Carri Bonner, Editorial Director

The Night the Lights Went Out in Ohio

 A little over a week ago, the lights went out in Ohio. For several people, they struggled not only with the heat but with boredom. Why? Because our society is reliant upon electricity; from food storage to climate control to entertainment, we have lost the ability to think off the grid. 

In our house, the lack of electricity was amusing at first. The children were allowed to play with flashlights, the adults talked by candlelight. However, the novelty quickly wore off as we discovered we could use car chargers to keep our phones from dying and we could somewhat return to our electronic world. The second day, we decided to get out, see what was going on and find something to do. 

We landed on the library. Our local library was closing early – they had opened for a few hours to allow patrons to check out some books, however, without power, they couldn’t offer much comfort. We found out though, that the Gahanna library was open. Never had I seen the library so incredibly busy! Not only were people using the computers, but they were browsing and discussing books. The Gahanna library has several comfortable arm chairs and seating scattered throughout and nearly every seat was filled. Granted, some of it was out of need to be inside air conditioning, however, some of it was people who were turning back to books as a form of entertainment. 

It hit me that as Kindles, Nooks and Android Apps fill our screens with the latest books, the actual library is becoming endangered. As the price of these electronic devices falls, the cost of losing such a valuable public resource is rising astronomically. How long will it be until public libraries go the way of video stores? Where the simple act of piling the family in the car and going to browse the actual bookshelves simply becomes “too much effort” and it’s easier to just stream a book, just as it has become with renting a movie? 

What will happen when the electricity goes out a few years from now, and there is no library to go to for entertainment?
 
Brian A. Palmer, Editor in Chief

It’s almost hard to believe that it has been a year since I composed my first update. So much has changed, and yet so much is still the same. Our staff has grown and changed many times over the past year. Contributors have come and gone and the works they create never cease to amaze. With all of the change and flow it becomes that much more amazing that this publication maintains one voice with one clear goal. 

Since the beginning the main focus of Palmer Grove has been to create a community of writers and artists that can come together to celebrate the works of each other’s hands. I have seen hundreds of works cross my desk and I have been able to meet dozens of the most creative people and I am excited to see what is waiting up around the bend. 

The current issue marks the beginning of a new volume and a new chapter for Palmer Grove. We are holding our first-ever photo contest (see the back cover for more details) this year. We have begun review local eateries (page 08) and musicians (page 42) and over the next year we will be featuring reviews of other local performances and events.

 It is only with your help and your dedication that we are able to continue to do this work that we love. Please submit a work for consideration for the next issue of Palmer Grove (deadline is Friday, August 3, 2012 at 10:00 P.M. EST) or tell your friends and family about us. The more people that we can reach the better we can promote the works of the artists we serve. 

Thank you for the past year of support and we look forward to working with you for many years to come!

Welcome Update #55

6/24/2012

 
Rachel Flesch, Artistic Director

When you're a kid it seems like forever, but as an adult the phrase "time flies" takes on a literal meaning.

 In one month I'll be turning 25. I look back on the last year, and I can't believe how fast it's gone! If you'd asked me two years ago where I'd be today I wouldn't have said here. In fact I'd probably have said, "two years from now? Well most likely I'll still be stuck in retail, and I'll probably be in a higher position." Well none of that has happened, but I'm not complaining. Heck if you'd asked me seven years ago when I graduated high school I'd probably tell you I'd own my own graphic design firm by now!

 Changes are happening all around us, things we didn't see coming pop up all the time and that's what's great about life; it's full of surprises. They may not be the "SURPRISE! OMG, I SCARED YOU," type, but they're unexpected twists in the plot that can change the whole course of the story. They can lead to a new ending and unexpected subplots full of their own twists and turns. This past week alone has been full of things that make me say, “Wow." My "sister" just found out she's having a baby girl, making me an aunt for the first time! This is beyond exciting for me since I freakin love kids! My oldest cousin just graduated high school and I still can't stop looking at him as a little kid. A really good friend of mine just got married, and I also still see him as the awkward 12 year old boy I met ten years ago. It feels like the older I get the more rapidly time is moving. 

 As a teen I volunteered for a summer at the Columbus Public Library, I loved it! I was supposed to sign kids up for the reading program, but it was slow and being the diligent hard worker I am I asked if I could help in any other way. I got the opportunity to push around a cart and shelve books like an actual librarian. Do you know how excited this made my little nerd self? Go to a game store for a midnight release of a big MMORPG and look at the kid in line jumping around and fist pumping as they open the doors, now multiply that by 10 and you have me. The best part? I found so many books to read that summer. I actually checked out the entire Choose Your Own Adventure series, and read every possible ending. I loved those books, and looking back now I have an even greater appreciation for them. I like to look at my life as one of those books. For those who haven't read them you basically get to a point in the story where it gives you two or more options. You select one, turn to the coordinating page and either have a happy ending, or a bad ending. I like to think of the possible outcomes for my decisions, and even after it's been made I think "what if?"

 Treat life like the adventure it is, and remember to choose wisely because you can't always turn back the page and try again.

Welcome Update #54

6/17/2012

 
John Maguire, Photographic Designer

I can still remember the first present I got for my dad on Father’s Day. I can’t remember how old I was or how I managed to procure it, but I can still picture my dad’s smile when he unwrapped a plastic bottle filled to the top with cheap plastic golf tees. With the amount of thanks I received you’d have thought I bought him a brand new watch. Although this happened almost 20 years ago, I know for a fact that bottle is still sitting in his office and that it still has the exact number of tees that it had all those years ago.  I know this because although my dad was extremely grateful for the gift he has never once played a game of golf in his life.

 Out of all the valuable things my dad has taught me over the years the one that sticks out the most is the value of a hard day’s work. I can remember him waking up at 5 A.M. to take me to hockey practice at the high school, then after dropping me off, he would go straight to work where he would remain until at least 7, finally after arriving at home he would oftentimes be out working on the yard or in the garage until 10 or 11. I’ve seen him go straight from his work clothes (he’s an attorney at Marathon) to coveralls getting ready to sand the bottom of a boat in a matter of minutes. 

From buying me my first bike, to taking me to Canada on his boat to buy hockey skates, to showing me how to properly work on my car my dad has been a huge influence on my life. I’m truly lucky to have him my life. 

Happy Father’s Day Dad. I love you.

Welcome Update #53

6/10/2012

 
Kat Bonner, Staff Artist

Recently, I've been toying with the idea of attending one of the many open-mic poetry slams held in various coffee shops in Columbus and reading some of my work. I have never been published, not even submitting any of my creative writing to Palmer Grove, and I am absolutely mortified of speaking in front of a group greater than six people. Even close friends and family are still too large and unfamiliar an audience to read in front of. My stomach churns, my heart thunders in the back of my head making it hard to hear myself think, and, without fail, I cry. I always end up feeling humiliated and judged, so I avoid public speaking like the plague. However, despite my almost debilitating fear, I want to put myself out there at least once, to say I've done it and so I can never wonder what might have happened. This would be a goal that I could foreseeably spend my whole summer on achieving. While the idea of devoting a chunk of my time to getting over my fear of public speaking isn't new to me, I am still very cautious. I have never sat down and worked through entire project that wasn't for school or Palmer Grove. Unfortunate as it may be, I have never done something just for me because I wanted to. I have always given up too early. 

So, hopefully, by my next weekly page update, I will have some sort of plan, or I will have set my plan into action and submitted writing to Palmer Grove.
 
Carri Bonner, Editorial Director

I volunteered to write this Update for this week on this day because I thought it would come to me easily. I thought I would be able to express my joy and pride in my daughter eloquently and verbosely. 
 
Instead, I sit here a little stunned, very teary, and wondering where the time went. Eighteen years ago today, I brought this little tiny person into the world and wondered what I was going to do. How would I be a good mother? How would I teach her everything she needed to know? How would I raise her to be a strong, amazing woman? I marveled at her tiny fingers and toes, stroked her dark hair (before it fell out and turned blonde), and amazed at the light in her eyes. 
 
Now I sit here asking myself the same questions. Was I a good mother? Did I teach her everything she needed to know? Only the last question is one I have an answer to. I helped raise a strong, amazing young woman. I didn’t do it alone, but I did my best from my end. She is kind and while a little short-tempered like her mama, she never tries to intentionally hurt anyone and therefore does have her heart break when she is hurt. She is intelligent and quietly so. She offers opinions and thoughts, but doesn’t use hers to degrade others or over-ride someone else’s. She has confidence when she allows herself to, but isn’t cocky. People gravitate to her, to be near her, to listen to her. 
 
And when she smiles, she lights up the room. I cannot help but smile when she is smiling and I notice that others do as well. 
 
So today, June 3rd, she turns 18 and walks down the aisle to receive her high school diploma. She will walk with her usual grace, and I will sit in the audience blubbering like a baby. No longer do I have my little girl, but an amazing woman to share my life with. And I cannot wait to see where she will take us.

Welcome Update #51

5/27/2012

 
Jeff Lafferty, Columnist

Memorial Day was established in 1868.  It was originally designed as a time for people to collectively remember soldiers that died in the Civil War.  It later became an established holiday by most of the states by 1890. 

The word memorial is mainly defined as “something, such as a monument or holiday, intended to celebrate or honor the memory of a person or an event.”   It’s important that we use this day to not only remember the people that have served our country but maybe to take some time to remember the people that have meant something to us at some point in our lives.  This could be a person that passed away that was important to you or it could be somebody that is currently in your life that could be experiencing a difficult time in their life.  It could be anything from marital issues to health issues.  We all have those special persons in our lives; mentors from their youth, teachers that they feel have made an impact in their lives.  It’s important to recognized and remember these individuals. 

I am a four time cancer survivor.  I recently delivered a speech at my local Relay for Life.  I wanted to make sure that I communicated to the people in attendance the importance that remembering these individuals. Acknowledging can be comforting, rewarding, and enlightening.  We all have that person that we have turned to in our life when times were not as glorious.  We have the person that we have confided our deepest secrets.  It’s those people that we should also remember this week for Memorial Day.  

Love, honor, and respect should be some of the values that are used this week to remember the people that have meant something to us.  Love the people that you are with and tell that person that you love them.  Honor the person that has meant something to you, whether it’s your parents, siblings, or mentor by living your life in the way that person either showed you or told you to live.  Always respect the people for the views that they have.  Some people aren’t going to agree with your views and how you look at the world but the world could be a better place if all people respected each other views rather than thinking that their way of thinking is better than somebody else’s way of thinking. 

Welcome Update #49

5/13/2012

 
Bethany Schoeff, Columnist

A female radio DJ asked on air the other day, “Whom do you choose to make your priority on Mother’s Day?” to which the male DJ replied, “Yes.” 

My husband can attest to that:  “On Mother’s Day, I have to keep three women happy.”  A sad, but true fact when you’re a man who must appease, on the same day, his own mother, his mother-in-law, AND the mother of his children, all of whom are within driving distance, of course.  Unfortunately that means none of the women get honored by her children with a “day” the way she should.  

So, I have come to lower my expectations of this holiday.  I have realized over the years that I won’t ever get a “day.”  Yes, I am showered with homemade cards and precious gifts, but there is really nothing else about the day that makes it about me being a mother.  In fact, this kind of day makes me feel anything but relaxed and special.  I usually spend it getting up early, rushing around from place to place, going to a restaurant where I can’t eat, dealing with the stress, noise, and chaos of 21 people (12 of them kids) in one place, fighting off a headache and high blood pressure, and then scrambling to get everyone out the door so we can get home at a reasonable hour, since it’s my responsibility (“Day” or not) to see that the kids get to bed on time (it is a school night, after all).  Whew!

 Don’t get me wrong—this is not a narcissistic ranting, nor is it meant to be a woe-is-me post.   I love being a mom, I adore my three children, and I feel blessed that they honor me how they can.  But I don’t need a whole day to experience that.  Would it be nice to sleep in, be fed brunch in bed, and then be sent away to a spa for the rest of the day with a friend?  Certainly.  Actually, last year I got to spend part of Mother’s Day with my best friend; we went to the mall and got pedicures.  It was nice.  And relaxing.  And not stressful!  However, I felt guilty for not spending time with my “other mothers” on “their” day, and for not allowing my children to spend time with me on “my” day.  

Perhaps someday, in the distant future, I will have the chance to celebrate Mother’s Day how I want, to actually have a whole day, just for me . . . . but that would mean that we’d have an empty nest, and the kids would be far away, and there’d be no “other mothers” left on earth for us to honor.  I’m not ever going to wish for the opportunity for that type of Day.  I realize there are many now who don’t have a mom or can’t celebrate being a mom on Mother’s Day.  So, while I can, I will try to enjoy the holiday, relaxing or not, and feel blessed that I can still call myself a daughter, daughter-in-law, and mother.
 
Kyle Gordon, Graphic Designer

This weekend will be the third time I have ever been turkey hunting down in Meigs County, Ohio. My anticipation is through the roof. All week long I have been going through all of my hunting things and packing what is necessary for the trip. At this point, I should probably identify myself and let the readers know I am not some sort of country bumpkin. I was born in raised in Columbus, Ohio, but I envy all who grew up in the country more than anything. 

This week has also been about reflections. I started to think about how I even decided to give hunting a “shot”(pun intended). My senior year of college, I had a roommate that was from the sticks down in Pomeroy, Ohio. Never been hunting before, I decided to accept the invite and from that point on I was addicted. Don’t ask me how if you have never been. Of course I got lucky and bagged my first deer, but that was only the beginning. My love for hunting grew each time I went down. 

There’s something about the peacefulness of sitting in the middle of nowhere in the woods and relaxing. Yes. I said it. Hunting is relaxing. Being from the city, I never really had a clue about how serene and quiet it could be in some places in the world. Lawnmowers, semi trucks, cars, trains and all kinds of noisy distractions had consumed my life before I started hunting. Now, more than ever I want to buy land someplace in Ohio and be so far away from the typical city sounds. While hunting, the only sounds I could hear were an occasional rooster crow when the sun was coming up and maybe a few squirrels running through the woods. I was completely stress-free. 

I have always been a very good sleeper, but the night before we go hunting I am unable to suppress my excitement. Compare it to the feeling of the night before you leave to go on a cruise or a vacation to your favorite spot. You’re lucky if you can even get a wink of sleep. So even if you’re not into killing for sport, at least go if you are given the opportunity. You may surprise yourself at how enjoyable it can be to just get away from the city and do a little bit of hiking to a special place that hasn’t been touched by humans for years.
 
Cory Baker, Website Designer

I am an actor. I have been in several plays since I started two years ago. I started in February of 2010 on a whim. My mother told me that Curtain Players Theater in Galena was having an audition on a particular Saturday. As it is a community theater, the doors are open to anyone and everyone. I got there early and helped with the set building for the play that was starting in a few weeks (Hedda Gabler) and stayed afterward to possibly give auditions a go. 

The time crept up slowly, and at 6:30 I went up and obtained my audition form. I took it back to my seat and sat there for a few moments, mortified. What was I doing?! I had never been on stage before in that regard. I had never acted in front of people. What was I thinking? I sat there for a few moments, wondering if I was going to start putting my information down, when it suddenly hit me: I have an opportunity here to avoid a regret. It was that simple. If I hand this in and try out, I don't ever have to wonder what I missed, or if I could do it. I did it. And loved it!

 I didn't get cast in this first audition ever (1000 Clowns) but built some long lasting relationships with many good people. I ended up being invited to as many of the rehearsals as I wanted, and then got asked to do sound design and run the sound board for this show. 

Because of me trying out that first time, I have been fortunate enough to be involved with every play at Curtain Players since Hedda Gabler (sixteen so far!) in one way or another. I enjoy so many different "roles" in these productions including acting, sound, lights, sound design, lighting design, set design, construction, stage managing, directors assistant, casting. I have been in shows where I have a few brief lines to one show where I played 8 unique characters ranging in age from 5-50. 

I have enjoyed this so very much so far. I took a chance on something that interested me. Even though it scared me to death, I took the leap. And I no longer have to wonder about what that regret would feel like.