Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Site

Thank you for following my Blogger page.  I am switching to WordPress in order to take advantage of some of their features.  Thank you for you feedback and I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Feaster

Alright, I'll admit it.  My thoughts are bizarre at times.  For example, when we have Easter dinner, does anyone find it strange that it's usually ham we eat?  It's about the first thing I can think of on the "Not Kosher" menu.  Is it intentional?  Did someone say, "Hey, let's eat pork and show the Old Testament folks we don't need their law anymore!" or what?
If you're thinking I mean this as an anti-Semitic rant, you're way off.  Jesus and the disciples were Jewish.  Being a Christian and being anti-Semitic is like loving lasagna and hating pasta.  You can't truly be both.  Sure you could eat no pasta lasagna, but that would mean you weren't eating the real thing.  In other words, a person can't be a genuine Christian and be anti-Semitic.  They can lay claim to it, but they would not be partaking in the real deal.
God is not about hate. God doesn't hate Jews, fags, people of color, foreign people, big people, little people, or even annoying people who post irritating things on Facebook. That's why God put a guy in the endzone at every football game- so we could be reminded that we're loved every time they kick a field goal (John 3:16, right?).

So, when you eat ham this Easter, remember:  A Jew died for you, rose for you, and intercedes for you.  Because he did, you can eat all the pork you want...until it clogs your arteries and you die, but that's another issue.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Remember Your First Lyrics?

Some people have never written lyrics to a song.  I often tell them that writing lyrics is mostly putting down your feelings in poetic form without worrying about the form.  Let it flow.  You can always adjust it later.  I remember the first song I wrote.  It was a tune for a Christian rock band.  Oh man, that was so long ago.  When I look at the words now, I slap my forehead and wonder why I thought I had written a masterpiece.  I suppose it's like the first of anything else.  It grabs hold and give one a sense of great accomplishment, even if the only real success is having completed the first one.  Here are the lyrics:

Superman wasn't bulletproof
The Easter bunny was just a spoof
Seems the magic of kids has come and gone
Now we're left un-convincible
All that stuff seems incredible
Can we believe or is everything a lie?

I believe in miracles
in a world that seems so cynical
I've seen a junkie turned to prayer
A robber turned to praise
The bound have been set free
And evil change their ways
I believe in miracles
I know that God is ever working
I see his glory in the world

My teacher told me that God's a fake
Having faith is a blind mistake
His philosophy means he has to touch
But touching me is what God has done
He was one of us in his Son
And I believe that the truth is all around


What's become of your vain philosophy
Full of anger and negativity
God is real and your mind tricks dry
So listen now as I testify


Yeah, it doesn't all rhyme, I know.  I hope, at least, I got better with a pen!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spell Check Might Miss These!

Typonese is a language in which I often dabble. Blame it on my brain or fingers, but I just cant' keep from making mistakes. Misspelling words is not the same as making a typo, however, because I meant to type it wrongly. I just didn't know it was wrong. To you avoid purposefully typing the wrong word, here's a list of common spelling mistakes:

Their- Their shoes There- Over there They're- They are
Lose- To lose your wallet Loose- my pants are loose
Your- It's your turn You're - You are
It's- It is Its- Its color (possessive pronouns don't have apostrophes)
Effect- It had a side-effect (noun) Affect- It affected me (verb)
Whether- Whether or not Weather- Today's weather is rainy
Alot- Is not a word (allot is- apportionment) A lot - There's a lot of those (two words)
Then- Then we went home (Used for time) Than- Bigger than that (comparison)

Finally, even though the rule says "i before e, except after c unless it is 'a" as in weigh," there are exceptions and that may be WEIRD, but it's the case.

I'm by no means a grammar nut, so if you misspell when writing to me, I will simply read your meaning and love you just the same. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blogging Something of Value

I was reading a blog that said, "You must give something of value to your readers if you want them to return to your blog."  This simple statement grabbed hold of my mind and put it in a full nelson.  What is "something of value?"  If this was some famous actor's blog, just telling some people about what brand of toilet paper I used would be valuable.
"How amazing, Susan, Johnny Depp uses Charmin too!"
Of course, a religious leader's blog would have some pithy saying on it that you could make your quote for the day.  People like Joyce Meyers or Joel Osteen put out amazing quotes which translate into "God can do it, therefore you can do it."  Those desperately needing a positive affirmation flock to their sites to be told the obvious in new semi-plagiarized ways.  Oh, did Robert Schuller say that?
Financial advice would certainly draw a crowd.  Would you like to know how to make money in real estate?  OK, I'll tell you.  Go to the courthouse and find someone that is about to be foreclosed.  The lis pendens are public knowledge and foreclosure is a lawsuit, so you can get the information easy.  Now you just need to find a rehabber who wants cheap houses.  Get the people who are losing their house to sell for the price the bank will take as a buyout (plus your commission) to the rehabber.  It has to be no more than 60 percent of the fixed-up repaired value of the home.  Yes, the people will get nothing and will have sold you their equity.  Yes, taxes will kill them later, but don't worry.  You'll get yours.  See?  How valuable is that?  I just told you how to mug someone legally.  If you feel bad, see the previous paragraph.
Perhaps I could blog on cooking, that would be valuable.  I can't cook, though.  My recipes are add water and stir.
So finding something of value is not going to be easy.  Until I find it, I will continue putting my thoughts down as best I can and hope that someone enjoys reading them.  In summary: Johnny Depp uses Charmin, you can do it, make money mugging, and just add water.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Candidates Giving Fingers

Let’s cut off some fingers for the good of the country.  “What?” you ask, “are you insane?”  Perhaps, but that’s another issue.  As I listen to presidential hopefuls speak about the country, I want to know two things.  Candidates, here are your questions:

First, what vision do you have for the country?  You are not allowed to use platitudes without specific references.  There are no sound bite moments for you here.  How will this country look if you get your way in the next four years?  What will be different?  What will remain the same?  If you give a single platitude without being able to back it up with a specific plan, we will chop off a finger.  Don’t worry, if you forget, we will remind you, so there will not be any “gotcha” moments.  We are not seeking digits, merely the truth.  Also, you may refer negatively to your opponent's plan in your answer, but if you do not give a solid counter-plan, we take a finger.  Be careful.

Second, what have you done to prove you are the right person for the office of president?  Did you fix something that was broken?  What leadership experience do you have?  Did you ever oversee a project that came to fruition and exceeded expectations?  Can you speak honestly or do you have anything to hide?  
We don’t care if you drank heavily in college or even if you said stupid things twenty years ago that you wished you could take back.  Be real.  If we catch you lying about things, we won’t trust you and must therefore take a finger.  If you tell openly, we will trust you because we are sick of the witch hunts and character assassinations.  We just want a good leader for our country, not a perfect person.  Perhaps your imperfection might even impress us to think you are like us.

OK, with these two simple requirements in mind, let’s begin.  I see that both candidates are more than willing to give us the finger.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Escorts and Elevators

I went to Lawrence Hospital today to visit someone having a procedure. When I asked where it was to be done, a woman near the desk told me it was on the third floor and escorted me up there, since it was on her way. There, another woman told me that the place was on the second floor and she escorted me there.
"Here it is," she said, leaving me near the desk. "Just tell the nurse there."
The nurse told me that the place for that procedure was moved to the first floor, so she escorted me down to the first floor and showed me the waiting room.
"She's already in the room," said the woman behind the desk. "Her family is downstairs in the cafeteria, though. I'm on my way down, so I'll show you the way."
So I trod down the stairs with my escort to the cafeteria and the floor on which I started the trek. Unfortunately, I could not find the family. Back up the stairs I went to the waiting room.
"Did you find them?" asked the woman, sipping her diet soda.
"No, I will just wait here if that's OK." I quickly took a seat before she could call me an escort.

Friday, March 9, 2012


In every heart there are secrets.  Some are simple things that when shared would simply be too much information.  I cannot remember the number of times that I wished my roommates in college would have kept their "awesome" bowel movements a secret.  Then there are the ones that are hidden deep.  These are the hidden thoughts that we do not share with anyone because they are either too dark or embarrassing to ever admit.  We hold these deep inside and fear they will surface in our weakest moments.  Our secret thoughts alienate us from those around us who we fear will come to know our dark side.

It is amazing how liberating it is when someone else shares that they have the same thoughts.  As soon as they admit their secret, we find ourselves suddenly able to walk upright and no longer despair.  It is not that we have permission to hold on to anger or bitterness.  This is no license to contemplate hurting people and dwell on inflicting damage.  Instead, it shows us that our thoughts are simply human and therefore something we can discuss with those we trust.
Ah, there is the rub.  Who can we trust?  What if I told you that I have a secret desire to rob a bank?  I do not, but what if I did?  Would you tell someone?  Of course not, right?  Yet how many of us have told a secret to someone under the guise of sharing anonymous information or said "Now this is just between us, but so-and-so said...?"  The person we told that secret knows one thing for sure.  They can never trust us with THEIR hidden thoughts if we were loose with another's.
So we hold in our secrets until they burn into our hearts, reek havoc on our nerves, or lead us to act on them.  Is there a solution?  I suppose the only way is to hold close that which is shared with us so that we may find someone who honors their trust in us to extend to us the same honor.  Isn't that the core of true friendship?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Spinning Thoughts of a Writer

Perhaps the most confusing thing about writing is when I get ideas for books while still working on the current one.  At the moment, I am trying to finish the sequel to Angel Blood: Family Secrets, but two other books are spinning around in my head.  While I have created a notation sheet for the other books, so that I do not forget ideas that spring to mind, there is a part of me that wants to get to them ASAP.  Before I started writing, I wondered how someone could possibly write more than a couple of novels.  Now I know.  Writing is consuming.
While I am still unpublished and cannot get an agent to even read one of my first two novels, my writing continues.  Perhaps one day, I will gain an audience of size, but that is no longer important.  My focus is now to get my stories onto the page or e-page.  Whoever reads them is fine.  This is not because I would not like to reach a larger audience, but because I am no longer driven by money or fame.  Creativity drives me.  The same creativity that sent my father to his electronics bench or my uncle to his woodworking shop is now pulling me to the keyboard.
I now understand the words "writing is in my blood."  Perhaps one day, marketing will be too.  When and if I marry these two, I will be prepared to launch my books for a larger audience.  Until then, I will sit and write with a calmness that comes from a lack of pressure.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Death on the Rhine

My college was nestled on the Rhine River  just east of Schaffhausen, Switzerland.  Hanging willows dangled into the crystal clear water which stretched a hundred meters across.  Rowing enthusiasts often passed by our dock, causing the many swans to scurry towards the rocky banks.  Near the dock was the deck of a restaurant, surrounded by hanging flower boxes full of brilliant red blooms.  On a clear day, one could see the faint shadowy Alps towards the south.  It was one of the most beautiful places to sit with a good book and cup of coffee.
The water came from streams fed by melting glaciers, making it cold enough to chill my foot with a single swipe.  Swimming in the water was never my plan as I was an American who was accustomed to the warm waters of the local pool.  The European students, however, found a quick swim to be invigorating.  Each time they jumped in, they encouraged me to try it, but I never found the idea inviting.  One day, however, they changed tactics.
"You Americans probably can't handle waters this cold," said Siggy, a young Swiss teenager.  His friend laughed and the challenge was on.  It was one thing to consider me squeamish, but another to challenge my country's honor.  I felt obligated to prove that we, Americans, could jump into a glass of ice water as well as anyone else.
After retrieving my trunks (I was not about to wear a speedo), I joined them back on the dock.  They jumped off near the shore as they always did, but I had something to prove.  I jumped off the dock towards the middle of the river.  This was a huge error on my part.  The reason they stayed near the shore was because the current was blocked by the dock.  I jumped out into the full strength of the rushing Rhine.
The water felt like a thousand needles poking my skin.  I scarcely caught my breath before realizing my stupidity.  With all my might, I swam to return to the dock, but the strong current drew me towards the center of the river.  Within a minute or so, I was out of breath and already a good fifty meters downstream.  I was going to drown if I could not get out.
Panic overtook me.  I gasped for breath and slashed at the water to keep afloat.  There did not seem to be any hope for getting out of this stupidity.  Was I going to die because I was showing off?  How many times had I heard stories about kids who were killed because they had something to prove?  Now I was going to be an added statistic.
Just then, I remembered swimming in the pool back in Virginia Beach.  My Boy Scout leader told us "Swim to move, float to survive!"  I got on my back, and floated with as little exertion as possible.  It did not get me out of the current, but it helped me survive until I did.  When the river bent, I had rested enough to swim out of the middle and reach the shore.
I crawled out of the water, choked and panted on the rocks near a small garden.  Turning to my back, I stared up at the warming sun and wheezed a prayer of thanks.  Suddenly, the face of an old woman blocked the sun.  She did not utter a word, but just looked at me curiously.
"American," I said through a gasp.
"Ahh," she nodded, before returning to her gardening.
Her response told me that I was through defending my country's honor, for that day, at least.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Great Losers

It is amazing how many winning football teams existed years ago.  Most people I know played on one.  Yes, it’s mathematically impossible, which makes it all the more impressive.  My high school football team was, evidently, the exception.  Our record was a poor 3-7.  When looking at the season from only the angel of win-loss with winning being everything, then we were a bad team.  After all, aren’t scoreboards and trophies what matter?
When I look back on the season, I do not focus on the statistic.  We were part of story in which we got to be characters of nobility and frailty.  My senior year, our team was ten points away from being conference champs.  This is because we lost most games by 2 points.  The game against Winnetonka, however, is by far my most memorable game of that season.
Winnetonka High School was not only our conference rival, but our town rival.  We even split a Junior High School.  Half the kids from Antioch Junior High migrated joyfully to our school, Oak Park, while the other half was forced to attend Winnetonka.   This made our rivalry all the more fun, because we knew where the other lived!
The projected “stars” for the game were Loren Hadley for our Oak Park Northmen and Eric Hoskins for the Winnetonka Griffons.   Both were top of the line running backs with good stats in their junior year.  It was only the second game of the season, so both teams had great hopes that our stars would lead us to glorious victory.
The  Griffons’ offense was a throwback to Knute Rockne.  They ran the Single Wing, which was an offense created to confuse the other team with spins, fakes, and reversals.  Other teams would over pursue a fake only to find that the real runner dashed the other direction.  This worked against us and the Griffons scored first.  By the end of the first half, we were down 7-21.  Our defense shut them out in the second half and our offense went to work.  Loren Hadley rushed for 198 yards that game and we scored two second half touchdowns.  When the clock ran out, we were tied 21-21.  The momentum changed in our direction, so we thought.
To break the tie, each team was given the ball at the ten yard line.  We had four downs to score.   All second half, Pat Ryan and I had the advantage over our opposing linemen.  The guard and tackle on the other side were as good as we were, but they had to go against an all-state lineman named Eric Cheeseborough, so it was rough going to our right side.  Unfortunately, when the receiver ran in with the play, he accidently switched the numbers.  We ran right into Cheeseborough, who stomped us.   We settled for a field goal by Joe Zuber, but that was fine.  We were ahead and our defense had shut down the Griffons all second half.
The first play, we stopped them for a loss.  Yeah, we were awesome.  The second play, the spinner back pitched the ball to Hoskins.  Our defensive end, Pat Ryan again, had the outside contain and kept Eric from getting around the end.  I was headed right for Eric’s numbers; I was going to smash him to the ground for a huge loss.  Victory was in hand.  Suddenly, Eric reared back and through the ball.  It was a sweep pass.   While Eric was a great running back, his passing was less than stellar.  The ball looked like he had punted it.  Surely this was going to be out of bounds beyond the end-zone.  Well it would have been if not for the Griffons’ Matt Williams, an all conference high jumper who soared up and snatched the ball.  We lost in overtime. 
To remember that game as a loss is to miss the point.  We were characters in an awesome story.  Our team participated in a game that grabbed the hearts of fans on both sides and took them for a ride of excitement. 
Now, if you think we were losers, I’ll add this to the story.   Two players on the field that night, one from each team, went on to play in the NFL.  From our team, eight of our starting eleven went to college with football scholarships.   The Griffons won the conference championship, while we were 3-7, but I consider it a very successful season.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shaving the Pooch

Yesterday, I went to visit an elderly woman with a Shih-Tzu. Previously, the dog's hair had grown so long that it looked liked Cousin It's toupee. In order to stem the tide of overwhelming hair, the woman had a traveling dog groomer stop by to give it a trim. It appears the groomer used to cut hair for the Marine Corps, because the dog now looks like Jerry Garcia's head on a Chihuahua's body. And you thought you had bad haircuts?

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Chicken

There was a baby rooster that stood by a road staring intently at the other side.  A kindly hen strutted up and inquired as to the cause of the long face on the rooster. 
"Edna and her chicks went over to that side," exclaimed the rooster.  “She took my best friend, Rodney, with her!”
“Really?” asked the other, surprised.   “Why would she go over there?”
“I heard the crossing was merely a whimsical exercise in assertiveness.”
“That Edna always was a rebel.  There, there, I’ll lay you a new friend.”
“Thank you,” sniffed the rooster, “I’m so glad to have a friend that can lay eggs.  You have to have a hen before formulating embryonic fowls.”
“Yes indeed.”  After laying five eggs and taking appropriate steps to fertilize them, the hen perched upon her nest, warming the potential playmates of the baby rooster.
“This is grand,” said the rooster with a big smile.  “I will have five new playmates now.”
“Try not to get your hopes up, dear,” replied the hen, soothingly.  “We must not calculate the number of hatchings before they break though their shells.”
“Oh right you are.  I tend to forget that it is not wise to place all my hopes in a single wicker container.”

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Competitive Demon

"He was in bounds!  Are you blind?" I shouted as the referee tossed his hands to the side, indicating my nine year old running back stepped out of bounds on the way to a touchdown.   My face turned red and my voice growled like a Chucky doll as I hollered at the volunteer in stripes.  "That moron just cost us the game!" I spatted to my assistant coach, Rick, who looked at me as if I had just kicked a puppy.
"You're taking this a bit too seriously, aren't you?" replied Rick, with a half smile.
"What?  I...who side are you on?"
"The children's, of course.  It's for the kids, remember?"  My first impulse was to argue with Rick, but a rush of shame flooded my heart.  He was right.  My competitiveness turned me into a raging lunatic.  I was a horrible example for the young eyes which looked to me as an example.

Insecurity, inadequacy, and the need for recognition ran deep inside me as a young boy.  Rather than list all the reasons, I would rather state that these negative feelings dominated my youth.  Winning was not something that I wanted to do; it was what I had to do.  If I did lose, I would argue against some minor infraction of the rules or give some excuse why I did not land on top.  Someone else or some circumstance was always to blame.  If, however, there was a competition that I had no shot of winning, like the hurdles or hundred yard dash, then I would simply not enter.  Driven by this demon of number one, I often alienated those around me by my hurtful words or whining attitude.

When my days of college football were over and sports became a hobby, I thought my competitiveness was under control.  That was until I was asked to coach a little league football team.  Knowing little about coaching, I hit the internet and learned all I could about it as fast as possible.  The gurus on the net showed me exactly how to create a winning team.  Everyone would see my brilliant football mind!
Unfortunately, the kids on my team were not seasoned athletes.  Instead, they were, of all things, just a bunch of boys.  They did not follow orders and often just goofed off.  How could they be like that?  After all, they were on my team and needed discipline to win.  What was wrong with these nine year old?

We lost out first game 7-0.  That's OK, I thought, we would just have to get the offense in order.  The second game, due to my son's power running, we actually won 14-12.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  We were on our way.  Unfortunately, our way was to lose every game for the rest of the season.  It was the boys' fault, right?  No matter how many times I stormed the sidelines, wondering why my brilliant plays were not executed correctly, the boys never got it perfect.  They did well of defense, but the offense could not score unless someone on the defense fell down.
I was so angry with the season that in the last game, I tore into the referee with a barrage of insults.  He should have kicked me off the field, but he took it in stride.  The teenage ref was the bigger man.

Rick's words pummeled my soul for the next few weeks.  Whether or not the team won or lost, I was being a pathetic loser.  My self-image was tied to how well the boys did on the field.  If that was my mark of success, then I missed the point of youth sports.

Following that season, I began to curb my competitive attitude.  When they asked me to coach basketball, I initially declined.  Yet the lack of volunteers brought the athletic director of the community center back to my door.  Reluctantly, I accepted the role of coach.  Once again, I hit the internet to learn how to coach.  That season, however, I learned to be at peace with results.  My mark upon the lives of the kids on my team needed to change.  Instead of teaching them to win, I simply taught them the game and told them to have fun.  We rejoiced in every basket, every steal, and every good pass even if it did not lead to a score.  We had fun.  Our record was 4-5, but for me, it will always be a winning season.  From that time forward, I learned to enjoy games in spite of outcomes.  I released the demon of competitiveness and embraced the angel of fun.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Writing to Write

Some days, I find that I have nothing that I actually want to communicate.  There is no story bubbling under the surface or some issue that I am desperate to address.  Sure, the world is in crisis economically, but so many write about this that I would rather read about it then put my thoughts on paper.  It is at this juncture that a writer makes a decision.  We must write.  Even if it is a colorful retelling of the days shopping list, words must be carved.  Working through the layers of apathy, frustration, and confusion is what makes a writer more than just someone who can type.
I do not like working out at the gym.  Some love it.  So many of us decided to get fit for New Years, but we have already abandoned it.  One day, we got up and did not want to go.  After procrastinating, we found something more "pressing" that gave us an out.  The next day, we did the same until it became easy to "just say no."  Man, I wish I was in better shape, don't you?  Yeah, right.  The difference between those in great shape and the rest of us is that they work through their lack of desire and push into the "get it done" imperative.  Once they push past the initial negative feelings, they remember why they enjoy working out.
Writers must do the same thing at a keyboard.  We must work through the lack of desire to get into the work even on days in which we just do not feel like it.   After a few paragraphs, we will remember.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rockin' the Basement

Nothing smacks a kid harder than entering high school.  Giant upper class-men roam the halls with their make-up clad ladies on their arms.  Most of these look upon the underlings with either disdain or sympathy.  At least that's how I thought it was going to be.
It was the summer before I entered the doors of OPHS in Kansas City and fears of not measuring up swam through my thoughts like piranha at a swim meet, devouring my aspirations.  I needed to prepare myself.  As a football player, this meant lifting weights.  Three of my friends were also gearing up for the passage, so they joined me at my house to pump iron.  Well, "pumping plastic" is more like it, since my weights were concrete covered plastic donuts.
Great goals often fall short at the point of execution, I've heard.  Our little gym certainly proved this.  Somehow, having everyone over on a hot summer day did not inspire us to diligently hit the weights.  Imagine that?
One Wednesday, as we worked on our budding biceps, I heard Keith yell "Crank it up!" as Scott needled my sister's Journey album.  "Wheel in the Sky" flooded the furnished basement as we played air guitar, drums, and pantomimed singing.  Aerosmith's "Toys in the Attic" flopped onto the turn-table, which halted our work-out yet again as we jumped on the sofa, hung from the iron circular staircase, and swung from the floor beams in rockin' jubilation.  Fortunately, my parents both worked, so we were free to fly through the house on the wings of Boston's "Don't Look Back."
"You know what we should do," said Scott, "we should come over hear some night and have a concert."  At first, I thought he was kidding.  After all, spontaneous air guitar is one thing, but a contrived air band?  He was serious, well as serious as a kid talking about faking a band can be.
"Yeah, that would be cool," replied Keith.  "We could do it some night when your parents go out!"  When his twin brother, Craig, concurred, they all looked at me for confirmation.
I quickly contemplating the damage versus fun factor in my head.  If we cleared the lamps and various breakables, it should work out, right?  "I think they'll be gone this Saturday to a church party,"
"Great," said Scott.  "Let's do it!"
Our first concert date was set, but we needed to prepare.  The following day, Scott and I dug through some of our family treasures for junk to use.  First, we needed a guitar.  I had an old Montgomery Ward guitar with no strings, so Scott peeled off the little smiling sunshine emblem and put black electrical tape all over it so it looked like Eddy Van Halen's.  Finding a base was easy.  We simply borrowed an damp sponge mop that my mom stuck in a corner.  Two clothes hangers that used cardboard tubes for bottoms were quickly stripped down to make drumsticks.  My dad, being the gadget king of Gladstone, had some old microphones, so we taped those to broom sticks which we propped up with weights.  The concert hall was set.
I cleared our concert with the brass by telling my parents that my friends were coming over to listen to music and stuff.  The "stuff" was vague, I suppose, but parents would never understand air bands, so it was best they rolled with "stuff."
When Keith and Craig arrived, Scott and I had already cleared away the breakables into my room and moved the sofa back to the wall.  This worked out well, because it gave Scott a perch on which to play the drums.  Keith, being the wilder of the twins, took the guitar in order to lay down some fiery air licks.  Craig, definitely the calmest of us all, took the mop bass.  Grabbing the microphone, I became the lead singer.  I was no David Lee Roth, however.  The  only way I could do the splits was if you gave me ice cream and bananas.
First song cued.  "Riding the Storm Out" from REO Speedwagon.  It was from a live album, so we heard the crowd cheer as we commenced rocking the house.  Blasting song after song, we though the evening with perfectly precisioned air excellence.  We heard nothing but the blast of the music and the ringing in our ears.  Suddenly, a pair of feet appeared on the circular staircase.  I quickly realized it was my father.  Keith flipped off the music and we stood there with stringless guitar, mop, and hanger bottoms in our hands.
"What on earth are you doing?" asked my shocked father.
"Nothing," we replied.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Body Checking the Ice

My breath steamed before me as I gazed down the hill at the frozen pond.  Loren, Craig, Keith, Shane, Scott and I were at Oak Grove Park in Kansas City.  February's chill brought snow and hopefully a solid place to play hockey with sticks and a can.
"Do you think it's solid enough to walk on?" I asked, looking down the three foot embankment.  Loren was never one for many words at that age.  Instead, he preferred a more direct approach to problems.
"Why don't you jump and find out!" he yelled.  No sooner did the words leave his mouth than he shoved me hard in the back.  Suddenly, I was plummeting towards the ice.  To my surprise, I landed on my feet.
"Yep, it's solid!" I called, ignoring the fact that had the ice been thinner, I would have been Popsicle.
"Cool," shouted Keith as they all ran around to the easier entrance.  "We need some goals."  This was an interesting problem.  In football season, we would just chuck our coats on the ground for goal lines, but it was too cold for that.
"How about those tables?" said Shane, pointing to some picnic tables near the pond.  To thirteen year olds, this seemed like a perfect fix.  We'd simply drag them onto the ice, flip them over, and have perfect goals.
"Great," replied Craig, "let's do it!"
Although the big municipal tables were heavy, there were enough of us to get them onto the ice.  Flipping them over was another matter.  The metal legs on the table were rounded and we couldn't get enough traction to turn them over.  I had the brilliant idea of holding the bottom with my foot, but, instead of stopping, the table simply ran my foot over.
"Just leave them like that," said Keith.  His twin brother, who looked nothing like him, concurred.
"Fine," I said, limping back to the others.
We smashed an old Coke can and began our game.  Every time the can went under the table, it was a goal.  Since we had odd numbers, we played three on two with the odd man playing all time defense.  Of course, I was the odd man.  For over and hour, we knocked the can all over the ice with our twig hockey sticks.  It was great fun until we heard the roaring of an engine.
"Look, it's the parks people!" shouted Loren as he raced from the ice.  He promptly slipped on the ice.
I did not know if we were doing anything wrong, but when a roaring Parks and Recreation truck is speeding towards you and a friend yells "run," then you run, right?
I dashed towards the opposite side of the pond and ran as quickly as I could through the snow covered grass.  Keith and Craig stampeded though the trees just north of me, while Scott ran like a jackrabbit a few yards ahead of them.  I flew the six blocks to my house and burst through the door to the garage.  Panting, I looked through the window.  There were no park people on my tail, whew!  For the next hour, I sat tensely in the living room with one eye on the television and one looking out the window.  I was sure we were going to be caught, my parents would ground me, and life as a care-free eighth grader would be over.

What I did not know until later was that when Loren fell, he thought he might get caught alone, so he tackled Shane.  The park workers got out of the truck and approached the boys as they lay in the snow.
"Those benches will fall through the ice when it thaws.  Help me get them off, boys," said the old man who drove the truck.  Loren and Shane looked at each other in disbelief.  None of us were actually in trouble.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Flushing Teeth

Hot summer days in Alaska were a rarity.  We had no air-conditioner, but simply opened windows after cutting through the paint with a razor-blade.   On one particular balmy day in Kodiak, my mother cooked some delicious chocolate chip cookies.  From the moment they started baking, my mouth watered as their sweet smell permeated every inch of our home.  My six-year-old tummy growled as I lay on the sofa, reading my favorite Dr. Seuss book.  The green eggs and ham did little to squelch the roaring cookie monster living in my belly.  I wanted cookies more than a fish wants water.  Without a thick, gooey, chocolate chipper melting in my frothing mouth, I was sure to die.
Finally the cookies were ready.  There were a dozen.  I counted them and tried to divide the amount I would be alloted by staring at the hot sheet.  Twelve divided by four people was not yet a part of my education.  Instead, I took the four rows and figured one of them was mine.  Therefore I had one, two, three.  Three!  Awesome, I would eat one now and save two for later.
"Mom, can I have a glass of milk with mine?" I asked, hoping she'd get the hint.
"Yes, when we have them for dessert tonight," she replied.  It was as if she hit me with a brick!  My expression dropped and I tried to think fast.
"Can I have one now and eat the other two for dessert?" I pleaded, trying to look like Oliver Twist.  My mother gazed down at my wretched bargaining attempt and took pity.
"OK, just one, but that's it." she said, smiling as she put a cookie on a small plate.
"Thank you, mom!  You're the best!" I shouted as I hugged her benevolent leg.  I bit into the cookie and all the joy ever experienced by humankind exploded in my mouth.  It was the best cookie ever!  Well, the last one I had was too, but still.
After eating the cookie with a small glass of milk, my mother insisted that I brush my teeth.  Normally, I would have balked at such a suggestion.  Cookie mouth is to be savored, not cleaned away with nasty mint.  However, we just got a new electric toothbrush and I was excited to go solo on it.  The night before, my mother brushed my teeth with it.  It tickled and I spit toothpaste down my shirt.  Today, I was going to do it on my own like my big brother got to.
A few minutes later, my mother heard the toilet flushing.  The first bowlful seemed normal enough, but the second and third caught her attention.  She rushed up to the bathroom to find me dropping another head of the electric toothbrush into the toilet.
"What are you doing?" she yelled.  "Are you crazy?" I snapped my head around in a start.  The toothbrush was not plugged in, so it did not work when I tried to use it.  I carefully reasoned that it was dead, just like my goldfish.  When it died, we did the same thing, so I simply told her what my father told me.
"We're a Navy family, mom.  When a sailor dies, you bury them at sea!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Surfing Rage and Flaming Posts

If you've never seen someone "flame" another on the web, then you've never read comments.  Whether it is You-tube, Facebook, or some random forum, there will always be people who like to talk smack.  The phenomenon is not unlike road rage.  Put a normally unassuming person behind the wheel of a car and we can sometimes see a cross between a Tony Stewart wannabe and Norman Bates' lost sibling.  On the web, a person at a keyboard can start out surfing quite gingerly through pages, but as soon as they hit one with which they have a disagreement, WHAM!  They become Surf Demon- the spawn of evil incarnated through a modem.
Whenever I read comments, I can usually ascertain the age of the one posting by how they choose to be a jerk.  Young teenage boys usually call each other "faggot" or infer that in some way the other person is gay.  Older teenagers and men in their twenties will usually make some comment that is at least related to the actual material.  They will be insulting, but they try to disguise their own arrogant disdain by using the guise of helpful criticism.  If that fails, then they will show their true nature by slamming another person with various colorful put-downs.
Women usually don't "flame" on the net.  Instead, they nest as gatekeepers of their kingdoms.  The boys and man-boys chase the queens whilst the ladies keep them at bay, but offer them hope.  This works until one female gatekeeper has an unpleasant encounter with another gatekeeper.  Then an all out war begins.  Each one indicates to their subjected servants why the other gatekeeper is a horrible human being while they, themselves, are victims.  This splits their followers into groups and causes an inevitable breakdown in the overall enjoyment of the said blog, chatroom, game, etc.
What I find most fascinating is the way people rage against others on their blogs.  In order to get at the other person, they will write angry passages in hopes that the other person will read it and be effectively "told off."  It is as if the blogs and Facebook posts are encrypted messages of anger and bitterness.
I question the effectiveness of this passive-aggressive form of communication.  Not only does it drag in innocent bystanders, but it creates a negativity that surrounds the poster's communications.  Soon, people will stop reading the words of one who chooses to spew venom through posts.  Once that happens, the writer who chooses to "flame" will be left producing a "maniacal monologue by a moron to myself."
"Flaming" on the web is a sign of deep anger and bitterness.  If you ever find yourself wanting to "get at" someone, dig into your heart and find the real source of the pain.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Moment of Value

Comfortable in my easy chair
Out the window do I stare
Blue sky fills my focused eye
White clouds slowly drifting by

Peaceful in my secluded room
I cannot see the death and gloom
Which fills the days of a million souls
Bullets fly past empty bowls

My angst is ridiculously misplaced
Purely on me and mine, it's based
Why are my looks or fame imperative?
How are my funds even comparative?

I spend too much time on what is mine
The value of life I must redefine
It is what I give that makes this worthwhile
Not all the trinkets of worth I compile

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter Bites

"I think my face fell off!" shouted my five year old son as he smacked his hands on his cheeks.  "I can't feel it!"  His mouth looked like a fish as he contorted his expressions to regain some sort of sensation.
"You'll warm up soon," I replied with a smile as I began to de-mummify Jake.  A snow day kept both of my kids home from school, so we took advantage and had gone to the park.
"I think I lost a mitten," said my eight year old daughter, frantically spinning to look around her.  "Here it is!"  She grabbed a pink mitten off the floor and held it up, smiling.  "No, wait.  That's the one I had.  Here, daddy, hold this."  Passing me the mitten, she resumed searching her clothing.  "Nope, I lost it."
"Did you check your pockets?" I asked.  She immediately inspected her right pocket.  It was not there, so she checked her left.  Not finding it, she again searched the right pocket.
"No it's gone.  Daddy, we have to find it.  Those are my favorite mittens!"  For my daughter, everything she currently wanted was her "favorite."  When we had a garage sale, all of her old toys, clothes, and toddler furniture were her "favorite" as well.  Still, nothing melts a father's heart quicker than a pitiful plead from his little girl.
"OK, you two sit and watch your Mother Goose video and I'll go look for it."  My wife was napping, but I presumed they would be fine while I walked the two blocks to the park and back.
"Thank you daddy!" exclaimed my daughter with a hug.
Warmed by the hug, I stepped back into the cold and trudged through the snow towards the park.  Looking carefully in each footprint, I diligently searched for the missing favorite mitten.  The wind stung my face and my nose burned. As the sun lowered in the sky, the temperature seemed to drop.  Not finding the glove on the snow covered sidewalk, I entered the park.  "It could be anywhere," I thought.
The playground was empty as all the sensible parents took their children inside when the chill hit.  I looked near the swings, but found nothing.  The see-saw yielded no results.  There was a green mitten near a snowman, which I promptly put on a fencepost to flag the next parent on a "favorite" expedition.  I searched every place that seemed reasonable and a few that were probably absurd.  My quest for the missing mitten would not go unrewarded.  For nearly an hour, I scoured the park, desperately trying to locate my prize.  When the sun began to set, I yielded to the cold.  Either the mitten was buried, or someone had stolen it.  "Maybe the one who lost the green mitten found my daughter's pink one and took it," I thought.  It seemed like a rational enough explanation to convince me to get out of the cold.
I plodded back to the house, but kept a close eye on the ground in case the mitten eluded me before.  Hope is a gift of mine that often comes with delusional wrappings.  Empty handed, I entered  my home to break the news to my little girl.  She and her brother were fast asleep on the bean bag chairs in front of the television.  Their Mother Goose tape had ended and the news was on.  Evidently, record lows were predicted for the night.  I slapped my face with my hands to get some sensation.  My wife entered the room and saw me.
"Cold enough for you?" she asked with a smile.
"I can't feel my face.  I think it fell off."
"You'll warm up soon."
"Leah lost her mitten and I went back to the park to find it."
"Now that's a good daddy," affirmed my wife.  "We found the mitten though.  It was stuck in her coat sleeve."  She pointed to the corner.  There, to my chagrin, was my new enemy.  The Holy Grail of mittens lay upon the radiator, mocking me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Memory Block

For some reason, I couldn't seem to remember what is was that I was going to say here.  Searching for some clue, I looked around my office.  Unfortunately, none of the pictures nor the misc. papers on my desk pried open the locked chamber in my brain.   I decided to assert control over my failing intellect and shot a jolt of caffeine into the door.  It did not budge. Instead, it quickly healed and stood before me more stubborn than ever.  I went for the more subtle approach by calming myself with soothing breaths.  The locked memory took advantage and swung open a door of distractions, causing me to forget why I was even trying to unlock the thought.  Just when I gave up and walked away from the computer, the door swung wide and revealed its contents.  Excellent, I thought.  Now I can post what I was thinking!  To my chagrin, the cruel door swung shut just as my fingers hit the keyboard.  So, basically, I have nothing to say today.  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yabuts and Low Carb

My friend, whom we shall call Greg, weighted nearly four hundred pounds and loathed seeing himself in pictures.  I suppose the mirror only gave him fractional glimpses, while pictures illuminated the full view.  On the ladder of self love, he was nearing the bottom rung.  While I do not like America's obsession with thin and think some padding looks healthy on both men and women, I could see that Greg's weight was beyond the realm of functional.  He often panted just walking to the refrigerator from his pillowed sofa.  Greg's heart palpitated and his knees and ankles hurt when he put weight on them.  He was slowly eating himself to death.

"I just don't know what I can do," he said, staring at the floor, "no matter what diet I try, I keep gaining weight."
My heart went out to him as he sighed deeply.  Years before, my own weight was nearing three hundred pounds. Sure I ate oatmeal and salads, but I binged on chips and cookies in the late evening.  I had gained the weight slowly, but a pound a week adds up quickly.  To lose the fat, I tried every diet that seemed reasonable.  Drinking dark chocolate Metamucil milkshakes did not make me slim fast.  Nor did watching my weight with a cumbersome point chart.  I was simply too addicted to food for any of these to create a lasting effect.  I was addicted to food.  Then my sister-in-law went on a low-carb diet and suggested I try that.  It was worth a shot.

The first three days of the diet were miserable.  No matter how much meat, eggs, and cheese I ate, I was still hungry.  When my kids made popcorn, I wanted to shove my face in the bowl.  Their pizza tormented me with its thick, gooey, delectably golden crust.  I needed a carb fix in the worst way.  My hands were shaking and my mouth tasted like steel wool.  Day four was different, however.  I woke up, hit the floor running and no longer shook.  My carb addiction was still there, but the bends were gone.  I was free!  Over the course of the next year, I dropped the extra weight and was down to the size I was in high school. 

"Have you considered a low-carb diet?"  Greg looked up at me and scowled.

"You mean where you only eat meat?"

"Well meat, eggs and cheese for the first two weeks.  After that you can add a few carbs, but not many."

My four hundred pound friend shook his head.  "Yeah but I don't think that's a healthy diet.  I heard it wasn't good for you."

"My cholesterol count is excellent, my blood pressure is right on the mark, and I have loads of energy.  I take a multivitamin every day and eat all I want of what I can have.  My doctor told me it's a healthy life style and was thrilled that I chose it."

"Yeah, but I don't think it's for me.  I like bread."  His face grew firm under the layers of chubbiness.  Greg's "yabuts" stopped him from seeing the truth.  Low-carb diets are for food addicts.  Unlike alcoholics, we cannot simply stop.  Eating is necessary.  The only thing we can do to have the kind of success that recovering alcoholic's have is to tee-total carbs.  In essence, what Greg was saying to me was, "I would give up drinking, but I like my beer."

Now Greg has diabetes.  He still refuses to eat a low carb diet, however.  I will miss him when he is gone.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reading Between the Lines

There is an old rock n roll song that says "paranoia will destroy ya."  It is unfortunate that many people do not heed those words.  They see hidden meanings behind the words of others and make presumptions that the words apply to them.  For example, if one says, "I like the dress that woman is wearing," then the paranoid will presume you mean that their own dress is ugly.  Should one tell the neurotic person that the lasagna he cooked the other night was fantastic, he will wonder what was wrong with the pot roast he cooked last night.  By presuming, they destroy the moment by twisting everything to fit into their own distorted view of the world.

I was about twelve when reality first struck me.  Two friends were talking and as I neared, I heard one say, "yes but he's always butting in."  I was hurt.  Did my friend really think that I was so intrusive?
Like a fool, I quickly replied, "I didn't realize you felt that way."  At first, my friend thought I was joking, then, realizing I was serious, hit me with reality.

"Not everything is about you, stupid!" he said laughing.  I then learned that they were talking about a student who kept interrupting the teacher and was told that if he did not raise his hand, he would not be acknowledged.  Their conversation had nothing to do with me, but the interaction taught me the truth of life.  No one spends their whole life thinking about me.  Even the closest of friends or lovers have other things that go on in their lives.  Therefore, they will speak about those things without regard to yours truly.

Reading between the lines comes from a place of paranoia.  "I know someone is thinking something bad of me and I simply have to find it."  Eventually, if one reads between the lines, they will most definitely discover the hidden messages, even if the speaker did not intend the meaning assigned to his/her words.  We fear being the fool who does not see the truth, when in fact we become the fool who saw what is not there.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Reeking of Cheese

While he enjoyed the soft, smooth taste of cheddar or a good piece of Monterey Jack as much as anyone, Roy was curled his nose in disgust as he smelled a foul cheesy odor.   Vainly he searched through the kitchen trying to find the allusive morsel behind the stink.  Unable to find it, he eventually ceased his search and stormed into the bedroom looking for his wife.   Perhaps she knew the cause, he hoped.  Unfortunately, Roy's wife was out shopping, so he was left to find the source of his annoyance alone.
Suddenly it dawned upon him that the smell was as strong in the bedroom as it was in the kitchen.  He entered their guest-room and sniffed.  The cheesy odor was in every room in the house!  The only way that was possible, he thought, was if it was in the heater.  Perhaps his wife put a loaded mouse trap too close to the furnace intake.  As he walked down the stairs, his sock covered feet slipped on the carpet and he barreled to the bottom.  Grunting and murmuring his newfound hatred for carpeted stairs, Roy closely examined the furnace.  Finding no mousetrap, he pulled out the filter, promptly cutting his finger on a jagged piece of metal.  With his finger in his mouth, he inspected the filter, but saw no sign of cheese or spoiled milk.  Roy shoved the filter back in its slot and walked out on the porch to get away from the stench.
Breathing in deeply, he once again smelled the odor.  "Does the whole world stink of cheese?" he shouted.  Just then, his wife pulled up in their van with a load of groceries.  No sooner had she opened then door to her vehicle then Roy pounced off the porch and zipped to ask her why everything stunk.
"I'd give you a kiss," she said with a smile, "but you have a piece of cheese stuck in your mustache!  And why are you bleeding?"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Shepherd Named Tammy

The Navy was going to kill a group of dogs.  That's the way I understood it when my father explained the situation to my mother.  Previously, the naval base in Virginia Beach used German Shepherds as patrol companions for the Military Police, but the military cut funds for the program.  "Put to sleep" was the phrase my father used, but even as a six year old, I knew it meant "kill."
There was a loophole for the K9's, however.  Someone could adopt them.  My mother's apprehension was quite evident.  She did not like the idea that a retired attack dog would be around her children.  Dad told her that he understood, but asked her to at least go and look the dogs over.  My brother, sister, and I promised that if we got a pooch, we would feed it and take it out for walks.  She looked at our pleading faces and reluctantly agreed, feeling sorry for them and their immanent demise.
When they arrived at the kennel, a group of dogs were lined up for their inspection.  All were well behaved and sat at attention.  My mom felt nervous around so many large German Shepherds, but felt safe as they were all restrained with leashes.  Her eyes landed on a black and golden haired beauty named Tammy.  As soon as my mother drew near to the dog, Tammy rose up, place her paws on my mom's shoulders, and licked her in the face.  While some women would have found this gross, my mother immediately knew this was the dog for her.  "It's the first thing that ever fell in love with me at first sight!" she exclaimed.
Tammy was adopted into our family and was our faithful companion for eight years.  There's never been a dog quite like her.  I often think about that day she met my mother and remember it as the day Tammy loved her way to life.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Taking the Plunge

Four foot tall snow drifts lined the parking lot of our Alaskan tenement also known as Navy housing.  My mother wanted us to get out in the snow, but she was worried that we might get sick in all the wet snow.  I still remember the plastic baggies she put under my mittens, thinking that would stop the wet part of snow from getting to my skin.  She is from Missouri, so we'll cut her slack on that one.
Venturing out onto my five foot tall porch, I surveyed the white snow dunes.  As a five year old adventurer, the possibilities seemed endless.  I could have made a snowman, a fort, a car, a mountain, or even angels.  But first, I thought, how cool it was that I could jump into that four foot tall pile of snow by my steps.  Being only three feet in height, it seemed like the ultimate plunge.  I raised my hands, shouted "Sitting Bull!" or some other Native American hero's name, and dove feet first into the soft white powder.  At least it looked soft.  In fact, it was thick and stiff.  The snow seemed to consume me. I tried to move my arms and legs, but could not budge.  At first, I wanted to cry for help, but that would have been to embarrassing.  Plus, my mom would probably not let me out again.  Perhaps the snow would melt, I naively thought, and I would get loose eventually.
Just then, four hands reached down and grabbed my jacket. My older brother and sister saw my pathetic plunge and came to rescue me.  Neither told my mother, but instead let me come play in the fort they were building.  I was often a loner as a kid, but that day, I was glad I had siblings.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chain Jerking

Al Pacino's famous line in Godfather III was "just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in."  It's amazing how often that can be the case in life.  Young adults leave home only to find they are drawn into family arguments over the phone or email.  Others leave their unhappy workplace, but get calls from former co-workers needing to vent.  Sometimes moving is easy, but other times, it's quite difficult.

I see this too often with young persons and their relationships.  They break up, try to move on, and begin healing.  Just when they thought they were out, the other party, usually the one who instigated the break-up, pulls the other back in.  This rarely works out and causes even more pain.  Instead of moving on and healing, the injured party lets the other back in only to have their heart stomped upon.  It's sad to see this, because it often tears apart what little self-respect the injured party had left.

Unfortunately there is no easy answer for those who feel the repeated pain of break-up.  It's easy on the outside to tell them not to go back in, but they see the reunion as an answer to all the prayers into their tear-drenched pillows.  In spite of sound advice, they move right into the path of the oncoming train of sorrow.  The rip in their hearts is even worse now as the bandage of new hope is yanked away.

If you have broken up with someone, think twice about getting back together.  You may do more damage than good.  If this has happened to you, do not blame yourself or decide there is something wrong with you.  They came back because you are worth being with.  It was their inability to maintain a healthy relationship that caused the break-up.  You are worthy of someone who will love you securely, treat you with respect, and appreciate who you are.  Do not spend your time pining for someone incapable of giving you what you need.  Instead, pray for someone who will be there at your side though all circumstances.

Monday, January 2, 2012

An Honest Tale

I was eleven years old as I skinny dipped in the water trap on the golf course.  Antonio, Jimmy, some kid whose name I can't recall, and I knew we were not allowed to be there.  Yet, being thick skulled boys, we ripped off our clothes and jumped in anyway.  The thought that a golf ball might hit us in the head never bothered us.  If we saw golfers up at the tee, we'd simply swim behind the cat-tails  That way, we would be hidden and the golf ball would not get through.  Well, that is what we thought.  Fortunately, those who did golf there never landed one in the drink.

Unfortunately, we lost track of the time.  I glanced over and saw my brother barreling over the fairway.  He would not tell on us, but he had that "you're in trouble" look on his face.
"Get home now!" he said frantically.  "They (meaning our parents, who are always "they") have been looking for your for an hour!"
I quickly gathered my clothes and somehow dressed while running back to the house.  My father stood on the porch with a stern look on his face.
"Where have you been?" he demanded.  "We've got revival at church tonight and now we're going to be late!"  For an eleven year old boy, the word "revival" meant that it was time to be tortured for a few hours by a screaming man with cotton candy hair.  Normally, I tried to catch up on my drawing or sleep if possible.
"I was just playing, dad."  He studied me for a moment before commenting inquiring further.
"What exactly were you doing?"  Now here it could have been fuzzy, but when he used "exactly" I knew he wanted a direct response.  So I gave him one.
"We were wading in some water."
"Not swimming?"
"No, just wading..."
My father grabbed my wet hair and looked me in the face.  "Wading way over your head I see!"
That evening, I sat in revival like a statue.  My only prayer was that I would be able to sit in school the next day.  I learned something about lying as well.  It is better to be honest because you never know when your wet hair will give you away.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Worthy of Notes

I remember sitting through classes at school that were so boring, I wanted to curl up under my desk and nap.  It was not that the subject matter was necessarily uninteresting, but that the professor lacked passion.  Perhaps they found the subject enthralling at one time.  They might have believed it was important.  Yet they did not feel the kind of passion that ignited interest on the part of their sleepy-eyed pupils.

For anything story to be truly fascinating, it must have an impassioned teller.  If a writer lacks passion, then it is not his/her writing style that makes the pages of his/her book so dry.  Readers sense a lack of rage, warmth, love, or excitement.  Our pages must make them feel an urgency to know more or we writers are simply putting apathetic notations into the hands of readers seeking to be swept away by our passion.

I was once asked why I write fantasy books about Arthurian legend when it is not what is selling.  Simple, I love the genre and age.  If I felt passionate about vampires, I would write about them.  What is your passion?