Words are Magic. Writers are Wizards

Two Recent Events Remind of the Power and Universality of Great Writing


The title from this blog post comes from an anonymous source. Whoever first said these words has my undying gratitude. Truer words have rarely been spoken– or written. This phrase runs through my mind often. Partly as confirmation of a known truth, partly as a challenge to write better.

Two recent experiences underline this truism for me. I am thinking you can relate to both.

A Lesson Close to Home

The first is more local and personal. The community I live in has a small gathering once a month called Writers Read.

Planning for “What If” vs. Planning for “When”

Which Mindset We Have Can Make a Big Difference

The most recent series of mass shootings (think of what I just wrote there – the MOST RECENT mass shootings. Can you believe this is part of our language now?) brought home yet again that bad things can happen to anyone, any place, at any time. More than one survivor of this latest carnage said it well. “If you think it cannot happen to you where you are, you are kidding yourself.” It more likely is ‘when,’ not ‘if.’

This need not be a reason for living in fear and paralysis.

The Power and Peril of People in the Streets

Recent Events Remind Us of History’s Lessons

 

There is a line in a Mel Brooks movie wherein someone comes in to alert the king, “The peasants are revolting.” To which the king, completely misunderstanding the warning, says “They certainly are.”

Well, the peasants are revolting around the world of late, and “kings” must take note. This is how the Arab Spring started. That movement did not end well, but leaders were toppled.

You may have noticed of late that people are protesting. They often times do so in staggering numbers,

“I Think You are Great, But That is a Really Dumb Idea”

We All Need Someone Who Can Regularly Tell Us Why We Might Be Wrong

As I have watched the Trump Show these last few days (the photo session with the Pakistan Prime Minister was amazing. I kept checking the TV to see if I had stumbled onto Saturday Night Live), and the Mueller hearings on Wednesday, I was reminded of an old truth that is as powerful today as ever.

If Everyone Agrees with You All the Time, You Need a New Circle of Advisors

Any time a leader surrounds himself or herself with Yes Men,

Random Observations on the World at Large

  1. The Last Few Days Give One Pause to Ask: “Really?”

 

Almost any week seems surreal these days, especially in the world of politics, but recent days seem even more so.

A Few Examples to Ponder

  • What possible goal does Iran achieve in seizing a British ship? We get it they are not happy about their ship being seized in Gibraltar, but their actions of late seem designed to play into Trump’s hands. They are busily alienating those in the West most interested in salvaging the nuclear deal and all that could flow from that foundation.

What Do Your Small Preferences Say About Your Large Traits?

“Mustard or Ketchup?” This May be a Bigger Question Than You Thought

Personal Peculiarities

I have been developing a theory of human behavior and I am curious as to what you think. My theory is based on zero scientific process or any compelling logic, but it feels right to me.

Ever since I can remember, even as a very young child, I have preferred mustard over ketchup. Tart over sweet; savory over mild. I have always preferred ice cream with nuts or fruit in it rather than artificial colors or flavors. My preference is for odd numbers,

Is Nature Striking Back? Are We Getting a Message?

Some Interesting Things are Happening on This Planet.

Those of a certain age will remember a very popular TV commercial some years ago. In that commercial, a man offers Mother Nature a taste of something. She tries it and says, “Ah, yes, that is my natural, sweet butter.” To which the man replies, “Fooled you, Mother Nature. It’s [Brand X] margarine.” An angry Mother Nature says, “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature,” as a terrible storm begins.

A Warning?

Sometimes it seems like we are living in that commercial.

D Day – The Power of Planning, Commitment, and Courage

 

Few Events in Human History Call Out to Us with Such Clarity as What is Important

The 70th anniversary of D Day is almost upon us. The celebration that occurs every five years will take place this Thursday in France. I cringe at what Donald Trump may do or fail to do at this most sacred of human consecrations. I take comfort knowing the examples of D Day will long outlive this human aberration in our history.

D Day has a special meaning for me. I was the coordinator for airborne operations at the 40th anniversary of D Day.

Thinking About People Who Are Thinking About Mount Everest

Perhaps It is Time to Rethink the Mountain

The Mountain of all Mountains

Recent days have brought us stories of people dying on Mount Everest in near record numbers. It usually takes an avalanche or a major storm to cause so many casualties. What got them this time? Standing in line.

The Nepalese government issued close to 400 permits this season. By all accounts, that is more than the summit approaches likely could handle. And so, it has come to pass. We have seen what seems to be remarkable photos. Dozens of people standing in lines just short of the summit,

“I Think That I Shall Never See…”

 

There might be something more wonderous on this planet than trees, but I haven’t seen it.

Trees Are The Best

Longtime friends of mine know that I think pretty strongly that Joyce Kilmer got it right with that poem we all learned in childhood: “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree….” I don’t connect to the theological elements of that little poem, but as for the sense of wonder and joy about trees? Count me in.

I have long thought that if an alien space craft were to scoop me up and demand that I show them one wonderous thing that made our planet worth saving,