XXVIII. Long-Distance Running< Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >

Amicus & Ascensio 

Have you ever read, such as in Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karennina, how gentlepersons would invite people over to dinner, often strangers, and that was how they got to know one another? They would also play parlor games. And drink brandy.

Sometimes, strangers would even introduce themselves via handwritten letter.

The blogosphere is great for that; well-written correspondence and introductions…

But, now that I am growing-up, I miss having a family home with a dining room.

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Things You Miss While Away 

Around the table sat the Stovers, the Martins and the Pattons:

Three neighbors from one street whose kids used to play kickball together everyday.

The Pattons had moved a few years ago.

But they were back, to say goodbye to the Martin's youngest.

And suddenly all the kids weren't kids anymore.

He was going to war.

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Red Crossed 

Information is spotty at best. I’d like to say that this is because there are so many people who want to help, but I’m not sure that’s the actual problem.

After spending half of today chasing down the organization that the world relies on to be prepared and keep people safe, I now understand that the helpers themselves are in desperate need of administrative rescue from the local to national level.

Between getting someone to pick up the forever ringing phone lines, negotiating a semi-disorganized website, being referred to separate chapters, given the wrong numbers and speaking to people who “just don’t have that information”… I think most people would have given up thinking, “They don’t want me. They don’t need me.”

I know I did.

After the tsunami hit, I called a local Red Cross chapter to see about disaster training for deployment and, despite the fact that I meet the age requirement, was basically told “no” over the phone. To clarify, they did that thing where they made the task sound impossible. They were vague about the facts, courses and paperwork, they cancelled our appointment and didn’t reschedule and they didn’t return my calls. I do enough chasing in my job as an actor and writer, and I wasn’t going to spend weeks chasing down the Red Cross so that I could force them to allow me to volunteer somewhere dangerous.

They don’t want me. They don’t need me.

Maybe they’re right: What could I do?

That’s bollocks. I know I can do stuff. I planned to readdress training at another time.

Now is another time. The Red Cross is in desperate need of disaster volunteers and are, accordingly, “speed disaster training.” This training solely addresses what knowledge is needed in order to volunteer in the Katrina situation. Individuals won’t learn the terrorism and other disaster stuff, but one could always plan to do that after finding a chapter that doesn’t make people fight them to get the information.

I mean, sure, Sean Penn is allowed to roll in with his posse when everyone else is forced to stay in or out of the city, depending on which brilliant stage of rescue FEMA is orchestrating at that time, but what about everyone else? I especially speak of the people with sweet skills and knowledge who aren’t allowed in simply because they must first chase down the paperwork and rules. When I am stranded on my roof one day, I will be glad to see Sean Penn in his boat or anyone else who has an inkling of how to get to me.

It will never cease to disappoint me, how difficult humans make the simplest things…

We live in a time when even helping requires one to negotiate a ridiculous process.

But, then again, the training classes at Red Cross HQ are full; so they can’t let anyone else register, it has been standing room only, people aren’t flaking, you can’t even try to wait on stand-by the day of...

Hope does spring eternal when people are permitted to flex their humanity.

Still, I wish that I could believe the problems are due to volunteer overload.

After much work and calls and e-mails and pushing, It was revealed to me that the Red Cross is offering disaster training at a new location starting tomorrow morning.

E-mail me if you want the information.

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Behind Every Aidmheil 


You are kind to me. It is rare that someone comes to this place and is unkind, whether they agree or disagree with the words they find. Perhaps you think I am better than I am.

Whatever you have decided about me based on the information found on this site, you are probably right.

And, most often, due to my annoyance at constantly being patted as young and therefore unskilled before someone has read or seen a bit of my work, and due to my writing of said local frustrations, many far wiser than I, understandably, have come under the impression that “solid” means “not in need of assistance.”

But movies are a communal process, as is a person’s life. I say “life” and not “career” because I do not think that the artist is able to separate those things.

They are one.

Certainly, many people have helped me get this far, and I am not that far along yet. There is a vast expanse of world to be navigated.

If you want to help someone, no matter what the circumstances, don’t let anyone tell you that you have nothing to offer. Often those who are most in need of assistance are the most stubborn. Or proud.

I won’t speak to that in this case, but will continue to say that if you want to fuel my dream, however much or however little, then please do mail me with the understanding that your letter will be gladly received. You would be surprised at the number and sort of small tasks that I need to complete along the acting-writing-storytelling way, and some of them soon.

Some of them I don’t yet know how to pull-off...

What you should know is that my name is Jessica Mae Stover. I come from the east. I am a storyteller. I act, screenwrite, produce and novelize. I work on my own properties and ideas, by blending all of those things in good measure, and perhaps more (as witnessed here). As I write this, I know of no one who has done this in the way I plan, in the scope I plan, so I have no absolute model to work from. I consider this a good thing. Most people who make decisions that will affect the end result will not.

It is big.

Yes, certainly, you must understand that I have had help from those who believe.

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