Story and Why
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Himself in His Autobiography
June 30, 2011
One of the quality reasons for writing about your life is to give you
perspective and clarity. Some have claimed therapeutic benefits. I
don't doubt it. Giving more credence to this is the recent
self-published autobiography by Jason Wood. He's built a successful
career as a yacht broker in Florida and used the money to help find his
birth parents and also to launch his own publishing company, Kantanoose
A review of his autobiography, From Here to
Half Moon Bay, relates the almost non-stop writing process
Wood went through. He states that his book will hopefully inspire
others and help those who go through some of the same tough struggles
Winds Fanning the Flames in New Mexico
June 27, 2011
The past year is sure seems like there have been more disasters around
the globe. Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanos and earthquakes. And
more wars. New Mexico, the Land
of Enchantment where I live, seems in many ways protected
from this. We don't seem to be afflicted with many of nature's
But it has been hot and very dry here. This means the danger of fires.
We can be a windy state, too, and those winds have been blowing. And
fires are springing up. Today's news was full of the evacuation
Alamos in the Jemez Mountains. That is a beautiful area and I
see fire envelope it.
Los Alamos is home to national labs and defense work (weapon research)
still goes on there. The atomic bomb was developed there (Manhattan
Project). But the area is also rich in spirituality. You can feel it when you
visit there. It is amazing how our world can hold such paradoxes. The
birthplace of the most devastating weapons of mass destruction. And a
sanctuary of the Creator's eminence.
Full of Memories
June 25, 2011
I consider all the significant things that have
happened in my life in the month of June it really is amazing. The
expression, a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine
goes down has
been running around in my head and had me thinking of how my June
full of memories brings my life around. Excuse the poetic
but it is true.
First, there are all the birthdays. My sister-in-law was born on June 2
and I have three nephews with June birthdays – the 4th, 20th
and 21st. My parents were married June 14. Mom passed away June 15,
2006 (five years ago and one day after my parents’ 55th
wedding anniversary). I ran my first half-marathon on June 5, 2006. And
twenty years ago on June 22 I had a spiritual experience that led to a
completely new way of life. In fact, if I hadn’t
“bottomed out” and accepted the help I needed I
likely wouldn’t even be alive today. If I hadn’t
changed my ways and was still alive today I’m sure I would be
| read more
June 22, 2011
It's been a few days since celebrating Father's Day. But I've been
thinking about a post I started on my Facebook page and how others
contributed to it. The subject was songs about fathers and dads. There
are quite a few. The ones that stick with me are those with real
insight into the dynamics of fatherhood. Sometimes our relationships
with others are quite challenging. Usually it is because we men are
struggling with how to relate to others. Relationships require a lot of
Cat Stevens - "Father and Son", Harry Chapin - "Cats in the Cradle" and
Loudon Wainwright III - "A Father and A Son" are all rich in pathos.
Each of these songs speaks about the sometimes strained relationships
between sons and fathers. But inside those songs is the deep message of
There is also a new song sung by Trace Adkins that gets me choked up
everytime I hear it on the radio. "Just Fishin" is about a father
taking his young daughter out for a day of fishing. In her innocent,
"in the moment" way she is chatting about her ballet shoes, training
wheels and her kittens. She thinks they are just fishin'. But a whole
lot more is going on.
More lyrics include, "She ain't even thinkin' 'bout/What's really goin'
on right now/But I guarantee this memory's a big'in/And she just thinks
we're just fishin'/We ain't only fishin'/ (This ain't about fishin').
So what is it about? What are you talking to your kids about? What is
your life about? It's your
story. Hope you are sharing it.
Day, Clarence Clemmons and Juneteenth
June 19, 2011
I've got so much running through my mind today. First of all, it's Father's Day. Dads
typically have to work harder at showing emotion and
nuruturing - but we can still do it! I'm blessed to have a great dad.
And I'm honored to be a son, father and grandpa. Everyday I keep
learning by doing - the best way to get educated.
My daughter and son-in-law gave me an awesome present (a Kindle)! I've
been contemplating getting an e-reader for a while and now that I've
completed my certification to teach school and I was just hired as a
Social Studies instructor for 6, 7 & 8 grades my Kindle will be
an excellent teaching companion.
I also saw a great article encouraging fathers to invest in their
family history by journaling for their kids (Fathers
- invest in your past for your kids, San Francisco Chronicle).
I recommend you read the article and then act on it.
Today is also known as Juneteenth.
Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, but it took a couple of years for the
news to spread through the south, hence the emancipation day
celebration annually recognized on June 19. Thank goodness our country
eventually decided that African-Americans are human with the inherent
dignity of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", although it
has taken a very long time for it to be truly recognized. The civil
rights process and battle against racism continues to this day.
A great African-American and a rock n' roll giant in more than one
sense of the word has just passed away. I was saddened to hear the news
that Clarence Clemmons, the "Big Man" saxophone player in Bruce
Springsteen's E. Street Band, died from a stroke suffered last week. I
saw Clarence blow that horn a few times at Springsteen shows and it was
NPR story tells you more.
June 13, 2011
Everybody loves a good storyteller. Stories help us make an emotional
connection to information. As a result, we tend to remember it better.
That shouldn't be a surprise. Anything we attach emotion to tends to be
more memorable. Just think about your first love, birth of a child,
death of a parent, pain of a job loss or a disease, thrill of an
athletic achievement...ad infinitum.
It turns out corporate story-telling may be beneficial for business. It
can improve employee relations and can be important during performance
reviews. So says an article I found online today. This
article suggests that a greater commitment to a company's vision and
values can result from people writing about it. I think this can be a
positive as long as it is not manipulative.
Read the article, Corporate Story-telling improves
at ibtimes.com and see what you think.
World, Many Stories - Yours Might Be A Winner!
June 9, 2011
I saw a story posted by the Deseret
News that mentions a life story
contest to get Utah residents involved in preserving their stories.
Paulette Stevens, an APH
member, is involved and has the Salt Lake
County Library system helping to promote this with some free workshops
in June and July.
The stories should be from personal experience and use the theme,
"Seeking Freedom & Dignity". Some of the stories will be
selected for publication. Summer time is a great time for reading, too,
and this effort also includes cross-promotion of the American Library
Association's Summer Reading Program.
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of Grand Rapids Alive and Well
June 7, 2011
I spent five years in Grand Rapids back in the 1990's. At the time I
was still working in radio broadcasting and the program director for a
rock station, WKLQ. Michigan can be tough in the winter, but I always
thought Grand Rapids was a fine city. There is a spirit there of
industriousness and civic pride along with culture and Midwestern
values that dates back to the furniture industry dating
from the late 1800's.
January of this year mainstreet.com
listed Grand Rapids as the 10th most dying city in America. This didn't
sit well with Grand Rapidians. Rob Bliss mobilized over 5,000 residents
and the backing of many sponsors to create the world's
largest lip dub.
A single camera was used to capture people around the
city lipsynching to Don McLean's "American Pie". That's an
appropriate song considering it speaks to a generation (and more) about
the "day the music died" (Richie Havens, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper
in a plane crash in 1959), but metaphorically represents so much more.
Enjoy the video - it is a celebration of city pride and American spirit.
Slingers in Prison
June 3, 2011
Being locked up in prison is a real hardship. Imagine being imprisoned
27 years for a crime you didn't commit? That's what happened to William
Michael Dillon who tells the audiences he plays his music to that he
was convicted of a murder he didn't commit in 1981. He was exonerated
by DNA evidence, one of a handful of prisoners who've been freed
through the Innocence Project of Florida.
eventually turned his prison time to some good by cultivating
his songwriting skills. He used prison-issued toilet paper to write
most of his songs and he's been able to record a CD thanks to
assistance from a Grammy Award winning producer, Jim Tullio (story at
When I read this story I thought about the courage, perseverance and
endurance of this man. What a tough thing to go through. It's amazing
he isn't embittered.
At the same time that I discovered this story I've been reading a book
by Buzzy Martin that came out a few years ago. This lifelong musician
recounts his experience teaching guitar to cons in one of California's
most notorious penitentiaries, San Quentin. His book is titled, Don't
Shoot! I'm the Guitar Man. It's riveting and
has a story to tell!
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