Saturday, June 26, 2010

Oil Rig and the President (Part 2)

Note: Please read Part 1 (posted June 16) before starting here.

The President looked at the agents and commanded, “Get back. Somebody take a sample of that oozy oil substance for the lab to examine”.

A 9-year-old girl named Nikki had been invited to sing the ‘National Anthem’ before the President’s meeting at the beach. She stepped forward and said, “Let me do it. I’m young but I know what it means to sacrifice for the country”.

The President said, “Is there not a grown-up in the room that will do this”?

A couple ladies in a corner of the room mumbled amongst themselves and hesitantly one moved forward. The moaning outside the door had not stopped and her decision to volunteer seemed to have been curbed. This was evident in the fact that her steps toward the door slowed and then stopped. Tears began to stream down her face as she began to mumble, but only “I….can’t…….oh my” could be heard as she moved back into the shadows.

Then Nikki walked over to the President. “Mr. President, your to important. Let me do this”. The President remarked that she was wise beyond her 9-years and commanded the Secret Service agents to move over to the door. Meanwhile he picked-up the girl and stepped back to the corner with the ladies.

No one moved. The only sound in the room was that of a lady’s voice that softly, hesitantly called across the room, “Nikki, come back over here and stand with me”, which was followed by a statement that seemed to strike everyone like a plank across the forehead, “She’s not my daughter, but I’ve got kids that are 9-years-old and she is braver than most anyone in this room”.

“I’m her Mother and really proud of her” another lady said.

The President put the girl down on the floor and motioned for her to move back over with her Mother. Nikki started to move slowly across the room, but then abruptly ran to the door and slung it open.

Standing directly in front of her was the form of a something with two arms, two legs and what appeared to be a dark head which gazed around the room and then moved in the direction of the young girl in what seemed to be an aggressive motion. She raised an arm overhead in a defensive stance as the form moved forward with its arms outstretched.

Nikki screamed and raised her hands higher while several people in the room could be heard moaning things like “No”, “Oh no”, and “God help us” as the dark figure continued to move in the direction of the girl with outstretched appendages that appeared to be soaked in oil.

A Secret Service agent raised his standard-issue SIG .357 handgun and took aim while another agent grabbed the girl’s shoulder and started to pull her away from the attacker. A volcanic roar erupted from the pistol, “Whomp---Whomp---Whomp” as he leveled 3 shots directly at the dark figure.

The oily mixture covering the body reacted to the shots and splattered across the room onto the faces of Nikki and the two agents, and then continued with an irregular and unpredictable splatter-pattern across the room, finally reaching the feet of the ladies who were standing in front of the President. The attacking creature turned toward the agent while another “Whomp” rang out. The 9mm bullet projectile struck the figure and the advance was immediately interrupted.

A loud, “NO” left the creature’s mouth as the body dropped to the floor.

The President stepped forward, took a deep breath and said, “Did you hear it say something? Is it dead”?

One agent, wiping the gooey, black oil from his face holstered his weapon and walked slowly toward the motionless figure. As he reached down the black substance seemed to ooze from the mouth and ears of the figure. The slimy substance continued to fall away from the body as gravity served to undress the creature’s skin and reveal a less-conspicuous and less-mysterious form.

The agent looked at the President while commenting, “I guess checking for a pulse is the only way to know for sure”, and he reached down searching for a wrist. “There is no pulse, but how can I really be sure this thing is like us and ever had a pulse”?

Someone shouted, “Check for a jugular”. At that moment blood began to dribble out of the creature’s mouth and the anterior wounds in the chest cavity.

The agent looked up and said, “It’s got red blood”. He wrapped a hand around the scruff of the neck and placed a thumb where he could check for a pulse. “There’s nothing”, he announced to the room.

The agent immediately noticed that not only did the creature have hands and what appeared to be fingers; it had a RING on the fourth digit of the left appendage. It was then he realized this could possibly be human. “It’s a person” he exclaimed, “We killed a man. Oh my God, what have we done?” he asked himself, and everyone in the room (he was probably asking God too).

The second agent, along with the President ran to his side as they mustered the courage only one man and young girl had demonstrated when it counted. Both checked for a pulse to no avail, while the others in the room surrounded the President and both agents as they gazed down at the body.

“Who is it?” someone asked.

“Why didn’t he say something?” another questioned.

After a few minutes of examination and a futile attempt at wiping away the gooey substance a shriek came from one of the ladies in the room.

“No, No, No, it can’t be!”

Another voice added, “I bet he knew what to do. He could have saved us”.

But before anything more could be done the President noticed something that had been overlooked, “The door is opened. Close that door now”!!!

Both of the Secret Service agents sprinted for the door, it had to be secured immediately.

(Continued?? --- if anyone would like to read more on this storyline post a comment.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Once upon a time I knew a couple that had an amazing weekend. It was a warm, almost hot Friday afternoon and Thomas was at work laboring away, trying to complete what he considered mundane tasks. He knew that being a molecular engineer was an impressive profession but often felt that he was stuck in a drudgery filled position. Thomas occasionally caught himself in a state of boredom and considered his entire life one big, dull moment.

(Like today)

But just like a slap upside his thin face, Thomas would remind himself that not everyone was designing a molecule that could ultimately cure Cancer. Considered a guru by experts in the field Thomas knew that when he had a good idea, it was a good idea. But at the same time, being a low-key kind of person he always pushed accolades aside and considered his life all about the science.

It was 2pm and the day seemed to be dragging slower than the last Friday. ‘Tick-Tick-Tick’, the clock seemed to be counting down the moments of his life. ‘Tick-Tick-Tick’, the clock ticked louder than his heart as yet another minute was gone, never to be reclaimed. Worse than a ‘watched pot’, watching time pass him by was more like watching an artery with cholesterol, thinning the life right out of his body. ‘Tick-Tick-Tick’, could it get any worse?

In the time it took the clock to slowly reach the end-of-day Thomas had drifted off at his desk, gone to the restroom three times, eaten a bag of chips and walked past Mary’s desk two, or maybe three times. He had gone out with Mary several times before he married Rena. During all his day-dreaming Thomas wandered past Mary’s desk, and when he could no longer stand it planned to walk by in reality.

Reality was nice today; Mary was wearing a short, red skirt with boots and a necklace hanging low around her neck. Since their dates he always felt sort of awkward they had a chance to talk but today he felt double-awkward. The short skirt was the same one she wore the day they met and the slit up the left-side drove him crazy; he had requested it be worn on one of their dates. He knew that he should man-up, walk over and mention the necklace. This would allow him the chance to talk with her and admire her face up close and personal.

Late that afternoon, 10-minutes before he was supposed to leave for home Thomas accomplished this personal mission. The regular delivery person came by the office with a package that was labeled, but with no name or department identification. Thomas took this as the opportunity to chat with Mary when he walked over with the delivery guy. She opened the package and directed the delivery to the necessary desk. As a courtesy she told Thomas to look her up if he needed help in the future.

He enjoyed the warm rush of acceptance this provided him and momentarily considered that a hottie like Mary was open to further discussion. He quickly convinced himself that the acknowledgement was not all that he was making out of it. But while turning to walk back to his desk Mary brushed him ever so lightly on the left-shoulder and the insides of this grown man shook like an earthquake in China. If he didn’t have responsibilities at work and home, control would have been thrown out the window.

Making it back to his desk Thomas picked up his jacket and car keys then headed out the door. Now he was making all effort to not cross paths with Mary. Sliding into the front seat of his automobile Thomas headed toward the interstate with the intention of getting home. Just as he pulled onto the interstate Rena called and asked that he pickup some Chinese takeout and head over to Mark and Toni’s house. He was informed that the couple was going to be out of town and the two were invited to house-sit, enjoy the pool and a 55” widescreen, high-definition, flat-screen television.

Thomas considered the possibilities. He would pick-up a couple movies and stop at the grocery for some cold sodas before getting the Chinese food (it would get cold sitting in the car). Further developing his plan he considered running by the house and picking-up some clothes for the weekend but after checking back with Rena he learned that his wonderful wife was light-years ahead of him, she had already pulled together some clothes for both of them.

So he was set – movies, sodas, and then head over to a large pool with a Jacuzzi, and a super screen television. Following his internal guru-type thinking his plan clicked-off like clockwork (now the clock was ticking in his favor). Traffic was also in his favor; when he got to the video store the parking lot was acceptingly empty. Movies? - Check!

Driving through three intersections and four left turns, Thomas momentarily considered how left turns are such a waste of time compared to right-turns, and suddenly he was in the parking lot of the grocery. Uncharacteristically the parking lot was almost empty and when he entered the building it was strangely obvious that there were no Mothers walking around with young, crying children. This was a little odd considering that every time he had visited the grocery, or other public areas it seemed like there was at least one small child crying, arguing with a parent or running with endless abound through crowds.

He picked-up some sodas and heading to the front of the grocery noticed some small cakes with swirly innards and dipped in chocolate. The cakes had to go home with him for a midnight snack.

Sodas? Check! Dessert? Check!

With his bag of goodies in tow Thomas headed out and slid back into his automobile. Now he was set for a weekend of movies and snacks. He considered the fact that he might do a little work, but that never seemed to be a problem for Rena. She always had something that kept her busy so it would be no problem while he watched movies and played video games.

While continuing his drive Thomas pushed a CD into the player and turned up the sound. “Bum---bum---Bum” went the rhythm of the music. His shoulders bumped up-and-down while his head jutted out and in, to the beat. When the music whaled-away he raised his chin and joined the tune, singing the words.

It was freedom; no telephones, no boss and no expectations. If only his dreams could be real then dreams would not be needed. If he could talk to Rena and let her know how he felt she would once again be his dream girl that he married, but things had changed.

He continued to drive, bumping with the music and just enjoying the time. On his mind was the fact that there was only 20 minutes left before he reached the exit for the big screen television.

Thomas pulled up in the driveway and turned off the engine, pushed the door open, grabbed his shopping bags and headed up to the door. Walking toward the house caused him to walk past Rena’s Ford Expedition. Thomas decided to do a little CIS type work and brush his hand across the hood of the vehicle – it was cold, Rena must have arrived some time ago. He thought about it for a minute and wondered why she hadn't offered to pick up the food.

About 20 meters later and he was at the door knocking with a rap-rap-rap and then he pushed the doorbell a couple times. The last time he pushed a doorbell was before they were married, it was an odd feel but he flashed back to the days when he and Rena dated. He waited a minute, pounded a little harder, tapped his foot on the ground and switched the bags to his other hand before the blood was cut-off in his fingers.

A few seconds passed, the dead-bolt turned, the door swung open and his eyes found Rena standing in the doorway in black lingerie.

Rena said, “I’ve been thinking back to when we were a little younger and just married. Come inside”.

Today’s blog post was my personal assignment to write something more intimate and with almost no conversation. Let me know what you think. If there’s something you would like to assign me to write about just let me know.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I woke up late this morning so I had to practically run through the shower, throw on some clothes, hug the kids and jump in the car. There was no time for food, or coffee – I just had to get moving. While I drove through my neighborhood I turned up the music on the radio and checked my cell phone for messages.

Once out of the neighborhood I made a quick stop for a cup of coffee, paid a little under three dollars, but still a lot less that someone might pay at other businesses. But while considering that I could imagine my Dad’s voice commenting on the fact that when he owned his own convenience store he used to give away free cups of coffee (in the “good ole’ days”).

Things seemed to be going well, there were no problems at home or work- so all I really had to do was cruise into the office. As I approached the interstate I swung around the on-ramp, its one of those big, banking circles that leads to the main road, and then I started to merge. Usually I have plenty of horsepower to merge with no problem, but this morning some guy refused to allow me to merge and when I slowed to merge behind him he slowed down – it seemed as if he was just trying to block me from entering.

I slowed down even more to allow him a wide birth in an effort to let him move on down the road with no further incident. As he pulled away he flung me the finger out his driver’s window and gunned the engine. I’ve read about road-rage stories that had bad endings, and I’ve also read that the safest way to handle anger while driving is to avoid the conflict – you just never know what kind of day each person has experienced.

Another driver let me merge onto the thorough-fare and I motioned a “Thank you” to that person. Traffic continued moving on down the road and I called the office. Mostly I called the office so I could hear a friendly voice and calm down. This guy impressed on me the fact that emotions can escalate with no apparent reason and be really dangerous.

About 10 minutes later the traffic started to move even faster. I had my music playing and things seemed to be back to normal. But just when I started to forget the ordeal and fall back into the normal flow of traffic a sea of taillights flashed red in front of me and I hit the brakes. It was at that moment I heard a horn blaring from behind me. I looked in the rearview mirror and immediately realized that the same guy was behind me waving his hands around; banging on his dashboard.

I immediately started shaking; it might have been more like a shivering motion. But at the same time I was steaming mad, I just wanted to jump out and do something.

Then I caught myself and thought, “This could go bad. He might have a gun”.

But I really wanted to do something, something that would teach him a lesson, teach him that he’s not my boss and everything doesn’t just go his way. I grabbed the door handle, pulled backwards and then I actually said out loud, “Idiot, close the door and lock it”, and that’s exactly what I did.

He kept honking the horn, and I could see that he was still pounding on the dashboard. He opened his door and stepped out of his vehicle. It was at that moment I thought, “I need to call the police, or a have a big gun”. Then I recalled that I do in fact have a permit for a concealed weapon and that pistol is in my car.

Looking in my rearview mirror I watched as he slammed the driver’s door of his vehicle.

I reached for my pistol, took another look in my rear-view mirror and realized he was no longer in sight. I became more scared, but more angry too. I checked the ammunition in the weapon’s chamber and then looked over my left shoulder to be sure he was not advancing toward the driver’s side door of my car.

I couldn’t locate him, so with the pistol in my right-hand I opened the door and jumped out to realize the he was kneeling on the ground looking at the tire on the passenger’s side of his vehicle.

Trembling, I sat on the ground.

Maybe 5 minutes passed while I sat there considering how my life could have ended, how I could have shot him or been shot over a spot in traffic. Once my nerves were calmed and I was sure that this guy wasn’t violent I walked over and asked if everything was ok, not counting the flat tire of course, and if there was something I could do to help.

After the two of us had a chance to speak and I learned that his name was Bob, we both agreed that we were lucky to have not been injured. I also learned that during the emergency stop of his vehicle Bruce was able to avoid ramming my vehicle by quickly turning his vehicle to the right; this is what caused his wheel to blow out and become flat.

Please keep in mind that this blog posting was an exercise in creative writing.

I have to be clear and say that this story is entirely false. I do not have a pistol in my automobile, no incident took place today, or any other day and I pray that nothing like this ever takes place. Please keep in mind that violence like this leads to nothing good, and emotions can get the best of the best person. Be careful!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day 2010

It’s Father’s Day, 2010 and I’ve decided to change my blog directive and take this time to honor my Dad. He has lead an impressive life, raising a family (with my Mother), coaching and mentoring young men, while staying near and dear to family and friends.

My Dad is an intelligent, hardworking, achieving, model citizen who is always concerned about others' well being. If it was in his power to help someone he did it. Whether he picked-up someone and gave them a ride (even if he really didn't have the time), loaned money to a person and waited for repayment, or just gave money to someone in trouble with no expectation of the loan being repaid, my Dad has developed into an iconic person for me and family members, if not for others too.

Throughout the years many people have known and remembered him. Whether driving around our home town or traveling to cities 90-miles away people have been known to throw up a hand and say, “Hello Mr. Bryant”.

Once while traveling half-a-state away we stopped at a “Cracker Barrel” restaurant and before we entered the establishment’s front-door a married couple called out his name and stopped us in the parking lot to talk - for 15 minutes. When we are closer to his home (in his ‘neck-of-the-woods’) the odds are even higher that someone will call out his name.

His acknowledging everyone that calls out, "Hey Mr. Bryant", "What's going on Mr. Bryant?", or "How you doing today Mr. Bryant?" could be considered a full-time job. But no matter what he is doing Dad seems to have a minute for each person; asking how they are doing, what they've been doing or taking the time to start what often turns into a 30-minute discussion about every one's grandchildren.

Another amazing thing about my Dad is that in spite of reaching the official status of "Senior Citizen" he can still recall each person's profession, how many children each has, and an astonishing amount of other details about their life. His Mother Amy was able to remember amazing amounts of details too - up to the last waking moment of her life. I pray that remembering a vast array of details is a family trait. ;-)

His accepting behavior has endeared him to others, while providing my family with a great example of how to act and treat other people.

For all of my younger years Dad coached me or my brother on Little League Baseball teams. He was competitive and we developed a little bit of a competitive side too. I believe his hardworking attitude stuck, both my brother and I will work on a problem until it’s solved. Hard work is a mainstay of my personality, even today I will not stop until a problem is solved and all the work has been completed. Thanks ALOT Dad!!! (Just kidding)

During my adult years I believe we have become much closer and are able to express ourselves to one another. I have developed a better understanding of what his job required, what it took to make a dollar and the struggles he faced as a Dad who took care of his family, while trying to enjoy life too. When I got my first job as a teenage shelf-stocker his work ethic (and my Mother’s, don’t get me started on her influence today) had already been incorporated in me which resulted in hard work, no matter how easy the task might have been. Once again, the hard-worker’s curse!!

In the last few years he has taken more of a retired position, age has a way of doing that (and will do it to all of us, God willing). It’s not that he wanted to retire, if his body would allow it he would work every day. Now I work every day and we talk 3-5 times a week, often while I'm driving home from work. This "reporting-in" update to my parents is part of my normal life (my Mother gets equal time and usually a different part of the report).

Some times he just wants to hear what’s going on, but on occasion he gives me direction, I mean advice. It’s nice to have him listening, but whether listening or giving advice I am refreshed or recharged (sometimes I’m not sure) and ready for another day of work.

I want to thank my Dad for his advice and direction, along with the overall influence he has provided during my life. He taught me to treat each person as a unique individual, that all relations are important and that even when I do not agree with the other person, or others disagree with me that each relation takes work (“work on making it work”). I also want to thank my Dad for encouraging me to pursue my goals and dreams, even when I could not explain myself clearly and probably just confused him. But even if I confused him, he stayed on the telephone listening.

Now, that’s one true measure of my Dad’s character – displaying patience while listening to me talk just because he loves me.

Friday, June 18, 2010


The digital readout panels in front of him lit-up like a Christmas tree and he felt the pull of gravity as his body began to twist and turn to the right. A “Beep-Beep-Beep” sounded and a second screeching alarm blared a rythmic, deafening sound.

CP, the copilot announced, "Heat-seeking, lit-up and on our six”. Nick, a pilot referred to as ‘Cobra’ by non-team members and only “C” by a small, elite group of pilots took a short breath, looked over at the digital screens and pulled back on the stick.

The plane’s nose began to rise and the engines fired up as he started an evasive climb into the clouds. C began to hum a song, mimicking a military march ('ta-tata-da-da') and started to add a sound that, in his mind resembled snare-drums.

CP chuckled and asked, “Feeling good, huh”?

“Yep”, raising a thumbs-up to the back seat where CP sat.

“Well, could you get us the heck out of here?”

“Yep”, C responded as he grinned.

The plane continued to climb while the proximity alarm blared, the ryhthm of the "ah-ah-ah" alarm seemed to increase in intensity as the trailing missile played cat-and-mouse with the crew.

C grinned, wishing he could look CP in the eye and said, “Hold on to what you’ve got”.

CP grinned and responded, “Bring it”.

The pilot pushed the stick toward the front of the plane and then immediately pulled to the left. As the vehicle began to gyrate left-and-right the descent toward the hard-deck below increased. Both of their bodies transformed into distorted blobs of flesh while the chase of the streaking missile continued.

“100 meters”, CP called out and continued, “Things are getting big, really fast and I can officially say I no longer want to be on the ground”.

"This is going to be one to tell your grandkids about when your an old man, my friend” the pilot barked.

At that moment he jerked back on the stick, rotating the plane and allowing him to momentarily face the belly of the plane toward the missile as it continued to streak toward them, but the final position offered the missile was the plane’s six.

Just as CP started to scream “Whooo-hooooo” C pushed the stick forward again. With the plane in an inverted position the men actually began to dive toward the surface again. But before the missile could realign its pursuit the plane’s canopy momentarilty faced directly at the missile. The two flying aeronautical engineers could see the missile closing and CP screamed, “What are you doing”?

“Having a little fun! I told you this would be something to tell the grandchildren about one day”, he said.

As seconds seemed to extend into minutes the missile continued its trek. The plane continued in the stick-forward rotation and resumed a near perfect horizontal leveling with the surface. This placed the men in a dead-ahead projection with the missile.

C went pickles-hot with his two sidewinders.

“50 meters” CP announced.

“Not a problem. Fox 2 away”, he announced.

The plane maintained a low trajectory as the two watched the radar and digital display countdown. The intelligent military devices neared their 'end-of-life'.

“20 yards – impact”, CP announced.

It was that quick.

Although the maneuver had seemed unorthodox to even CP both men knew that it had been a calculated risk that paid off.

CP asked, “Now, can we get out of here”?

C just grinned and said, “Yep”

CP knew his pilot well and grinned too.

I hope you enjoyed this. I just wanted to write something while watching the NBA Championship Finals, game 7 (2010).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oil Rig and the President

In 2010 Oil Company British Petroleum (BP) encountered a disaster of a gargantuan proportion at a deep water oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. No one, not even the United States government was prepared for what happened. Several days later it was discovered that BP had misrepresented itself and there was no plan in place to stop a leak located 1-mile under the Gulf's surface.

During the days since the rig accident citizens had stood guard over the shoreline across the southeastern United States, cleaning oil from the sand and placing buoys off the shore to serve as stop-gap filters for preventing the thick blobs of oily death from reaching land. The evening of June 15, 2010 President Barack Obama went on television to share with the nation what steps his administration had taken to address the incident and what was being planned to repair the damage.

The next morning the President made plans to meet on the beach of Pensacola, Florida with representatives of BP. His intention was to square-off with the company and demand financial support for local fishermen and other business owners who were at risk of losing their livelihood. As Obama walked out on the sand in the early morning sunlight he was greeted by Tom Slethen, one of his assistants. Tom updated him with the schedule of the BP staff and then motioned to an open door where eggs, turkey bacon, oatmeal, and coffee along with some fresh Florida orange juice sat prepared for his consumption. The President took a sip of the orange juice and smiled as he thought to himself, “This is really good”.

As he placed the glass down on a table there was a scream outside the door. Everyone in the room stood-up and several people ran to the door. But as the people moved forward the President was pushed back by two secret service agents, while two others flanked him. He looked toward the door and mumbled, “What happened”? One agent reached up to his Bluetooth, touched it and asked the question. Moments later he looked at Obama and said, “Something with massive arms and a gigantic head emerged from the water. The oil sludge on the beach didn't even slow the thing down”. In the background three distinct gun shots sounded, "Pop, Pop, Pop". The agent looked around the room and continued, “Three people are dead, and another injured”. The agent turned toward the door, paused a moment, took a breath and ran through it.

Before anyone could respond another scream came from the direction of the beach, followed by a "Pop" that was louder than the previous three, the person pulling the trigger must have been much closer. Things immediately returned to silence.

It was at that moment the President opened his mouth to give direction. But before he could utter a word the silence was interrupted by a "Thud" outside the door, and then a "Bang" as the door slammed shut.

The air was sucked out of both the room and the people in it. It was as-if a paralyzed state had overcome all the occupants. With pistols drawn two of the secret service agents managed to regain their composure and began to move toward the door, but slipped as they stepped on a black, oozing, oily substance that emanated from underneath the door.

Then everyone in the room heard it - a moan that obviously was the result of pain, and it was on the other side of the door.

The agents turned and looked directly at the President.

** With all the recent news concerning the BP Oil rig accident I wanted to write a couple paragraphs, add a little twist and see what you thought. Let me know.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hometown Stories

Did you see where a good old Southern boy, Jimmy Dean died June 13, 2010? This is a momentous occasion for country music fans (and ham fans too). Over the years he wrote several songs and had a couple #1 hits, one big hit was “Big Bad John”. I never really kept up with his music but I can still hear him singing the title.

He also did several television shows, and once I read that he donated $1 million to a home town church (a million dollars in spite of the fact that he never graduated high school). If you’re familiar with Jimmy Dean you know that he was the spokesman for a company he created, the “Jimmy Dean Sausage Company”, which was later bought-out by Sara Lee; and then they fired him when he got old. ;-(

Hearing about his death caused me to think about how we take things for granted until it’s too late. I haven’t thought about this man for years, probably not since he lost the position of company spokesman. But immediately after reading about his passing I could hear him singing that song!

It was a similar day when Elvis Pressley died. I had spent little time thinking about Elvis and shortly after he was gone I wanted tickets to a concert and I read that his album sells kicked into high gear. I can’t say the same type of memories flooded my mind when I heard about Gary Coleman’s passing, but when my kids asked who he was I had no problem looking at them and responding, “What cha talking about Willis”?

What have you taken for granted? What did you miss after it was gone? I went away to college, then moved out of state and rarely see people I know from high school or college. Facebook has made it possible for me to be connected somewhat but it’s not the same. However Facebook does provide us all with contact information right at our fingertips. But many elderly people from my younger life have passed away, and with me living far away.

Don’t wait until it’s too late, give people a call or visit them in person; email just doesn’t have the same impact as a personal visit. You’ll feel better about it too.

How could a story be developed from a hometown life? Hometown stories are common. Young person grows up poor, needy, and looking for a break or goes away to live the good life and then dies knowing that it was not all necessary. After living through some grueling drudgery or a spectacular life, many characters realize that all the years being away were not necessary for achieving happiness. The wanderer returns for love, fame or fortune (or with a fortune), or like the epic Star Wars hometown saga the main character lives an action packed life only to realize that family meant more and it could have been better. After all, when you’re alone and lonely family is often the only thing you can really count on, right?

To write a hometown story you’ll have to come up with some sort of ‘twist’ that allows your writing to stand-out from the rest of the world. Predictable is something that I would try to avoid unless you’re writing for the Hallmark network.

Star Wars had the twist!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Scared Young Man

I had the chance earlier today to listen to a seasoned preacher talk about his early days in the ministry. It was surprising, although it shouldn’t have been, to hear him talk about the first day that he spoke in front of a church and how scared he was that day. It sounded like he prayed in earnest for divine intervention and leadership so that he could provide the perfect sermon. To write a storyline like that would involve the human side of a person and the fact that, though he knew that perfection could not be not achieved (Dove soap is about as perfect as it can get), for a moment as a young person he really thought that it could happen if he prayed hard enough. As he spoke today it was obvious that the “seasoned veteran” now knows that he can not make it happen, and now more than ever realizes that divine leadership is the only possible thing that can direct him in delivery of a sermon.

I hear people pray for help all the time. Help to win a game, help so that an operation goes well, help that will make something else end up in the favor of the ‘prayee’ - almost all religious individuals, no matter what the religion feel that their “God” will help them. But in the end, “God” decides what is going to happen and how it will all end. But one thing that is obvious to everyone is that there is plenty of “bad” in the world and everyone that believes in divine guidance and protection needs to pray.

This type of storyline has been done over and over by different authors. Someone needs help, people become concerned, and some how we as authors solve the problem. As writers each resolution is based on our perssonal beliefs, how the intervention develops does not have to come from fact. But rather it can be developed out of our many observations of the world and the people around us. If we as the author develop the solution based on a particular religion or recognized belief we better have the facts straight or readers will rule the day.

Be careful when your writing involves this type of subject matter. ;-)

Learning Things, Again???

Most everyone knows that we can learn from history. But how often do we actually learn anything? In the 70s Americans experienced a fuel shortage, sat in line at filling stations waiting for gas and paid a fortune while we sat there burning fuel to buy more fuel. In the late 50s our nation’s leaders squabbled over sending a rocket and men into space, while we watched the Russians beat us there with Sputnik. At the end of War World II we imported German scientists who had been developing our recent enemies’ “weapons of mass destruction”, who then developed the U.S. space program while the common man in our nation concentrated more on having fun and experiencing the pleasure of freedom. Even in the 50s, 60s, and 70s we learned that some wars act like a sponge consuming the nation along with its financial support.

Did we learn anything?

Well, we’re still living off the fuel of other nations, committing small sums of money on the development of alternate sources of energy while we continue to support other nations’ needs. Basically our nation gives away money with no intention to reap a return while we purchase fuel from many nations that continue to develop soldiers to attack and attempt to destroy our nation. Recently we’ve experienced a fuel leak in the Gulf of Mexico (which is predicted to be one of the worst national disasters ever) which will pull our nation further into a quagmire of uncertainty.

Now our nations is prepared to shutdown the NASA manned space program and pay other nations, many that have been our enemies in the past to transport NASA astronauts into space; and all of this has been planned with the understanding that at some point the decision could be made to not transport our astronauts again. And all this is done with no expectation of leading the way into space or seeking any type of return on investments that the nation made to get everyone else into space (and to the space station).

As a nation we continue to sacrifice our role as a leader in the field of science – instead we let our meager decisions, or lack of decisions develop a nation of service personnel. Our efforts are developing a working class of future service employees and a leisure life so more cell phones can be purchased and our youth can feel good when they text friends with the fastest fingers in the neighborhood. This is all creating an ‘unnatural’ sense of comfort while we continue to allow our youth to think that the development of an electronic relationship is OK. I don’t mean to say that we shouldn’t care for others and help nations that can’t take care of themselves.

But things are repeating in many different ways!

History is the best teacher, but as a nation we spend so much time trying to be politically correct and ensuring that no one is offended, we continue to repeat history instead of learning from it. Many people that can make a difference seem to be more concerned about their public appearance and image when in fact, there are many people who think the same way, but their waiting for someone else to make a difference.

For the record I’ll just say that America seems to be repeating history, not learning from it. Let’s not forget this subject, I will visit it again.