Monthly Archives: May 2013

Celebration Time: The Follow Through

Lesson 52


This is a landmark day for me. One year ago I decided to start this writing blog, Writing Do’s and Don’ts. I wanted to give people useful hints to improve their writing experience. I wanted the advice to be brief and to the point. I wanted to inspire people to write—give writing prompts and assignments that might light a fire in the writer’s belly. I was inspired to do this by my writing students. “You should be sharing what you do for us,” one said. “Are you writing a how-to book?” asked another. “Everyone should get the chance to do your writing aerobics,” someone else said.


So, I began.  I made a vow to myself that I would write one lesson a week come hell or high water. (I do love some clichés!) Once a week—one do and one don’t. As I continued, I saw that a “how-to” book was in the making. All I had to do every week was write one entry. Here we are one year later. Lesson Fifty-two! It’s a testimony to perseverance, if nothing else.


I learned a lot during this year about writing and about life. I do believe you have to keep going. You run your race. You do it on your own terms. You don’t  check to see what other are doing. You keep your eye on your own ball.


My plan is to continue, and also to cull out the best of the lessons, organize through subject, and create a book. I’ll let you know how it goes.






In Memoriam/ A Thank You

In Memoriam/ A Thank You.

In Memoriam/ A Thank You

I’ve been celebrating Memorial Day for over half a century, but I only had a vague idea of what it is. Today I got curious and went to my two trusted friends, Google and Wikipedia, to find out. The American Memorial Day, the final Monday of May, remembers the men and women who died while serving their country. These people paid the ultimate price. Tragically, their footsteps are still being followed today. Over 2000 service people have been killed in the Afghanistan War. If I read correctly, more than double that amount have committed suicide. What is that saying? That war leads not only to death, but to despair?


I remember when I was a kid, our dad would walk us up to Lake View Cemetery near Volunteer Park in Seattle. We would then go to a smaller cemetery, which I just read on Goggle was a military cemetery, the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery.


I haven’t thought of this for years, but now I am picturing my dad standing at graves, reading the headstones and bowing his head in respect. He’d be jovial on the walk up to the cemetery, but melancholy on the way back home. What a wonderful role model he was, even in small ways. He taught us to honor the dead, not be afraid of them.

Yesterday at the grocery store, there was a table set up where you could leave items to donate to Armed Service people. I bought two packs of disposable razors. When I went up to the table to leave them, I saw at least two dozen lip balms. It wasn’t until I was home that I thought: What, our U.S. service people don’t have enough personal items? They are provided for so poorly or paid so little, that they can’t afford Q-tips?  The Defense Budget is so huge, but the Armed Services personnel need to ask the public for donations? Even an English major can see that something is out of whack.


I sat down two hours ago to write something light and inspirational about Memorial Day. I was going to talk about my mother’s coleslaw and my dad’s bacon-wrapped hotdogs. But I didn’t want the day to go by without focusing on its meaning. Still, I am surprised at how dark my thoughts have become. Sometimes I think that we have come so far, but then I realize the world’s reality is not far removed from the biblical dictates of an “Eye for an eye”. Do we never learn from history that war’s brutality is dehumanizing?


But again, my intention today was not to come from a Peacenik perspective. You can’t sit back and let the bullies of the planet take over. And on Memorial Day, I want to honor those who protected me before and those who protect me now. That’s what is important. Our cousin, who served in Kuwait, introduced us to an organization, Children of Fallen Patriots, which seeks to help families of the heroes left behind. I am grateful we can add our assistance, and honor the men and women who gave their lives so we can live in safety…and barbecue this afternoon.