to go out and buy a copy), both issues have online counterparts. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is associated with Dfw.com. When you click on the ―Events‖ tab, it takes you through some of the events happening in DFW. Guidelive.com is the online version of Dallas Morning News‘ Guide. You can look at the ―Editor‘s Picks of the Week‖ or just browse through the listings for your area. Now that you are armed with new sources to help you ―spice up‖ your weekend, go forth and let the world know! Become the outing-planner that you were destined to be and remember that you don‘t always have to settle for the same thing week after week after week. Surprise family, friends, and loved ones with your endless insight into the happenings of the DFW area. Your life from now on is only as boring and monotonous as you want it to be. 

Samantha Windschitl is an instructional associate in Trinity River's Writing & Learning Center. She received her associate's degree from Tarrant County College Southeast, before finishing her bachelor's degree at the University of North Texas. Email Samantha at samantha.windschitl@tccd.edu


by Steven LeMons

pushing through the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whether it be the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, an infidelity, or being diagnosed with a terminal illness, these are life changing events that can sometimes shake your once solid foundation to its core.â&#x20AC;&#x2013;


At some point during our lives we all are challenged with experiencing a painful or traumatic event. An event so impactful that it not only redefines our foundation and values, but also requires us to view life from a totally different perspective. As humans, our overall goal is to have balance and consistency. Balance, in the fact that our needs are being met, and even some of our wants; consistency, meaning those constant necessities we always expect. Our job, our home, good health, and a great financial status are just a few of those key ingredients that help create a sense of balance, stability, and well being. We also feel safe in knowing that the people who matter most in our life are always there and those relationships are strong. Our desire is to feel confident that the foundation on which we have built our life is solid. But what happens when those key ingredients are altered, shattered, or even destroyed? How do you keep it together when your entire life has changed in the twinkling of an eye, and everything you once knew as solid now has crumbled into what now feels like emotional destruction? Whether it be the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, an infidelity, or being diagnosed with a terminal illness, these are life changing events that can sometimes shake your once solid foundation to its core. We all would like to believe that it‘ll never happen to us. In a more personal and distant way each of us would rather feel as though we are immune to such events. It always seems so far away when it happens to someone else; when it‘s their child who is missing, or when it was someone else‘s mother who had the stroke or heart attack. Although we may empathize with what may be happening, we still cannot truly identify with it, relate to it, or feel the pain of those involved. We are detached from the event because it is not our situation. But what happens when it becomes your loved ones who are displaced, your home that was burglarized, or you who lost the well-paying job? What happens when you become the headline?

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motions can sometimes overtake you. What you once saw as your stability has now become unstable. You find yourself trying to hold on to that last bit of permanence, only to find there isn‘t any. Like trying to climb an iced-over hill, you cannot seem to get the emotional traction needed to bring yourself to a positive place. The pain of loss can sometimes feel almost unbearable. It is during these times when life presents us with challenges that up until now may have seemed light years away. It is now that you may be required to see your life, values, and even yourself from an entirely different perspective, one you would have never thought possible before the incident. Many of you who may have experienced such events can definitely relate; however, there are those who have yet to have such experiences. But for those who currently find themselves facing such a challenging event, this article is for you. If you are facing such an ordeal, I ask the questions, ―How are you managing it: your emotions, your grief, your pain?‖ Often it is not just about the challenge, but also how we react to and handle it; about how we view things, and what positive steps might be taken that will help us to push ourselves through the pain and grief that are intrinsically a part of the experience associated with loss. In her book Living With An Empty Chair, Dr. Roberta Temes outlines three types of behaviors exhibited by people who experience grief and loss. It is at this point where individuals begin to view themselves from an entirely different perspective. Numbness – the person walks around in a mechanical, even zombie-like state, just going through the motions. They may want to separate themselves from everything and everyone else. They may also make statements such as, ―I can‘t believe this is happening to me.‖ ―Why me?‖ ―I just don‘t understand why.‖ It is almost as if they are still in shock and cannot accept what has happened. It is often difficult for them to process the event or to get their arms around it. Disorganization – the person may also find themselves seemingly not caring about much of anything. They may appear to be aloof and seem to have a ―nothing-matters-I don‘t-care‖ type attitude. At times they may appear to be forgetful and even argumentative. They may also make statements such as ―nothing matters anyway,‖ or ―I don‘t care.‖ ―I don‘t even matter myself.‖ Reorganization – is an awakening and the first step toward reestablishment of a more normal life. The person may want to take steps to do new things, and maybe even open up about their pain or challenge. For some, they have come to the realization that it is time to move on.


Whether you experience all three stages or not could depend on your attitude toward yourself and the challenge. Your attitude is one of the most powerful tools you possess, so use it positively. In addition, here are three keys I have found to be helpful in working through difficult challenges. Allow yourself the proper time for grieving. Let‘s face it, dealing with pain, loss, or adversity is hard. Most of the time when it happens, it is almost never expected. Your car doesn‘t tell you that you are going to be in an accident while coming home from work next Thursday afternoon. It just happens. In the case of Carolyn, she had just enjoyed a great conversation with her mother on the phone, only to receive a call fifteen minutes later from a family member saying that she had just passed away. It is also not easy to lose a job you love, or person you‘re deeply attached to and expect to fully recover by the next day. It just doesn‘t happen that way. These are traumatic events that are life altering, so allow yourself time to weep, be angry, and to properly grieve; it‘s just part of the healing process. Now is not the time to be Macho Man, or the, ―I don‘t need any help from anyone else I can do it all by myself,‖ type woman. It is during these times when we need support, trustworthy friendship, an introspective focus, deep reflection, and a call to exhibit strength even though you may be most vulnerable. Take baby steps. Begin each day by just placing one foot in front of the other. Take baby steps and take your time, although you may be tempted not to, do not rush the healing process. Rushing a situation will accomplish little; it just adds to your stress level, and raises your blood pressure. Try to think rationally. Do not act or make impulsive decisions while you are angry that, once you calm down wish you hadn‘t. Find positive reading materials, self help books, or religious books. Spend quality time with others who truly care about you and your well being. Above all, set up a conversation or meeting with a counselor to get help. Just know that you are not the only one to experience a situation such as this, even though you may feel like it. Don’t forget about you. Regardless of where you are in the grieving and loss stage, do not forget about yourself. Find a way to channel your stress, pain, anger, guilt, or grief by converting it into positive and beneficial energy. Try running, walking, biking or any physical activity that provides you the solitude you need, while at the same time aids in your overall physical and mental health. Find ways to replenish and recharge yourself, whether through meditation, reading, or taking up some type of hobby. Get in your car and go for a long drive, or take time to treat yourself to a movie. You‘d be surprised how inexpensive movies are before 6:00 p.m. Take time and unplug, don‘t be afraid to be alone. Pushing through the pain of loss or grief is never easy. It takes great courage and strength. However, there can be an invaluable silver lining in this event for your growth and development. You may not be able to see it all right now, or how it will finally come together, but in time you will benefit in tremendous ways. Don‘t get me wrong, it‘s not easy pushing through pain, but once you successfully accomplish it you will have grown immensely in ways you could never have imagined. 

Steven LeMons Over the past 20 years Steven has conducted thousands of workshops and seminars for groups and corporations throughout the United States and Canada. He has hosted over 400 motivational and inspirational television program segments and trained thousands of retail, and corporate sales and marketing professionals. Steven is the Coordinator of the Trinity River Writing & Learning Center and managing editor of TCC Writes Online Magazine.


My Treasure True by C. Monday

Stars that sit in the celestial sky Keeper of my dreams and guardians of my nights Here my voice as I call to you To make my wish, my treasure true The world below is broken and cold The world below is hungry and old This world so far away from you I make my wish, my treasure true People are so lone and far They think not of others, in their dark They let the lonely slip away In their success pretend to be okay They run day and night along the track Always looking forward, never looking back they forget all the good things, forget to see What they left behind, the broken and the needy It’s a sad race when there is no winner When all the runners are getting thinner Their strength runs out as time ticks fast They’re completely gone if they finish last There is no rest in this weary place Everyone’s looking to join the race They pass on by the beauty and gold The places and things that love holds Oh stars that sit in the celestial sky I ask for you to hear my cry Let your spirits join as one And shine on this world like the sun Teach us how to share our sky For we are so small and we die So before we depart for our realm anew I wish we could see, my treasure true. C. Monday ―I have lived in Texas all of my life, born and raised. I enjoy writing, whether it be novel, short stories, or poetry. I write about the things close to me. One of my most important dreams for my writing is to spread the love of God and bring something to someone's heart who reads it whether it be love, light, hope or joy. The thing that inspires me most is my Lord Jesus Christ, whose inspiration I hope to share with the world because He is the one who has granted me with this gift.‖


by Steven LeMons

A

s the deadline to this magazine began slowly creeping toward a ―time‘s up‖ reality, I noticed my mood shifting from casual and relaxed, to upbeat panic disguised as self-control. I realized how much time I had spent in my vain attempt at coming up with an interesting topic about which to write. However, I kept coming up with… nothing. For me writing is something that must first be felt, before any words can be put on paper; at least that is how it works for me. I am keenly aware that inspiration can come from almost anything, anywhere or anyone, but for some reason, it wasn‘t stopping by to see me. I just couldn‘t think of anything I wanted to write about; absolutely nothing. Then it hit me. Why not write about nothing? I mean, the word ―nothing.‖ After all, when you think about it, nothing is a powerful word that we effortlessly abuse almost on a daily basis. From Fortune 500 companies, politicians, athletes, and others, we all exploit this word in ways I‘m sure it was never intended to be used. So when you think about it, nothing is really an interesting topic.

“The word nothing sometimes provides us with a shield for procrastination, as well as a crutch enabling us to stall when the truth is necessary.”

Now I know what you‘re thinking: ―Steven, do you really think we want to read an article about nothing? You have to be kidding right?‖ That couldn‘t be further from the truth. But I do have to admit, the more I thought about it, the more intriguing the word became to me. First of all, let‘s look at the exact definition of the word. I used the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary that was sitting on the bookshelf in the Writing & Learning Center as my source. We use the word today in many different contexts depending on how much abuse we‘d like to apply to it, or the person we happen to be spinning. But for the sake of this example, the word will be used as a noun. The noun definition describes the word as; ―not anything, no thing, no part; or, one of no interest or consequence, something that does not exist.‖

As I conducted minor research on the word, I found that the word ―nothing‖ sometimes provides us with a shield for procrastination, as well as a crutch enabling us to stall when the truth is necessary, or at least until we come up with our own cryptic version. Upon hearing an object fall and shatter in the next room you ask your six year old (who just happens to be in that same room), ―What are you doing, what happened?‖ In most cases the response you will usually hear is, ―Nothing.‖ Remember, something‘s broke, but nothing happened. As a parent have you ever mistakenly walked in and found two young people (one happens to be your own), closer together than they should be? Ask them the question, ―What are you two doing?‖ the answer will almost always be, ―nothing.‖ We all are sometimes guilty of using the word nothing as if it were a scapegoat or as a temporary timebuyer. After all, the word can sometimes be used as the ultimate word for spinning a person, or a situation. When you think about it, it‘s really interesting how powerful the word nothing can truly be.


Take the case of Enron. Here is a company that in the year 2000, claimed revenues of over $101 billion dollars. Fortune magazine lauded them as ―America‘s Most Innovative Company‖ for six consecutive years; and at one time the company boasted having over 22,000 employees. However, they had some major problems with honesty and ethics in their camp; not only did dishonesty and impropriety run rampant in the halls of Enronville, none of its upper leadership would ever admit to anything, any wrongdoing, nothing. The financial information Enron was required to disclose to the government wasn‘t really truth at all, but fabricated dollars and numbers that kept leadership‘s ego intact and the company‘s stock from going in the tank. What Enron had perpetrated turned out to be one of the biggest accounting schemes and corporate fraud ever. Even when big government trucks were parked out in front of Enron‘s lavish Taj Mahal headquarters in Houston, federal agents were aggressively going about their duties seizing what seemed like tons of records and documents that exposed Enron‘s dastardly deeds. However, throughout the investigation the consistent thread running through Enron‘s management and leadership team was firm; ―We know nothing.‖ ―It wasn‘t our fault. We did nothing wrong.‖ As the once strong, proud and seemingly untouchable Titanic of a company was imploding and being driven into the ground through bankruptcy, company leaders still implied they knew nothing. Their arrogance and/or ignorance allowed their mouths to utter words even the street crooks would be embarrassed by. ―We apologize for nothing.‖ After all, they were Enron, and everyone knew that Enron was unsinkable. Many companies, from A to Z, have been ordered by the courts to pay out millions of dollars in settlements to individuals who suffered and were violated by the misconduct and behavior of that company, yet many still admitted no wrong doing. Their attitude is one of, ―We would rather pay millions of dollars to our fine stable of corporate attorneys who are at our beck and call, tie up the courts for years, pay for an expert witness to bolster our flawed case, finally lose the case, file an appeal (which ties things up for another couple of years), so that we can finally end up compensating the victim anyway, but even then, we‘re not admitting that we did anything wrong. In fact, we did nothing.‖ We all seem to be in awe of our favorite athletes. A high profile football player gets caught with drugs in his system, not just on the field, but also six months later during the off season; his response was, ―It‘s nothing; I didn‘t know it was in my system. I thought I was taking vitamins.‖ ―I did nothing wrong.‖ If that is so, then why are there over one hundred members of the press with microphones waiting to stick in your mouth, thirty five photographers, five police cars, four attorneys, your spokesperson, spiritual guide, wife and two children all here today? Oh, but let‘s not forget the infamous Mr. Edwards. John Edwards was a well respected politician and presidential candidate with perfect All-American looks, the perfect family, and a heartbeat away from the presidency, was disgraced on the world stage after betraying his family, his party and himself by committing infidelity and getting one of his assistants pregnant. More than that, he then denied that he was the father of the child for almost two years. It was only after years of running from the press, the agony and embarrassment of his incredible fall from grace, that he finally admitted to the indiscretion and that the baby girl was his. However, up until then, denial. He emphatically stated, ―I did nothing wrong.‖ Why is it that when people get caught with their hands in the ―cookie jar they cry, ―I was doing nothing wrong?‖ ―She/he didn‘t mean anything to me...nothing.‖ ―I admit I was in the car when the store was robbed, but I was just sitting in the back listening to my iPod. I was doing nothing.‖ ―Mr. LeMons, it‘s not what it looks like, I promise you me and your daughter were just talking. I know my lips were on hers, and they just happened to be touching, but we weren‘t doing anything…nothing.‖ So how have you been using the word ―nothing‖ in your life? Are you carrying a bag full of nothing around with you? Are you lugging around a bag with contents so full that it is weighing you down, yet you don‘t even realize it? Is your bag full of great ideas, potential opportunities, and possibilities? Or are you walking around with a great big bag of failure, excuses, broken promises and deferred dreams; all of which allow you to believe that ―nothing‖ is possible, or nothing positive will ever come from your efforts? Regardless of what you may have in your bag, at some point you will be challenged by the question of, ―What are you really going to do with it,‖ and if your reply is ―nothing,‖ then what good does having positive or negative qualities do for you?


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hat I would like people to take away from this article is simple, that the word ―nothing‖ cannot be our scapegoat, time-buyer, or excuse for lack of being accountable. There is no replacement for good old fashion integrity, ethics, and honesty. I have always believed that ―it is not what you say and what you do while in front of people, rather what you say and do while no one‘s looking that matters most.‖ Doing things the right way may mean that the road may be a little tougher to navigate, the hills a little bit harder to climb, and the valleys just a little bit deeper, but at least you won‘t gain the world, then lose it, and end up working at a gas station on Belknap Street with a bag full of ―nothing.‖■

“It is not what you say and what you do while in front of people, rather what you say and do while no one’s looking.”

Steven LeMons has over 20 years of corporate consulting, television, public relations, and leadership development experience. He is also the Coordinator of the Trinity River Writing & Learning Center and managing editor of TCC Writes Magazine. Email Steven at: steven.lemons@tccd.edu

Writers & Artists Wanted TCC Writes Online Magazine is accepting student submissions! We are always looking for talented writers and artists for TCC Writes Online Magazine. You could have your work showcased for everyone to enjoy. Since Trinity River students are such incredible writers and artists, we look for every opportunity to promote your outstanding work. Contributions can include any of the following: Artwork Personal essays Poetry Short stories (no longer than 2 pages double spaced)

If you would like more information, or would like to submit samples of your work, please stop by TREF 3221 or call (817) 515-1069. Who knows, you could be the next William Shakespeare or Jane Austen.

All submissions should be e-mailed to tr.writes@tccd.edu


TCC Writes Spring 2010  

TCC Writes Online Magazine is a contribution from the Tarrant County College, Trinity River Campus Writing & Learning Center. We promote str...

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