The day

I am healthy. In fact, I’m better than that. I almost fit – even fit as a fiddle. I don’t know how often I take the time to be thankful for that.

Today’s prompt comes from an email sent by a friend concerning a mutual friend of ours. “… has been diagnosed with cancer” was what was in there. Our friend. My younger friend. A lovely woman who brought smiles to all those around her. A woman with an infectious laugh and perpetual delight in the world around her.

Has been diagnosed with cancer.

How frightening, how scary, how terrifying. We all know we are mortal, but we don’t really ever expect to find the limits of our mortality. Or perhaps it is just me. I intend to live forever – so far, so good.

I hope that the joy my friend brought to world will have been recognized and Karma will return the joy to her and her family.

I suppose this should be some moral tale about the fragility of life and the uncertainty of our tomorrows. But instead of urging any readers to go all carpe diem or YOLO or whatever, what I really want to do is sit down and just cry.

I understand the need to live authentically in the moment and there are some days when it is more apparent than others. Mostly, even though I know it isn’t possible, I want life to be easy. I want each and every person to have health and happiness, fulfillment and purpose, joy and love. I know there is untold suffering in the world. I just wish it wasn’t so.

I wish my dear friend the best possible outcome for her treatment. I am content in knowing that she lives in a region with great medical facilities and has a family to wrap her in love and provide safety and comfort.

To you, my friends, may you find peace and comfort in this new year. My prayers, my heart, my love, and my bestest wishes go to you.

Always, your neighbor.



“I don’t know any other way to lead but by example.”
 —  Don Shula

Many of us would like to lead by words alone. “Do as I say, not as I do,” seems to be a popular cry especially among parents. They are permitted many more behaviors than their offspring and some of these are even appropriate. It is, in fact, the most likely way to get the offspring in the first place. But if a parent smokes (even though it is legal), it is far more likely that their children will also pick up the habit often while still underage.

The best way to show your children how to live a good life is for you, as their parent and best example, to live a good life. Of course, this doesn’t always take as children are not carbon copies of their parents and in their teen years are genetically built to rebel against the establishment.

Even so, they will outgrow their teen years (we hope) and look back and realize that your example is the continually singing siren songs to them. Your example is the tape that plays in their head. Your life is the measure against which they view their own.

The way to have children who behave in such-and-such a way is to show them the behavior and the positive results from practicing it.

The way to have children who eat healthy and balanced meals is for the parent(s) to prepare and eat healthy balanced meals with them. The way to have children who do more than sit in front of a screen, either television or computer, is to show them all the fun things that can happen when you turn off the electronics. The way to have non-smoking, sober children is to show them what a non-smoking, sober adult looks like.

They will still eat pizza and watch You Tube. They will still sneak a ciggie and a shot of whatever booze could be hijacked from a parent’s liquor cabinet. Hopefully these will be occasional quirks and not life style choices.

Live your best life and rejoice in it and perhaps your children will think it is the way everybody chooses to live and they, in their turn, will also choose a life of abundance.

Out, out damned spot


Writing stories can be hard work. Eons ago, all that was available was paper and ink and the paper was very expensive to create. Then technology advanced and paper was much cheaper. Part of this advance had to do with the printing press. The demand for more paper and the possibility of selling more paper interwove to create a better paper source. Books were now able to be mass produced but that meant paper was needed. But with more books sold, it became economically feasible to produce more paper.

Still time moved ever onward. Books were now ubiquitous and because there was so much printed material, it spawned ever growing numbers of literate consumers. All these various readers demanded more books to be printed so they would have something to read. And that meant more books had to be written to meet the demand.

Eventually, new ways of producing the written word were introduced and they had nothing to do with writing. Instead, one needed to type. The machines were clunky and the mechanics were such that fast typing could actually make the keys jam. At least that is the story behind the letter placement on a standard QWERTY keyboard. Slow typing down to make it possible for the mechanics of the time to keep pace, goes the standard wisdom.

The basic problem remained. As every writer knows, there is a bit of a problem with deciding WHAT to write. No matter how good (or bad) the method of documentation was, the issue of what to document continued to haunt authors.

The owner of the typewriter could start with a stack of fresh, crisp, pure paper. There was nothing there but space on which to write. The method of creation remained forever the same. Think of something to say and then say it. Learning to type quickly without looking at the keys meant the writer could focus on the words placed upon the page rather than the method for placing them there.

What words? That was and remains forever the problem. With typewriters, there was no backspace key and once a word or even a letter was typed, it was forever there on the now no longer pristine paper. Therefore, accuracy was even more important than it is for today’s authors. With enough mistakes, one could rip the page from the machine and start over. This led to crumpled sheets of black smudged paper lying around the workspace.

As can be seen in the picture with the crumpled paper, mistakes were made. The process of editing was even more onerous and the whole work would then have to be retyped before one could present it to the end-reader, whoever that may have been.

The most intriguing part of the picture remains a haunting mystery. There is a stain on the wall. It is a dark red stain. Where did it come from? How did it happen to appear so close to the author’s workspace.

“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – Gene Fowler

Ah, an answer.