Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Marx’s Conflict Theory

 

karl-marx

 

Marx’s conflict theory is having a profound influence right now in urban areas, especially among young people and minorities. Groups such as Black Lives Matter and the New Black Panthers  openly advocate separation from mainstream society due to the unfair, biased, and overbearing power of the dominant culture and the ruling class.

For them, laws reflect bias and unfair treatment and punishment of the poor and minorities by police and the American justice system. They understand perfectly that their communities have been left behind by globalization and the influx of uneducated, unskilled immigrant labor. Some of them advocate the overthrow of the American capitalist system and the creation of a communist or socialist society. They believe this is the only path to equality, happiness, and economic freedom.

Using class struggle as a shield, these groups justify inter-racial random killings, police ambushes, weapons hoards, acts of terrorism, riots, violent protests, and every other conceivable crime. They feel no shame or remorse because they see themselves as victims fighting for a cause. In their view, the police and other authoritarian figures are the real criminals. Poverty and economic disparity are the real crimes.

Unfortunately, they do not direct their zeal into cleaning up their own neighborhoods. They do not use their skills to benefit their own communities. Their goal is to strike fear into the dominant society with threats, disruption, and chaos. In fact, a strong law and order response threatens their agenda and their goals.

Such a politicized movement can only turn the dominant society against them. Mainstream Americans want law and order.

Dawn Pisturino

November 9, 2016

Criminology 225, Mohave Community College,

Kingman, Arizona

Copyright 2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Pornography vs. Obscenity

What’s the Difference?

rodin_august_the-kiss

THE KISS by Auguste Rodin

The Supreme Court of the United States has determined that people have a First Amendment (Free Speech) right to own pornographic and obscene materials in the privacy of their own home, including sexually-explicit books, magazines, artwork, and movies, as long as there is no commercial interest involved (Nemeth, 2012).

Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union want to abolish all restrictions on all created materials in the name of Free Speech. For them, any form of free expression — including child pornography — would be exempt from government regulation (Nemeth, 2012).

Obscenity is NOT protected by the U.S. Constitution (Nemeth, 2012). Pornography may or may not fall into the category of obscenity, depending on its content. Although pornographic material is used to arouse sexual excitement, obscene materials go far beyond this need. Images and descriptions of necrophilia, pedophilia, incest, rape, snuff, bestiality, and extreme violence offend the sensibilities of most people; and most people would consider these “obscene.”

Most state and federal statutes are designed to protect children. Laws have been established prohibiting the public display of lewd and obscene materials; restricting the sale of these materials to adults over eighteen years old; regulating the production and sale of such materials; criminalizing exploitation of minors in the production and sale of obscene materials; and denying inmates the right to receive and circulate these materials (Nemeth, 2012).

The Internet has become a hotbed for the distribution of pornographic and obscene materials. Once again, most laws regulating Internet use for this purpose are aimed at protecting children from exposure and exploitation (Nemeth, 2012).

Miller v. California (1973) set the precedent for defining the nature of obscenity (Nemeth, 2012). Whether something can be called obscene is relative to its quality, and this is determined by how a reasonable average person would react to it. The court left it up to the local community to define obscenity and pornography based on community standards (Nemeth, 2012). What is considered obscene in San Francisco will probably differ from what is considered obscene in Salt Lake City. Does the work appeal to prurient interests, provide images or descriptions of sexual behavior that are repugnant, and lack any serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific merit (Siegel, 2012)? These questions are at the heart of Miller v. California.

How do Internet standards apply in this case? If the Internet hosts communities of adult websites that promote lewd, lascivious, pornographic, and obscene materials, what community standards apply (Nemeth, 2012)? It seems like anything goes on the World Wide Web. Even if the Internet was more thoroughly regulated, the Dark Web avoids detection as much as possible, and this is where the truly obscene is mostly found.

History, also, has seen many changes in what is considered pornographic or obscene. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence was considered obscene in early 20th century England (Siegel, 2012). Today, it is viewed as a classic piece of English literature. As Jim Shelley of the UK’s Daily Mail writes, “since it was first published, Lady Chatterley’s Lover has been a byword for illicit, explicit sex and scandal . . . Lawrence’s book has become so synonymous with torrid, florid passions that its once revolutionary frisson has become cliché.” Would Lawrence be shocked by today’s standards of pornography and obscenity? One can only speculate.

Dawn Pisturino

Administration of Justice 109, Mohave Community College, Kingman, Arizona

Copyright 2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

References

Nemeth, C.P. (2012). Criminal law. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis.

Shelley, Jim. (2015, September 7). Lady chatterley’s lover was unfaithful and impotent.

       The Daily Mail. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk.

Siegel, L.J. (2012). Criminology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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Miss Lizzie’s Tea Party

lamug_miss-lizzie

Miss Lizzie’s Tea Party

by Dawn Pisturino

Illustration by Ken Lamug

I never wanted to attend Miss Lizzie’s tea party, but mama insisted I go.

“Miss Borden is a kind and gentle lady,” she scolded. “I don’t want to hear anymore nonsense about those grisly axe murders! Rich young ladies like Miss Borden don’t go around chopping up people’s heads.”

“But Mama,” I protested. “Miss Lizzie and the maid were the only ones at home. Who else could have chopped off her father’s nose and split his eyeball in two?”

“That’s enough, Olivia,” Mama warned. “You’re going to the party, and that’s final.”

* * *

I had often seen Miss Lizzie sitting in an upstairs window, beckoning the neighborhood children inside for homemade cookies.

Every time she waved at me, my body quivered like gelatin fresh out of the mold. After all, this was the woman accused of hacking up her father and stepmother with a hatchet!

And even though the jury found Miss Lizzie innocent way back in 1893, folks ’round these parts never forget.

But I always reluctantly waved back, as Mama had taught me, and hurried home.

Then the invitation came. Miss Lizzie was hosting an afternoon tea party for all the children in the neighborhood.

Mama was so thrilled, she cleaned and pressed my prettiest, frilliest party dress and bought me a shiny new pair of shoes. “Papa’s law practice has been falling off lately,” she explained. “He needs a wealthy client like Miss Borden to get going again.”

Annie, the housemaid, curled my hair. “You can’t go, Miss Olivia, you just can’t. My mama told me never to go inside that house. I mean, never! And she should know. Bridget Sullivan, the Borden’s housemaid, told her there was blood and brains splattered everywhere. They found Abby Borden’s hair braid lying on the rug, sliced clean from her head!”

Tears welled up in my eyes. “I have to go, Annie. Mama will whip me with Papa’s razor strap if I don’t.”

“Well, don’t eat anything. She never admitted it, but Miss Lizzie tried to buy poison from Smith’s Drug Store right before the murders.”

* * *

Miss Lizzie opened the front door with a wide, toothy grin.

Every muscle in my body screamed, Run! Now! While you can!

But mama’s voice kept ringing in my ears. Miss Borden is a kind and gentle lady . . .

So I followed Miss Lizzie down the hall to an elegantly furnished drawing room — an empty drawing room. None of the other children had come. Cowards!

And then I saw it, gleaming by the fireplace, a shiny new axe!

Gold paint glittered along the sharp edge, marred by dark stains that looked like blood. I clenched my fists, trying hard to ease the queasiness in my stomach.

“You’re admiring my new axe,” Miss Lizzie said. She stepped closer, her pale blue eyes foggy with distant memories. “My father was quite skilled with an axe. One afternoon, I went into the barn and found my beloved pigeons lying on the ground with their heads chopped off. My father was standing over them, holding a bloody axe. I screamed and ran into the house.

“That night, Bridget served pie for dinner. Pigeon pie!” she said as her lips twisted into a smile.

The drawing room door opened then and a fat cook with a red face entered carrying a large pie in her hands. “Sit yourself down, my dear. The pie is ready to eat! I got lucky, Miss Lizzie. I found our special ingredient at Smith’s Drug Store.”

Smith’s Drug Store! I grabbed my reeling head, ready to faint at any moment. Pie! Poisoned pigeon pie!

Screaming, I lunged for the axe and swung it around, knocking the pie out of the cook’s hands, slicing off her forefinger. She howled in pain as blood spurted from the wound. I swung the axe around again, nicking Miss Lizzie’s ear. Fluffy brown curls fluttered to the floor, sliced neatly from her head.

Miss Lizzie tackled me to the ground and held me there while the cook bound her bloody hand with a towel and telephoned the police. My chest heaved with great, gulping sobs as Miss Lizzie’s face drew closer and closer until her lips brushed against my ear.

You see how easy it is,” she whispered.

THE END

Published in the February 2012 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree.

Copyright 2012-2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! MAKE IT SCARY!

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The Haunted Boy

haunted-boy-papers1

The True Story Behind “The Exorcist” by Dawn Pisturino

In the summer of 1948, a young boy in Mount Rainier, Maryland began using an Ouija board with his aunt, who believed in spiritualism.  After she died, the boy and his family experienced disturbing sounds which woke them during the night: knocking, scratching, and marching feet.  The family witnessed the boy’s mattress furiously shaking, furniture moving on its own, and visitors thrown from a chair. Scratches and strange marks mysteriously appeared on the boy’s body.

Physicians and mental health experts could find no rational explanation for these events.  Finally, the family – which was not Catholic – consulted a local priest.

Father E. Albert Hughes interviewed the boy and later described his “dark, empty stare.”  He determined that the boy was possessed by multiple demons (Legions) and arranged to perform an exorcist at Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C.

The exorcism lasted for three nights, with no positive results.  The boy was sent home.  Not long after, the words “Louis” appeared on his chest.  The boy’s mother interpreted this as a sign to take him to St. Louis, Missouri, where she had relatives.

Father William Bowdern, a Jesuit priest, agreed to undertake a rigorous exorcism of the boy, who had suffered through months of violent behavior followed by periods of calm.

The boy was admitted to the Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis and baptized Catholic.  During Easter week, while closely guarded and under restraint, the boy received confession and Holy Communion. Brother Rector Cornelius placed a statue of St. Michael the Archangel – Satan’s arch enemy – by the boy’s bed.  On the night of April 18, 1949, after hours of violent struggle and intense emotional resistance, the boy cried out, “He’s gone!”  By the next morning, Father Bowdern became convinced that the boy was indeed free from demonic possession.

The boy and his family returned to Maryland and spent the summer of 1949 as a normal, happy family.  The boy, whose identity has never been revealed, became known as “The Haunted Boy.”  With no memory of the dreadful events which had threatened to ruin his life, he grew up to become a scientist for NASA.

The fifth floor room at the Alexian Brothers Hospital, where the final exorcism had taken place, was permanently sealed.

Author William Peter Blatty, a devout Catholic, heard about “The Haunted Boy” while a student at Georgetown University.  He used the story of the boy’s ordeal for the basis of his best-selling novel, “The Exorcist,” one of the most terrifying and thought-provoking novels ever written.  It was later turned into a major motion picture.  Blatty wrote the screenplay.

Dawn Pisturino

Published in the Spring 2016 issue of Psychic-Magic Ezine.

Copyright 2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

 

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An Election for the 1 %

one_percent

This election isn’t about you and me – it’s about the 1 % and which 1 % er is going to run America.

Hillary Clinton is  a multi-millionaire who is backed by wealthy Wall Street financier George Soros and others. She will use her presidency to benefit the 1 %.

Donald Trump is a billionaire who is backed by Carl Icahn and others. He will use his presidency to benefit the 1 %.

LOVE the 1 %? Vote for Hillary or Trump. Otherwise, vote your conscience and vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party (who better represents Democratic Idealists) or Libertarian Gary Johnson.

Or refuse to vote at all! The 1 % doesn’t care.

Dawn Pisturino

October 2, 2016

Copyright 2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Capitalism as Terrorism

dollars and American flag

 

 

“Guerilla Marketing,” “Survival-of-the Fittest-Capitalism,” “How to Succeed in Business by Killing the Competition,” “Hostile Takeovers,” etc., etc. We are all familiar with the books, lectures, seminars, economic gurus, trendy management strategies, slogans, etc., etc. which dominate the business world and corporate thinking. But have you ever thought about what these strategies and ideas really mean?

In today’s competitive world, competition has increased to the point of desperation where anything goes and every immoral act is tolerated — and even encouraged. It becomes harder and harder for companies to compete and survive. They must resort to evermore desperate strategies to survive the competitor around the corner who is waiting for a chance to rip out their throat. The business world is a jungle where only the very strongest can survive for long.

At the same time, the companies who have succeeded in surviving look increasingly for ways to eliminate competition through legislation, buying illegitimate political power, investing overseas, downsizing, cutting wages and benefits, and creating an environment where smaller companies have a difficult, if not impossible time, succeeding.

If this competition affects corporations and small business, it equally affects workers who must equally engage in a jungle struggle to survive. The fear of being laid off or downsized out of a job creates an atmosphere of fear, antagonism to fellow workers, and outright hostility towards anybody perceived as a threat.

These fears and anxieties are carried home and into the classrooms. At a younger and younger age, children are told that they must learn to compete in school, in college, and in a future career. To not compete is to be eliminated in the social jungle that is called America.

Thus, we see a society torn apart by competitiveness and the need to survive.

Corporations seize control of their competitors; men blame women for entering the workforce; reports of domestic violence, child abuse, and rape increase; whites blame blacks; blacks blame whites; American citizens blame illegal immigrants; workers blame welfare recipients; the young blame elderly Social Security recipients; Democrats blame Republicans while Republicans accuse Democrats of every crime under the sun; the rich blame the poor, etc.

An economic system that encourages competition indirectly encourages violence, crime, and every act of immorality. People will do whatever it takes to survive.

When companies engage in acts of terrorism, it is considered good business.

When ordinary people engage in aggressive acts, it is considered a crime.

Ordinary citizens have as much right to survive as any corporation. And they have as much right to engage in whatever tactics are required to survive.

Dawn Pisturino

May 23, 1998

Copyright 1998-2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Published on the Committee for Direct Democracy Website and in the Committee for Direct Democracy Information Packet 1998-2000.

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Steps Towards Direct Democracy

 

your-vote-your-voice

 

  • The first step is making people aware that the technology now exists to make Direct Democracy a reality.

  • The second step is helping people to overcome their fear of the technology and their fear of change itself.
  • The third step is confronting our “elected” officials and challenging their positions and votes on issues. Are they really representing the people?
  • The fourth step is demanding our constitutional right to change the voting process and to institute Direct Democracy. Just think of all the money we, as taxpayers, could save by eliminating elected officials! Just think of the progress we could make by eliminating the deadlock and corruption in Washington, D.C. and at the state and local levels!
  • REMEMBER: WE DO NOT NEED ELECTED OFFICIALS — THEY NEED US TO KEEP THEM IN POWER!

           Dawn Pisturino

          May 24, 1998

          Copyright 1998-2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

           Published on the Committee for Direct Democracy website and in the Committee  for Direct Democracy Information Packet 1998-2000.

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Radical Writings: Direct Democracy

Your-vote-is-your-voice

Every condition which exists in the civilized (i.e., capitalist) society today was predicted by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels 150 years ago in The Communist Manifesto of 1848.

The expansion of free trade on a global scale; the continual upgrading and revolutionizing of the means of production; the loss of human values and personal self-worth; the degradation of the family; the wage slavery and dehumanization of modern day workers; the increasing disparity  in wealth between “the haves” and “have nots”; the concentration of power and wealth in fewer and fewer hands; market fluctuations with their resultant periods of economic boom and bust; the emergence of women into the labor force; the reactionary conservatism of the middle-class; the necessity of the minimum wage: all of these conditions of modern society were already foreseen in the distant past.

It is, therefore, fair to say that the problems afflicting modern civilization are not the result of liberal or conservative political parties; Democrat or Republican policies; religious or secular policies; racial or gender policies. Rather, the problems plaguing American society today — and which seem so insurmountable — derive exclusively from the nature of the capitalist economic system itself!

This is a fact which the national media strives ever harder to explain away and cover up. This is a basic truth which our liberal and conservative leaders choose to ignore.

But the truth cannot be suppressed forever. The truth will set us free.

Most Americans are already conscious of the fact that they are virtually powerless to change conditions in this country without resorting to radical means. Since most Americans abhor violence, however, they convince themselves that change is not practical or not possible. They console themselves with trips to the shopping malls; dull their senses with mindless TV and videos; control their negative anxieties with mood-altering substances.

We already see that this kind of self-delusion and self-indulgence serves no useful end. As the American people become more dull-witted and inhibited, society crumbles all around us.

In the midst of economic abundance, social degradation and political chaos run rampant.

It is therefore fruitless to try and organize people into a militant force. Unions, alternative political parties, political action committees, etc. — few, if any, of these organizations ever effect permanent change.

It is simply not enough to verbally attack the prevailing political/economic/social system. In order to win the war, the working class must become the rulers of the system.

But how can this be accomplished?

By empowering the people!

We are taught from birth that America is a democratic country. In reality, Americans support a representative form of government. We may elect our leaders in free elections, but the decisions made by those leaders are not determined by the people who elect them. The decisions made by political leaders at the federal, state, and local levels are, more often than not, determined by economic factors and the people who wield the power of money. This, then, is not democracy. It is merely power concentrated in the hands of a minority who pretend to do the will of the majority. Democracy in America is, therefore, a sham. The right to vote is equally false and misleading.

Representative government may have been a shining viable solution 200 years ago, but it is no longer effective in our vast, complicated society.

Then, what is the solution?

The only viable alternative to representative government is Direct Democracy.

Computer technology (specifically, the global networks) makes it possible for the American people to vote directly on issues affecting them as individuals and society as a whole.

We no longer need intermediaries who patronize us and throw us just enough crumbs to keep us from really rebelling against the system.

Empowering the people is the only alternative to outright violent revolution and social upheaval. Once the concentration of power is in the hands of the majority, we can re-shape the nature of politics, the economic system, and the entire social fabric. In fact, this will be an inevitable result of taking control of the political process.

Once the American people realize that they can control their own lives politically, they may eventually realize that they can direct their own lives economically, thereby instituting changes in the economic system and promoting a more harmonious social environment.

I urge every American citizen who cherishes the right to control his/her own life to work NOW towards the fulfillment of Direct Democracy in this country. With the power in our hands, we can bring about social evolution and create a better, brighter future for ourselves and our descendants.

Dawn Pisturino

March 26, 1998

Published in the Committee for Direct Democracy website and the Committee for Direct Democracy Information Packet 1998-2000, and in The New Unionist.

Copyright 1998-2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Top Ten Leprechaun Complaints

meanleprechaun

 

10. They find a certain cereal to be neither magical nor delicious.

9.    Even with the seat down, they keep falling into the toilet.

8.    Santa’s elves are always stealing their women.

7.    It’s hard to hold your whiskey when you’re built like a 4-year-old.

6.    After you’ve heard “Top O’ the Mornin'” a few thousand times, you’d settle for just a plain old “Hello.”

5.    Pots o’ gold aren’t worth all that much after taxes.

4.    It’s not easy to outrun a riding mower.

3.    Every time they wash their outfits, the entire load of laundry turns green.

2.    YOU try being cute and whimsical 24/7.

AND THE NUMBER ONE LEPRECHAUN COMPLAINT IS  . . .

  1. Let’s just say they’ve got the smallest “shillelaghs” you’ve ever seen!

 

HAPPY ST.PATRICK’S DAY!

 

 

 

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Rainbows: A Sweet Vignette

Water_DROP_colored_rainbow

 

Dedicated to my Husband and Daughter

It was early in the morning, and a young woman and her husband were driving to the train station. Temporarily, at least, the rain had stopped. The air was pleasantly fresh and clear, though oh! so cold, and here and there a patch of blue showed through the thick November clouds. Pale sunlight shone thinly against the grey morning dampness, brightening just a little the depressing aspect of the city.

“Oh look, a rainbow!” the young woman cried, pointing out the window.

Her husband, who was driving, looked up into the distant sky. Sure enough, half of a large rainbow emerged from a thick grey cloud.

The woman’s face beamed with happiness. “Isn’t that lovely?” she said. “It makes the whole morning beautiful.”

As they drove down the muddy narrow road which ran alongside the railroad tracks, the rainbow seemed to grow more distinct. Soon they could see each end of the rainbow, though the middle was still hidden by clouds.

“Now you can see both ends,” the woman cried eagerly.

“See where it goes,” her husband said. “Maybe I can find my pot of gold.”

The woman searched the sky, trying to determine beginning and end.

“It seems to stretch between the hills over there” — (she pointed left) — “and downtown over there” — (she pointed right.)

“Where does that story come from, anyways?” her husband asked.

“The Irish, I think. You know, leprechauns and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

“Yeah,” said her husband, a greedy grin on his youthful face. “I’d like to find a pot of gold at the end of it.”

The young woman frowned. “Oh, Jim, that’s all you care about is money. Can’t you think of anything else?”

“Not when we don’t have any,” he answered.

The woman said nothing more, and they drove along in silence until they arrived at the station. But when Jim was helping her out of the car, she suddenly noticed the other rainbow.

“Now look,” she said triumphantly, pointing at the sky. “There are two rainbows!”

Above the first rainbow, which was growing brighter by the minute, half of a second rainbow could be seen. 

“That’s unusual to see two rainbows,” she said thoughtfully. While the young couple watched together, the first rainbow grew stronger and more distinct as the sunlight shifted.

“Now you can see the whole arch!” the woman exclaimed. Truly, it was lovely. The rainbow colors stood clear and vivid against the somber grey sky. “That’s rare to see such a rainbow,” she said, grabbing her husband’s hand and squeezing it tightly. Indeed, the colors seemed almost unnatural.

“And remember, Sharon, there are two,” Jim reminded her gently. “Perhaps they’re man and wife — like us.”

Sharon giggled. “Which one is the man?” she asked playfully.

“The one on the bottom is the strongest.” Jim put his arm around his wife’s ample waist and hugged her close.

“On the bottom, right where he belongs,” Sharon teased.

Her husband laughed. “Actually, I rather like it when you’re on top.”

Sharon pounded him lightly in the stomach. “You’re incorrigible, you beast!”

The young man patted his wife’s swollen belly, feeling the unborn child move inside. “When rainbows make love, do they make little rainbows?” he whispered in her ear.

“How else could there be rainbows,” she whispered back.

“Actually, there are rainbows all the time. We just don’t see them.”

“My husband, the brilliant scientist!”

Suddenly the skies opened up, and a great rain began to fall. The wind whipped up, chilling them to the bone. Laughing wildly, the young couple ran onto the covered platform.

“I love rain like this!'” shouted the young woman over the roar of the downpour.

“I don’t like getting wet all the time,” shouted her husband, who was more practical. “Here comes the train!”

Down the track, the two bright headlights pierced the misty, watery veil of rain, and in a few moments, the train pulled into the station. The woman hugged her husband tightly and kissed him passionately on his warm lips. “You smell so good,” she murmured, snuggling close to his big, warm body.

“I have to go,” he said, disentangling himself from her clinging embrace. “Have a good day. Rest!”

“I will,” she promised, smiling. “Have a good day!”

She waited until he was safely on the train, waved good-bye, then ran into the rain. Behind her, the train began to move slowly down the track. She couldn’t help herself. She stopped and watched as the train gathered speed and chugged out of sight. She pulled her drenched jacket closer around her bulging body. Rain poured down her face and hair. In a moment, she heard the train whistle blasting farther down the track. “I love you,” she whispered, and a lump formed in her throat. Tears watered her eyes, spilled over, and ran down her cheeks, mingling with the rain. She turned and ran as fast as she could to the car.

She climbed into the car and turned the key. The engine sputtered, died, then caught again. She pulled out of the parking space and followed once more the primitive road which ran beside the railroad tracks. She was wet and cold and eager to get home to a hot shower. Her husband was gone to work, the babe was safe and warm inside her. The day would be long and lonely. The rain would carry on, darkening their small apartment. Still, she was happy and content. She had followed her rainbow long ago. She had found her pot of gold.

Dawn Pisturino

November 1983

A true story. Written while I was pregnant.

Copyright 1983-2016 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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