Today’s guest post is from one of my favorite poets, Charles W Martin aka Slpmartin of the blog Read Between the Minds. It doesn’t hurt that his politics fall right in line with mine, but no one can argue that his logic, his flow, and his attitude are infectious. I’ve asked him to write some prose for the Dungeon, and you’ll see from them that we’re dealing with an always thought provoking artist. Enjoy.
As a child growing up in a small town in Ohio, I would often hear a number of ghost stories from my uncles. The stories were the kind that made you leery of wandering into various areas of town at night…and for that matter even during the day. I wondered as I grew older about those stories and their purpose. Were they just for the entertainment of the uncles to watch us puff up and declare that we weren’t afraid as we nervously watched the doors and windows or for some other purpose?
Years later at Ohio University while studying various forms of poetry, I learned that most cultures have ghost stories and that many served a similar purpose in their societies…to protect youth from clear and present danger. Guess uncles around the world have learned that teenagers are not too keen on accepting grown-up advice, but a good ghost story could get the job done with little debate. Like most of my cousins, I was unaware of the real danger associated with racism and discrimination. Oh, we knew there were separate events for whites only, but never considered that venturing into some areas could be life threatening. But the dangers were real and the uncles knew it, so they told us ghost stories to restrict our behavior, especially where we went — a practice followed by uncles throughout the world.
Today there are new ghost stories and they serve the same purpose of restricting mental and societal movement. They are often prefaced with “No one like us has ever…”, “Oh, that’s going to be difficult for someone like you…”, “Have you considered how people are going to respond to you if you…” and so on. The purpose is still to prevent individuals from doing something and controlling their behavior as if they were children. But they are just ghost stories and have no bearing on what someone can or cannot achieve in their lifetime. They are not told by caring uncles but by those who fear that people might break away from their self-imposed bondage thus threatening their way of life…domination of others.
Now you may choose to believe those ghost stories or realize that they are merely an attempt to control you. The journey of life may not be easy…but it need not be aboard a ghost ship.
CHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics. Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography). Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles and another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period. When Spirits Touch, Dual Poetry, is a collaboration book of poetry with River Urke. All books are available through Amazon.