Is the American Dream Dead?

Is the American Dream dead?

That question floated into my consciousness recently, unlocked from a memory seven years old. My eleventh grade English class included a big project on the American Dream, and this was one of the questions our brains were tasked with answering.

Many people said it was dead. At the time, I did not. I reasoned that there are still people out there, looking for more, for better. The American Dream is not simply the acquisition of money. It’s a drive to become the best one can be. It’s a drive to achieve the most one can achieve. It’s a desire for a better life.

When that question floated into my mind recently, I thought more about it. What if I was wrong? Is the American Dream dead?

No. To this day, it persists.

The American Dream will last longer than my more pessimistic eleventh-grade colleagues can imagine. Is it harder to attain in the modern age? Probably. Does it look different than it did a hundred years ago? Almost certainly. But it persists deep in the souls of us all.

What person would not willingly exchange a lifetime of scrubbing tile floors for a nice retirement in a comfortable lifestyle? Who among us would not completely uproot their lives to something nicer if they won the lottery? Why would someone not sell their two-hundred year old Honda Civic when they have the ability to get a much nicer, maybe even more luxurious, form of transportation? What addict would not willingly give up his vice, if he could do it on his own? What parent would not pour all their resources into their children, in hopes of them living a better life than they did? What person, if opportunity presented itself to achieve one’s goals, would not immediately jump at the chance?

Wait a minute…

Truth be told, a lot of people would not do these things. Maybe you are one of them. Maybe I am too. Sure, everyone wants a better life. Everyone wants more.

The American Dream is not dead.

But maybe… drive is dead.

Full of Inspiration

A couple months ago, I posted a poem called, “The State of Things.” Despite its first line, it took inspiration from the following poem I wrote in 2012. I think it describes the current state of things. This summer is to be a summer of creativity. Reading and ‘riting (no ‘rithmetic). I’m not sure how much will be posted on this blog, but hopefully we’ll get some good gems. For now, enjoy this blast from the past.


Full of inspiration, with nothing to write—

I sat there. He said, “Let it flow.

“Let it come from within. Let it grow, let it blossom—

“And all around you things bloom into being.”

I responded by sitting behind this machine, clunking away at its capital letters.

The forest was there, as an imaginative forethought—

For now, I must sit here, tending my garden.

A Rambling

Greetings, readers! I’m once again waiting until the last minute to post a monthly something on this blog. While you may think I missed last month, I actually posted on my other blog, and though I never specified, I believe that counts. But I am getting excited. Why?

NaNoWriMo is here!

That’s National Novel Writing Month, for those that don’t know. The entire month of November, I’ll be writing a minimum of 50,000 words. What am I writing this year? Well, I decided to fully explore the idea I’ve posted several snippets of on this blog before: Plunder the Children. Four of my previous posts deal with this story, but I’ll be changing the plot slightly for the full novel. While usually I head into November without much planning, I’ve decided to outline the entire book this month before I write it. Hopefully this will help me get through one of these NaNoWriMo months with a full first draft novel. Without a sure direction in my writing travels, I often stumble into the procrastination nightmare known as editing. I constantly edit my work instead of getting everything on paper. The hope is that this year will be different.

I may publish snippets of the story on here… Or I may not. I haven’t decided yet. But this will be a busy month.

Do you have a story you wish to get out there? Please, join NaNoWriMo! It’s not too late. Get a full-fledged novel a-workin’!

I think that’s all I wanted to say. Slow news day, I guess. Hey, until next time.


If you want to follow my progress through NaNoWriMo, click

Part One

An idea I had.


My name is David Ortega. And I am innocent.

I am writing this story to get my life back. I don’t know what is going on and I fear I’m going insane. Whoever you are reading this, if you know any way to get me back… please. I need you.


I served five years of a life sentence in the Warren Correctional Institution for the murder of a lady by the name of Loretta Barnes—a murder I did not commit. My lawyer was paid a handsome amount by the accuser’s lawyer. I’m almost certain of this. So I was institutionalized without any hope of parole. I’ve never heard of Loretta Barnes and I still don’t know how the blame got placed on me. But such was my lot in life. I fought for three years to get a retrial to no avail. After four years, I grew to accept my fate. It wasn’t easy. Not every rumor you hear about prison is true, but most are. It is a house of horrors, perpetrating one of the biggest lies to dupe the American public: “Correctional.” More like “Punishment” Facility.

On August 1 of this year, I was led by policeman to a room in the prison I had never been. It looked managerial with five men in suits on one side of a mahogany desk. I sat on the other side. The words, “You’ve been found innocent,” came out of one of their mouths and my head was swimming so that I could not focus on anything. I was led out of the prison shortly afterward with nothing but a new set of clothes.

Of course, I immediately looked up my family. I ran to the house I’ve called home for years, where my loving wife and I were to start a family. And that is where the madness began.

Not only did she not believe I was innocent, she believed I escaped from prison! She called the cops as I was there. I wasn’t going to leave at first, but they said they were on the way! So I panicked! I ran… In hindsight, that was stupid. But I didn’t know what else to do.

I ran to my mom’s. She welcomed me in and gave me a big hug and then asked me if I needed any money. I told her I’d probably look for a job… But then she asked where I’d be hiding out next.

Sensing my confusion, she told me she knew I busted out of jail. I had no idea what she was talking about. I was found innocent and was led out the front door of the complex. I did not break out of jail.

She flipped on the news and we watched together. After a few stories about various area summer fairs, the crime beat came on, and my name and mugshot were front and center. The story claimed I had broken out of jail after being convicted of seven murders twenty years ago.

Here’s the weird part: My mom believed it all.

She was there in court. She knew I was (wrongly) convicted five years ago of one woman… not seven random people.



There’ll be more later in life.