The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

My Photo
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Apples and Honey

“Have a happy and a healthy”.

How many times have I heard that today? Too damn many. It is supposed to be a phrase that encompasses warm regards for the New Year. I don’t feel the need for warm regards at the moment, I’m sweating. Ok so I’m bitter, sick and bitter to be more specific. It’s a combination which makes the ideas of apples and honey, not only nauseating, but a mockery of how wretched I currently feel. By the way, it’s Rosh Hashanah for those of you who are not up to date with your Jewish holidays. Happy Jew Year!

Teaching at a Jesuit university can cause some serious religious identity issues. To be honest, I have always had serious religious identity issues and religious issues in general, but that rant will have to wait for another blog. The immediate problem is that religion is based on ultimatums. Believe, or else. The “or else” varies depending on the religion in question, but the list of “hell” variables are almost unending. It’s astounding how many different ways people can come up with to torture other people when they use their imagination. I have a lot of issues with threats. Threats just tend to piss me off. Threats passed down from generation to generation, well, that is just a whole new level of fun. Threats are a display of weakness. The weakness displayed by others makes me uncomfortable; my own weakness is almost intolerable.

My personal hell is currently being lived out. I am sweating my ass off, sitting on the same couch that I have been stuck to for the past four days. My students’ papers sit ungraded next to me, looming like some unattainable summit. The worst part is that every time I move, every joint aches with the arthritis of an 80-year-old woman. For someone who bases their life on motion and action there are few things worse than being unable to function. Some of my friends have an issue with my intolerance for weakness; some people are no longer my friends because of this intolerance. The way I see it, failure is acceptable; if you failed you know you at least tried. Saying you can’t is refusing to try. People think that weakness is something that must be tolerated. Everyone has their kryptonite. I have seen some of the “weakest” people stand up when everyone else turned away.

The Jewish New Year is always celebrated in my family by reflecting on the past in order to strengthen the future. My past has shown me what physical strength is, what it can do, what it can be used for. I have had the importance of knowledge imparted on me by generations of scholars and have become the eternal student. Perhaps this year is the year that I start to stand. This could be the year that I decide what is worth fighting for and start fighting. I have spent a lot of years fighting, don’t get me wrong. When you are filled with as much anger as I have been you fight blind. It doesn’t matter what you hurt as long as something hurts as much as you do. I have yet to find my true purpose, my ultimate battle. Perhaps I’ll find it this year. Perhaps. I still have my own personal weaknesses to conquer before I take on anything outside of myself. Oh, and it’s also the year of calling my grandmother more often; I have taken up permanent residence on the family shit list. You don’t comprehend the depths of hell until you’ve pissed off your 84-year-old Jewish grandmother. Well, bitterness and illness aside, have a happy and a healthy (New Year or Tuesday…depending).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Of Debates and Men

Watching the first presidential debate last week reminded me how little faith politicians have in the American people. Although most pundits and polls are giving Senator Obama the nod as the winner, I thought Senator McCain won the debate because he was more effective on the foreign affairs section which was a full 2/3 of the event.

In future debates, Senator Obama must do a better job at simply stating the obvious: "Senator McCain you frankly lack the good judgement to lead this nation evidenced by your continued support of a war of choice -- and you obviously don't have a command of the complexities of our modern economy to fix it." The American people, and this blogger want firmer, straighter talk from Senator Barack Obama.

Michael Datcher

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I believe in Harvey Dent

Allow me to introduce myself; I am the Harvey Dent of the west side. That may seem like a peculiar identity but I have always had a connection with Two-Face. I just got asked if I thought it was worrisome that I connect with a villain but it is much easier to connect to the villain than the hero. The villains usually have the best intentions. The issue with Harvey Dent is that the world wanted to see him a specific way but, at a certain point, how the world wants to see you and how you truly are become incompatible. You become two-faced, but is it due to your own actions or the actions of others? Everyone has a dark side; some people just hide that darkness better than others. It isn’t the injury that creates Two-Face. That is just an easy explanation to appease the masses that thrive off of the concrete divide of good and evil. Why do so many people cling to that world of good and evil? I tend to think it’s because, as soon as that slope gets slippery, we start to slide. It isn’t that the world is made up of corrupt individuals; the fact is that the world is made up of individuals and, with that ability to make choices, some of those choices will inevitably be wrong. Where does that line get drawn between making the wrong choice and being evil? Hell if I know. Harvey Dent flips a coin to make his decisions. What do you do? I would like to think that I carefully weigh my options and make the choice based on careful consideration. I am not supposed to drink alcohol, but this does not always stop me. When it comes down to deciding if I should get a drink, I must weigh two conflicting options. I know that, for a moment that drink will make me feel normal and healthy again, but I must weigh that against the fact that for the entirety of the following day I will be sick and miserable. My doctors have told me not to drink, and in that moment, when the bartender asks me what I want, it all comes down to a flip of the coin. So how was that for an introduction? Perhaps I should include my name somewhere in this debate on good and evil. My name is Karen.

Now you know me. Karens are usually so pleasant. I don’t think I’ve ever met an unpleasant Karen. I, however, am not your typical Karen. I have disliked my name since I was able to spell it. People decide to nickname you things like “Karebear” and just assume that you will be as pleasant as every other Karen in the world. I am not exactly a “peachy keen” kind of girl. I am a “sharp objects” kind of gal. My idea of home decoration includes crossed swords and throwing stars. People come in to my apartment and immediately commend my boyfriend for his weapons collection. To these comments my boyfriend nods his head at me, his machismo injured in the process. He has a broad sword that attends his wall because I refuse to let it associate with my weapons. It is of shoddy workmanship but has some sentimental value. I constantly ridicule his weapon which causes many metaphorical sword fights. There are no pants in our relationship. Yes, you read that correctly. When you are metaphorically sword fighting with your boyfriend and he cooks and cleans the apartment every night (he is OCD, to my delight) the only way to avoid the gender conflict is to make sure that, when we enter the apartment, the pants come off.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Let me start off by giving you my own welcome to the Truth Board. This blog, along with the contributions of my fellow colleagues, is an exciting new addition to The Truth About the Fact's increasingly varied and important outreach to the community. I'm pleased to be included in this new endeavor and invite you to engage with, respond to, and discuss what you read here.

My name is Colin and this is my second year with The Truth About the Fact. I am currently what can best be described as an editorial consultant. Last year, I was an associate editor and I was honored with the opportunity to collaborate with, as well as spend many hours working side-by-side with, some truly incredible people. My fellow associate editors from Volume 3, Loretta Contreras and Marvin Mills, have since moved onto new and exciting things in their lives, but they will always be a part of this journal and their contributions can be felt every time I open a copy of our volume. Of course nothing would be possible without the constant guidance and general awesomeness of our Editor Michael Datcher.

Fortunately for me, the associate editors for our current edition (Volume 4) are also quite incredible individuals. Both very intelligent and dedicated people, I'm confident that The Truth About the Fact is in very capable hands. I look forward to learning even more than I did last year, about the journal (what makes it tick) and the people who contribute to it. I look forward to discovering parts of their lives that I never knew before. And I look forward to being part of something that matters to other people, that helps them get a better grasp on their lives and the lives of the people around them.

Because that's what this journal is all about. It is about learning and discovery. It's about, if you'll forgive me for stating something so obvious, the truth. Everybody has their own different understanding of what the truth actually means, but that's what this journal wants to get to the bottom of. We at the journal want to know what your truth is. We want you to tell us your story.

So whether it be through a contribution to the journal, a conversation at one of our events, or a simple comment here on this blog, please share what the truth means to you. Please tell me your story. I would love to hear it. And hopefully, as you visit this blog and read what we at the journal have to say, you'll learn our story too.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The First-Time Teacher

My name is Elizabeth and I’m an associate editor for The Truth About the Fact. I look forward to blogging with you this year.

The fall of 2008 marks the start of two professional firsts for me: serving as an associate editor at Michael Datcher’s eloquent journal, and teaching freshman composition here at LMU. In addition to these jobs, I’m also a fulltime graduate student.

My ulterior motive for coming to graduate school in the first place was to avoid the grind. I was a little artist, a creative writing major as an undergrad, and I was just looking for ways to avoid a cubicle. I saw a professorship as a way to achieve the artist lifestyle without starving.

I won’t go as far as to say that I love teaching. It’s now week four and I’m still getting over my jitters of handling a roomful of eighteen-year-olds while at the same time the routine of class is becoming a tad—dare I say it?—monotonous. The constant repetition of assignments, the blur of papers that all begin to sound the same, the same reminders scribbled at the bottom of pages.

But there’s also something fantastic and promising about it. After earning my B.A., I entered the workforce and I immediately wanted to escape and hide in graduate school. Teaching is hard—really hard—but I don’t see myself wanting to run away like I have in the past. I see myself falling in love with teaching, with this forced relationship and dialogue between myself and a room of eager college students.

I’ve only known my classes for four weeks, but when I look at them I am completely blind to the drone of grading papers and trudging to a classroom in a trailer. Instead, all I feel is curiosity, willingness, and the interest to enter a previously unknown discourse. It’s one of the most fantastic sensations I’ve ever experienced.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Welcome to The Truth Board

On behalf of the editors at The Truth About The Fact: International Journal of Literary Nonfiction, welcome to The Truth Board. The international community is facing some of the most complicated problems in recent memory. During duress, there is an inclination to circle the wagons, but what's needed is engagement. Discourse propelled by ardent listening. The Truth Board is designed to provide a vehicle for this dialogue.

Our journal has published work from South Africa to Moldova to Sri Lanka, so we're true believers in the idea that the more people we can get into the conversation, the more effective we can be as listeners -- and problem solvers.

We aren't simply looking for solutions on The Truth Board. We're looking for inspiration. Let us know what you're doing in your part of the world. In your own community. In your own life. Inspire us with your experience, so we can take a closer look at our own lives. Share your stories and move us to want to share ours. Listening is not dead. It just needs more true believers to spread the word.

Michael Datcher