There are people in our country who can’t figure out why so many people around the world hate America. At the age of six, I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would hate us, especially with Lady Liberty holding up her torch in the New York Harbor with her promise of freedom for the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses—but now that I’m all grown up—I can understand why. As I line up our presidents from my short history—Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and then Junior Bush—there are people out there baffled by the animosity toward our country because they don’t want to believe the worst in others—especially the ones in charge. If there is a lesson to learn in all of this, it is important to know your history—all of it, not just the whitewashed parts that they tell you in school. Take the time to look up some of those important dates they expect you to memorize for college entrance exams. Read about what was going on at the time, not just the great achievements of great men, read about the injustices and the ignorance, read about the arts—there’s a lot of history in those paintings hanging in the Louvre, the monuments in Rome, even the pyramids in Egypt. Read literature, especially guys like Shakespeare, he can tell you a thing or two if you use your head and think about what he’s saying—read between the lines. It is important to read what’s out there—it is food for the mind. If you happen to read the Bible from cover to cover, don’t accept it as gospel, and please don’t take it literally. Always keep in mind that it has been translated from a few ancient languages before English. Keep in mind who did the translation, and investigate who has been implementing the word of God and what political agenda inspired them. The Bible offers a written backbone for the things that are happening now, don’t view it as a prophesy of things to come—history has a bad habit of repeating itself—politicians and nations with special interests have manipulated an entire region, trying to mold it into something it will never be. Between you, me, and the post at Coogee Beach that some might say looks like the Virgin Mary in the right light, history tends to repeat itself, just like some people like to tell the same fucking story over and over and over again—and I’ve heard this story all before, only this time we are Rome. Be sensible, don’t let yourself be spoon-fed rhetoric, pick up a newspaper, watch the news—the journalists are documenting the present for history later. Please, for your sake, arm yourself with knowledge—there is no bliss in ignorance. Apathy is the overrated protection of that rock you’re hiding under—your apathy is a crime against yourself, and it is a crime against society.
–pages 105-106, from the novel, Dusty Waters, A Ghost Story by Laura J. W. Ryan, Field Stone Press, ©2007.
I write about ghosts in this novel, it isn’t a traditional ghost story in the paranormal sense of genre, so don’t go into it expecting a “boo”…yes, there are ghosts and a haunted house in it…but I also tap into the metaphorical ghosts…the that haunt us from the past…yeah, it’s about that…it’s a book about the living as much as it is about the dead.