Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black


One Year of Letters Project

Book Review: “Knock Knock” by Heather Miller

A lonely widow lives in a big, old house atop a hill outside of town, a house suspected as haunted. Certainly, the aging matriarch is haunted, and not only by longing for her departed loved ones and for her estranged, grown children. Her house seems to develop an unknown agenda of its own, with a persnickety furnace and lights that turn on of their own volition. Most frightening of all, though, are they knocks that resound at the strangest times, causing the widow to retreat. The family calls in a team of paranormal investigators to get to the bottom of the paranormal happenings.

At its heart, “Knock Knock” by Heather Miller is an exploration of family love. Though estranged from her own children, the protagonist, Millie, exudes care for her grown son and daughter. Family can be difficult, indeed. The book has an interesting premise, reads easily (though my print version’s small font gave my myopic eyes trouble), and provokes thought. Fans of classic ghost stories such as “The Haunting of Hill House” or “The Others” will enjoy this book.

Defying Gravity- Kerry- 1/2/17

From One Year of Letters

One Year of Letters

wickedcdcoverDefying Gravity- Kerry E.B. Black


Dear Reader:

A beautiful Mom of my acquaintance posted to her private social media about an experience she had at the theatre. Hers mirrored many I’ve had with my S-Bear. S-Bear has Cerebral Palsy, sensory issues, and autism, so I worry about her reactions to things. As a result, I seek out “sensitive” performances where the audience is more forgiving. However, not all presentations offer a sensory friendly performance.

My kid loves theatre and musicals. She asks for the same present every year for Christmas – tickets to the Nutcracker ballet. Since she was five, if I could afford to take her, she has attended the amazing performances by the Pittsburgh Ballet at the beautiful Benedum Center. She knows the music and the story. She quietly sways in her seat and sometimes asks whispered questions. I shush her and remind her questions are for intermission…

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What Will People Say? – 7/27/16 – Kerry

This is last week’s One Year of Letters entry.

One Year of Letters

13840529_10206968572032071_927766050_oWhat Will People Say? – Kerry E.B. Black

July 27th, 2016

Dear Reader-

At my uncle’s memorial service, I saw grief hollow my cousins’ eyes. I recalled these people as the beautiful children with whom I spent countless hours playing every game we could think up. All mourning begins as an internalagony, and although I couldn’t intrude on theirs, I wanted to ease their pain. Before taking my seat, I stumbled over condolences and embraces while feeling deficient.

During the service, the pastor asked, “When your time comes, what will people say about you?”

I considered. I know what I’d like those who knew me to say, but did I measure up to my hopes?

I spend time worrying about finances. I haven’t enough put away to provide for my children’s futures. This leads to anxiety, which I’m ashamed to…

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Words at War — Kerry – 7/7/2016

My newest letter for the project

One Year of Letters

13598864_10206824708355569_1873359486_nWords at War

July 7, 2016

I’m a struggling suburban housewife. Our car is broken and our basement and yard flooding. We scramble to pay bills, like many in the United States, yet we get by. We remain relatively healthy and seek education. We attend church and act as morally as we can. We are typical in many ways, blessed in others, and lacking in some small areas.

Bombs don’t fall from our skies. We don’t huddle in caves with neighbors, cringing at sounds and praying for food. We drink fresh water and launder our clothing and clean our skin and hair. We care for pets. We don’t scavenge for life-sustaining supplies. We dose needed medicine and can seek medical attention without fearing our hospital will be bombed.

Yet there are people hiding in caves in Syria, families educating children below ground, human beings starving, watching each other die. Their…

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Fathers Know — Kerry – 6/23/2016

My latest letter at focuses on the importance of positive male role models.

One Year of Letters

13211077_10206412348766837_377163272_oFathers Know

June 23, 2016

I’ve been blessed by having some amazing men in my life.

For years, my father worked two jobs to provide for his family. He poured love into the activities we shared, from weekends in the Laurel Mountains to family picnics at parks. He rescued me when I’d climb too high and, like a kitten, become stuck and frozen. The smell of his aftershave reminds me of the times I sat at his feet as he prepared for work, ridding his face of thick, dark hair. He listened for our breathing when we were infants and watched over our swimming, wary and ready. He set off fireworks to delight us and, to our dismay, ate anchovies on pizza. My father is a man of few words, yet a strong person with deep convictions. I’d be lying if I said we always saw eye-to-eye, but he taught…

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Charles O. — Kerry – 5/30/2016

A tribute to one of the many veterans who served our country.

One Year of Letters

10982083_10204359709817762_5944309557979217300_nCharles O.

May 30, 2016

My Pap Pap hesitated when talking about the worst aspects of the war. No matter how much I asked, he evaded. I knew he served in the US Army during World War II, so I chose my words with care when asking about his deployment. However, as the father of fifteen children and grandfather to thirty-five, my grandfather had mastered the art of conversational deflection.

He’d answer a question with, “I thought of your grandmother the whole time I was overseas. She’s such a beauty. Here, look at this photograph. Doesn’t she look like a gypsy?”

I’d try to steer the conversation back to history. “Did you storm the beach at Normandy?”

He’d respond with, “She came with me to Texas where I had Basic Training. We eloped. Boy, was her mom mad! That’s why we have two wedding anniversaries. See, we had to get…

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Heavy Lifting — Kerry – 5/23/2016

My latest contribution to the project. Please do stop by and read the excellent offerings found there. What do you think?

One Year of Letters

13288977_10206526558182001_1211935637_nHeavy Lifting

May 23, 2016

I think everyone gets there, that point where the weight of the world threatens to crush us beneath. We are not Atlas. We are not designed to shoulder the burdens of a beleaguered world. Yet we strive. We impose upon ourselves and take on responsibilities. We plan and do our best, yet sometimes, oftentimes, or occasionally, we crumple. We drop to our knees our bodies riddled with jabs and blows dealt by an ever-present threat. Like a used tissue, rough winds roll us to the trash mound.

But by the morning, we straighten. We press the creases and try again. From our center, be it God or some other source, our spines align, we stand straight, and we examine again. From afar, the world is a sphere of swirling blue and teal, bleeding together, united in need. At the core, our experiences are universal. We…

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Tended Flowers — Kerry – 5/17/2016

Check out One Year Of Letters, please. I’m grateful they publish my short essays and enjoy the thought-provoking offerings of the other talented writers.

One Year of Letters

13233482_10206452329446329_1015798285_nTended Flowers

May 17, 2016

Winter damages many plants, leaving gardeners to prune dead branches. Without such attention, the rot can infiltrate, and the entire plant might die. One fine day last week, I attended to some of my perennials, cutting stalks until I reached the green quick.

When I moved to this doll’s house, I planted a hydrangea. It bloomed pink among fuchsia-bright rhododendrons. The year I gave birth to my littlest son, it bloomed blue. I know the soil PH determines the color of hydrangea’s blooms, but in my sentimental state, I interpreted the changed color as the yard welcoming my little boy to his new home.

The hydrangea sustained tremendous damage from the fickle winter. To save the plant, I employed merciless measures with shears. I feared I’d lost the whole plant, but as I cut away the brittle branches, signs of life emerged. Green leaves unfurled…

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Tribute to My Mom — Kerry – 5/9/2016

One Year of Letters

13211077_10206412348766837_377163272_oTribute to My Mom

May 9, 2016

It’s Mother’s Day here in the United States as I write this letter. Flipping through the cable guide, I came across a number of irreverent television offerings, including “Mommy Dearest.” I’ve heard people say they didn’t want to be like their mothers. “You’re growing into your mother,” is an apparent insult.

It’s funny, but I wish I were more like my Mom.

I’ve been blessed with amazing parents. The example they provided formed the foundation of who I am and gave a benchmark for what I hope to someday become. Daddy worked away from the home, and for a part of my upbringing, Mom stayed with my siblings and me. She made us her business, building us up and encouraging us to pursue our passions.

My mother has an uncompromising strength of character, and she taught my siblings and me fair play and…

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