(Photo and story by Shortstoriesshort.com)
When I started this blog, I had high hopes. But I must admit, there were many doubts too. Over the years I have seen this blog grow beyond my wildest dreams. And I have each and every visitor that comes to Cop-A-Squat or shares this blog with others, to thank for its huge success. I am mostly grateful to our Heavenly Father: without Him, none of our good fortune would have happened.
What can one man do? Quite a bit, if you look at the lives of some of the greatest men that ever lived. What can an army of men do with a solid purpose? Together they can move the world. Just like a bundle of sticks, there is more strength together than one stick alone.
As we enter a new year, what are your plans to change the world? What can you do to make a positive impact on others? We, at Cop-A-Squat, publish posts and books that we hope will entertain and inspire people to enjoy healthy reading, that hopefully will make reading more enjoyable and impact their lives in positive ways.
With every purchase of our books you are helping us change the world, one reader at a time. We can bring encouraging stories to the world, but we cannot do this alone. We need each and every one of you, because there is strength in unity – we ask you to join us on our journey.
I want to share an inspiring short story and a short video with you on the power of working together. See how the power of many makes all the difference.
Please enjoy the ‘Unity is Strength’ short story and its accompanying video. See you all in the coming months. We wish you all a Happy New Year.
The Cop-A-Squat Family
UNITY IS STRENGTH
Once, an old man was very ill and lay dying in his bed. He had four sons who were always fighting with each other. He always worried about them and wanted to teach them a lesson and asked his sons to come to him. When they came, the old man gave them a bundle of sticks and said, “Can you break these sticks?”
The first son tried to break the bundle but nothing happened. He tried very hard and finally gave up. Then it was the turn of the second son to try his luck. He thought it would be an easy task and picked up the sticks easily. He tried his best to break the sticks but nothing happened. Then, the third son tried to break the bundle of sticks, but he couldn’t do anything either.
Meanwhile, the youngest son jeered at his brothers and thought they were very incompetent. He thought he was very clever and took one stick at a time and easily broke all of them.
The old father then smiled at his sons and said, “Children, do you understand what happened? It is always easy to break the sticks one by one. But when they are bundled together, none of you could break them. In the same way, you four brothers should always be together. No one will be able to hurt you then.” The four brothers realized what their father was trying to teach them, forgetting all their enmity and learning that unity is strength.
From that day onwards, they never fought with each other and lived together in peace and harmony.
It was time for a transformation.
Along with our general sprucing up around the ole’ Packed House Publications corner, we’ve decided to update one of our most special books with a spanking-new book cover.
Dusty Remains is an awesome collection of 300 words or less stories, but unfortunately, a year ago, with the innocence of new kids on the block, we unintentionally gave Dusty Remains a textbook-looking book cover.
And, we came up with this.
Yeah, this is a little embarrassing. We eventually figured out a crazy skull head being pierced to death with a screw bit from the heavens doesn’t exactly convey heartfelt stories like Dusty Remains has. It just looks…gothic, and pretty weird.
So, we contacted another artist, Anil Saxena, (thanks Anil!), and made this:
Looks pretty great, doesn’t it? It actually represents the whole “fragile as dust” theme in the book, and has a more eye-grabbing effect than the last tries.
So, how did we do? Leave a comment below on what you think of the new cover!
And, as a complimentary gift for our guests, here is the first story from “Dusty Remains.”
She stands there alone, by the gate, with her usual big smile. She smiles even more when he approaches. There by the gate they talk. She shyly tilts her head downward. He knows she’s reluctant, but even so he holds out his hand.
She steps around him, he cuts off her exit. Like a game she’s played so many times, she tries to dart around him; unable to do so, she shrugs her shoulders in defeat.
Once again he holds out his hand. She lets her soft hand fall into the cradle of his majestic one.
They walk away, the sun on their backs, the gate disappearing with each step.
She pauses, so does he. He looks at her, then nods his head. “It’s okay.” His gentle tone, so reassuring.
A few steps from the corner, she pauses once more. Now he wipes the tears from her eyes.
“How did you know my birthday was today?” Her faint voice is strained under the weight of her tears.
“I know everything about you, Sara. I’m a magician.” His eyes lock on hers.
“Is that how you found out I like ponies?”
“And you will keep your promise to let me ride my pony every day?”
“And my mom won’t stop you?”
“Your mom won’t stop me. I promise.”
“What’s my pony’s name?”
“Whatever you want it to be.”
“Is my pony a boy or a girl?”
“Why, it’s a girl, just like I promised you yesterday.”
“Where is she?”
“Right around this corner.”
Sara’s face lights up. She skips with delight and anticipation.
SARA! SARA! WHERE ARE YOU! SARA, SARA!
“Ma’am, we’ll find her, trust me.” Nancy’s eyes drown in tears.
A stiff wind blew through the window. Whoooooo! Out went the five candles.
(Photo Source Unknown)
Stephen King is not a good author. Stephen King is a terrible author. Stephen King is long-winded, repetitive, and most of all, selfish.
When you read a book, you want to enjoy it. Savor it. Learn something new, appreciate life more.
And you know what’s so special about books? They can make you appreciate life more, without taking your life away.
When confronted with a 500, 700, and with Under the Dome, a 1088 page novel, how can you learn to experience life when you spend all of it reading someone else’s novel?
Hey. Maybe I want to spend all my time reading, you say.
What if the novel sucks?
If you read one Stephen King book, you’ve read them all. A crime, some paranormal horror story, sex, murder, drama…then a weak twist at the end that’s supposed to make you feel like you’ve read a good story.
However, I do believe Mr. King can be a talented writer. Among the trash he has offered through the years, only one pearl stands: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, a story that has not only entertained, but has revealed great insights about life and humanity. Oh, but after the popular, empty pages that carry such names as The Long Walk, The Stand, and Christine, King became an puppet for modern audiences worthless appetites for commercialized “literature.”
But King is not the only one. It’s a trend – a virus – quickly spreading throughout authors today who pump out large amounts of garbage, not taking in account the lives of 90% of their readers: hard-workers who are trying to live their own lives, who wish to enjoy good literature…not lazy words on a page. Too many pages.
People don’t have time or the desire to inflate your already overinflated ego, Mr. King.
Life: As Fragile As Dust is a much better novel than Stephen King will ever write. Tight, powerful prose that gets straight to the point, and leaves an impact more than the bubblegum fiction of most of today’s authors. Do yourself an extreme favor, and read Life: As Fragile As Dust.