Vids: Let’s Dance + Do Better: S.D.Jones + Podcast: N.Socha Plays Blind

Photo of Shira Destinie Jones: Author, Educator,. Activist.
Shira Destinie Jones: Author/Educator/Activist
Want to listen to a podcast/audio version of Happiness Between Tails? Click the Spotify podcast link above. And please give it a follow.

This week I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel of writing my first novel (more about it H-E-R-E)! Yay!!!!

To celebrate, let’s get moving! Can you do this?

Sit in a chair, both your feet on the ground. Then lift your right foot a couple of inches off the floor and use it to make a clockwise circular motion. Meantime, with your right hand, write the numeral six.

Gotcha! It’s an unsolved mystery why that’s so hard to do.

Now for our dance party! As you might remember from my posts H-E-R-E and H-E-R-E, I grew up with flamenco (and classical music). For my father, the louder, the better. After all, that way those neighbors yelling and pounding our walls could enjoy it too, no?

José Planas Moreno, a priest in Málaga, Spain, tears up the church floor with his parishioners. The videographer’s site shows how the province celebrates everything with dance, be it blackberry roots, or plain ole’ regional dance. (A quickie swerve off-topic: what’s your opinion and experience regarding hyperlinks, meaning the sorts in this paragraph vs. the prior paragraph?) …

Carmen Amaya is known as the Queen of Flamenco for good reason! Head to toes, she’s music and dance incarnate…

With her extended family of Romany dancers and musicians, Carmen toured the world. Hollywood (including the Hollywood Bowl) fell in love with her. Here she casts her Fandango spell… 

Whew! Dunno about you, but I’m out of breath! It’s time to sit back and meet our guest blogger…

Ever wish you could make the world better a better place for anyone and everyone? Educator/community organizer Shira Destinie Jones blogs, at least for now, from San Diego and is doing just that. As part of her plan, she’s founded, Do Better, to stop child abuse and help those who care for kids.

Volunteers Needed: Shira needs feedback on the book she’s writing about how Do Better works, as well as the project itself. Find out more at h-e-r-e.

On her way to also becoming a historical fiction novelist, she’s already published an academic text, “Stayed on Freedom’s Call: Cooperation Between Jewish And African-American Communities In Washington, DC.”

Read on for a sample of her writing. When the following incident occurred, which she titles “Standing in the Gap,” she was completing PhD studies…

“Standing in The Gap” by Shira Destinie Jones

There it was again. I knew that sound.

“Oy, they’re having a fight down there!”

That was what Mona thought. I knew better. That was an old sound, from a lifetime ago. One I thought I’d finally escaped. I should have known better.

I looked out the window, counting five men holding smart phones up toward the screams. Then my feet moved of their own accord. It was only from hearing a muffled shout as the door slammed behind me that I knew I’d left the flat. The rain had just ended, and the pavement was still wet. My feet pulled me to the source of that sound. Not the shouting, not the screaming, but the one I remembered so deeply that it still hid under the table with my inner child. The sound of a head hitting a wall.

There it was again, but this time, I could see them. Both of them. The woman’s head sounded like a watermelon when she slammed against the wall, sliding down those slimy bricks to finish crumpled on the filthy paving stones. Her eyes were open wide, looking stunned and frightened, as a giant advanced on her from the ten or fifteen feet from where he’d launched her. My stomach churned as the pain of that impact coursed through my own body, as if I had been the one tossed like a sack of rice into that wall.

Looking at the giant, I wanted to flee, abandon this woman to her fate. But my feet had a will of their own, carrying me right into the one spot where I didn’t want to be: about 5 steps between each of them.

I realized that I’d carried an old umbrella with me out the door. At least those Kung Fu lessons had had one result: they kept me from rushing in where angels feared to tread entirely unarmed. Then again, my next thought was that this flimsy brolly was more like a liability against that big drunk guy. I took a second of comfort in hoping that as a foreign PhD student, at least the NHS would cover my hospital stay if I didn’t manage to duck fast enough.


I flinched as the sound wave from the giant’s lips struck me. It felt just like the impact of furniture breaking against the wall that night. When the giant stepped closer to me, my feet moved me back the same step, but my body refused to budge. That brolly, I now realized, was balanced in my left hand behind me, just like a short staff. My stomach had turned into a solid ball, no longer churning. As I saw him look at me, the giant’s eyes suddenly grew wider. If he hits me, it is going to hurt. But then why did he seem to be afraid of me?



Who said that? Oh, wait, that was my voice. So why did the giant look confused?

“Thank you.”

I risked a glance backward. That sobbing voice had come from behind me, as the woman I was foolishly blocking wept, her tears mingling with the rain on the wall as she’d stared up at me.

Focusing on the giant as I’d learned to do in so many sparring classes, I drew a deep breath, preparing. But the giant stood frozen himself, staring at me with some odd drunken mixture of contempt and fear. Both were clearly written in his face, as well as the frustration of being denied another chance to strike the woman on the ground behind me. What was he waiting for?

“You prick.”

He was treating me like a man? He really must be drunk. Then I realized that I’d dropped into an automatic fighting stance. He wasn’t that drunk, then.

“Ok, but you should be ashamed of yourself.”

As those words tore themselves from my throat, I began to tremble so violently that I thought I’d begin crying like the woman at my back. The giant looked so confused that I could practically see the gears turning in his drink-addled mind. Then, a tall woman stepped between us, her back to me, placing a hand flat upon the center of the giant’s chest. I found myself letting out the breath I’d not known I was holding, and heard movement behind me.

I turned to see the two young bar girls helping the woman, finally, up off of the pavement, and taking her inside the pub. As I looked back at the giant, he had backed away, the tall woman’s arm guiding him to the curb.

I stood straight, now in tears myself from the relief, and from the shock. I was still four years old, still hiding under the table, while furniture still shattered, as my mother screamed in the other room. But this time, I had not stayed hidden under the table.

This time, I had come out to help.

Lost in these thoughts, I turned down the bar girl’s offer of a drink. As Mona came over, saying something I couldn’t hear, I wondered where she had been during all of this. Recalling her nights of coming home drunk, I realized that she had been standing there, 20 feet away, the entire time. Now I could see her in my mind’s eye, standing off to the side, just watching. As the five men and two bar girls had stood by and just watched.

All standing idly by while… And all but the young bar girls were bigger than me.

What’s a problem you think people need to know more about?

63 thoughts on “Vids: Let’s Dance + Do Better: S.D.Jones + Podcast: N.Socha Plays Blind”

  1. I enjoyed the dance video, wow so much gusto! My foot was going in the other direction as I’m writing the number 6 ☺️

    Thank you for helping and bringing awareness to such terrible acts of abuse. Sadly it’s reality for so many unfortunate children and helpless ones in this world.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, HensBlooms. That is why I write these stories, and also, most of all, why I founded Project Do Better. You can read more about it on my blog if you like.
      Humanity can definitely Do Better.

      Liked by 4 people

        1. Well, it’s that, or just hang around a wait to get hit by a bus, and I’d rather “spend the time that is given to” me doing something I can be proud of, or feel like I’ve done my absolute best to help, when I meet my moment of passing.

          Liked by 3 people

  2. Dear da-AL, I cannot do the exercise, I have cooridnation problems to begin with … 😉

    I am looking very much forward to your Novel!!!

    The music I will listen to later, as I am not alone right now 😉 I am looking forward to that too! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It shocked me as I ran by, but I only really noticed it after the whole thing was over! I later read about the famous case of Bystander Apathy in NYC (as a woman was loudly murdered and no one did anything for something like half an hour?). Apparently it is normal.
      But, we can Do Better.

      Liked by 4 people

        1. Thank you, Stella! I keep being told that I must learn to accept this world as it is, but this normal is no ok. That is why I work so hard to start Project Do Better.

          Because we human beings really can Do Better, right?

          Come Join Us!

          Liked by 3 people

  3. You have raised my awareness for sure! What an intense read. And I love the videos and wish I could dance that well. Lastly. I’m still trying to raise my right leg move it clockwise and make the letter six with my right hand. 😬

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Bojana: it has taken me since 2007 to write this, but I’m glad that it is able, at least I hope, to make some sort of a difference, or at least to raise a bit of needed awareness.
      Stay safe,

      Liked by 5 people

      1. It took me 20 years to write about bombardment I went through in my early 20s, which touched many people, opened many eyes, and raised awareness of what done in your name. It’s never too late to make people question or make a difference. You’re so welcome, dear.

        Liked by 4 people

  4. That’s riveting storytelling (“Standing in the Gap”) about a terrifying experience. Sometimes when one person intervenes it kind of “unfreezes” onlookers and moves them to step in as well.

    I hope that guy was arrested. It’s sheer luck that his victim wasn’t killed.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Infidel. I was actually too lost in my own 4-year old self to be as terrified as I should have been!
      And no, the police didn’t take anyone away: the tall woman appears to have whisked him away before they got there. Actually, I don’t remember even seeing any officers, just the a car finally pulling up after everyone had pretty much left.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. my heart goes out to you to experience such a terrible thing so young, Shira. sometimes adults seem to think that children won’t understand or feel or remember, but they do…

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I was even told, at the ages of 11 and at 13 or so, again, that I had been “too young to remember that,” until I described things in detail. Never try to con someone with a photographic memory.

          But this is why we build tools: to help change our world into one worth living in, no?

          Liked by 3 people

    2. I agree — or maybe the intervener helps shame some sense into others? whatever it is, the best thing is to just go ahead, before one loses one’s nerve…


      1. There was no nerve involved, for me at least: I was in it before my brain actually kicked in. My first conscious thoughts weren’t until he told me to move, by which point there was no way I was leaving that woman alone. I think I also expected someone else to join me, stand behind or beside me, or something, but no, I never really had to work up any nerve, or worry about losing it until it was too late (my ego was involved).

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I had an incident of great danger from a stranger while a friend was beside me — & I ran — I couldn’t help it & it still pains me to think that I wasn’t stronger — fortunately no one was hurt in the end

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Don’t be pained: you are honestly admitting it now, and you are bearing witness that you would have done things differently, given a conscious choice. These things are not conscious, as I pointed out in Standing in the Gap: my feet really did move of their own accord because I just could not stand the pain of hearing that woman be beaten, and my gut telling me that it was my mother, all those years back, while my body was telling me that this was the moment I’d trained for. For years: at the US Naval Academy, I first took fencing, and then I studied various martial arts from 1994 until 2002 or so, counting Aikido, kung fu, and fencing, with jogging as my mainstay. That was only because as a kid I always had to know how to get away from the other kids at school! So my entire life basically prepared me for that moment, and I’d been looking for a reason to live, to boot: that’s what I was doing in England working on that PhD that I knew was trouble. So, do not feel bad, da-AL. You’ve been honest, and you work to support work that will or might make this world safer for all of us. That matters.
            We are all working to Do Better.

            Liked by 2 people

              1. If you haven’t read “Herland” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, you may not get this reference, but I’ve felt like one of “the sargents” -that this was my duty. And I highly recommend this novella!

                Liked by 2 people

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