Starry Night to be performed at Vol State

By: Cole Miller
The annual Christmas program at Volunteer State Community College is coming up.
Every year at Vol State near the end of the Fall semester, the music department puts on a program.
It will be held in the Noble C. Caudill Hall in the Ellen and Will Wemyss Auditorium on Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. on both nights.
The event is completely open to the public, and students and faculty are encouraged to invite family and friends.
It is completely free for students to come and enjoy the performance, just show your student ID at the door.
In addition, anyone who wishes to donate to the program for future performances are welcome to do so.
“This year is going to be our best show yet. The theme is ‘A Starry Night’, [as it is] a nocturnal theme, a thematic ideal of stars, [literally] a starry night.”
The idea is a brainchild of myself. We will have more than just Christmas music, as the ensembles are very diverse.”
There will be Native American flautists, and several ensembles [consisting] of jazz, rhythm, rock, and blues.”
The group Vol State Showstoppers will be performing ‘Star Carols Medley’, with the finale being ‘A Shining Star’ by Earth, Wind and Fire.”
I hope every student who enjoys and appreciates music will come and enjoy the show”, said Professor James Story, Chair of the Music Arts Department.
Professor Story also added that if any student is interested in joining one of these ensembles for next year’s show, to schedule an appointment to see him in his office in the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building.
He is looking for brass, percussion and woodwind players in particular.
“I attended the Christmas program last year, and it was very entertaining. I hope I can go this year, but work hates me.”
I am looking forward to hearing my favorite Earth, Wind and Fire song ever, other than on commercials during the holidays.”
Mr. Story really knows what he’s doing, and even the shows of his I have seen outside of Vol State are just awesome.”
Christmas time is the best time of the year, for music, food, and human interaction. [Not only do] I hope I can go, but I hope that all students that enjoy this time of year as much as I do will go and enjoy this show.” said Dakota Rogers, a student at Vol State.
CDs of the performance will be five dollars and can be purchased through the music program.
For more information, contact the Office of Humanities at
(615) 230 – 3202.

Spoken word artist NAV comes to Vol State

By: Miguel Detillier
Spoken-word poet Navpreet Sachdev, better known as NAV, spoke at Volunteer State Community College on Nov. 16.
This event took place at the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room B in the Randy and Lois Wood Campus Center and lasted from 12:45-1:45 p.m. as part of International Education Week.
Before NAV read his poems to start this event, he suggested everybody in the audience to ask questions in between or after his spoken-word pieces.
NAV started this event by reading a poem called “Defined” that talks about him dealing with racial discrimination in his life.
Next, NAV read “The Apology” after he told a story about being rejected by a girl when he tried to ask for her number. This poem is about him struggling to date a girl and him being a terrible flirter toward women.
NAV then talks about negativity as one of his biggest life struggles, and that he tends to struggles to live to the fullest when he has negative thoughts in his mind. NAS also talked about dealing with his negative thoughts by doing the Think Positive Campaign on social media, especially when he shares positive messages on Snapchat and Instagram with #pathtopositivity, which lead to him reading a poem called “Scars” that talks about the agony that has affected him in his life.
Next, NAV read “What I’m About,” and encouraged the students to help him bring rhythm to his poem by clapping their hands and stomping their feet.
NAV also talked about him becoming a poet by explaining that his breakup with his girlfriend put him in a lot of emotional stress which eventually lead to him starting to write his own poems suicidal. NAV also explained that once he started to write poetry, it compelled him to write and perform his own poems in college and to learn more about the techniques of poetry from watching and studying videos of poets on YouTube.
Next, NAV read “The Politics of Facebook” that talked about the problems of being on Facebook. Afterwards NAV read “I am Singh” and “Full-Time” which both talked about his personal faith.
Finally, NAV read “Thank You Come Again” about his father who grew up in India to close this event.
“This has been a wonderful way for students to participate in an international activity right on campus,” said Anne-Marie Ruttenbur, Coordinator of International Education. “Not only did they get to hear great poetry but they also got to learn about someone from a different culture.”
“I think the event did really well,” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities. “NAV did a fantastic job, and I wish I would’ve love to see more people to come see him perform, but it was still a really good event.”
NAV said that Vol State had great energy and was a lot of fun. NAV also said that the students seemed to be engaged in this event and appeared to enjoy the show.

Weddings Around the World Exhibit at Vol State Community College

Kailyn Fournier
As a part of Volunteer State Community College’s celebration of International Education Week, there was a display in the Carpeted Dining Hall over weddings around the world on Nov. 16th.
There were various tables set up describing wedding traditions in various cultures.
According to Tabitha Sherrell, the concept of weddings around the world came from a woman, Seemi Rizvi, who volunteered to come to Vol State and give students free Henna Tattoos.
The event was then based around the fact that Henna is a wedding tradition in India.
Likewise, the event was centered on Rizvi’s table, which brought in a steady inflow of students from 11 p.m. – 2 p.m. Two students, Abby Humbest and Hunter Gooch, visited the booth, and got their tattoos.
Humbest learned about the event a week before after seeing the fliers for International Education Week on the tables of the cafeteria and remembered after seeing Rizvi’s table set up.
When she sat down, Rizvi just started going to work before Humbest could tell her what she wanted, but Rizvi’s design ended up being every close to what she had in mind.
“I liked the fact she was able to pick up on what I wanted,” said Humbest.
Gooch learned about the event from a friend who wanted to get a Henna tattoo done for themselves.
After he saw their tattoo, Gooch decided to get one as well. He didn’t have a good idea on what design he wanted, so when he sat down, “I let her do what she needed to do,” said Gooch.
She said she started doing this after she had a client who had come in for an original design and just based on how she felt came up with a Japanese appearing design.
It turned out that the girl had Japanese heritage. “After that, I just decided to tell people what I am feeling,” said Rizvi.
“She said my tattoo was a strange one to her and that I create beautiful, meaningful stuff and that I would be a bridge between two things,” said Gooch.
For those who are interested in the Henna tattoos, they can find Rizvi’s business page on Facebook if they look up “Seemi’s Henna Body Art.”
The booths that surrounded Rizvi’s table had information on other cultures.
Some traditions that were mentioned included the Guatemalan tradition of the groom’s mother placing a white bell filled with grains to welcome the couple to the reception, and the German tradition of having the couple work together to saw a log in half.
Respectively, the traditions intend to wish prosperity for the future of the couple, and test their ability to work together.
In front of the display were some passports that were free to take as well as some flyers for Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS), a study abroad program for Tennessee students.

Humorist Tom Lehrer Tribute Concert a Success

By: Michaela Marcellino
The Music Department of Volunteer State Community College had their concert, “Too Many Songs by Tom Lehrer (as if that was even possible…)” on Monday, Nov. 7.
This event was a tribute to political humorist and musician Tom Lehrer. It included both faculty and staff from several Vol State music appreciation classes.
The music was upbeat, funny and lively, and seemed to keep the audience laughing the entire time.
The concert included 13 Tom Lehrer songs performed live, as well as videos with Tom Lehrer himself singing—New Math and The Elements—to begin and end the event.
The songs performed live included The Masochism Tango, So Long Mom (a song for World War III), She’s My Girl, and Poisoning Pigeons in the Park. Some of the songs were cynical, yet hilarious takes on political themes, and some were just humorous takes on life in general.
“I thought the show was fabulous, everybody did what they were supposed to do…I think the audience] liked it, they seemed to have a really great time.
“You know, I wanted to give them permission to be as ridiculous and rowdy and crazy as possible, because it is that kind of show. The performers were great.
“Half of them were Mark Granlunds students, and I thought they [all] did great. Ben Troxler [who performed in the show] was a student of mine in 1999, when I first was here [at Vol State].
“[My favorite part of the show] was mine! The song I Hold Your Hand in Mine is extremely funny,” said Nancy Slaughter, associate professor of music, who helped coordinate as well as performed in the show.
All the performers seemed to really enjoy themselves. Even Vol State’s President, Dr. Jerry Faulkner, attended.
“[The show] was great fun. It was very entertaining, and the students did a great job. I do not know if I had a singular favorite part, it was all so good. I do not think I could choose one over the other,” said Faulkner.
“The show went really good, I think everyone did really well. I hope [the audience] was entertained. I think everyone did better than they thought they would do,” said Josie Doyka, a Vol State student who performed in the show.
“[My favorite part of the show] was hitting myself with a tambourine!” said Noah Perkins, another student who performed in the show.
Another faculty member who performed in the show as well as helped coordinate it was Mark Granlund, who teaches voice at Vol State.
“I was so pleased with the students, and their abilities to do what they do. I could not be more proud of them.
“The audience was into it, every bit it of it. They enjoyed it, and laughed at times. I hope they learned to laugh at themselves and laugh with other people. [The concert] gives [students] an opportunity to learn and grow [as] a person. They learn to be their own people,” said Granlund.
The concert was a fun time for everyone involved, and gave the audience the rare and welcome chance to just relax and have fun for a little while.

Spoken Word Artist NAV comes to Volunteer State Community College

By Kailyn Fournier
As a part of International Education week, Volunteer State Community College has invited spoken word artist Navpreet Sachdev, otherwise known as NAV, to perform on Wednesday, Nov. 16. His performance will take place in the carpeted dining room from 12:45 – 1:45p.m.
Like most of the artists who perform at Vol State for various events, NAV was invited here after he performed at the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA) in March. “NAV’s performances are raw and authentic, driven by his passion to inspire the best of humanity,” according to their website, www.apca.com.
The APCA conference in March was NAV’s debut as a performer; however, he had attended the conference as a student, prior to that. The performances he saw inspired him and were a large influence in, “His decision to follow his dreams of being a poet came from,” according to the website.
“APCA was able to let him perform live,” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities. She was one of the Vol State members to attend the APCA concert in March and was also one of the decision makers in NAV performing at Vol State.
The handful of students that attended the conference with her were SGA members. At the conference, they all had a booklet on the events, which they used to grade the performers on their act.
This score was on a letter scale, with A being the best and f being the worst. After the APCA, the SGA members would watch the best performer’s videos and make a group judgment call on whether or not they want to invite the performer to attend any events at Vol State.
NAV must have been impressive because in his 10-minute time to perform, he managed to get that A rank from Sherrell and some of the SGA members to perform here for International Education week.
According to Sherrell, his poems addressed issues such as discrimination and the need to improve society. This was a contributing factor in his invitation to perform during international education week as well.
“His performance at the conference was awesome,” said Brittany Davis SGA’s CAB chair and attended the APCA conference alongside Sherrell.
She says her favorite poem of his is “Thank You and Come Again” which is about his father’s immigration and the discrimination he experienced at the various businesses he worked at.
“It’s really powerful,” said Davis.
His other poems include “I Apologize,” about not being able to flirt and being attracted to someone on more than just appearances; “Politics of Facebook,” about the superficiality and ignorance displayed on social media despite it’s potential to change the world; and “Scars” about the damage that is done by the negative words of other people, but also about accepting the scars and moving on.
Sherrell has invited faculty members to bring their students to his performance. Those who are interested can find his YouTube channel NAVNAVNAV, or on his SoundCloud, NAV the Poet.

Facebook is taking over the 2016 election

With the election results upon us today it is very important that we take something away from this election.
One of the biggest issues with this election is people taking false information away from social media.
Especially millennials know that every time you log on to Facebook you see your friends and family posting from uncredited sources, just helping add to the fire.
Every time we share a story about a candidate that we have not done our own research on and triple checked the sources we are doing ourselves and our community a disservice.
Facebook especially has done a great job of getting those fake news sources right to our newsfeed.
While every person has come in contact with false news in their life, not everyone knows how to identify it.
I have come up with a few ways of knowing whether or not it is okay to share these stories on your personal social media accounts.
Make sure you triple check the sources every single time. You can do this by simply googling the topic in the story.
If you see the topic in multiple sources odds are it is credible, but that is not enough evidence for posting.
You have to fact check the topic. There are many websites people can use to ensure they are getting the right information including FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com.
These are great sites to ensure you are getting the right information from nonbiased sources. I encourage everyone to check their topic on multiple fact check sites.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with learning something new and gaining factual information. Another way to check your topic faster is to simply look at the address bar.
If you are looking at websites that do not have a .edu, .org or a .gov you can never be 100% sure. While there are very many credible .com websites you can get the least biased information from the websites that I have listed above.
If you read the whole article or story you can usually make good judgement based on the language and punctuation used.
Credible news sources are always going to be checking their grammar and punctuation to make sure it is perfect, where as less credible news sources wont care as much about how the appear to the public.
Fake news sources only care about getting that information across your screen and into your brain, they do not care about how good they sound most of the time.
As I said earlier, there are always going to be exceptions. It is always important to be on top of your personal research.
Knowing your facts and being well educated can not hurt anyone. You can always spread that knowledge to other people which helps the general population become a more educated whole.
It is never good to spread false information. Whether it be on social media or by word of mouth it is never good.
Dr. Lynette Long, very smart speech professor at the Volunteer State Community College Gallatin campus, always tells her students, “You always have a right to your own opinions, but you never have a right to your own facts.”
It is extremely important as a college student to be a light for those around you. Let others in on the knowledge you have and be an active listener to those you can learn from.
In my opinion the worst part about this election is the spread of false information about the candidates, and about the election itself.
No one wants to listen to each other and everyone thinks they know everything about every topic when in reality no one does real research on the topics presented to us, we just rely on the media to tell us everything we need to know and as a result we spew false information causing a horrible chain reaction resulting in a misinformed population.
While our time is over on this election I believe the American people can learn a lot about this election from how poorly it has gone.
We have to learn to listen to people’s opinions to gain information for ourselves, not just listen to reply. Ask critical questions and learn from the mistakes we have all made.
I encourage everyone to educate yourselves outside the classroom and off social media.
Help educate those around you and never stop gaining valuable information.

Building credit for the first time

By Sara Keen
Recently, I found myself in desperate need of a new car, and unfortunately I needed a loan to purchase anything for transportation.
Loans require a credit history, which is based on previous transactions, such as credit cards, car loans or even apartment rentals.
One recurring thing that I heard and read when I was working on starting my credit was the one thing that tends to scare us: the credit card.
As Judy Woodard of Macon Bank and Trust explained, credit cards are basically a recurring credit. Each month, it reports that you owe and have paid on (hopefully) your credit limit.
For example, each month someone may have $600 reported and “paid for” to build your credit history based on their $600 credit limit.
There are many different credit cards available, featuring cash back rewards, travel miles, and even some breaks for certain people.
If you are a student, for example, you can most likely apply for a student credit card. Many of these offer cash back rewards for buying gasoline, going out to eat and using popular shopping websites or stores.
Student credit cards also typically offer cash back or miles for good grades. For example, Discover It Student Cards offer $20 for a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and Capital One has a student Journey card for those who like to or need to travel to receive help from their GPA.
Students can also try what are called secured credit cards.
“A secured card is backed by a cash deposit you make up-front; the deposit amount is usually the same as your credit limit,” according to nerdwallet.com.
Secured credit cards are meant specifically for those wanting to build credit, and the down payment is used as a collateral if a payment is missed.
For those who have trouble saving up with a typical savings account, you may also look into a credit-builder loan.
The loan, in this case, is held by the lender until you pay it back, making it a good way to “save” some money by investing it into a larger sum for later on.
“It’s a forced savings program of sorts, and your payments are reported to credit bureaus,” added nerdwallet.com.
For bigger loans, you can also look for a co-signer. A co-signer is a person who signs with you on a loan to help pay it off if you find yourself unable to do so.
However, not every person wants to risk their credit to help someone else build credit. It is important that you establish yourself as dependable and keep up with your payments if you have a co-signer. They “put their credit on the line” to help you.
Co-signers tend to be the family of younger people. As I mentioned before, I needed a car and had little-to-no credit whatsoever, so my mom co-signed my loan.
This means that if I fail to make my car payment each month, then it falls on her to take care of it.
Building your credit is a very lengthy process, and there are some hurdles to jump before you get there. However, it does pay off long term when you need a car, are looking for an apartment or even looking to purchase your own home.
It is good to begin young and build a strong credit history, so that you are not stuck needing credit in the future.

Sigma Kappa Delta holds Dead Poets open mic

By: Miguel Detillier
Volunteer State Community College hosted Dead Poets Open Mic at the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building on Oct. 31.
This open-mic reading took place at the SRB Performing Arts Studio and lasted from 12:45-2:00 p.m., and was hosted by Sigma Kappa Delta (SKD).
Many students, faculty and staff were offered to participate in this open-mic by reading poems during the event.
The Dead Poets Open Mic started with student Ethan Gorham who read “Ozymandias” by Percy Shelly.
Next, freshman and English major Sarah Cox read through Christina Rossetti’s “Remember.” After that, Pre-Medical Profession major Camille Cole read a poem called “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou.
I even got to participate in this event by reading Henry Vaughan’s “They Are All Gone into The World of Light.” I decided to read that poem because I loved the words from this poem.
After that poem, student Morgan Seay read through Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Next, Leslie LaChance, Associate Professor of English, read a couple of poems from John Keats called “This Living Hand” and “When I Have Fears.”
Laura Mcclister, Instructor of English, then read “Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath.
Next, English Instructor Julia Cawthon read an excerpt from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet called “To be or not to be.”
Also, Kelly Sleeper, Vice President of Sigma Kappa Delta, read Robert Browning’s “Porphyria’s Lover,” and Sigma Kappa Delta President Gaynell Payne read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.” After those poems, Cox read “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou.
Next, sophomore John Beutkeucius read “Matilda” by Hilaire Belloc, and Jerushah Blackburn read “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe.
Mickey Hall, Professor of English, then read Billy Collins’ “The Dead,” and McClister read W.H. Hauden’s “Funeral Blues.” Afterwards, Beutkeucius read through “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll.
Also, student Kristin Meeks read a brief quote from Samuel Taylor Coolidge, “Sir, I admit your general rule, that every poet is a fool, But you yourself may serve to show it, That every fool is not a poet.”
Finally, Payne read through a brief excerpt from “Premature Burial” by Edgar Allan Poe to close out the Dead Poets Open Mic.
Overall, I thought the Dead Poets Open Mic was a great event.
I really enjoyed most of the poems in the open-mic reading, especially those LaChance read from John Keats as well as McClister, who read one from Sylvia Plath, which I thought went well and related to the spirit of Halloween.
LaChance said that the Dead Poets Open Mic was a well-attended and fun event. LaChance also said she was very impressed by the variety of poems the students chose to read.
“I was very pleased with the turn out and the participation,” said Mcclister. “Most of the literary works that were read reflected the fall season, which really added to the ambience of the room.”

Spooky Story Contest first place winner is…

Student Submission
Hare’s Race
by Bianca Riddle

I make it here before her. At dusk. There’s a haze of yellow just above the tree line in the distance.
If you’ve watched her long enough you’ve picked up on her habits, if you’ve followed her pattern. We’re both creatures of habit; she has her routine and I have her. Adeline will jog for about four laps and walk two. She’ll pass me six times tonight. She’ll come in the park carrying two water bottles. She’ll walk the whole length of the park once, dropping off her water bottles in the grass, behind the benches towards the two entrances of the park. I’ve thought about how easy it would be to slip something in her water. But I won’t. I sit at the eastward entrance on the bench farthest from where she’ll drop off her water. I don’t want to startle her.
I sit on the bench, finishing off half a sleeve of crackers before she comes round.
My chest twists in knots when I finally see her. Tight grey capris, bright yellow jacket. Sleeves bunched up. Her curly red hair in a ponytail. Freckles crawling up her arms. She’s listening to Roxanne. She’s a huge Police fan. She sets her bottle down. I take advantage of her being distracted. I wave, she mimics without hesitation, and when I’m out of her peripheral I wipe my sweaty palms on my jacket before pulling out my Canon Powershot. The first few photos are out of focus; of her shoes, socks, and the backs of her calves. Practice shots. Accidental. But the frame crawls up her back and I get pictures of her long spindly hair.
The palm of my hand itches when she jogs by the bench. Pinned hair swaying back and forth, swiping over the shoulders of her soft eece jacket. She doesn’t see the camera. She doesn’t stop for a drink of her water. She smiles at me though. She ashes that beautiful smile at every stranger. She’s an angel. I confess my love to her from my place on the bench; loud enough for her to hear if she weren’t listening to music.
I can’t explain what it is that puts these thoughts in my head. Where it stems from. It could simply be that Adeline is a beautiful woman. Those doe-y blue eyes. …I want to feel her breathing next to me. I don’t intend to harm her. I just want her next to me. I can hear her humming before she passes me for the third time. I lower my camera again. This lap it’s Barenaked Ladies. Next it will be techno electronica or Coldplay. She dashes past me. “I love you Adeline Phisher.” I repeat loudly.
I love you.
I LOVE YOU.
She stops, one water bottle in hand. She’s on her cool down lap. This is my opportunity. I don’t feel the cold air. Adrenaline is fizzing underneath my skin. I stand up and grab the tennis racquet from the dirt ground underneath my seat.
She stands after tying her shoe, both bottles in her arm, and I crack her against the temple with the old racquet. I found it in the garage. I brought it for this moment. This memory. She takes a nasty fall. I take my place beside her on
the ground.
Once she opens her eyes I look into them. I can see the starry sky mirroring
in the corners of them. I lean in and brush my knuckles against her cheek. She withers away from me. “I won’t hurt you Adeline.”
I must’ve rattled her good. Blood’s pouring from her head and back into her hair. I didn’t mean to hit her hard. I reach out my hand and press my palm to her collar bones. She’s still breathing. It’s tiny.
I look back up at the stars. “I’m glad I could spend time with you.” I confess. We lie there on the warm orange pebbled sidewalk. She’s closed her eyes. Her hair smells as nice as I thought it would. Like cinnamon. Ginger. The Dave Matthews Band is playing loudly from her headset. I know the kind of music she likes.
I snap a photo of us. Together. Nothings more important than this moment with her.
These fickle fuddle words confuse me Like ‘will it rain today?’
Waste the hours with talking, talking These twisted games we’re playing This is all I wanted.
We’re strange allies With warring hearts –
All I’ve wanted.

The Spooky Story Contest runner-up is…

Faculty Submission
Demon in My View
by April Young

He was on the bathroom floor when I got up that morning—not him, really, but the swirls on the tile hinting at the black-and-white pictures I’d seen, the thick wave of dark hair, deep circles under the eyes, the coarse mustache.
“It is time, Annabell,” he announced, his voice raspy with disuse. “Today we begin!”
I shrieked and reeled backward, and the tile swirls vibrated with his laughter.
I ed the house in terror, but I hadn’t really escaped him. As I dove into the driver’s seat of my car, I found him on the steering wheel, a bit clearer now, the tan leather revealing his sunken cheeks and rounded chin. He hurled demands as I drove, urging me to press harder on the gas pedal, to ignore each red light, to nd my destination. I tried to fight him, but it was useless; he murmured a hypnotic chant that stripped me of control.
I’d only driven a few miles when he ordered me to turn down an unfamiliar road which ended at a gravel lane. Icy fingers of fear clawed my throat. “This isn’t where I work,” I protested weakly, even as my hands turned the wheel and my tires bounced over gravel.
“Your errand is long overdue,” he snapped. “Here—this is the place. Out!”
A white Victorian loomed in front of me. My legs shook as I approached the porch. The doorbell chimed through the front hall before I realized I’d pushed it.
“What am I doing here?” I gasped, willing my leaden feet to run away.
When the door opened, I was relieved—and then horri ed. A woman stared at me, her smile taking up most of her face. Instead of smiling back, I snatched at her brown hair, jerking her outside.
Her screams matched mine and shattered the peaceful morning air, but he was shouting louder than both of us. His voice rang out clearly now, so strong it pulsed through my body. Two words, over and over again, tore through my brain: “Do it!”
In anguish, the woman lashed out, raking her nails across my arm. The slight trickle of blood seemed to wake me from a stupor, and I released the child and stumbled back to the car.
His outrage was so great that it pulled the air from my lungs. I drove home in blind terror, and all the while he swore in strangled rage.
“Curse the Conqueror Worm!” he spat. “Heaven hath me not in its sacred keep these 176 years!”
I hid in my bed, the door locked and the blinds drawn, for days. I didn’t sleep, for he taunted me every hour, railing against my weakness. I lost the will to question him, to beg him to end my torment. At times, he was quiet—only to start anew just as I’d begun to believe he’d gone. I’m certain I tried to resist, but I cannot recall it now. Nearly two centuries of fury, of mourning the ruin of his legacy, had given him bitter determination.
When vitriol failed, he moved to poetry, calling me Annie and tempting me out of my gloom with the promise of rest. What else could I do but submit?
Some nights later, as I lay there still, the skies opened, unleashing a rare October storm that bathed my room in light. I opened my swollen eyes and heard a new sound, melodious and enticing, and I strained my ears to decipher the
lyrics.
“Ah, the crisis—the danger is past, and the lingering illness is over at last,”
he crooned. “And the seraphs will not be half so happy as I when we are through.
Up!”
A giggle escaped my lips as I made my way back to the Victorian on that
gravel lane. A ash of lightning cut the clouds and rested upon my arm. The thin scratches of days before had become an angry red tattoo, his mien now fully formed upon my fresh, and I knew what I, Annabell Poe, was to do: avenge myself—and him, oh, yes, I’d avenge him—for that hateful travesty of slander.
Ravens circled the darkened sky above me, heedless of the slashing torrent, as I mounted the steps and rang the bell. He and I were outside of space and time now, but the family was inside; I could hear their unsuspecting laughter over the thunder.
“It was lies, all lies,” he hissed from my skin. “Purloiner, philanderer, abuser, executor—ha! My executer! Now he shall cry perennial tears from that unmarked tomb!”
Just as the front door opened, I peered through the black; the mailbox at the end of the lane filled me with fresh anger, for it had no right to exist. Together, he and I would rectify the injustice, eradicate the hated name—Griswold—from the tortured earth.
Morning had broken by the time I left the house, and he allowed me a moment’s satisfaction—but it quickly dissipated when I thought of the work left to do. Until I had driven the last Griswold to awful eternity, he and I could rest— NEVERMORE!
Author’s note: Since 1849, Edgar Allan Poe has been unable to speak for himself. He could not have had a more mendacious, perfidious, and unctuous biographer than Rufus Wilmot Griswold.