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"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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In Passing - Death as Transition
April 29, 2013
I've often wondered at the analogy some use about dying, that it is
like the passing of a baton. We are carrying the "baton" of this life
and when we die we pass it off. I must admit I like the image of our
carrying something through life, be it our gift, our personality, or
our essence, that is left behind as we pass over to the next life or
plane of existence.
"In passing" - it's a phrase that is with me again. Two days ago my
aunt died. She was 88 and lived a good life, full of adventure, travel
and a variety of experiences. She was modest and quiet, didn't like to
talk about herself, but she knew a lot and loved to read books on
history. | continue
Haven's Unique Voice
April 25, 2013
Those who saw the Woodstock
documentary (or were lucky enough to be there in person in 1969 for
"three days of peace, love and music") were treated to an incredible
opening. One man, with his guitar, percussive strumming and singing,
delivered a tour de force. Folk singer Richie Havens - there simply
wasn't anybody else like him in music. His riveting raspy voice, his
passionate delivery and his interpretation of songs was unique.
His voice was more than the sound coming from his vocal chords. He
spoke volumes in action and deed. Richie Havens passed away at the age
of 72 this week and the the many great comments I've seen repeated from
the likes of fellow musicians, broadcasters and journalists all seem to
have a similar theme. All
week long I've been reading comments on Facebook from some of my dear
former radio colleagues as well as a few who participated in Woodstock.
There was Michael Shrieve, a mere teenager at the festival and
memorable for his inspiring drumming with Santana, lamenting that he
never was able to put together the collaboration with Havens he'd hoped
for. Pete Townshend, guitarist and songwriter for the Who
in about missing the great man. Even Wavy Gravy, the iconic hippie,
posted a haiku tribute.
was admired for his music, but also for his love of others, his huge
heart and great personality. These are the kinds of things said after
someone dies that demonstrate the lasting impression a person can leave
from a life well lived.
I always loved Richie's version of the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun".
He took George Harrison's song in a different direction and made it his
It seems like a lot of celebrities have died recently. Maybe this
happens in spurts, or maybe I've just noticed. Richie Haven's one that
couldn't happen without a comment. I loved his unique voice. Find out
more about him. There is plenty online, including this NPR article that includes some great video of Havens at
Be Strong and Brave
April 21, 2013
When fans gathered at Fenway Park in Boston on April 20, 2013 they came
for more than a baseball game. On this particular Saturday Bostonians
came to the ballpark both to seek companionship and a return to
normalcy.They also came remember and honor the lives lost or
dramatically changed after the bombings and violence of the past week.
at Boston Marathon - A Runner's Lament
April 16, 2013
Running a marathon is very hard. The long distance running event of
26.2 miles takes a physical, mental and emotional toll on every
contestant. This doesn't include the long hours and many miles
training leading up to the event. I know from personal experience,
having run my first two marathons the year I turned fifty.
The news of the tragedy
that unfolded in Boston on Monday, April 15, 2013 at the most
iconic of all marathons has once again rocked our world. Two bombs went
off near the finish line about two hours after the first runners
finished. Thousands were crowded into the area and the bombs created
instant destruction and harm. At the time I am writing this three
people have been confirmed dead, including an eight year old boy, and
As a runner this act of terrorism affects me in a way I couldn't
predict. When I heard the news yesterday afternoon I was shocked,
angered and saddened. I thought of how drained, and yet elated, I felt
at the conclusion of the marathons I've run. And I remember how my
family members were at the finish line cheering me on. I thought of the
many doing the same at Monday's Boston Marathon. This bombing is a
violation of life and something that normally would be a great
celebration. It is an attack on something sacred. To me it is as bad as
bombing a religious service.
There is a code among runners. I've seen it in the eyes of others who
trudged the hard miles of long distances, a silent exchange that
acknowledges that we are doing something difficult, yet triumphant.
Many runners often take up the challenge of a marathon as a way to
bring attention to certain causes. An example is fighting cancer and
fundraising for research through organizations such as Team in Training to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
I have family members and friends who've died of cancer and I
run in support of this research. It was one of the most important
things I've done in my life (read The
Our prayers, thoughts and support go out to all affected by the
bombings. Tragedy happens in our lives, but the human spirit will
prevail. Hearts will reach out in support and compassion. Already I've
heard of many Bostonians opening their homes to stranded visitors. Our
lives and our stories about the events of our lives are important to
preserve. We need to remember, to honor and to send a message to the
world that we will not be defeated by cowardly acts of terrorism.
Up for the Life of Roger Ebert
April 8, 2013
I never met the man, but I feel like I know him. I read many
Roger Ebert's film reviews over the years. Sometimes I angrily
disagreed, at other times it was more of a shrug that we didn't see
eye-to-eye, but there were also plenty of times when I thought his
insight was terrific. He clearly loved the movies and loved to write
and talk about them. He saw them as a way to comment about life in
general, which perhaps makes the title of his memoir, Life Itself: A Memoir, all the more appropriate.
Like many people of my generation, I often watched Ebert and Siskel
battle back and forth over film reviews. They clearly loved the debate.
And if a movie got two thumbs up they would both articulate why they
felt that way, sometimes sparking additional debate!
Longtime Chicagoan, Roger Ebert was laid to rest today after passing
away from a long bout with cancer this past Thursday (Tribune article
by Mark Caro). He was 70 years old and the past few years a man who
loved to talk couldn't after complications from a surgery to fight his
thyroid cancer in 2006. But he still continued to write and he had a
real gift for commentary, not just about movies, but also about his
view on life, love, social justice and a myriad of other topics. I've
been reading some postings and, in particular, I recommend Tim Grierson
of PASTE with My Roger Ebert, and the Salon interview reposted, I do not fear death.
Thank you, Roger Ebert, for sharing your insight, commentary and
passion for the moview. "Thumbs up" on a life well-lived.
Inspiration in the Clouds
April 3, 2013
I had a pretty busy day and I worked hard teaching my fifth graders. On
the way home I picked up dinner and I was driving in rush hour traffic.
I was tired and hungry and impatient.
But at a stoplight I looked out at the sky through my windshield.
Sometimes there is magic in the skies of New Mexico. The clouds had an
interesting shape and it looked as if there might be a bit of rain in
the bottom of them. Nothing was falling, but in the dry desert climate
it is not unusual for any moisture to evaporate before it even falls
from the clouds. The sight gave me pause and then perspective. So often
we can miss the specialness of the moment. Our lives are certainly full
of work, traffic, food and waiting. Yet there is opportunity, too, to
stop and smell the
For your memoir writing, try recalling a time when you were distracted,
impatient or frustrated and then something or someone pulled you out of
it. What happened? How did it change you in that moment? How do you
feel about it as you recall it?
April 1, 2013
The things we own, the various mementos of our lives, can be
touchstones for the stories of our lives. For many people these objects
might be the personal history, and unless someone asks about them and
records the stories connected to them, the life story remains locked up
inside of these objects.
Discovering such secrets is theme of The Matchbox Diary
by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. A little girl
visits her great-grandfather and is attracted to a cigar box filled
with curious and she learns that he used matchboxes to hold important
small items from his life, each with a story behind it. This book might be a good way to
introduce young people to the importance of saving memories.