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Do authors really need to read to be any good?

I've always been a writer. I remember being four or five years old and stringing together a few letters to create words to create a poem. It must have been a formative moment in my life because I remember the poem.  I grew up eventually--not all the way--but I wanted to share my words.
When I finally had the courage to make my writing public, one single post about my glad tidings brought on an onslaught of advice.  There were a few words from friends embarking on the author journey, but most of it was from readers who were eager to tell me what not to do. One of them said something that has been reiterated SOOOO often that it really used to annoy me. This advice was "If you want to be a good author, you need to read." Seven times out of ten, this is said with a patronizing lilt and glasses pushed up the nose.
I thought I was going to fail. I am a pretty fast reader, but I don't like reading generally. In High School, I read all the classics so I could hold conversati…

Turkey Day: A Humor Poem

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It’s that time of year again, When we all expect to gain, my friend I’m not just talking about the love Or the blessings from above I’m talking now about my waist The inches that I owe to tastes. Each year we expect to gain A pound—five, we usually retain And each year, I like to say “I’m going to have self-control today. No matter the moistness of the turkey Or the sweetness of the pie I will eat the right amount of calories” But it’s a lie.
Not on purpose, may I remind It’s the smells the work upon my mind The cranberry sauce and special spice The well-cooked meat, so plump. So nice! Don’t get me started on the yams Or the honey-glazed, sauce-dripping ham!  Creamy gravy flowing on mashed potatoes! And then those buttery, glistening rolls! Pasta salad, fruit salad, what’s that pink stuff? Jello salad, pudding salad. Carrying two plates is rough. That jam’s homemade? I could tell! I can see my tummy swell. Green beans are genuinely good for you. Though caked in butter, it’s still tr…

Gems of gratitude.

It’s the time of year when my Facebook feed is filled with people doing their 30 days of gratitude for November. This year, I haven’t seen as much as I did last or the year before. I still enjoy reading the ones who do. I love it when the small details are recounted. For example, one of my friends once told me that the thing she missed the most about small children, was the pitter-pat of bare feet alongside the rustle of a diaper. It touched my heart. Ever since then, when I’m having a rough day, I take a deep breath and listen for that specific harmony. And I smile every time.
I know, first hand, the benefits of cultivating and expressing gratitude. It’s been a matter of personal pondering and study. By that, I don’t just mean personal reflection. The scientific study of the effects of gratitude on someone’s wellbeing has been a topic that is gathering some steam in the past couple years. The findings are not surprising.  Apparently, people who keep gratitude journals report healthi…

Silly Short: October Lobbies for Halloween

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Once upon a time, a long time ago, October called a meeting of the months of the year. When they had finally gathered, October had a difficult time getting everyone’s attention away from the flirty months May and June. Then July walked in and she’s so hot, someone had to open a window.
“Excuse me,” October said again. His sinister voice sent chills through the months closest to him, but he was too quiet to get everyone’s attention.
“Alright people! October is speaking!” December had their full attention, and before anyone knew it, he was gone again.
“Thank you. As you know, I have called you all here. The matter being: I need a holiday. November has Thanksgiving, December has multiple holidays. January has the New Year. February has Valentine’s Day, March has St. Patrick’s Day, April not only claims April Fool’s Day, but also shares Easter some years. Kids love May because school gets out, June is in the throes of summer. Every day is a holiday in June—“
“That’s for sure,” August co…

Horror at Medusa Falls: A Short Halloween Story.

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I didn't want to do it. Let's be clear on that. I wish everyone was here so I could tell them "I told you so." But they're not.
Halloween falls on Tuesday this year. Of all the lousy days of the week. I'm doing my homework after school and Avalon calls. Everyone is going on a hike. My heart flips. Everyone? Yes. Everyone. Where is the hike? It doesn't matter which hike and by the way, they're leaving right now. And can I bring my car? I tell her I have homework. "Sam, for one night in a year. Just pretend that you know how to have fun. Harrison can drive and you can study." I grab my work and head over. They don't say hi, just pile into my car. Harrison, Avalon, Olivia, and Oliver. Avalon wants to sit next to Harrison. They tell me to sit in the back with Olivia and Oliver. I push my glasses up my nose and get back to work, swallowing nausea as we drive. Harrison is not a good driver. They pass out water bottles when we get there. There's …

On a dark and quiet night...

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When I think of the scariest experiences in my life, they don’t usually include anything we acknowledge at Halloween. A loved one is diagnosed with an incurable disease, for example. I haven’t been through too many scary experiences. But there is a spooky one I’d like to relate in the name of Halloween.
I was eighteen with a terrible habit of coming home past midnight. I drove down the silent middle-class suburban neighborhood where I lived in my parents’ house. It was excellently illuminated by street lights. I parked my trusty Chevy-Tracker, Ted, in front of the house and came inside. It was completely dark. My family was all asleep. Except for my brother who was still out.
I went upstairs and collapsed on my bed before realizing I had left my phone in my car. So I went downstairs and opened the door. I had a strange feeling that I was being watched.
I couldn’t help but hurry to the car. I had this nagging feeling that I wasn’t safe. I grabbed my phone, locked my car, and scurrie…

Who do you want to be?

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Introduction Halloween Time! It started at our house somewhere mid-August when the kids started asking about -Christmas and I explained how much closer Halloween was.
I have a love-hate relationship with Halloween. I don’t like how eager everyone is to load my kids up with sugar. And let’s face it: I’m not a horror fan. I used to LOVE the spooks and chills that come with zombies, ghosts, and witches. Not so much anymore.
But I do love the parties. And the costumes! Of course, planning the costumes for each person in my family…can be challenging.
Sometime in the middle of September, I sat my family down and asked them what they wanted their costumes to be. Because seriously, the costumes come up in August and sell out really fast. By  October it’s like “Okay kid, do you want Deadpool or do we want to go as the color green this year?” Actually, I would never let them be Deadpool.
My two-year-old wanted to be anything my four-year-old wanted to be and they both want Daddy to be the sam…