From now on I will posting a every Nobel Prize winner on here every week on Women’s Daily Essentials (a Magazine for Women) to inspire more women to aspire to become Nobel Prize Winners.
This week we will be about what the Nobel Prize is all about.
|The Nobel Prize|
|Awarded for||Outstanding contributions for humanity in chemistry, economics, literature, peace, physics, or physiology or medicine|
|No. of laureates||579 Prizes to 911 Laureates as of 2016|
The Nobel Prize (/ˈnoʊbɛl/, Swedish pronunciation: [nʊˈbɛl]; Swedish definite form, singular: Nobelpriset; Norwegian: Nobelprisen) is a set of annual international awards bestowed in a number of categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, and/or scientific advances.
The will of the Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes in 1895. The prizes in Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine were first awarded in 1901. Medals made before 1980 were struck in 23 carat gold, and later from 18 carat green gold plated with a 24 carat gold coating. Between 1901 and 2015, the Nobel Prizes and the Prize in Economic Sciences were awarded 573 times to 900 people and organisations. With some receiving the Nobel Prize more than once, this makes a total of 23 organisations, and 870 individuals.
The prize ceremonies take place annually in Stockholm, Sweden (with the exception of the peace prize, which is held in Oslo, Norway). Each recipient, or laureate, receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money that has been decided by the Nobel Foundation. (As of 2012, each prize was worth SEK 8 million or about US$1.2 million, €0.93 million, or £0.6 million.) The Nobel Prize is widely regarded as the most prestigious award available in the fields of literature, medicine, physics, chemistry, peace, and economics.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences; the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; the Swedish Academy grants the Nobel Prize in Literature; and the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded not by a Swedish organisation but by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
The prize is not awarded posthumously; however, if a person is awarded a prize and dies before receiving it, the prize may still be presented. Though the average number of laureates per prize increased substantially during the 20th century, a prize may not be shared among more than three people.
Alfred Nobel ( listen (help·info)) was born on 21 October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden, into a family of engineers. He was a chemist, engineer, and inventor. In 1894, Nobel purchased the Bofors iron and steel mill, which he made into a major armaments manufacturer. Nobel also invented ballistite. This invention was a precursor to many smokeless military explosives, especially the British smokeless powder cordite. As a consequence of his patent claims, Nobel was eventually involved in a patent infringement lawsuit over cordite. Nobel amassed a fortune during his lifetime, with most of his wealth from his 355 inventions, of which dynamite is the most famous.
In 1888, Nobel was astonished to read his own obituary, titled The merchant of death is dead, in a French newspaper. As it was Alfred’s brother Ludvig who had died, the obituary was eight years premature. The article disconcerted Nobel and made him apprehensive about how he would be remembered. This inspired him to change his will. On 10 December 1896, Alfred Nobel died in his villa in San Remo, Italy, from a cerebral haemorrhage. He was 63 years old.
Nobel wrote several wills during his lifetime. He composed the last over a year before he died, signing it at the Swedish–Norwegian Club in Paris on 27 November 1895. To widespread astonishment, Nobel’s last will specified that his fortune be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the “greatest benefit on mankind” in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. Nobel bequeathed 94% of his total assets, 31 million SEK (c. US$186 million, €150 million in 2008), to establish the five Nobel Prizes. Because of skepticism surrounding the will, it was not until 26 April 1897 that it was approved by the Storting in Norway. The executors of Nobel’s will, Ragnar Sohlman and Rudolf Lilljequist, formed the Nobel Foundation to take care of Nobel’s fortune and organise the award of prizes.
Nobel’s instructions named a Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the Peace Prize, the members of whom were appointed shortly after the will was approved in April 1897. Soon thereafter, the other prize-awarding organisations were designated or established. These were Karolinska Institutet on 7 June, the Swedish Academy on 9 June, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on 11 June. The Nobel Foundation reached an agreement on guidelines for how the prizes should be awarded; and, in 1900, the Nobel Foundation’s newly created statutes were promulgated by King Oscar II. In 1905, the personal union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved.
The Nobel Foundation was founded as a private organisation on 29 June 1900. Its function is to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. In accordance with Nobel’s will, the primary task of the Foundation is to manage the fortune Nobel left. Robert and Ludvig Nobel were involved in the oil business in Azerbaijan, and according to Swedish historian E. Bargengren, who accessed the Nobel family archives, it was this “decision to allow withdrawal of Alfred’s money from Baku that became the decisive factor that enabled the Nobel Prizes to be established”. Another important task of the Nobel Foundation is to market the prizes internationally and to oversee informal administration related to the prizes. The Foundation is not involved in the process of selecting the Nobel laureates. In many ways, the Nobel Foundation is similar to an investment company, in that it invests Nobel’s money to create a solid funding base for the prizes and the administrative activities. The Nobel Foundation is exempt from all taxes in Sweden (since 1946) and from investment taxes in the United States (since 1953). Since the 1980s, the Foundation’s investments have become more profitable and as of 31 December 2007, the assets controlled by the Nobel Foundation amounted to 3.628 billion Swedish kronor (c. US$560 million).
According to the statutes, the Foundation consists of a board of five Swedish or Norwegian citizens, with its seat in Stockholm. The Chairman of the Board is appointed by the Swedish King in Council, with the other four members appointed by the trustees of the prize-awarding institutions. An Executive Director is chosen from among the board members, a Deputy Director is appointed by the King in Council, and two deputies are appointed by the trustees. However, since 1995, all the members of the board have been chosen by the trustees, and the Executive Director and the Deputy Director appointed by the board itself. As well as the board, the Nobel Foundation is made up of the prize-awarding institutions (the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute, the Swedish Academy, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee), the trustees of these institutions, and auditors.
Once the Nobel Foundation and its guidelines were in place, the Nobel Committees began collecting nominations for the inaugural prizes. Subsequently, they sent a list of preliminary candidates to the prize-awarding institutions.
The Nobel Committee’s Physics Prize shortlist cited Wilhelm Röntgen‘s discovery of X-rays and Philipp Lenard‘s work on cathode rays. The Academy of Sciences selected Röntgen for the prize. In the last decades of the 19th century, many chemists had made significant contributions. Thus, with the Chemistry Prize, the Academy “was chiefly faced with merely deciding the order in which these scientists should be awarded the prize.” The Academy received 20 nominations, eleven of them for Jacobus van’t Hoff. Van’t Hoff was awarded the prize for his contributions in chemical thermodynamics.
The Swedish Academy chose the poet Sully Prudhomme for the first Nobel Prize in Literature. A group including 42 Swedish writers, artists, and literary critics protested against this decision, having expected Leo Tolstoy to be awarded. Some, including Burton Feldman, have criticised this prize because they consider Prudhomme a mediocre poet. Feldman’s explanation is that most of the Academy members preferred Victorian literature and thus selected a Victorian poet. The first Physiology or Medicine Prize went to the German physiologist and microbiologist Emil von Behring. During the 1890s, von Behring developed an antitoxin to treat diphtheria, which until then was causing thousands of deaths each year.
The first Nobel Peace Prize went to the Swiss Jean Henri Dunant for his role in founding the International Red Cross Movement and initiating the Geneva Convention, and jointly given to French pacifist Frédéric Passy, founder of the Peace League and active with Dunant in the Alliance for Order and Civilization.
In 1938 and 1939, Adolf Hitler‘s Third Reich forbade three laureates from Germany (Richard Kuhn, Adolf Friedrich Johann Butenandt, and Gerhard Domagk) from accepting their prizes. Each man was later able to receive the diploma and medal. Even though Sweden was officially neutral during the Second World War, the prizes were awarded irregularly. In 1939, the Peace Prize was not awarded. No prize was awarded in any category from 1940–42, due to the occupation of Norway by Germany. In the subsequent year, all prizes were awarded except those for literature and peace.
During the occupation of Norway, three members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee fled into exile. The remaining members escaped persecution from the Germans when the Nobel Foundation stated that the Committee building in Oslo was Swedish property. Thus it was a safe haven from the German military, which was not at war with Sweden. These members kept the work of the Committee going, but did not award any prizes. In 1944, the Nobel Foundation, together with the three members in exile, made sure that nominations were submitted for the Peace Prize and that the prize could be awarded once again.
In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Swedish National Bank) celebrated its 300th anniversary by donating a large sum of money to the Nobel Foundation to be used to set up a prize in honour of Nobel. The following year, the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded for the first time. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences became responsible for selecting laureates. The first laureates for the Economics Prize were Jan Tinbergen and Ragnar Frisch “for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes.” Although not a Nobel Prize, it is intimately identified with the other awards; the laureates are announced with the Nobel Prize recipients, and the Prize in Economic Sciences is presented at the Swedish Nobel Prize Award Ceremony. The Board of the Nobel Foundation decided that after this addition, it would allow no further new prizes.
The award process is similar for all of the Nobel Prizes; the main difference is in who can make nominations for each of them.
Nomination forms are sent by the Nobel Committee to about 3,000 individuals, usually in September the year before the prizes are awarded. These individuals are generally prominent academics working in a relevant area. Regarding the Peace Prize, inquiries are also sent to governments, former Peace Prize laureates, and current or former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The deadline for the return of the nomination forms is 31 January of the year of the award. The Nobel Committee nominates about 300 potential laureates from these forms and additional names. The nominees are not publicly named, nor are they told that they are being considered for the prize. All nomination records for a prize are sealed for 50 years from the awarding of the prize.
The Nobel Committee then prepares a report reflecting the advice of experts in the relevant fields. This, along with the list of preliminary candidates, is submitted to the prize-awarding institutions. The institutions meet to choose the laureate or laureates in each field by a majority vote. Their decision, which cannot be appealed, is announced immediately after the vote. A maximum of three laureates and two different works may be selected per award. Except for the Peace Prize, which can be awarded to institutions, the awards can only be given to individuals.
Although posthumous nominations are not presently permitted, individuals who died in the months between their nomination and the decision of the prize committee were originally eligible to receive the prize. This has occurred twice: the 1931 Literature Prize awarded to Erik Axel Karlfeldt, and the 1961 Peace Prize awarded to UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld. Since 1974, laureates must be thought alive at the time of the October announcement. There has been one laureate, William Vickrey, who in 1996 died after the prize (in Economics) was announced but before it could be presented. On 3 October 2011, the laureates for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine were announced; however, the committee was not aware that one of the laureates, Ralph M. Steinman, had died three days earlier. The committee was debating about Steinman’s prize, since the rule is that the prize is not awarded posthumously. The committee later decided that as the decision to award Steinman the prize “was made in good faith”, it would remain unchanged.
Nobel’s will provided for prizes to be awarded in recognition of discoveries made “during the preceding year”. Early on, the awards usually recognised recent discoveries. However, some of these early discoveries were later discredited. For example, Johannes Fibiger was awarded the 1926 Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his purported discovery of a parasite that caused cancer. To avoid repeating this embarrassment, the awards increasingly recognised scientific discoveries that had withstood the test of time. According to Ralf Pettersson, former chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee for Physiology or Medicine, “the criterion ‘the previous year’ is interpreted by the Nobel Assembly as the year when the full impact of the discovery has become evident.”
The interval between the award and the accomplishment it recognises varies from discipline to discipline. The Literature Prize is typically awarded to recognise a cumulative lifetime body of work rather than a single achievement. The Peace Prize can also be awarded for a lifetime body of work. For example, 2008 laureate Martti Ahtisaari was awarded for his work to resolve international conflicts. However, they can also be awarded for specific recent events. For instance, Kofi Annan was awarded the 2001 Peace Prize just four years after becoming the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Similarly Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres received the 1994 award, about a year after they successfully concluded the Oslo Accords.
Awards for physics, chemistry, and medicine are typically awarded once the achievement has been widely accepted. Sometimes, this takes decades – for example, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar shared the 1983 Physics Prize for his 1930s work on stellar structure and evolution. Not all scientists live long enough for their work to be recognised. Some discoveries can never be considered for a prize if their impact is realised after the discoverers have died.
Except for the Peace Prize, the Nobel Prizes are presented in Stockholm, Sweden, at the annual Prize Award Ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel’s death. The recipients’ lectures are normally held in the days prior to the award ceremony. The Peace Prize and its recipients’ lectures are presented at the annual Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, usually on 10 December. The award ceremonies and the associated banquets are typically major international events. The Prizes awarded in Sweden’s ceremonies’ are held at the Stockholm Concert Hall, with the Nobel banquet following immediately at Stockholm City Hall. The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony has been held at the Norwegian Nobel Institute (1905–1946), at the auditorium of the University of Oslo (1947–1989), and at Oslo City Hall (1990–present).
The highlight of the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm occurs when each Nobel laureate steps forward to receive the prize from the hands of the King of Sweden. In Oslo, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the Nobel Peace Prize in the presence of the King of Norway. At first, King Oscar II did not approve of awarding grand prizes to foreigners. It is said that his mind changed once his attention had been drawn to the publicity value of the prizes for Sweden.
The Nobel Peace Prize banquet is held in Norway at the Oslo Grand Hotel after the award ceremony. Apart from the laureate, guests include the President of the Storting, the Prime Minister, and, since 2006, the King and Queen of Norway. In total, about 250 guests attend.
According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, each laureate is required to give a public lecture on a subject related to the topic of their prize.[not in citation given][not in citation given] The Nobel lecture as a rhetorical genre took decades to reach its current format. These lectures normally occur during Nobel Week (the week leading up to the award ceremony and banquet, which begins with the laureates arriving in Stockholm and normally ends with the Nobel banquet), but this is not mandatory. The laureate is only obliged to give the lecture within six months of receiving the prize. Some have happened even later. For example, US President Theodore Roosevelt received the Peace Prize in 1906 but gave his lecture in 1910, after his term in office. The lectures are organised by the same association which selected the laureates.
It was announced on 30 May 2012 that the Nobel Foundation had awarded the contract for the production of the five (Swedish) Nobel Prize medals to Svenska Medalj AB. Formerly, the Nobel Prize medals were minted by Myntverket (the Swedish Mint) from 1902 to 2010. Myntverket, Sweden’s oldest company, ceased operations in 2011 after 1,017 years. In 2011, the Mint of Norway, located in Kongsberg, made the medals. The Nobel Prize medals are registered trademarks of the Nobel Foundation. Each medal features an image of Alfred Nobel in left profile on the obverse. The medals for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and literature have identical obverses, showing the image of Alfred Nobel and the years of his birth and death. Nobel’s portrait also appears on the obverse of the Peace Prize medal and the medal for the Economics Prize, but with a slightly different design. For instance, the laureate’s name is engraved on the rim of the Economics medal. The image on the reverse of a medal varies according to the institution awarding the prize. The reverse sides of the medals for chemistry and physics share the same design.
All medals made before 1980 were struck in 23 carat gold. Since then, they have been struck in 18 carat green gold plated with 24 carat gold. The weight of each medal varies with the value of gold, but averages about 175 grams (0.386 lb) for each medal. The diameter is 66 millimetres (2.6 in) and the thickness varies between 5.2 millimetres (0.20 in) and 2.4 millimetres (0.094 in). Because of the high value of their gold content and tendency to be on public display, Nobel medals are subject to medal theft. During World War II, the medals of German scientists Max von Laue and James Franck were sent to Copenhagen for safekeeping. When Germany invaded Denmark, Hungarian chemist (and Nobel laureate himself) George de Hevesy dissolved them in aqua regia (nitro-hydrochloric acid), to prevent confiscation by Nazi Germany and to prevent legal problems for the holders. After the war, the gold was recovered from solution, and the medals re-cast.
Nobel laureates receive a diploma directly from the hands of the King of Sweden, or in the case of the peace prize, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Each diploma is uniquely designed by the prize-awarding institutions for the laureates that receive them. The diploma contains a picture and text in Swedish which states the name of the laureate and normally a citation of why they received the prize. None of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates has ever had a citation on their diplomas.
The laureates are given a sum of money when they receive their prizes, in the form of a document confirming the amount awarded. The amount of prize money depends upon how much money the Nobel Foundation can award each year. The purse has increased since the 1980s, when the prize money was 880 000 SEK (c. 2.6 million SEK, US$350 000, or €295,000 today) per prize. In 2009, the monetary award was 10 million SEK (US$1.4 million, €950,000). In June 2012, it was lowered to 8 million SEK. If there are two laureates in a particular category, the award grant is divided equally between the recipients. If there are three, the awarding committee has the option of dividing the grant equally, or awarding one-half to one recipient and one-quarter to each of the others. It is common for recipients to donate prize money to benefit scientific, cultural, or humanitarian causes.
Among other criticisms, the Nobel Committees have been accused of having a political agenda, and of omitting more deserving candidates. They have also been accused of Eurocentrism, especially for the Literature Prize.
Among the most criticised Nobel Peace Prizes was the one awarded to Henry Kissinger and Lê Đức Thọ. This led to the resignation of two Norwegian Nobel Committee members. Lê Đức Thọ declined the prize. Kissinger and Thọ were awarded the prize for negotiating a ceasefire between North Vietnam and the United States in January 1973. However, when the award was announced, both sides were still engaging in hostilities. Many critics were of the opinion that Kissinger was not a peace-maker but the opposite, responsible for widening the war.
Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin received the Peace Prize in 1994 for their efforts in making peace between Israel and Palestine. Immediately after the award was announced, one of the five Norwegian Nobel Committee members denounced Arafat as a terrorist and resigned. Additional misgivings about Arafat were widely expressed in various newspapers.
Another controversial Peace Prize was that awarded to Barack Obama in 2009. Nominations had closed only eleven days after Obama took office as President, but the actual evaluation occurred over the next eight months. Obama himself stated that he did not feel deserving of the award, or worthy of the company it would place him in. Past Peace Prize laureates were divided, some saying that Obama deserved the award, and others saying he had not secured the achievements to yet merit such an accolade. Obama’s award, along with the previous Peace Prizes for Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, also prompted accusations of a left-wing bias.
The award of the 2004 Literature Prize to Elfriede Jelinek drew a protest from a member of the Swedish Academy, Knut Ahnlund. Ahnlund resigned, alleging that the selection of Jelinek had caused “irreparable damage to all progressive forces, it has also confused the general view of literature as an art.” He alleged that Jelinek’s works were “a mass of text shovelled together without artistic structure.” The 2009 Literature Prize to Herta Müller also generated criticism. According to The Washington Post, many US literary critics and professors were ignorant of her work. This made those critics feel the prizes were too Eurocentric.
In 1949, the neurologist António Egas Moniz received the Physiology or Medicine Prize for his development of the prefrontal leucotomy. The previous year, Dr. Walter Freeman had developed a version of the procedure which was faster and easier to carry out. Due in part to the publicity surrounding the original procedure, Freeman’s procedure was prescribed without due consideration or regard for modern medical ethics. Endorsed by such influential publications as The New England Journal of Medicine, leucotomy or “lobotomy” became so popular that about 5,000 lobotomies were performed in the United States in the three years immediately following Moniz’s receipt of the Prize.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee confirmed that Mahatma Gandhi was nominated for the Peace Prize in 1937–39, 1947, and a few days before he was assassinated in January 1948. Later, members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee expressed regret that he was not given the prize. Geir Lundestad, Secretary of Norwegian Nobel Committee in 2006, said, “The greatest omission in our 106 year history is undoubtedly that Mahatma Gandhi never received the Nobel Peace prize. Gandhi could do without the Nobel Peace prize. Whether Nobel committee can do without Gandhi is the question”. In 1948, the year of Gandhi’s death, the Nobel Committee declined to award a prize on the grounds that “there was no suitable living candidate” that year. Later, when the Dalai Lama was awarded the Peace Prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said that this was “in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.” Other high profile individuals with widely recognised contributions to peace have been missed out. Foreign Policy lists Eleanor Roosevelt, Václav Havel, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Sari Nusseibeh, and Corazon Aquino as people who “never won the prize, but should have.”
In 1965, UN Secretary General U Thant was informed by the Norwegian Permananent Representative to the UN that he would be awarded that year’s prize and asked whether or not he would accept. He consulted staff and later replied that he would. At the same time, Chairman Gunnar Jahn of the Nobel Peace prize committee, lobbied heavily against giving U Thant the prize and the prize was at the last minute awarded to UNICEF. The rest of the committee all wanted the prize to go to U Thant, for his work in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis, ending the war in the Congo, and his ongoing work to mediate an end to the Vietnam War. The disagreement lasted three years and in 1966 and 1967 no prize was given, with Gunnar Jahn effectively vetoing an award to U Thant.
The Literature Prize also has controversial omissions. Adam Kirsch has suggested that many notable writers have missed out on the award for political or extra-literary reasons. The heavy focus on European and Swedish authors has been a subject of criticism. The Eurocentric nature of the award was acknowledged by Peter Englund, the 2009 Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, as a problem with the award and was attributed to the tendency for the academy to relate more to European authors. This tendency towards European authors still leaves a number of European writers on a list of notable writers that have been overlooked for the Literature Prize, including Europe’s Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, J. R. R. Tolkien, Émile Zola, Marcel Proust, Vladimir Nabokov, James Joyce, August Strindberg, Simon Vestdijk, Karel Čapek, the New World‘s Jorge Luis Borges, Ezra Pound, John Updike, Arthur Miller, Mark Twain, and Africa’s Chinua Achebe.
Candidates can receive multiple nominations the same year. Gaston Ramon received a total of 155 nominations in physiology or medicine from 1930 to 1953, the last year with public nomination data for that award as of 2016. He died in 1963 without being awarded. Pierre Paul Émile Roux received 115 nominations in physiology or medicine, and Arnold Sommerfeld received 84 in physics. These are the three most nominated scientists without awards in the data published as of 2016. Otto Stern received 79 nominations in physics 1925–43 before being awarded in 1943.
The strict rule against awarding a prize to more than three people is also controversial. When a prize is awarded to recognise an achievement by a team of more than three collaborators, one or more will miss out. For example, in 2002, the prize was awarded to Koichi Tanaka and John Fenn for the development of mass spectrometry in protein chemistry, an award that did not recognise the achievements of Franz Hillenkamp and Michael Karas of the Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Frankfurt. According to one of the nominees for the prize in physics, the three person limit deprived him and two other members of his team of the honour in 2013: the team of Carl Hagen, Gerald Guralnik, and Tom Kibble published a paper in 1964 that gave answers to how the Cosmos began, but did not share the 2013 Physics Prize awarded to Peter Higgs and François Englert, who had also published papers in 1964 concerning the subject. All five physicists arrived at the same conclusion, albeit from different angles. Hagen contends that an equitable solution is to either abandon the three limit restriction, or expand the time period of recognition for a given achievement to two years.
Similarly, the prohibition of posthumous awards fails to recognise achievements by an individual or collaborator who dies before the prize is awarded. In 1962, Francis Crick, James D. Watson, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Physiology or Medicine Prize for discovering the structure of DNA. Rosalind Franklin, a key contributor in that discovery, died of ovarian cancer four years earlier. The Economics Prize was not awarded to Fischer Black, who died in 1995, when his co-author Myron Scholes received the honour in 1997 for their landmark work on option pricing along with Robert C. Merton, another pioneer in the development of valuation of stock options. In the announcement of the award that year, the Nobel committee prominently mentioned Black’s key role.
Political subterfuge may also deny proper recognition. Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassmann, who co-discovered nuclear fission along with Otto Hahn, may have been denied a share of Hahn’s 1944 Nobel Chemistry Award due to having fled Germany when the Nazis came to power. The Meitner and Strassmann roles in the research was not fully recognised until years later, when they joined Hahn in receiving the 1966 Enrico Fermi Award.
Alfred Nobel left his fortune to finance annual prizes to be awarded “to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” He stated that the Nobel Prizes in Physics should be given “to the person who shall have made the most important ‘discovery’ or ‘invention’ within the field of physics.” Nobel did not emphasise discoveries, but they have historically been held in higher respect by the Nobel Prize Committee than inventions: 77% of the Physics Prizes have been given to discoveries, compared with only 23% to inventions. Christoph Bartneck and Matthias Rauterberg, in papers published in Nature and Technoetic Arts, have argued this emphasis on discoveries has moved the Nobel Prize away from its original intention of rewarding the greatest contribution to society.
Four people have received two Nobel Prizes. Marie Curie received the Physics Prize in 1903 for her work on radioactivity and the Chemistry Prize in 1911 for the isolation of pure radium, making her the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. Linus Pauling won the 1954 Chemistry Prize for his research into the chemical bond and its application to the structure of complex substances. Pauling also won the Peace Prize in 1962 for his activism against nuclear weapons, making him the only laureate of two unshared prizes. John Bardeen received the Physics Prize twice: in 1956 for the invention of the transistor and in 1972 for the theory of superconductivity. Frederick Sanger received the prize twice in Chemistry: in 1958 for determining the structure of the insulin molecule and in 1980 for inventing a method of determining base sequences in DNA.
Two organisations have received the Peace Prize multiple times. The International Committee of the Red Cross received it three times: in 1917 and 1944 for its work during the world wars; and in 1963 during the year of its centenary. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has won the Peace Prize twice for assisting refugees: in 1954 and 1981.
The Curie family has received the most prizes, with four prizes won by five individual laureates. Marie Curie received the prizes in Physics (in 1903) and Chemistry (in 1911). Her husband, Pierre Curie, shared the 1903 Physics prize with her. Their daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, received the Chemistry Prize in 1935 together with her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie. In addition, the husband of Marie Curie’s second daughter, Henry Labouisse, was the director of UNICEF when it won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965.
Although no family matches the Curie family’s record, there have been several with two laureates. The husband-and-wife team of Gerty Cori and Carl Ferdinand Cori shared the 1947 Prize in Physiology or Medicine as did the husband-and-wife team of May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser in 2014 (along with John O’Keefe). J. J. Thomson was awarded the Physics Prize in 1906 for showing that electrons are particles. His son, George Paget Thomson, received the same prize in 1937 for showing that they also have the properties of waves. William Henry Bragg and his son, William Lawrence Bragg, shared the Physics Prize in 1915 for inventing the X-ray spectrometer. Niels Bohr won the Physics prize in 1922, as did his son, Aage Bohr, in 1975. Manne Siegbahn, who received the Physics Prize in 1924, was the father of Kai Siegbahn, who received the Physics Prize in 1981. Hans von Euler-Chelpin, who received the Chemistry Prize in 1929, was the father of Ulf von Euler, who was awarded the Physiology or Medicine Prize in 1970. C. V. Raman won the Physics Prize in 1930 and was the uncle of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who won the same prize in 1983. Arthur Kornberg received the Physiology or Medicine Prize in 1959; Kornberg’s son, Roger later received the Chemistry Prize in 2006. Jan Tinbergen, who won the first Economics Prize in 1969, was the brother of Nikolaas Tinbergen, who received the 1973 Physiology or Medicine Prize. Alva Myrdal, Peace Prize laureate in 1982, was the wife of Gunnar Myrdal who was awarded the Economics Prize in 1974. Economics laureates Paul Samuelson and Kenneth Arrow were brothers-in-law.
Being a symbol of scientific or literary achievement that’s recognisable worldwide, the Nobel Prize is often depicted in fiction. This includes films like The Prize and Nobel Son about fictional Nobel laureates as well as fictionalised accounts of stories surrounding real prizes such as Nobel Chor, a film based on the unsolved theft of Rabindranath Tagore’s prize.
Two laureates have voluntarily declined the Nobel Prize. In 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Literature Prize but refused, stating, “A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honourable form.” Lê Đức Thọ, chosen for the 1973 Peace Prize for his role in the Paris Peace Accords, declined, stating that there was no actual peace in Vietnam.
During the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler hindered Richard Kuhn, Adolf Butenandt, and Gerhard Domagk from accepting their prizes. All of them were awarded their diplomas and gold medals after World War II. In 1958, Boris Pasternak declined his prize for literature due to fear of what the Soviet Union government might do if he travelled to Stockholm to accept his prize. In return, the Swedish Academy refused his refusal, saying “this refusal, of course, in no way alters the validity of the award.” The Academy announced with regret that the presentation of the Literature Prize could not take place that year, holding it until 1989 when Pasternak’s son accepted the prize on his behalf. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, but her children accepted the prize because she had been placed under house arrest in Burma; Suu Kyi delivered her speech two decades later, in 2012. Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 while he and his wife were under house arrest in China as political prisoners.
The memorial symbol “Planet of Alfred Nobel” was opened in Dnipropetrovsk University of Economics and Law in 2008. On the globe, there are 802 Nobel laureates’ reliefs made of a composite alloy obtained when disposing of military strategic missiles.
|Elizabeth Cady Stanton|
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, c. 1880
November 12, 1815
Johnstown, New York
|Died||October 26, 1902 (aged 86)
New York City, New York
|Occupation||Writer, suffragist, women’s rights activist, abolitionist|
|Spouse(s)||Henry Brewster Stanton (m. 1840)|
|Parent(s)||Daniel Cady (1773–1859)
Margaret Livingston Cady (1785–1871)
|Relatives||Gerrit Smith, cousin
Col. James Livingston, grandfather
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (November 12, 1815 – October 26, 1902) was an American suffragist, social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early women’s rights movement. Her Declaration of Sentiments, presented at the Seneca Falls Convention held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, is often credited with initiating the first organized women’s rights and women’s suffrage movements in the United States. Stanton was president of the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1892 until 1900.
Before Stanton narrowed her political focus almost exclusively to women’s rights, she was an active abolitionist with her husband Henry Brewster Stanton (co-founder of the Republican Party) and cousin Gerrit Smith. Unlike many of those involved in the women’s rights movement, Stanton addressed various issues pertaining to women beyond voting rights. Her concerns included women’s parental and custody rights, property rights, employment and income rights, divorce, the economic health of the family, and birth control. She was also an outspoken supporter of the 19th-century temperance movement.
After the American Civil War, Stanton’s commitment to female suffrage caused a schism in the women’s rights movement when she, together with Susan B. Anthony, declined to support passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. She opposed giving added legal protection and voting rights to African American men while women, black and white, were denied those same rights. Her position on this issue, together with her thoughts on organized Christianity and women’s issues beyond voting rights, led to the formation of two separate women’s rights organizations that were finally rejoined, with Stanton as president of the joint organization, about twenty years after her break from the original women’s suffrage movement. Stanton died in 1902, having written both The Woman’s Bible and her autobiography Eighty Years and More, and many other articles and pamphlets about female suffrage and women’s rights.
In 1868 at the Women’s Suffrage Convention in Washington, D.C., Elizabeth Cady Stanton, at age 52, gave a powerful speech which begins as such: “I urge a sixteenth amendment, because ‘manhood suffrage,’ or a man’s government, is civil, religious, and social disorganization. The male element is a destructive force, stern, selfish, aggrandizing, loving war, violence, conquest, acquisition, breeding in the material and moral world alike discord, disorder, disease, and death. See what a record of blood and cruelty the pages of history reveal! Through what slavery, slaughter, and sacrifice, through what inquisitions and imprisonments, pains and persecutions, black codes and gloomy creeds, the soul of humanity has struggled for the centuries, while mercy has veiled her face and all hearts have been dead alike to love and hope!”
The speech ends as such “With violence and disturbance in the natural world, we see a constant effort to maintain an equilibrium of forces. Nature, like a loving mother, is ever trying to keep land and sea, mountain and valley, each in its place, to hush the angry winds and waves, balance the extremes of heat and cold, of rain and drought, that peace, harmony, and beauty may reign supreme. There is a striking analogy between matter and mind, and the present disorganization of society warns us that in the dethronement of woman we have let loose the elements of violence and ruin that she only has the power to curb. If the civilization of the age calls for an extension of the suffrage, surely a government of the most virtuous educated men and women would better represent the whole and protect the interests of all than could the representation of either sex alone.”
“The prejudice against color, of which we hear so much, is no stronger than that against sex. It is produced by the same cause, and manifested very much in the same way.”
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
After the American Civil War, both Stanton and Anthony broke with their abolitionist backgrounds and lobbied strongly against ratification of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, which granted African American men the right to vote. Believing that African American men, by virtue of the Thirteenth Amendment, already had the legal protections, except for suffrage, offered to white male citizens and that so largely expanding the male franchise in the country would only increase the number of voters prepared to deny women the right to vote, both Stanton and Anthony were angry that the abolitionists, their former partners in working for both African American and women’s rights, refused to demand that the language of the amendments be changed to include women.
Eventually, Stanton’s oppositional rhetoric took on racial overtones. Arguing on behalf of female suffrage, Stanton posited that women voters of “wealth, education, and refinement” were needed to offset the effect of former slaves and immigrants whose “pauperism, ignorance, and degradation” might negatively affect the American political system. She declared it to be “a serious question whether we had better stand aside and see ‘Sambo‘ walk into the kingdom [of civil rights] first.” Some scholars have argued that Stanton’s emphasis on property ownership and education, opposition to black male suffrage, and desire to hold out for universal suffrage fragmented the civil rights movement by pitting African-American men against women and, together with Stanton’s emphasis on “educated suffrage,” in part established a basis for the literacy requirements that followed in the wake of the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment.
Stanton’s position caused a significant rift between herself and many civil rights leaders, particularly Frederick Douglass, who believed that white women, already empowered by their connection to fathers, husbands, and brothers, at least vicariously had the vote. According to Douglass, their treatment as slaves entitled the now liberated African American men, who lacked women’s indirect empowerment, to voting rights before women were granted the franchise. African American women, he believed, would have the same degree of empowerment as white women once African American men had the vote; hence, general female suffrage was, according to Douglass, of less concern than black male suffrage.
Disagreeing with Douglass, and despite the racist language she sometimes resorted to, Stanton firmly believed in a universal franchise that empowered blacks and whites, men and women. Speaking on behalf of black women, she stated that not allowing them to vote condemned African American freedwomen “to a triple bondage that man never knows,” that of slavery, gender, and race. She was joined in this belief by Anthony, Olympia Brown, and most especially Frances Gage, who was the first suffragist to champion voting rights for freedwomen.
Thaddeus Stevens, a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania and ardent abolitionist, agreed that voting rights should be universal. In 1866, Stanton, Anthony, and several other suffragists drafted a universal suffrage petition demanding that the right to vote be given without consideration of sex or race. The petition was introduced in the United States Congress by Stevens. Despite these efforts, the Fourteenth Amendment was passed, without adjustment, in 1868.
By the time the Fifteenth Amendment was making its way through Congress, Stanton’s position had led to a major schism in the women’s rights movement itself. Many leaders in the women’s rights movement, including Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Julia Ward Howe, strongly argued against Stanton’s “all or nothing” position. By 1869, disagreement over ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment had given birth to two separate women’s suffrage organizations. The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was founded in May, 1869 by Anthony and Stanton, who served as its president for 21 years. The NWSA opposed passage of the Fifteenth Amendment without changes to include female suffrage and, under Stanton’s influence in particular, championed a number of women’s issues that were deemed too radical by more conservative members of the suffrage movement. The better-funded, larger, and more representative woman suffragist vehicle, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), founded the following November and led by Stone, Blackwell, and Howe, supported the Fifteenth Amendment as written. Following passage of that Amendment, the AWSA preferred to focus only on female suffrage rather than advocate for the broader women’s rights espoused by Stanton: gender-neutral divorce laws, a woman’s right to refuse her husband sexually, increased economic opportunities for women and the right of women to serve on juries.
Believing that men should not be given the right to vote without women also being granted the franchise, Sojourner Truth, a former slave and feminist, affiliated herself with Stanton and Anthony’s organization. Stanton, Anthony, and Truth were joined by Matilda Joslyn Gage, who later worked on The Woman’s Bible with Stanton. Despite Stanton’s position and the efforts of her and others to expand the Fifteenth Amendment to include voting rights for all women, this amendment also passed, as it was originally written, in 1870.
In her later years, Stanton became interested in efforts to create cooperative communities and work places. She was also attracted to various forms of political radicalism, applauding the Populist movement and identifying herself with socialism, especially Fabian socialism.
In the decade following ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, both Stanton and Anthony increasingly took the position, first advocated by Victoria Woodhull, that the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments actually did give women the right to vote. They argued that the Fourteenth Amendment, which defined citizens as “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” included women and that the Fifteenth Amendment provided all citizens with the right to vote. Using this logic, they asserted that women now had the constitutional right to vote and that it was simply a matter of claiming that right. This constitution-based argument, which came to be called “the new departure” in women’s rights circles because of its divergence from earlier attempts to change voting laws on a state-by-state basis, led to first Anthony (in 1872), and later Stanton (in 1880), going to the polls and demanding to vote. Despite this, and similar attempts made by hundreds of other women, it would be nearly 50 years before women obtained the right to vote throughout the United States.
During this time, Stanton maintained a broad focus on women’s rights in general rather than narrowing her focus only to female suffrage in particular. After passage of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870 and its support by the Equal Rights Association and prominent suffragists such as Stone, Blackwell, and Howe, the gap between Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other leaders of the women’s movement widened as Stanton took issue with the fundamental religious leanings of several movement leaders. Unlike many of her colleagues, Stanton believed organized Christianity relegated women to an unacceptable position in society. She explored this view in the 1890s in The Woman’s Bible, which elucidated a feminist understanding of biblical scripture and sought to correct the fundamental sexism Stanton believed was inherent to organized Christianity. Likewise, Stanton supported divorce rights, employment rights, and property rights for women, issues in which the American Women’s Suffrage Association (AWSA) preferred not to become involved.
Her more radical positions included acceptance of interracial marriage. Despite her opposition to giving African American men the right to vote without enfranchising all women and the derogatory language she had resorted to in expressing this opposition, Stanton had no objection to interracial marriage and wrote a congratulatory letter to Frederick Douglass upon his marriage to Helen Pitts, a white woman, in 1884. Anthony, fearing public condemnation of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and wanting to keep the demand for female suffrage foremost, pleaded with Stanton not to make her letter to Douglass or support for his marriage publicly known.
Stanton went on to write some of the most influential books, documents, and speeches of the women’s rights movement. Starting in 1876, Stanton, Anthony, and Gage collaborated to write the first volume of History of Woman Suffrage, a seminal, six-volume work containing the full history, documents, and letters of the woman’s suffrage movement. The first two volumes were published in 1881 and the third in 1886; the work was eventually completed in 1922 by Ida Harper. Stanton’s other major writings included the two-part The Woman’s Bible, published in 1895 and 1898; Eighty Years & More: Reminiscences 1815–1897, her autobiography, published in 1898; and The Solitude of Self, or “Self-Sovereignty,” which she first delivered as a speech at the 1892 convention of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association in Washington, D.C.
In 1868 Stanton, together with Susan B. Anthony and Parker Pillsbury, a leading male feminist of his day, began publishing a weekly periodical, Revolution, with editorials by Stanton that focused on a wide array of women’s issues. In a view different from many modern feminists, Stanton, who supported birth control and likely used it herself, believed that both the killing of infants and abortion could be considered infanticide, a position she discussed in Revolution. At this time, Stanton also joined the New York Lyceum Bureau, embarking on a 12-year career on the Lyceum Circuit. Traveling and lecturing for eight months every year provided her both with the funds to put her two youngest sons through college and, given her popularity as a lecturer, with a way to spread her ideas among the general population, gain broad public recognition, and further establish her reputation as a preeminent leader in the women’s rights movement. Among her most popular speeches were “Our Girls”, “Our Boys”, “Co-education”, “Marriage and Divorce”, “Prison Life”, and “The Bible and Woman’s Rights”. Her lecture travels so occupied her that Stanton, although president, presided at only four of 15 conventions of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association during this period.
In addition to her writing and speaking, Stanton was also instrumental in promoting women’s suffrage in various states, particularly New York, Missouri, Kansas, where it was included on the ballot in 1867, and Michigan, where it was put to a vote in 1874. She made an unsuccessful bid for a U.S. Congressional seat from New York in 1866, and she was the primary force behind the passage of the Woman’s Property Bill that was eventually passed by the New York State Legislature. She worked toward female suffrage in Wyoming, Utah, and California, and in 1878, she convinced California Senator Aaron A. Sargent to introduce a female suffrage amendment using wording similar to that of the Fifteenth Amendment passed some eight years previously.
Stanton was also active internationally, spending a great deal of time in Europe, where her daughter and fellow feminist Harriot Stanton Blatch lived. In 1888, she helped prepare for the founding of the International Council of Women. In 1890, Stanton opposed the merger of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association with the more conservative and religiously based American Woman Suffrage Association. Over her objections, the organizations merged, creating the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Despite her opposition to the merger, Stanton became its first president, largely because of Susan B. Anthony’s intervention. In good measure because of The Woman’s Bible and her position on issues such as divorce she was, however, never popular among the more religiously conservative members of the “National American”.
On January 18, 1892, about ten years before she died, Stanton joined Anthony, Stone, and Isabella Beecher Hooker to address the issue of suffrage before the United States House Committee on the Judiciary. After nearly five decades of fighting for female suffrage and women’s rights, it was Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s final appearance before members of the United States Congress. Using the text of what became The Solitude of Self, she spoke of the central value of the individual, noting that value was not based on gender. As with the Declaration of Sentiments she had penned some 45 years earlier, Stanton’s statement expressed not only the need for women’s voting rights in particular, but the need for a revamped understanding of women’s position in society and even of women in general:
“The isolation of every human soul and the necessity of self-dependence must give each individual the right to choose his own surroundings. The strongest reason for giving woman all the opportunities for higher education, for the full development of her faculties, her forces of mind and body; for giving her the most enlarged freedom of thought and action; a complete emancipation from all forms of bondage, of custom, dependence, superstition; from all the crippling influences of fear—is the solitude and personal responsibility of her own individual life. The strongest reason why we ask for woman a voice in the government under which she lives; in the religion she is asked to believe; equality in social life, where she is the chief factor; a place in the trades and professions, where she may earn her bread, is because of her birthright to self-sovereignty; because, as an individual, she must rely on herself […].”
Stanton strongly supported the Spanish–American War in 1898, writing: “Though I hate war per se, I am glad that it has come in this instance. I would like to see Spain… swept from the face of the earth.”
Stanton died of heart failure at her home in New York City on October 26, 1902, 18 years before women were granted the right to vote in the United States. Survived by six of her seven children and by seven grandchildren, she was interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City, the grave upon which there is a monument for her and her husband. Although Elizabeth Cady Stanton had been unable to attend a formal college or university, her daughters did. Margaret Livingston Stanton Lawrence attended Vassar College (1876) and Columbia University (1891), and Harriot Stanton Blatch received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Vassar College in 1878 and 1891 respectively.
After Stanton’s death, her unorthodox ideas about religion and emphasis on female employment and other women’s issues led many suffragists to focus on Anthony, rather than Stanton, as the founder of the women’s suffrage movement. Stanton’s controversial publishing of The Woman’s Bible in 1895 had alienated more religiously traditional suffragists, and had cemented Anthony’s place as the more readily recognized leader of the female suffrage movement. Anthony continued to work with NAWSA and became more familiar to many of the younger members of the movement. By 1923, in celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, only Harriot Stanton Blatch paid tribute to the role her mother had played in instigating the women’s rights movement. Even as late as 1977, Anthony received the most attention as the founder of the movement, while Stanton was not mentioned.
Over time, however, Stanton received more attention. Stanton was commemorated along with Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony in a sculpture by Adelaide Johnson at the United States Capitol, unveiled in 1921. Originally kept on display in the crypt of the US Capitol, the sculpture was moved to its current location and more prominently displayed in the rotunda in 1997. The Elizabeth Cady Stanton House in Seneca Falls was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965. Her house in Tenafly, New Jersey, was declared a landmark in 1975. Years later, 37 Park Row, the site of the original office of Stanton and Anthony’s newspaper, The Revolution, was included in the map of Manhattan historical sites related or dedicated to important women created by the Office of the Manhattan Borough President in March 2008. She is commemorated, together with Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Ross Tubman, in the calendar of saints of the Episcopal Church on July 20. In 1999, interest in Stanton was popularly rekindled when Ken Burns and others produced the documentary Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony. Once again, attention was drawn to her central, founding role in shaping not only the woman’s suffrage movement, but a broad women’s rights movement in the United States that included women’s suffrage, women’s legal reform, and women’s roles in society as a whole.
On April 20, 2016 Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced that several denominations of United States currency would be redesigned prior to 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The newly designed $10 bill will include images which will pay homage to the women’s suffrage movement and feature the images of Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, and the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession. 
ALL CREATIVE WRITINGS ON THIS SITE WRITTEN BY:
Min IS COPYRIGHTED.
Written by: Min Lee
An American Writer
Chapter 1: (Story to be turned to FILM)
Good morning class, today we will be exploring history that you may have not been encouraged to study in Grammar school, middle school, and high school. On the pages of those textbooks, even of different societies, you will read stories of those notable individuals that shaped their country and society. Past leaders such as presidents, government officials, kings, or queens are mentioned quite often but there are only a few handfuls of average citizens’ stories that are discussed in your textbooks.
Now that you have finished reading the books about people, through-out history who have played a pivotal role in contributing to the development of our society, I would like for you to record your own history.
Like the many students around the globe read, examine, question, and learn from ancient history, you will be doing the same for the history of yourself. Please write your own history with conscientious effort. I suggest you go home and ask yourselves where you come from to help you get started.
“Professor, what if we don’t know where we came from?” asked Paul.
“Then, write the earliest recollection of a moment that was significant in your life,” stated the Professor.
Paul went home and sat there with a pen and notebook at hand ready to write. But what? He could not think of anything to write. Then his roommate walks in and turns on the television, and said, “Man, I got this prison lottery ticket, I know, I know, I’m never gonna win blah, blah, but I thought what the hell and decided to buy one. Yo, you studying or something, you don’t mind if I turn on tube, do ya?”
News Anchor: “Good evening, we have breaking news from overseas. Another convoy has been attacked and 14 American soldiers have been killed. This is breaking news and we will update you with more information about this tragedy later.”
“Man, that’s sad, Derrick’s brother is stationed out there,” said the Roommate.
Paul looked over at the television screen, there were numbers of soldiers surrounding and looking at the charred-up frame of what used to be a vehicle. Then he remembered something. He picked up his notebook started scribbling some words down on paper.
By: Paul S.
Class: History 101
His eyes were shattered by it and blinded him to death. Well, you probably want to know what this has to do with the title “Chapter 1.”
I don’t know where I come from, all I know is that I was living in smelly ass shelters and other times I’d pretend to be praying at church so that I wouldn’t get kicked out in the snow. I think I had a dad in the past…..he told me never to call him dad but to refer to him by his first name, Johnnie. I cannot really speak of the first chapter of my life without mentioning Johnnie.
He always wore these thick army pants proudly. One winter, when someone took the pants off of him and tried to run off with them, he chased the guy in his holey tightie white underwear and beat the shiz-nuts out of him. Johnnie had busted the guy up so badly, his face was smothered with blood. Kind of looked like my face after I finished off that plate of leftover spaghetti that I found on top of my face when I woke up one lucky mornin’. Hey just cuz you don’t have a fork doesn’t mean you don’t eat. I used my hands, when my hands weren’t enough to hold the shit, I dove in face first and devoured the thing. It was the best tasting Spaghetti, I had ever had.
Even though I was little Johnnie never let me hold his hand, I guess I was afraid of losing him. Where to go, who to run to, what will I do, were the questions that came to mind when I thought of losing Johnnie. When I tripped on the potholes or on the chipped sidewalk or felt exhausted from asking for food or money to the people who didn’t even turn our way, he’d tell me to, “Shut the fuck up and be a fuckin’ man and keep walkin’.”
A lot of nights I would have this dream, where I was in the middle of nowhere in a never-ending field of grass both sides of me and when I looked down, my shoes were covered with this gray sticky stuff but when I looked up it was a nice sunny day, a few small clouds here and there but the whole sky was as blue as can be. I was wearing these heavy army pants just like that of Johnnie’s and was running. I felt my shoes were stuck by this sticky gray thing. The more strength I used the pick up my heels to run fast to I don’t know where maybe even nowhere, the more tired I grew and it was no use the sticky gray thing was smothered all over my shoes and was rising up to higher and higher. As the sticky stuff rose up to my legs, I almost felt frozen not able to get far. Then I tumbled onto the ground. The sticky gray substance made me stick to the ground and I absolutely was not even able get up anymore. Then when I looked up a green stop light that was brightly lit appeared and next to it was a red stop sign. That’s when I heard a someone yell, Hey, Hey!
Hey, Hey, P. we got to get up and find a warm place inside, it looks like it’s going to snow soon.
“Question, Johnnie why aren’t you working?” I asked.
He sounded out of breath and tired when he answered me, “I tried long time ago but it’s no use.”
I said, “Really? Okay well this time I’m here, I’ll help every which way I can.”
“First of all Johnnie, smile a little and put your hair to the side. Those people who walk past us everyday going in and out of those buildings always put their hair to side. Your hair is all over the place man.” I spit on my hand and gently tried to comb over his hair to the side.
”Oh shoot, my hand’s stuck! Man Johnnie, you got gum in your hair. You didn’t have this yesterday. This is going to take some time but I’ll get it out.”
Alright, let’s just go into different stores and food places and see if they need some extra help.
The sun just came up, people were unlocking their doors and you could hear the chimes blowing in the wind as beautiful people, some wearing shiny shoes, some wearing furry coats walked into door after door filled with decorated in beautiful ornaments.
So we ran into the first door. All cheerfully ready to say “Hi!” But we were cut off with:
“No, no we don’t service anyone with sneakers, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“Sorry, we don’t allow solicitors in here.”
“This is a private place of business, we can refuse customers, the door is this way.”
As I looked over my shoulder I noticed the lady who told us to leave pinched her nose waving her hand in front of it and she pointed at us and laughed.
“It’s already dark time, we walked into all these stores I’m so tired and cold.”
“I know me too, and (whispering)I think I need to make some doo doo Johnnie.” I spoke looking around to see if anyone else heard me.
Johnnie: Let’s go into that place right there.
Me: Oh that coffee store?
Johnnie: Great you go do your thing and I’ll stand right here outside.
Me: There’s soft chairs in there, you can sit and it’s too cold out here.
Johnnie: Looks a bit fancy don’t you think they’ll kick us out like the other places did?
“What’s the worst they can say? No get out of here? We’ve been kicked out of probably every store so far, why not this one. Plus this time, even though I’m so very tired, I’m going to smile. Who’s going to say mean things to a smile like this?” I flashed my smile with one front tooth missing (When one of my two front teeth started hurting Johnnie thought it was best to take it out. So took his shoe lace off and tied it around my tooth and yanked it and Voila, I only have one front tooth and no more pain).
Our eyes crisscrossed across the coffee aroma-filled room as we slowly walked in to see if anyone noticed us coming in. I took a deep breath and made a run for it to the bathroom. Johnnie quickly sunk into a soft coach before anyone could discover him. Well that’s what he thought.
“Sir this is not a place to sleep, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
Luckily, I arrived on the scene in time.
“Mister, my father is here for a job. We were wondering if you have any work for this good man?”
“Sure, wait right here.”
“See Johnnie, all you gotta do is ask nicely and smile,” I said cheerfully.
The lady in a greenish brownish apron with white ribbons came towards us, “Here, you go, just fill this out and turn this in and we will call you when we need you.”
Johnnie looked down at the paper, he blinked a couple of times, picked up the paper and put it up the light, then looked at me and smiled. He put it down and squinted his eyes. His finger slowly went over each line of letters stopped at some of the long words.
Whenever we played EYE SPY, he’d always be able to spot the smallest birds in trees so far away from us. So I didn’t understand why he couldn’t possibly see what was on that paper. I sat there as my stomach said hello several times and that was when I had that one rare moment, in person’s life when you could just look at someone and without a single word from that person totally understand them. I asked Johnnie, “Need some help?”
He looked up at me, like are-you-crazy-you’re-3-years-old, when-did-you-learn-to-read?
I took the paper with both hands, stretched it out in front of me, and squinted my eyes. My mouth naturally pouted out and twitched side to side, as it usually did when I was concentrating real hard and said, “Hmm…..”
“Hmmm….interesting, very interesting, you must be quite shocked as I am that’s why you haven’t lifted up your pen up.”
Let’s go down this list:
One must be able to sing Oh, Happy Day!
“You hate to sing, better yet you always yell at me for singing that terrible song.”
One must shave off the beard.
“I kind of like your beard. Don’t shave off your beard.”
One must have big ears to hear the orders in this noisy place.
“You can’t help it if you got small ears.”
You won’t believe this last one.
Johnnie: What is it?
Me: Do you really want to hear it?
Johnnie: Yeh, I already think I know what it is but please do tell.
“One must smile and have two front teeth.”
Oh bottle caps, how rude of them! Johnnie we don’t want to work here, they can’t handle our kind of beauty. Let’s get out of here.
We walked aimlessly all night to find a warm place to stay but all the shelters were completely full. Tired from too much walking and the snow blowing in our faces we ended up setting up camp near a warm doorway of a library, we huddled closer to keep warm.
During the night, I heard cars whizzing by and sometimes footsteps. I’d wake up to see who was there. It was usually another guy just like us walking who knows where. His eyes were wide-open, I mean Johnnie’s eyes were wide open when I looked up at him. He hardly ever rested his eyes. I would wake up to his heartbeat pounding harder and faster and his whole body would jump whenever footsteps were passing us.
The snow had stopped coming down. So I encouraged Johnnie to go out looking for work again. By then, we were so cold we could barely move our dry faces, I felt like my whole lip had split open which made talking so very difficult. We hadn’t eaten for two days now and Johnnie mentioned that he felt his body was aching. My head felt like a hammer was hitting the top of it and my nose kept spewing out blood.
Johnnie gave me his scarf and his sweater that he had under his coat, “But Johnnie, what about you, you’re only wearing a T-shirt, your jacket’s not warm enough.”
“I’ll be okay,” might as well been Goodbye, because those are the last words I heard from Johnnie.
I don’t know what exactly happened but this is how I was told went down according to a witness. He was knocking on doors for food or warm blankets for us in the alley, saw the silver watch the police later found him next to and picked it up probably thinking maybe we can sell it.
A man with an empty box which originally held the watch saw Johnnie picking it up. When Johnnie didn’t reply due to his loss of voice and face being completely numb, the man shot him from on the back of Johnnie’s head. This bullet ripped through his scull and shattered his eye which blinded Johnnie to his death.
A lady in blue stopped me, when I tried to sneak through the yellow tape, down the narrow ally, as I yelled out, “Johnnie, Johnnie!”
I knew Johnnie wouldn’t be too happy if I cried, so I tried to hold in the tears. I wanted to be strong and be able to take care of myself, after-all Johnnie always told me I was man enough to handle anything.
I didn’t know what to do but I knew I wanted to get out of the cold.
“Dang man, you were homeless? Why were you homeless?”
Roommate looked at the clock, 8:30pm. And says,
”Yo, P.S. I have to go to play b-ball with the boys.”
When the door closed behind the roommate, Paul tore out the page that he had written and crumbled it up into a ball and threw it in his trash can.
He picked up his pen and started to write a new draft.
By: Paul S.
I don’t know much about myself but my life up to now has been pretty average. I feel as though many people have gone through what I have gone through therefore writing it to be a part of history will be redundant.
Paul put his head down, quietly sighed for a few minutes. Looked over at the waste basket and noticed he missed the trash can.
He let out a deep breath stared at the ball of paper sitting next the waste basket for several minutes.
He continued on……………………to his second draft of “Chapter 1” and added, “But you can decide for yourself,” as he stapled the wrinkled original draft of Chapter 1 to the new draft.
***I wrote this story 12 years ago.
The story was created when I was inspired through meeting a man who was rummaging through the garbage in the alley and I asked him do you need any help and he didn’t answer, I don’t know if he couldn’t talk or couldn’t hear me but he didn’t answer, I asked can I take a picture of you? He nodded yes and I took his picture from a distance then a close up.
What I noticed about him was there was this dried tear down one side of his cheek. I could never forget that moment. So I decided to stretch my imagination and write a story about everyday experience of a homeless people.
I tried to use some humor in the everyday situation of a homeless person. I’ve heard from a writer and actor that some of the funniest scenes come from the most challenging and different points in a character’s life or story.
Watch Anchorman 2 or Old School as an example of the finding humor in the challenging and difficult points in a character’s story.
Written by: Min Lee
An American Writer
ABOUT author of this post:
I WENT THROUGH SEVERE depression LIKE robbin williams, but I SURVIVED, I SURVIVED FROM depression THROUGH therapy treatment, the treatment that was most effect believe it or not were books, there was a book our group therapist used for teens with many different problems everything from depression to kids dealing with drug and alcohol and substance abuse habits, and kids that got into frequent getting into trouble, they gathered us all kids with dealing with different teen problems and different struggles and the therapist used a book called the most effective book that helped us all kids titled “DON’t STRESS the small stuff, and we’d get into discussions about what we were all dealing with and during conversation we helped each other suggestions how we can deal with each of the issues we are dealing with, we were each other’s support system even though we each all of us were dealing with different issues.z
DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL YEARS, I thought everyone was having so much fun during high school than I did and I HAD REALLY POOR GRADES AND ALMOST FAILED high school. I HAD REALLY POOR GRADES AND GPA AND WAS bored with most of my classes AND I HATED TESTS AND DID SO POORLY ON EXAMS AND FAILED EVERY EXAMS, AND MY a.c.t and s.a.t SCORES WERE REALLY POOR, I THOUGHT I WOULDN’T GET INTO ANY universities and colleges, and GAVE UP ON THE IDEA OF GOING TO COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY but my counselor TOLD ME TO APPLY to a STATE SCHOOL WITH AN affirmative ACTION program AND SO ALL OTHER COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES DIDN’T ACCEPT ME but this public state university ACCEPTED me.z
The ONLY COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY THAT accepted ME was a PUBLIC STATE UNIVERSITY THAT WERE UNDERSTANDING OF THE ISSUES i was dealing with a teen WITH THE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, AND FIRST I MAJORED IN BUSINESS BU then studied Journalism then during the journalism class we had a class assignment to interview get various perspectives about whether or not we should go to war in Iraq, various perspectives from people in the community. I interviewed first a janitor in my dorm, then a security officer on the University Campus, then an English professor, then a few students from studying different majors, then some people I met on campus dorms and as well at the Student lounge cafe.
It was interesting to get different perspective on a topic. That’s why I decided during my time in college to look for a journalism job. I went through the phone book for a list of newspapers to apply to, for a job in journalism. I called many newspapers and every newspaper rejected me but one editor told me to come in and bring samples of my work, so I did bring in a newsletter I wrote that went out to over 11,000 students on campus in the dorms and all over campus. He loved what he read, and told me I can be a freelance journalist for his newspaper. My first assignment was to interview everyone with different perspectives on the local school referendum, you see they were trying to raise funds for the local schools but some people in the community didn’t agree but some did agree to help fund the schools to get the right resources so that they that the students had all the supplies and books they needed to fund the school. I was surprised that many in the community had strong opinions about topic, on helping schools, not many disagreed to helping schools.
Then my next project for the newspaper was to interview an author who happened to be mom and writer, she brought her mom and she told me about her experience as a writer, and as a mom, the balancing she had to juggle both mom duties and writer job duties. She had some very funny stories. She told me she went to a school that offered creative writing and told me her school had a lot fun creative courses and her and her mom encouraged me to look into it, because I told her I wanted to learn more creative aspect of marketing and learn some more writing courses. So I looked into it and the school had various writing courses but I ultimately decided on Marketing Communication and concentration in Public Relations and Advertising, and Marketing courses because those were the most creative out of all businesses. Then I took courses in Film writing, Film History, then Film Aesthetics, then a Documentary Film making course, I really enjoyed the film courses the most and learned so much from the course, I’ve written so many of my first stories taking those courses. That’s how I decided to become writer, Had that first State University not accepted me I would have never worked at the newspaper as a freelance journalism job, then I would have never met that author/writer, then I would have never attended the creative University then I would have never studied writing and I would never have written this story above. Because that first school had an affirmitive action program even though I didn’t do well in high school and I didn’t score high on the college entrance exam ACT, SAT, I got accepted to go on to become a writer. I was so grateful to that school for allowing to attend even though I didn’t have a high GPA or low test scores in the college entrance exams. So really exams, grades, GPA and test scores don’t determine how intelligent a person is or what a person is capable of in life. More teachers, and people who work in school boards, and people who work in education should take action to make improvements on education to make the changes happen, so more people have the opportunity to attend colleges and Universities so they can learn different skills and subjects that expands their horizons and learn new stuff to expand their minds and skill sets. Had the University rejected me I would have never had to opportunity to find a hidden talent which is writing and to explore different subjects so I can become a more wise person.
ALL CREATIVE WRITINGS ON THIS SITE WRITTEN BY:
Min Lee IS COPYRIGHTED.
If you would like to collaborate with me on a film.
Contact me at:
ALL CREATIVE WRITINGS ON THIS SITE WRITTEN BY:
Min IS COPYRIGHTED.
Written by: Min Lee
An American Writer
One Day The Sun Stopped Shining
One day the sun stopped shining.
There was no more sunlight
It was dark and night for 5 years.
People never came outside, and nothing grew, it was complete silence everywhere,
Then one day a girl decides to venture outside.
There’s nothing darkness, then in a far distance she sees a splash of twinkle.
So she runs toward it. She gets closer and closer and it’s a star, it’s literally a fallen star, wounded from the fall. And he cries and cries and cries to make him feel better.
The girl runs home gets her emergency kit and puts a band-aide on the crying star’s side of the head. But he still cries it hurts.
So she hugs him and says tell me why it hurts, and he whispers something in her ear, then magically the star flies away then eventually the whole sky turns to brightness
The star was the Sun that had fallen out of the sky. Now that his wounds have healed he is able to soar and light the world.
Based on a true story that happened.
Written by: Min Lee
An American Writer
ALL CREATIVE WRITINGS ON THIS SITE WRITTEN BY:
Min Lee IS COPYRIGHTED.
If you would like to collaborate with me on a film.
Contact me at:
Written by: Min Lee
An American Writer
Christianity meets Wall Street
2008 The Great Recessions happens
2.8 Million people have lost their jobs by end 2008
A total of 11.1 Million people in the USA are unemployed
Stocks plummet and there’s a financial crisis….
Then there were two dudes who were working on Wall Street and lost it all………….they apply everywhere including Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, even McDonald’s passed on them.
Months go by and they sit in front of the TV vegetating on the couching eating living on Ramen noodles and $5 Tombstone Pizza, then they get a knock on the door, it’s two Christian missionaries. They have a pamphlet that says Believe in the Power of Prayer.
Eventually starts a for profit church and becomes popular
First he starts reading stories from the bible and gives inspirational sermons like below at the bottom of the story….
The church wells with over 20,000 people attending every week and brought in lots of donation the church now becomes a mega church so now people see how profitable the church can be so Wall Street enters and thinks about what the shareholders want so eventually decides to rebrand to be exclusive and they call it The Cool Church, in which only cool people can attend the church.
Their definition of what is cool is being wealthy, having lots of money, thin or ridiculously good looking (Ford Models will make a cameo), or you have to have a funny sense of humor (the church will have a velvet rope where they only test if you are funny by making the potential church attendee tell a joke, if it’s a knock knock joke, they say get out of here), or if you’re gay you’re automatically in because you’re considered cool because they are good looking and fashionable and usually incredibly wealthy (Ricky Martin and Lance Bass make a cameo standing in line to get into church standing behind the velvet rope entrance of the church), Chris Kristy makes a cameo in line but he gets denied because he’s considered too overweight to be considered cool.
You can pay $10,000 for VIP booth for the service where you get a bottle of the 100 year old aged wine with bread with Gold flakes in them or floor seats where you’re free to mosh to the music and body surf during the service, floor seats get you could choose to pay open bar with 2 free wine drinks from the Cup of God and serve Panera bread. CNN Reports There’s a 290% increase among 20 something year olds and college aged students attending church and converting to Christianity and chains of The Cool churches open all over the College Campuses across the country. Young people stand behind velvet ropes in The Cool Churches on Sunday afternoon getting wasted on Cup of God Wines, and a camera man tapes a girls and a guys throwing up outside the church and a bouncer of the Cool church blocks with his hand the camera from taping this scene.
Then Lead Pastor of the Cool Church goes overboard and starts receiving 25million dollars from advertisers that want to advertise during their service. The Pastor states in this message I’m about deliver is brought to you by Victoria’s Secret, Why not look sexy during your morning and evening creation sessions with your wife, Before you start your procreating sessions get her the latest hottest sexiest lingerie like the The Angel Bra, The Demi or one of Victoria’s secret line of Black see through Lingerie.
Then the Founder and CEO of The Cool Church says let’s start a clothing line called Jesus in which it’s just long bed sheets worn like a robe, so you can look just like Jesus.
Also an out of work plastic surgeon in the Midwest decides hey what if you can look like Jesus in that if you don’t have facial hair like Jesus did and thinks what if you could to look more like him through beard implants…..he rolls out with an advertisement that says
“Ever wanted to look like Jesus but you don’t have facial hair just not in your genes? Well we got the solution for you Jesus beard implants.”
This becomes a national phenomenon and people all over the country are getting the beard transplants. CNN states this new Jesus look is spreading like wild fire throughout the nation and shows a video clip of even a baby with beard with this new beard transplant and shows clips of interviews of Jared Leto asking him what inspired to growing his hair out and with a beard to look like Jesus, during an interview for his new film Dallas Buyers Club
An Overweight nerdy girl who is the founder of an unknown group call the The National Association of Fair and Imperfect looking people of American decides that it’s not fair to have a cool church so she starts a church open to everyone, They call it Everyone Church. The church donates to causes called Donate for the overweight, and poor. Free stylish clothes offered to people who can’t afford it.
The Cool church may be the Abercrombie of Churches but WE are the Walmart of Churches, we welcome people even if they are considered imperfect looking, with happen to work hourly jobs, I mean down to earth looking fair looking people…. The Everyone church gives out pieces of ginger bread cookies and water in individual cups because frankly giving out pieces of bread and saying your sharing the “BODY of Christ” is kind of creepy don’t you think?
And we offer water instead of wine in individual paper cups because drinking what’s called blood of Christ is kind of weird, drinking blood what are you a vampire? And we give out individual cups because I don’t want to drink out of the same cups as the everyone who attends my church I don’t want to drink everyone’s backwash and saliva, or catch a cold, and we serve water instead of wine because we want to welcome people who are members of alcohol anonymous.
Eventually the Cool Church fails…miserably because the leader of the church, decides to cut costs by giving away a drink of expired grape juice and Styrofoam instead of bread during communion and wine. Everyone who attends that church gets miserably sick from the expired grape juice and Styrofoam. Thousands across the country who attend the popular church gets sick.
The pastor of the church goes back to having no church and no job and becoming Time Magazine’s number 1 Hated man in the Country.
He does a live interview to change public opinion on CNN.
The commentator pushes his button and pushes his button and pushes his button again.
Until he shouts a rant, Dammit, man I grew up in a Catholic Church, That Fuckin thing Tasted like Styrofoam, How do you know the Catholic church hasn’t been giving out fuckin circular shaped flat styrofoam, It sure tasted like God Daym Styrofoam to me!
And You give me shit about giving out Expired Grape Juice but God Fuckin dammit, the people have been drinkin fuckin rotten grape juice since Since Jesus walked this Earth, Wine is basically rotten Grape juice, they just call it wine, it’s the same fuckin thing, Wine industry is fuckin loaded, Fuckin people drink that shit like it’s Gold they’re drinkin, So Fuckin givin out Expired Grape Juice is basically same thing, they’re basically rotten fruit juice!
Where ever he goes people notice him and point at him and talk about him and he has to wear disguises, so he wears flower pattered dresses wearing white wig that’s in bun to make him look like a granny, and he wears Sunglasses and large brimmed hat.
No one notices, then him and sigh of relief.
He goes to the check out counter, then the Muslim lady wearing a scarf who is the cashier gets a price wrong one of the bags of ramen noodles.
He says hey you got the price of these ramen noodles wrong. It’s supposed to be 88 cents not $1.50.
Then she recognizes him. She says is that you? That Pastor? I know you made a mistake but even though I’m not Christian like you, I watched you Tv and radio and read all your books, I really appreciated your positive message to the world and it made me more spiritual to believe in something, something bigger than myself, I’m not talking about my obesity, I’m talking about faith and God.
The down on his luck failed former Founder of The Cool Church one day gets approached by group of missionaries they say just pray and then a Buddist guy he sits next to says Mr. you just have to have firm belief, next he sees some men of Jewish faith don’t give up, then a man of Hindu belief says whoever your God is you have to believe in he will come through for you.
His college aged daughter says “Dad can you buy me tickets to Lollapoolaza” He googles Lollapoolaza to find that it’s a 3 day music festival that’s famously popular.
Then his mind flashes his meeting with all these people of different religious belief……A light bulb above his head turns on…………..A Believepoolaza…..a music festival open to all faith, every year travels to different small rural towns that don’t have churches.
He stands in front of an audience of thousands of people of all faith that make the America and says I don’t care if you believe in a God that is a cow, sheep, or pigeons, or if you your religion makes you wear little itsy bitsy hats that you have to pin on your head and your head itches like hell because of those daym dollar store pins that your wife insists on getting because everything at the Dollar store is the shit (beep out the shit), or you’re a dude who are forced to wear those cardboard thingies in the collar similar to that you find in new button up shirts and you got paper cuts from the darm cardboard thingie, or you worship a big bellied dude who happens also to be bald, we are Americans we welcome people of all faith, just have to faith and believe in each other, help each other in times of hardship. The type of God you believe shouldn’t matter, What should matter is you believe in Spiritually and improving your community!!! God Bless America, whoever your god is!!! Enjoy the music and the festival everyone!!! He then jumps into the crowd made of people of all faith holding him up as he surfs through the crowd.
ALL CREATIVE WRITINGS ON THIS SITE WRITTEN BY:
Min Lee IS COPYRIGHTED.
Written by: Min Lee
An American Writer
If you would like to collaborate with me on a film.
Contact me at:
ALL CREATIVE WRITINGS ON THIS SITE WRITTEN BY:
Min Lee IS COPYRIGHTED.
The Search for Something More
Written by: Min Lee
An American Writer
A small room, all the surrounding walls, including the ceiling was covered with mirrors. Men and and women were sitting with their legs crossed, others had their colorful mats sprawled out in front of them, some were standing up and stretching. The lady with her hair swept up in a perfect ponytail, not a single strand of hair touching her face, turned around and shut the door behind her.
She unrolled her hot pink mat, greeted everyone, and told them,
“Get comfortable everyone and close your eyes.”
Everyone chose to lay down except for the old man in his mid 80’s in the far left corner of the room. He lived through World War I, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War and to the present. There was something solid about him, his eyes never showed any fear, though he had seen the most horrific visions, of the wounded men reaching out their arms for relief from pain of injuries on the battle front, and had seen many deceased right in front his eyes during the wars that he fought in. But it was not determined whether it was his old age or the decades after decades of witnessing bloodshed that was building up and finally dug into his core. Perhaps that was why he decided to take an effort to find solution to this helpless feeling. Most certainly the death of his wife of 67 years might have caused him deep pain for beyond the World War II gunshot wound to the thigh.
Each of the people that sat in that room occupied a space of their own sorrows or worries. The man in the very back of the room on the right hand corner wearing a Bears jersey was trying to cope with a recent divorce, the young girl in the braids and face covered with freckles was mourning the loss of her friend in a tragic car crash, the lady in her early 30’s was hoping to escape the pain of her cancer which was eating away her livelihood day by day.
But they all had one thing in common. The room with the young and old, all of whom, were worried whether they will be able to stretch their imagination far enough to escape the tragedies far enough to escape the tragedies that occurred 2 weeks ago in New York City. Many had recieved calls from their loved ones for confirmation that they were okay. After that there was nothing else to do but wait. Everyone was just waiting, waiting for this glum period to pass.
The sounds of bird chirping and waves of water crashing onto shore filled the room.
“Imagine or think of a place you’ve been to or would like to retreat to that is serene that you forget all your worries.”
Water crystal clear, from a birds-eye view from 356 feet in the air you could almost see straight to the ocean floor. As you get closer you see all sorts of colorful fish weaving past each other in all directions. Waves crashed onto an island with sand as white as snow that almost sparkled when a flash of sunlight beamed on them. A single spiral shaped sea shell with a hint of pink sat alone on the shimmering sand that extended for miles with no trace of civilization except for the group of sea gulls. A slow gust of cool air is noticed by the sea gulls and they fly away. A small hand picks up the sea shells and is thrown far toward the edge of the clear blue horizon of the ocean. He then purposely falls on his back onto the white sand, and sinks into the sand, to feel the coolness of it, touch every part of his sun soaked skin. He looks up at the sky, the sun was beaming down brightly as it typically does. His gray eyes were focused sharply on the small formation of fluffy clouds that resembled his home, built of stone. He scratched his long, wispy brown hair, with a tint of of auburn and blond from the daily exposure of the sun. His name was Zoltan.
I know what you’re thinking “Zoltan?” What is this Green mythology?
Absolutely not that kind of story, there is a pinch of adventure, and heroism but other than that nothing close to Greek Mythology. Sorry to disappoint!
His mother Onogur (sounds quite Greek but guess again) was working in an excavation in Hungry. She had received a grant to dig up artifacts in Africa but refused noting there is much more to discover in the home of her ancestors, Hungry. She came across artifacts from the 10th century, some sculptures and works of art owned by the ruler of Hungry between the years 906 to 947, known as Zolta or Zoltan. This all happened 5 months into her pregnancy. She was so very occupied in her work that she didn’t even realize she was pregnant. She called up her unofficial husband.
She referred to Dalip Chandrasekhar as her unofficial husband because she refused to wear the ring he had lovingly purchased for her after she diligently suggested that they become partners in creating a possible life-long household partnernship and parenting. She found wearing the ring repulsive. To Onogur it was a man’s way of showing ownership of a woman. The wedding never occurred because she knew Dalip well enough that he would want a traditional Hindu wedding to please his parents. She voiced her opinion against the ceremony. Plus the traditional Hindu wedding consisted of many rituals and rules to follow. Also, she had allergic reactions to henna, well that’s what she told her parents because she could picture the mess the henna would make of her hands and feet.
Dalip almost fainted after hearing the news of Onogur being pregnant.
He was ecstatic about becoming a father. He came from a family with 13 siblings and his mother “passed away” according to Dalip’s father but one neighbor saw a female that looked just like Dalip’s mother mysteriously fleeing in a boat early one morning. So he never felt he received adequate parenting and had experienced virtually no parent-child bonding. The sole responsibility of affection and discipline was on the weak shoulders of Dalip’s father. His father, the ingenious man that he was tackled both affection and discipline at once by his unique hugging technique in which he lifted each child up off the ground while in embrace in the order of oldest to youngest. It was not only his way of showing affection but instilling fear in his sons. Although his father was only 5’3′ tall weighing 105 lbs he wanted to show he could still overpower each one of them. He lifted one by one each son off the ground but by the time he reached Dalip, the 12th youngest child, he had absolutely had no energy left.
The children grew up at a rapid pace, Dalip’s mother’s side was blessed with genes that allowed their children to seem wealthy with their plump cheeks and stomachs even in times of hardship when they ate only one meal every other day. (Back in the olden days in many cultures if you were pleasantly plump it was considered a blessing since only wealthy people had enough to eat to have plump rosy cheeks). So by the time the eldest reached 15 years old the father decided to only hug and lift off the ground to the 6th oldest child. He accomplished a feat that was still incredibly scientifically impossible considering how immensely plump each one of his sons were. So Dalip only got hugs til he was merely 2 years old. Since Onogur vowed to have only 2 children and Dalip agreed to have vasectomy after the second child, he had no worries he’d run into the same problem his father had.
Onogur, at the 5th month of her pregnancy (a couple of days before realizing she was bearing a child) she did feel a bit heavy and had hard time bending down to pick up some things but she never let any slight pain get in the way of pounding through hard concrete with the heavy ax and shoveling mounds of dirt. She was a determined woman. The University that granted her the funding for the excavation thought it would be best for her to take a leave of absence, during her pregnancy.
Her reaction to such a suggestion was, “How dare you, just because I am a woman you don’t think I can take on work a man can do? No way am I going to leave this excavation til every little artifact is dug up! You hear that? I’ll be in labor on this site if I have to!” She shouted with spit spraying onto the face of the man who made this daring suggestion and she ended her shouting by pounding her fist hard on her chest which made her fall to the ground landing on her back. She cracked one of the vases they were trying to escavate and also injured her back.
The doctor said she needed bed rest but she pounded on her chest refusing to stay in bed until a woman was put in charge at the site she was working at. The doctor whispered something to the nurse but thankfully was not heard by Onogur. “This lady is crazy. If she wasn’t pregnant, I’d give her some meds to shut the *Beep* up!”
Onagur’s fascination for historical anthropology surfaced after hearing her grandfather’s falsified stories of his accomplishments in the deserts of Serbia digging up diamonds and jewels of the rich kings and queens in 500 B.C.
So with this discovery in Hungary, she had her mind set on naming her son Zoltan. Her husband Dalip Chandrasekhar a professor of science for over 2 decades had his heart set on the name Tungsten, which was a chemical known for its strong physical properties, “I mean my God woman, Tungsten has the highest melting point out of all the non-alloyed metals and is the second highest of all elements after Carbon,” is the argument he put forth when his wife loudly spoke about having her mind set on naming their child Zoltan.
Zoltan, the name of the Hungarian ruler was one that Chandrasekhar refused to accept for the name of his first born. The stories of he heard from his first love Drebecen. She was a nice Jewish girl raised in Hungary who told Dalip about being one of the 440,000 people being ripped away from her home and sent to Auschwitz by the Hungarian police.
“My childhood buddy was sent to a concentration camp by the Hungarian police, I refuse to name my son anything that reflects such a country that could allow such horrific events to occur on any human beings!” His stern voice of opposition rang throughout the book filled walls of their loft.
“It’s something that happened long ago, dear Dalip. Times change, a society of people change, I understand you can’t forget but you have to be able to forgive. Also, Zoltan was the ruler of Hungary for hundreds of years prior to to World War II AND it’s a more powerful sounding name.” shouted back Onogur.
A day after their son, Zoltan was born, two of the buildings in New York were struck and came crumbling down. The following week after this attack Dalip and Onogur decided to help out in any way they can. They traveled to New York to be of service to assist the rescue workers. Instead of being thanked for their enthusiastic effort to be of assistance, they were mistake for Muslim extremist terrorist and were not only given ugly stares but were stopped, checked in places strangers should not go (other than this particular moment, this incident ALMOST happened one time when Dalip had finished off two 12 cases of beer with his roommat who Dalip did not know well as he thought he did), detained and questioned.
Dalip and Onogur were so very upset after this incident. The couple at this time believed another World War was inevitable. They packed their bags lightly with their bare necessities: some clothes, tooth brush and tooth paste, spam, beef jerky, and salami (Dalip was not a practicing Hindu that couldn’t live without his cured meat). Along with their other bare necessities, their 15,000 favorite books had to wait till they arrived at their destination after which will be FedEx-ed over.
Their dream destination was a place without corruption, destruction, and constant fighting. So they decided to build their own boat and set sail. Dalip had a fascination with engineering, unfortunately had no skills or interest in building a boat. He couldn’t think of anything else to do but to trade his gold minted Star Trek character coins with his buddy Tommy, better known in the professional world as Barthelme, for his boat.
Dalip proudly showed his boat to his wife and bragged about his skills in building something with such amazing ingenuity.
The couple said farewell to their family, friends, and colleagues. They set sail for a foreign land, one that the rest of society would consider uninhabitable because of its lack of natural resources and civilization.
It took days, months and months until they reached land that they felt was suitable for a retreat away from society’s chaos. A small island near the equator on the Eastern Hemisphere, it was the size 1/10 of the a bread crumb on the map, apparently invisible to the naked eye on the map or a globe. They named this small island, Tamales not because it was shaped like a Tamales. But because Onogur noticed a spoilt smell coming from the tented area of the boat. This is the point Onogur discovered sacks of Tamales that were spoilt because all the ice had melted in in the sacks with the tamales.
The tamales were rotting away similar to their hope of finding land on their ongoing voyage. Onogur having a weak stomach, blue chunks of oranges, raisins, crackers, in heavy liquid form off the side of the boat, due the rocking of the boat and combined with the smell of spoiled Tamales. Grabbed the bottom portion of Dalip’s shirt and wiped away the regurgitated waste still left on her mouth, then grabbed two as many Tamales she could get her hands on, she started throwing the Tamales that was spoilt away and threw in the water, Spoilt Tamales, It’s making me puke more, she pukes more on the side of the boat, then standing up she yelling and waving her hands in the middle of her yelling, she splashes a big puke splashes on in his face,
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Stop it’s fine, it’s okay, I’ll still eat it. My Tamales, My………
Tam……………ales………….. Look an island!” shouted Dalip
The search for something more………………To be continued………
This story is from the United States of America.
Written by: Min Lee
An American Writer
ALL CREATIVE WRITINGS ON THIS SITE WRITTEN BY:
Min Lee IS COPYRIGHTED.
If you would like to collaborate with me on a film.
Contact me at: