Makoto and Martha
Maeda

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Writing Samples Martha Maeda

Excerpt from a short story: The Rat
(Written for translation into Japanese for a contest commemorating the Year of the Rat)

No one had ever noticed a rat creeping around the house, or running along the back wall of the garden, but there it was: a huge mass of dried grass and leaves, dust, and odds and ends, woven together with scraps of cloth. In the storage shed at the back of the house, between the wall and an old dresser that had stood buried for years under cartons of old clothes and school papers and books, a rat had constructed a comfortable home. "Disgusting!" shrieked my daughter Yuki, and retreated.

My sons and I began pulling out the mess by handfuls.... "What's this?" My elder son was extricating a small doll, wound around with long strands of grass and thread. I looked at it closely. It was dressed in a tiny but beautiful kimono, a souvenir that my wife had bought in Toba on the last day of our honeymoon. Our honeymoon had only lasted four days, because both of us had to get back to our jobs, and we had had to spend three days before the wedding in preparations.

We had married late in life, really. I had been embarrassed by my parents' attempts to find me a wife, and had finally accepted that I would remain a bachelor, devoted to my parents and my job. Then I noticed her, parking her bike across the street from my office building in the morning before work. She used two bicycles to get to work; she rode one from her home to the train station in her village, and another from the station in town to the building where she worked as a clerk. ... I watched her almost every morning for nearly a year, and thought she had the sweetest face I had ever seen. She never looked angry or worried.

Finally I noticed her speaking with a woman who worked in my office. I arranged an introduction at a nearby coffee shop. It had all been so awkward and I had almost wanted to run away when the three of us were seated at the little table. But my friend lived in her village and had known her for years, and I think she must have said wonderful things about me to her family. She had three sisters, and her parents did not object to her leaving their village. I was surprised at how quickly our relationship developed. A year after our marriage she told me, laughingly, that she had seen me watching her from across the street all those months!

Charlotte
Excerpt from an autobiography about Democratic Republic of Congo

"...My father was taken aback, since Charlotte was his firstborn. But they talked for a long time and finally the young man agreed to pay what my father was asking. It seemed like a good match for Charlotte; the young man's village was in the same region as ours and his family occupied an important position there. My father was familiar with the chief. When Charlotte came home and heard the news, she was thrilled. It was like a dream come true, and we started making preparations for the marriage."

"On the day the young man was to come and pay the bride-price and take Charlotte home with him, we couldn't stop weeping. My father scolded us roughly, but I knew that he was going to miss Charlotte too! The young man arrived with bundles and bundles of money, packed in suitcases and shoulder bags. Two friends came in the taxi with him to protect him. When he  arrived, he said that there was just one thing he had to tell Charlotte: she was to be his second wife. He was already married to a girl from his village and Charlotte would be sharing a house with this woman."

"When Charlotte heard this, she burst into tears and demanded to call off the marriage right away. She threw herself on the floor, clutching my father's feet, and begged him to take her back. She promised to turn over all her wages if he would refuse the marriage and keep her at home. But my father had seen all that money. He became angry at my sister and said that she could not back out of the contract. In the village, he said, it was quite acceptable to be a second wife, and that she would become accustomed to it. She was not going to be abused. The young man and his friends pulled her away weeping and put her in the taxi..."

Published Works:

The Complete Guide to Investing in Bonds and Bond Funds: How to Earn High Rates of Return – safely (2008)

The Complete Guide to Investing in Exchange Traded Funds: How to Earn High Rates of Return – safely (2008)

The Complete Guide to IRAs & IRA Investing Wealth Building Strategies Revealed (2009)

The Complete Guide to Spotting Accounting Fraud & Cover-Ups Everything You Need to Know Explained (2010) Indie Awards First-place Winner, Finance Category

How to Wipe Out Your Student Loans and Be Debt Free Fast: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply (2009)

How to Legally Settle Your Personal and Credit Card Debt for Pennies on the Dollar Without Filing Bankruptcy (2010)

The Encyclopedia of Real Estate Forms & Agreements A Complete Kit of Ready-To-Use Checklists, Worksheets and Forms (2009) (Editor)

The Complete Guide to Preventing Foreclosure on Your Home Legal Secrets to Beat Foreclosure and Protect Your Home NOW (2010)

Exploring True Love: Secrets of the Garden (2008, Co-author)


Ghost

(from a book about my experiences in Democratic Republic of Congo)

The judge's eyes began to sparkle. "What you're saying reminds me of an incident which took place when I was posted as a circuit judge in Bukavu!"

"There was a small outlying village where, during the Belgian occupation, a Belgian administrator of low rank was put in charge. This man was bellicose and petty, he caused unhappiness for many families, and no one was particularly sorry when he died of heart failure. He was buried in the village graveyard and given a nice concrete monument in the European style."

"Now, this graveyard happened to be alongside the route to the main bus station. The administrator had died thirty years before, but reports began to come from the village that this man was lying in wait and beating villagers with a stick as they came home from the bus station in the evening. The reports became more and more numerous. Walking in a group did no good; the Belgian would single out one or two unfortunate victims and pay no attention to the others. He was invulnerable to machetes, chains or cudgels, which simply passed through him and sometimes struck his victims instead! After an attack, the Belgian could often be seen sitting atop his monument and laughing loudly, slapping his knee."

"The village people were already superstitious, and these attacks frightened them so badly that soon the economic life of the village came almost to a halt. Merchants were afraid to use the bus to go to the city and buy staples for their stalls in the market. The ladies who brewed beer no longer carried it to sell in the next town, and their children cried with hunger. Peanuts rotted in their sacks, bunches of bananas stayed on the trees. Those who were sick no longer went to the district hospital for treatment, but resorted to traditional remedies. The only means of transportation was by foot, following the mountain paths which circled the village and came out on to the main road some distance beyond the last buildings. It was an arduous journey for anyone with a heavy load on his back. Worse than this, a terrible depression settled on the population of the village. Some villagers lost the desire to do anything at all, and could only drag themselves along with the greatest effort. In the churches, those who had sung so loudly and given such joyful testimony no longer had the strength to pray. Day by day the village became paralyzed, and it was obvious that something had to be done."

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