Sometimes we go through our lives, putting memories of who we used to be into boxes. I am no longer a fourth-grader desperately searching for Big Foot, hiding in the closet at night, obsessed with singing and Doctor Who and trees. And those pieces of who we used to be become blurry pictures, filtered-too-much images of what we once loved and once made us breathe.
Moments pass and go, but certain universals? They stay.
One of those universals is love. And I’m constantly reminded by that in times of hate.
Pride in Each other
Carlos Itzab, the principal of the Chen Chow School in Belize is proud of Mayra.
It isn’t because she smiles a lot or that she’s well behaved, but shy.
It’s because she’s smart, very smart. Carlos opens Mayra’s spelling notebook and proudly displays her writing to the American Rotarians from Bar Harbor/MDI Rotary Club and Rotary Club of Ellsworth,Maine who are assembled around her, putting together her new wheelchair while her classmates watch.
“Her writing is perfect,” he says, standing straighter, smiling.
Shelly Falk, incoming president of the Rotary Club of Corozal agrees. “It is perfect.”
“She is very good. Her grammar is so good,” Carlos’ voice becomes a whisper, “so much better than the others.”
Helping Each other
The other students in Mayra’s standard one (equivalent to U.S. grade three) don’t mind that Mayra is so smart. They seem proud of her too. Because she has issues with both her arms and legs, they volunteer to sharpen her pencils for her, to help her in a multitude of ways, every single day.
She helps them too. She helps them write better.
“The children take care of each other,” Carlos says. “It warms your heart, you know?”
The local club in Belize has also helped the school with its feeding program and other things such as providing picnic tables. But today, it is all about Mayra who is getting her new wheelchair. It is about Mayra who is too shy to look up much of the time until after I show her the picture I took of her with my camera. Then she is all smiles.
Sometimes when you are very smart, it’s hard to smile. Sometimes when you are very young, it’s hard to trust. And sometimes the best smiles are the ones that aren’t easy, but the ones that are earned.
Mayra’s smiles are like that.
Smiles are only moments, aren’t they? But they are moments of connection where friendships and understanding are made. Sometimes those connections fade like all memories and moments. But sometimes they last and when they do?
That’s what makes you choose love in a time of hate.
That’s what makes you believe in magic and goodness again. Even when the memory of who you once were fades like Bigfoot hunts and tree obsessions. It is a memory that stays inside of you, that longing for connection and good.
The Rotary Club of Corozal was in charge of the distribution of wheelchairs in its area. The distribution throughout Belize was heavily helped by the Rotary Club of Belize. Members of the Bar Harbor/MDI Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Ellsworth, Maine raised money to fund the wheelchairs through the Canadian Wheelchair Association and traveled to Belize to help fit, size, and distribute the chairs.
IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!
My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!
You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?
HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON
On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things!
WHAT IS PATREON?
A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. Image
HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED
Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!
You can buy some of my art. I paint to help inform my stories and some of the prints are available now. There will be more soon. You can check it out here.