January 11, 2016: I'm building a new page for Book I of my young-adult series (series title: The Shu Factor; title of Book I, War of the Roads). Click on The Shu Factor in the menu at the left to start learning about this fantasy novel.
Oct. 7, 2015: See my blog "Joining the Battle Against Racism" for a quick review of the excellent John Lewis event.
September 25, 2015: I am very excited that Senator John Lewis will visit Nassau Community College on Monday, October 5, 2015.
If you have not bought and read John Lewis's book March, do it! It is a graphic novel in three parts. John Lewis was a key figure in the civil rights movement that culminated in the Civil Rights Acts passed by U.S. Congress in the 1960s. The book depicts the civil rights battle from his point of view. It should be treated as a vital document in U.S. history. Lewis was a leader who literally risked his life repeatedly; who suffered physical injury and imprisonment, all to convince an unwilling America that all citizens should be treated equally. Basically, he suffered harshly to convince everyone that the insanity of racism had to end. Why should anybody ever have needed convincing? Thank you, John Lewis!
August 10, 2015 I drew this cartoon this weekend. I believe a great deal of the trials of the nation -- any of the nations -- are caused by increasing economic desperation, especially among groups who have historically known a lot of privation. While there was a lot of attention paid to the problem of wealth inequality in the 2012 campaign, I could hardly find any material about it post-2012 in an Internet search. I did find one NY Times article commenting on the vagueness with which current candidates shoo the issue away when asked about it. Here is my cartoon about it.
August 8, 2015: And you ten GOP candidates, and all the others: What will you do for the family devastated by the loss of their son Christian Taylor at age 19, an unarmed youth shot by Texas police? Was he really involved in a robbery? Did he really crash his car into a car dealership at 1:00 this morning? Why is he dead? Something is dreadfully wrong. We can't pretend this simply happened out of nowhere and say, oh, too bad. We can't just look at the single incident. There are far too many of these single incidents! An incident such as this is an endpoint, not an isolated event related to the actions of an isolated individual. Richard Wright's brilliant novel Native Son illuminated the societal structure leading up to this endpoint in 1940! Why is this still happening?
August 7, 2015: night ten republican candidates for president debated on Fox News. I couldn't watch the whole thing, but from what I saw and read in analyses and live blogs, one thing struck me: Ohio Governor John Kasich noting that issues like same-sex marriage "are planted to divide us." I believe he is right. If the powermongers of the country can keep our eyes off of racism and our nation's increasing wealth inequality, then our energies will continue to be dispersed onto secondary matters and we won't solve our society's structural problems. I'm not saying I would necessarily vote for John Kasich. I would have to know a lot more about every candidate before I would vote for any of them (from whichever party). However, if after reading analyses I conclude that none of the candidates addressed the matters that are truly undermining us as a nation, I will be painfully disappointed.
June 19, 2015: The horrifying murder of nine African American churchgoers by one lonely young white man is stomach-shriveling. I agree with those who cry out that not only should the young man's deed be treated as a hate crime, but also as a terrorist act -- since he stated to police that he hoped to start a race war. Remarkably, one family member of one of the young man's victims has already reached out to him with forgiveness. The nobility of the community whose members he murdered shines brilliantly against the confounding darkness of his deed. May God bring him to full consciousness of what he has done so he can act to bring healing instead of more death.
May 27, 2015: Would a mandated writing program help reduce juvenile recidivism? I believe it would. Check out my blog (Focus: Gangs).
May 16, 2015: I have been researching Hempstead Village, my home of 22 years, and discovering more and more facts that help explain its troubles -- things I did not expect. Check out my blogs about racism and gangs.
May 2, 2015: Pictured below is Martin Luther King, Jr., age 7 (found at https://www.readingrainbow.com/site/blog/2014/01/20/celebrating-martin-luther-king-jr-kids-can-make-difference/). Check out my latest entry in my blog entitled "Joining the Battle against Racism."
April 10, 2015: We had a brutal winter. However, my husband and I spent the third week of March in Hawaii and had a terrific time!
December 23, 2014: After two New York City police officers were foully ambushed and murdered while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn, the national dialogue is expanding. On one hand, uneven treatment of minorities by police officers, especially white ones, is a concern that cannot be dropped from public dialogue. Change is needed. On the other hand, to behave as if police officers were an enemy group is pure stupidity. May our nation find the unity and guidance that we all need to move our national community forward into better relations among all our groups of every kind.
December 8, 2014:
Yesterday, my husband Charlie Bethany accompanied me to Amityville, in Suffolk County, NY, on Long Island, about half an hour's drive east from our house in Nassau County. We joined a rally sponsored by several organizations, a main one being the Long Island civic Engagement Table.
The rally and subsequent march occurred to protest the decision not to indict a New York City policeman in the Eric Garner case. Please go to my blog Joining the Battle Against Racism for photos and commentary.
November 15: Check out my blog in Joining the Battle Against Racism. My discoveries of the past year that things are not what I hoped as far as racial equality in America continue to illuminate my understanding of what is happening with large segments of American citizens.
November 8: I have finished drafting Identity Crash, the second book in my Shu Factor trilogy. Onward!
November 3, 2014: I have added a brief post in my Joining the Battle Against Racism blog, regarding the retirement of two high-ranking minority officials in the New York Police Department.
October 19, 2014: See my blog in Focus: Gangs. An important book by Newsday criminal Justice writer Kevin Deutsch describes gang life that affects my village, Hempstead, in Long Island, New York.
October 12, 2014: After months of research, I suspended writing The Day America Turned Black. Upon writing the first 12,000 words, I realized that this book will take longer to write than I had hoped. For its sake I've neglected a preceding project, which is the trilogy called The Shu Factor. I have to finish one project before I start another.
The Shu Factor series is set on New York's Long Island. In Book One, War of the Roads, 15-year-old Tryphena Simon is a sophomore at a fictional high school, Marine Avenue High. Home is an unpleasant place for her, and she is tempted to join a local gang. Meanwhile, a 15-year-old boy named Yeshua Davidson Carpenter (Shu for short) has begun attending her school. He keeps showing up in Tryph's life, which initially annoys her. Whenever he's around, she inadvertently tells the truth when she would have preferred to lie, and she sees highly inconvenient visions. By the time she has been rescued from a dramatic gang shootout, she recognizes that the road Shu is on is the one she wants to take.
Book Two, Identity Crash, is a sequel to Book One. Tryph is negotiating life after one parent enters a substance abuse rehabilitation center. She has joined the high school's Capoeira Club, Community Service Club, and Mathletes. Meanwhile, Shu Carpenter is followed by a crowd of students wherever he goes at school. He provokes both the concern of the school administration and the animosity of the high school football hero, LeRoy Parsons. This book explores an all-important life factor: identity. For whom will Tryph be willing to fight, and even die? Should she think in terms of fighting and dying at all? What is the connection between LeRoy Parsons and a gang drug network? Why does LeRoy target Shu so viciously, and how will the tangled plot resolve? Money, background, and race all play a role.
In Book Three, LIfe after Shu, the Marine Avenue High School administration has asked Shu to leave the school. How will Tryph and his other followers manage without him? The followers of Shu (derisively called Shu Shiners by other students) discover that Shu remains in their lives in ways that are as unanticipated as they are obvious.
August 20, 2014: Michael Brown is dead in Ferguson, MS. Can we as a nation please first remember to grieve before we split into factions? Dare we recognize that police officers may be wrongly trained to think too much in terms of using aggressive words and force to address a problem? Can we not learn better ways before any more sons and daughters die at the hands of lawmakers?
August 9, 2014: New post called "Equality Before the Law Versus Equality" in the blog on joining the battle against racism.
July 31, 2014: Check out my newest post:
Also, check out my granddaughter Clara Laurel Ernst, born to my daughter Marigold and her husband Joey on July 14, 2014. She is shown here with my husband Charley Bethany on 7.20.14.
July 8, 2014: Have a look at "Reopening the World through Balanchine" in my blog of Balanchine-related posts!
April 23, 2014: I've decided to start uploading some songs I wrote a while back to my new blog "Reine Duell Bethany's Songs." See what you think!
April 20, 2014 -- Have a look at my new post in the "Unlocking the Writer" blog. I'd love to get feedback from anyone, especially those who take or teach ESL writing.
Joseph Stiglitz's book The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided
Society Endangers Our Future: "The critical point to bear in mind in
thinking about deficit reduction is that the recession caused the
deficits, not the other way around." After the banks destroyed the
economy and walked away with their multimillion-dollar bonuses, common
citizens' wages were cut, life savings lost, and job opportunities
reduced, resulting in far less income for tens of millions of citizens
and small businesses, therefore far less income tax getting paid while
simultaneously more government services were needed, therefore a
ballooning national deficit -- a deficit caused by some other things,
but most of all by the recession. EVERYBODY IN THE UNITED STATES SHOULD
READ THIS BOOK.
11.16.13 Check out new material uploaded into two of my blogs: "Reine Duell Bethany's Stories" and also "Unlocking the Writer in Every Student"! Click on "Blogs" at the left.
To the left is a fun quick drawing I did for a baby shower. My cousin, Kenny, and his wife, Misha, are yoga enthusiasts. Misha is a certified yoga instructor. For those of you who are not yoga-knowledgeable, the baby is in a yoga position known as Tree. The Tree is not usually done upside-down!
I completed the draft of a new book during this past summer. The Shu Factor: Jesus Goes to My High School is the title of the series I am starting. When Jesus, age 15, shows up at Tryph Simon's high school, weird things start going on. . . . While I wait three months before I go back and read through the draft, I am working on a second story, The Day America Turned Black.
I was inspired very much by seeing Helena Viramontes speak at Nassau Community College. She is a prominent writer and teacher at Cornell University. She commented, "If the passion is there in your writing, and you truly write what you are passionate about, getting published isn't that hard." She also told us that she was a wife and mother when she wrote her first book, titled Under the Feet of Jesus. She would write Monday through Friday from 4:00 to 7:00 a.m. Then she would get her kids to school and start her work day. The book took her 2.5 years to write. Yeah . . . I find that inspiring!
I am blessed to see more libraries buying my book for their Young Adult collections.
Here is a review of my book from a fine website, 4Dancers.org:
The signing at the Book Revue on June 4 was a success. The Book Revue staff (who have seen MANY signings) commended our presentation and Frank Ohman and his dancers did a great job. Hello, and thanks for visiting!
Reine is the author of Balanchine: Russian-American Ballet Master Emeritus, recently published by Branden Books. Geared to young adults, it's available both as an e-book and as a high-quality paperback. To view the book and its features, please go to brandenbooks.com, amazon.com, or kindle.com, and type Reine Duell Bethany into the search box.
The book's adept sequencing of Balanchine's adventurous life story is combined with deft explanations of key terms, issues, and historical events. Read about this boy who ran away from his first week in ballet school, starved his way through the Russian Revolution, and became renowned throughout Europe by age 25! How did Balanchine not only change dance worldwide, but also take part in international diplomacy and become an indispensable part of United States culture?
Order the book here
(Amazon) or here
Here is a drawing I created for future use in book signing presentations. It's of Balanchine looking up at his third wife, Vera Zorina, in 1942, when she was his lead ballerina in his Circus Polka, set on 50 elephants and ballerinas for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus -- music by Stravinsky:
Check out my blogs! -- on Balanchine, on teaching writing in tough situations. Read my short stories and poems!
Check out a fun, super-informative blog: Dr. Wendell Howe, time-traveler! Start getting to know him at wendell.blogspot.com. See his special essay with remarkable visuals about the Russian Imperial Ballet here