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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Times ... They Are A Changin'

I was reading a book the other day, and in it the main character kept using a pay phone. It struck me as odd. He wasn’t poor, and cell phones are available at any convenience store. Then I checked the front of the book and realized it was published in the 90’s. But it got me thinking … times sure have changed.

My parents used to tell me stories about their childhood, and I’d wonder if they were telling the truth. My mom, for example, would tell me about a man who would come to her house via horse drawn wagon to deliver big blocks of ice (I’m unclear on why, exactly, though I think it had something to do with ice boxes … or, perhaps my grandparents were professional ice sculptors).  She also insists she used to sit outside electronic stores and watch the TV shows through the window. My dad, on the other hand, used to tell me that things cost pennies, nickels, or dimes. A quarter, he insists, bought your way into a movie with enough left over to get popcorn.

I wonder what things I’m going to tell my son that will make him laugh, or scratch his head. Would he think it strange that we used to have phones on street-corners? Or that people used to rent movies from stores. Will he think I’m lying when I tell him you could take a girl to dinner and a movie for just forty dollars? Or that minimum wage was $8.00/hour.

I never had a lot of opportunity to talk to my grandparents before they passed away, so I’m not all together sure what it must’ve been like for them growing up (I imagine saloons, horses, and duels at high-noon). I am excited to watch as my son hears stories from my parents about their childhoods. I can practically hear future-him giggling as my mom tells him about the leather-apron-wearing “ice man,” or my dad talking about all the loot he could buy with a dollar.

So what about you, fellow bloggers/blog readers? What do you think the next generation will laugh about?     

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 . . . And what have I learned

The New Year is underway and I thought I'd share a few of my life-lessons of 2011.
  1. At the top of my list: Having a child changes everything. My son is five months old now and I love every minute of this parenting thing. But you simply cannot prepare yourself for what having a child does to you.
  2. The best way to be a writer is to write, and not talk about writing. What I mean by that is that there is no secret formula for writing a book. The only thing that works is sitting down in a chair and typing something every day. That’s it. Once I learned that, my manuscript completion rate doubled.
  3.  Don’t waste your time trying to find yourself. Finding yourself is nonsense. The person you want to be is not lost; they’re just waiting to be created. Get out that chisel and sculpting hammer, and get to work.
  4. Anonymity on the internet can be a great thing. But don’t shrug off all social graces just because you don’t have to look the person you’re addressing in the face. Be anonymous if you want, but be yourself. Don’t become a person everyone would avoid in public if they knew who you were.
  5. Read more books! They’re like vegetables for the mind. What? I’m a writer, how can I not encourage people to read more books!
What about you guys? What’s your top life lesson(s) from 2011? Throw them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear them. 

I wish you all the best for 2012 – let’s make this year the best one yet (and not just because of the impending Mayan-zombie-apocalypse on December 21st)