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.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Living Past the Prologue

Whenever I'm faced with a problem or an experience that is less than ideal, I always try to find the positives. No matter what happens, it always seems like something good could come out of it in one way or another. The silver lining is always there, but not necessarily what I always want to accept. But what happens when something so unnatural occurs that the silver lining can’t be justified?
Obviously in life, the experience loss is an event that can’t be vindicated even if it was expected because of old age or sickness. As an English major, studying Shakespeare introduced me to numerous forms of unnatural death. I find his work simply amazing for his ability to capture the abnormal ways that death occurs and how it affects those left behind. What’s left to figure out from these events is how to continue on with life after we experience such unnatural deaths that make living seem unbearable. A parent should never bury a child and a child should never bury a parent. So how in that moment do we rationalize the death of a parent? Regardless of whether it’s expected or unexpected, how do we cope with the pain and heartache? The heartache is so excruciating it’s debilitating and renders the activities of life unbearable. While we’re stuck in a vacuum of grief, the world continues on without any way of us being able to stop it. The feelings of sorrow and numbness rotate without any end in sight. This agonizing pain in our hearts can’t be healed, but rather comforted by the love from others and the memories of that person that live in our mind and hearts. These memories allow our loss ones to live on through us. In a quote from “The Tempest,” Antonio gives an insight into life and death.

“We all were sea-swallow’d, though some cast again,
And by that destiny to perform an act
Whereof what’s past is prologue, what to come
In yours and my discharge”

This quotes refers to the fact that we all sin and face problems, but some get a second chance, which allows them to create a new story outside of their past. Although not everyone gets a second chance at life, their second chance comes from those they leave behind who continue to live. Through this perspective and the fact that loss is something every human experiences, we can somehow rise from the suffocation of grief and pain. Loss is something we all encounter and through the sharing of mutual understanding, we create a lifeline for each other. We help each other survive when there seems no reason to continue. We are each other’s motive to live, and we owe it to those we lose to continue their story past the prologue.

Megan Gallagher

You are here Now

You are here now. I am here now.
I find myself mislead by the worries of the future.
Today isn't worth it, unless I am focused on today.
If I am working to get through today, in order to get to tomorrow then I will have missed today. If I did the same thing yesterday, then that would mean that I missed yesterday and now I am missing on today. This cycle could easily accumulate to days, weeks, possibly even years. You only live once is a cliche that we hear often. There is a truth in this saying otherwise it would not be so popular. There are to many distractions, to many responsibilities for a 24 hour period. One day I realized the meaning of roots. We must plant our roots in order to have a good foundation as a person, rather than following the herd. We must allow our inner child to come out and play daily. Remember the freedom that you felt as a child? You didn't know a lot but you just were. Everyday you were just you. You played and laughed as though today would last forever. We know now that today doesn't last forever and that is more of a reason to love and enjoy today, daily.

-Lorena Love Brothers

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Purple Island

The smell of humidity in the air
lets us know we've arrived
Palm trees guide us down the road
The coral structure emerges on the left, 
I feel like I might explode from anticipation
Inside the lobby I am engulfed by the thick air, 
wearing it like a heavy winter coat.

The concrete burns under my feet as I run out to the docks
Gecko's escape from my path, 
avoiding my destructive steps 
The noise of boats clinking and clattering,
they rock back and forth against their buoys 

Every crevice of my body covered with icy pain
Salt has made a new home in my mouth
With every stroke I propel myself deeper 
The gradual change in temperature is welcomed by goosebumps
I explore the creatures under the sea, 
trying to find answers to my curiosity

My burnt skin is colored shades of pink, orange, and white
the same shades cover my freckled friends
Blistering shoulders cause me to retire early 
from the once comforting heat

Megan Gallagher


Two weeks from now I will be taking that glorious walk to receive my diplomas. Many things and many people have defined my years at LMU, but those that I will remember most fondly are from my service org, Creare. As the first members of the org, our focus, in conversation, in planning, in service, surrounded the idea of “how do we define ourselves?” We built up ideas, we started “traditions” that would never be repeated, we wrote Creare prayers, and songs, and poems, and a whole host of other artifacts in the hopes that somehow these things would help define who we were. I could never have anticipated what we have blossomed into. We are not just men and women for others the way our mission dictates. We are men and women living mindfully of our impact on this delicate world. We are men and women who love, live, long for service.
When we graduate, the question constantly on our minds is “What will we do?” When we step into an office for an interview, they ask, “What have you done?” Creare has given me an answer to both.  I have done service, and I will do service. I have no idea what that means for me today, or what it will mean for me in a year, or five years, from now, but I know that this is not the world I want to leave behind.  Much more can be done to ensure the silenced voices are heard, the hungry mouths are fed, and the broken people are made whole.
In the service I have done with Creare and our placements, I have seen children, who are often saddened and scared, find fulfillment and happiness in the activities we do. The children I work with are battling chronic diseases, and they carry with them a burden that no children should have to carry.  Several times a month, I have gone to hospitals and workshops to create crafts and play sports to offer an outlet for our students. Offering them the ability to, even if for a simple afternoon, escape from the tubes, needles, and machines makes everything else in my life seem secondary. I have become a self defined woman of service because I have grown to understand what organization such as mine can offer a community of children.
I was fortunate enough to grow up without illness, without poverty, without hunger, but the readily apparent disparity of other children’s lives compared to mine move me toward a desire for action. I do not want to leave behind a world that cannot/won’t fight for its weakest members, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that happen; for lost, downtrodden youth, and all others who despair.
Creare struggled for a long time to create an identity, and I’m not certain it has one yet, but I do know that Creare has impacted mine. Creare created me.


The creeping, sweeping shadow people
with their hands in their pockets and
arms at their sides.
Asking what is there to make of this?
      I do not know.
The weeping, leaping wave dancers
Criss-cross the foamy waters
Etching passion on the shore.
A man. I wouldn’t know if he was close or far.
He yells, “Famous! Famous! Famous!”
Ironic in his day time tattered trousers and shirt,
but without the face and the name,
who’s to say he is not the famous one?
      I do cannot know. 
With his gee-tar, and his roller bladed shoes,
Hair done up, twisted with deprivation, poverty, and ill.
The nameless, fameless man
bestowed with all the praise of the Boardwalk Empire.
Riffing the tune of a melancholy stoner,
Humming the song of an apathetic hobo.
He skates by and I am lost in the swirl of his instrument,
Hypnotized by the quick flick of his musical fingers.
His gummy smile, crow’s feet deep as day, reflect on Fame.
That heartless muse. 


The Country we Live in

            It’s human nature to focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do. I don’t hold that against people, because I’m certainly not innocent of the charge myself. The other day, I started thinking about how awesome that I live in America. True, we’re a bit gluttonous, we have a nosy foreign policy, and we go a bit overboard with our commitment to faith, but we have a lot of awesome things here that people should take some time to be grateful for.

            If I had a dime for every time I heard someone complain about LA tap water, I would have enough money to buy several bottles of Dasani. True, bottled water does seem to taste better (if you choose to ignore the whole “waste of money” thing), but people too often don’t appreciate what a privilege tap water actually is. Think about it. We have a virtually unlimited supply of water that is clean enough to drink and bathe in. Then think about countries where people bathe and drink out of the river that’s being polluted by the nearby factory. Or countries where people have to walk miles just to get a small amount of clean drinking water, much less bathing water. All we have to do is flip a switch and we run absolutely no risk of dying of dehydration. People tend to forget how incredibly fantastic that is.

            In America, we have access to almost any kind of food you can possibly imagine. We’ve received immigrants from all over the world, each one bringing a piece of the culture they left behind and making America’s culture more diverse, inclusive, and complete. One of the bonuses is that they brought their food with them. Then, they made it more efficient to cook, tailored it to the American pallet, and made it affordable. Grocery stores are practically overflowing with cheap food. We have so much food that we end up throwing it away in obscene quantities. Next time you’re eating something delicious, or even something repulsive, take some time to be thankful that it even exists.

            I could conduct an elaborate discussion of things like penicillin or liberal democracy, but I’ll talk about something even more near and dear to my heart: Cable television. When I consider with some shame the number of hours I’ve spent rotting in front of my television, I feel no shame in being thankful for the fact that I live in a country where I’m free to do so.  Think how many countries are forced to live every day of their lives without watching Game of Thrones. Certainly not a world I would want to live in. In fact, you shouldn’t either. If you haven’t seen Game of Thrones, go watch it. Now.


Dear Freshmen JR...

Dear Freshmen JR,

            Let me start by saying that I love you dearly, and that the memories we share will last a lifetime, or, at least until 2013. That said, you’re an idiot. I’m going to tell you some things you think you already know, but your idiot self will need to be reminded of on a regular basis.

            Not everyone is going to appreciate your outspoken nature, your strong opinions, or your biting wit. In fact, some people will think it’s obnoxious. Some people will hate you. Your instinctive first reaction will be to be more outspoken, more opinionated, and more biting with your witticisms. This is exactly the wrong way to make people appreciate your personality. I’m not telling you to tone it down, because you and I both know that would be counterproductive, and probably result in you doing exactly the opposite.

Instead, I’m telling you not to change anything. Ignore the opinions of those who find you distasteful. Some of them are going to warm up to you after a while, and the rest are people you wouldn’t want to be friends with anyway. That said, at least try to think before you speak. I know being your natural abrasive, disagreeable, contrarian (look up this word, thank me later) self is something you take a great deal of pride in. That doesn’t have to change. You can still be all of those things, but you can phrase them in a way that doesn’t make people want to punch you in the face. That way, people will be a lot more receptive.

            Go on youtube and type in “Christopher Hitchens.” You’re welcome.

            Get a kindle fire. You’re welcome.

            The friends you have this year, with only a couple exceptions, are not going to be the friends you have in 4 years, so enjoy hanging out with them while you can. There won’t be any major falling outs or altercations. You’ll just drift apart over time. People change schools, join different social circles, and eventually, your interests don’t overlap as much. This isn’t a bad thing. You’ll meet new people. And don’t worry, the really good friends you’re thinking of right now that you’re scared of losing aren’t going anywhere.

            STAY AWAY from girls named after precious gems. I CANNOT STRESS THIS POINT ENOUGH. STAY.A.WAY.

            Don’t do that stupid cocky chuckle and decide to ignore that last piece of advice. I know you’re going to, I’m just asking you not to.

            While we’re on the subject, don’t worry that you weren’t mobbed with girls immediately after arriving at college. Also, don’t get excited that you live in a co-ed dorm. I assure you, you’ll barely notice.

            Make peace with your parents. Your dad may be kind of a dick, but he’s a dick who loves you. Remember how he always made sure the vending machines at his work were stocked with your favorite kind of soda? He kept doing that, even as your tastes changed. Seriously, there will be a Diet Dr. Pepper one by 2011. He may not know how to show it all the time, but he cares about you a great deal. Your mom may be a bit overprotective, but she loves you more than anything else in the universe. Remember that the next time you want to get mad at her for nagging you. Believe it or not, some of the bad things that happened to you weren’t their fault. Try to figure it out before you turn 21 please.

            At this point you may be getting the impression that you’re not quite the hot shit you think you are. That’s true. But you’re still awesome. Trust me, you’ll love what you become. You’ll be scared of graduation, but you won’t be paralyzed by fear. You’ll be fine. Asshole.


With Love,

Senior JR, a week before graduation.


Sunburns: The Curse my Ancesters Wrought

            Though the exact country of origin of my ancestors is not entirely known to me, I can state with absolute confidence that a great number of them undoubtedly came from the whitest parts of Western Europe. Unfortunately for me, that means that they were not conditioned for direct sunlight, or for that matter, sunlight of any kind. If I wear short sleeves or (gods forbid) a tank-top outside, I won’t tan. I won’t color. I will burn.

            Those who aren’t cursed with any sort pigment inadequacy will often make profound statements of ignorance like, “Can’t you just wear sunscreen?” I usually allow such comments to pass without protest. After all, it’s not their fault. They don’t understand that sunscreen might as well be snake oil for all the good it does. How could they? They’ve never been sunburned.

            For those of us who have either extremely short hair or none at all, by choice or by biology, the sun is an even greater nemesis. If you don’t wear a hat, your scalp will get burned. You will be reminded of said burn every time you take a shower. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous you look in hats. It doesn’t matter that you don’t even own a hat. You either wear one, or peel skin chips off the top of your head.

            Though it’s generally a faux pas to speak ill of the dead, I must question the reasoning of my eggshell white ancestors when they chose to move to a country where temperatures regularly exceed 90 degrees. Why would you leave the cloudy, luke warm, skin cancer free country of origin to come to a region which seems committed to your misery. At least have the common courtesy to selectively breed some pigmentation into the population before you come over in droves. Is that really too much to ask?

            Apparently so. Their absurd whiteness spread inescapably to me, and now I have to live with the consequences of their indiscretions. I’m forced to either stay in or wear long sleeves on hot days. On the rare occasions when I go to the beach, I have to move from shade to shade, avoiding direct sunlight as much as possible (I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a beach, but avoiding sunlight at one is incredibly difficult). Alas, it seems all I can do is suffer in silence and try to tune out the chorus of pigment-rich voices asking, “Did you try wearing sunscreen?”


Thoughts on Conformity

            The desire to fit in with peers that seems to be common to all of humanity isn’t particularly strong with me. Sure, I wanted to be like everyone else very badly when I was in elementary school. Even in middle school I found myself lamenting how, no matter what I did, I seemed to stand out. By now, I’ve come to terms with my uniqueness. I’m finally at peace with the fact that I’m in a perpetual state of going against the grain. Any doubts I had about my contrarian existence were obliterated when I read, Letters to a Young Contrarian, by Christopher Hitchens (it’s a phenomenal book, even if you’re a conformist. Highly recommend). I stand as a personal testament that life outside the mainstream isn’t quite as terrible as most people seem to think. Life inside the stream, however seems to be rather unpleasant.

Perhaps it’s only my biased perspective, but being like everyone else seems to limit freedom in a rather profound way. It dictates the clothes you can wear, the music you can listen to, the things you have to prioritize, and the things you can do for fun. It limits you to being friends with almost exclusively people who also reside in the bounds of social acceptability, lest you be perceived as associating with the other. How incredibly boring.

That’s not to say that I’m not friends with anyone who is at least somewhat normal. In fact, I have several friends who conform to societal norms very strictly. They tend to find me rather amusing, perhaps because I represent a deviation from the norms that they have spent so much valuable time trying to conform to. I have to say, the fact that my individuality is amusing to so many gives me a great sense of personal pride.

Standing out isn’t all happiness and rainbows. Many of my peers don’t find the things I do amusing at all. They find them strange, uncomfortable, and sometimes rather distasteful. I’ve often found myself alienated and isolated because of that sentiment, which can be rather bothersome. I understand why people might want to avoid such circumstances. Though, are people who are uncomfortable with anyone different from them really people you want to associate with anyway? If anything, my bizarre behavior serves as a filter to stop boring people from trying to socialize with me. For that alone, the benefits vastly outweigh the negative consequences.

The desire to model truly significant portions of your life after your peers is perhaps the most overrated of all innate human aspirations. Those of us who seem to have been born without it are, in my opinion, much better off. I’d much rather be different and interesting than a conformist and boring.


Why I don't Care about Sports Anymore

          This past year was the first time in memory, recent or otherwise, that I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. Not because I was trying to win some bet between friends of who could go the longest without finding out who won (though we did try that once we realized we had all missed it), but because I felt myself overwhelmed by a sense of apathy. Super Bowl Sunday is basically a national holiday in the United States. I should have been interested, but I just wasn’t. It took some time, but I think I finally figured out why.

            Remember those guys who were jerks in high school? The guys who dated only the most attractive girls and treated them terribly? The guys who beat up the nerdy kid? The guys who were constantly cheating on tests and homework? The guys who could do pretty much whatever they wanted because they were on whatever sports team your particular high school valued most highly? Professional athletes used to be those guys. In fact, I would venture to guess that they’re still those guys, they just have more money now. Money that sports fans gladly give them.

            Not only that, but sports to seem rather frivolous for how seriously people seem to take them. How many times have we heard that a moment in sports was supposed to go down as one of the greatest (insert noun) of all time? How many times have we heard of sports moments that would change the history? How many times has a newly drafted athlete been labeled the savior of an entire city? How many of those moments actually made some sort of significant historical impact? None of that compares to things that actually matter, like congressional elections, scientific discoveries, and rebellions against tyrannical governments in Arabic countries. Yet, I would venture to guess that more people could name the starting quarterback of the local sports team than could name their congressman, a famous scientist, or find the nation of Syria on a map.

            I understand that sports offer a welcome distraction from the mundane misfortunes of everyday life. Often, it’s a much needed distraction, especially in manufacturing towns with high rates of poverty. I understand that sports can bring people together who otherwise have absolutely nothing in common. There’s a reason there are so many sports movies where people set aside their differences to rally around the team. I will even go so far as to concede that it is probably true that not all athletes were jerks in high school, though I will only do so reluctantly. Sports don’t have to be important to be enjoyable. They’re no more or less frivolous than most other hobbies, including ones that I find myself engaging in a little too often (video games come to mind). However, my points still stand. Excuse me for not liking sports.


Emptiness with a little bit of loneliness

Lorena Love Brothers
As a lonely flower in an open field
This picture reminds of a lingering empty feeling
A feeling also defined as a loneliness
I imagine myself standing there in the open desert, Alone
A moment free of noise and I with myself, 
holding my thoughts in my cupped hands, Alone 
In my loneliness
In this desert where I no longer chase freedom
No music or meaningless conversations
Technology is dead and artfulness is Alive
A time for thoughts to flow like a river where water is scarce
A moment to workout the relationship with myself
To narrow the distance between God and I
The separation between my now and where I come from
A place to leave my footprints
A captured moment for every emotion we have been told to suppress
Our time is now
To give ourselves away in love, to the sad, the poor, the lonely, the sick, and those without love. 
We weren't brought here to be alone, but instead to be together
Drop yourself off in the desert
The sky is a canvas; Paint anything and everything you want
Your thoughts come in different shapes; Build! 

Yeah Yeah Yeah…Pretty Pretty Lights…Desert Affairs

 A pitch black night
With bright colored lights
Yellow, purple, green
Filter through the palm trees
Standing tall around the desert sand

The sounds of the bass pulsates across the stage
Electric waves graze the rocker’s inked face

Thousands of humans
Ages unknown
Face forward to hear “Heads Will Roll”

A spark is fired
A joint is lit
Cannabis smoke floats within

Free as the stars scattered across the sky
She rises to a new height
Uplifted onto his shoulder’s to take in the surreal sight

A new vision
A stacked height
She sees the crowd in a different light
What once was black is illuminated with palm tree light

Yellow, purple, green
Faces bright
Only near
The rest afar are stricken by the black desert night

Crowds of people 
Shoulder to shoulder
Rock and sway to the beating of the drums and the vibrations off of the mic

On this sand
In this night
As two
They converge into one

-Andrea N