Monthly Archives: April 2013

The List You Need to Write a Memoir

Elyse here.  As some of you know, I’m currently taking a Memoir Writing Course to help get me focused on writing up my memoir about my psychotic, alcoholic German Shepherd, Goliath. Luce of, posted this really helpful list of things to keep in mind when writing a memoir that I wanted to share with anyone who is struggling like I am!

For those anxious to see what my memoir is about, see these posts. Because you guys encouraged me, you know.  So it’s all your fault.

For Medicinal Purposes Only

What’s in a Name?

Dogs and Other Nuts

Luanne Castle's Writer Site

I started working on my memoir an embarrassingly long time ago. When I started I thought I knew what a memoir was–after all, I’d read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It’s the story of Maya Angelou’s childhood.  OK, I could do that.  I didn’t have a similar experience–not even close–but I had my own events to write about.

What I didn’t realize when I started was that a memoir isn’t just telling what happened to me in chronological order.  The story is all in how you slice it, according to Tristine Rainer (I’ve written about her great advice several times).

In order to write a memoir I had to figure these things out:

  1. Exactly what story I wanted to tell.  After all, I have had a full life and could probably mine several books out of it.  To focus on one particular story, I took the advice of…

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Filed under Humor

Earth Day/Birthday — The Recycled Edition

Today, April 22, is Earth Day!  It’s the 43nd Anniversary of the very first Earth Day.  Here for Angie of Childhood Relived (because I am her primary new source) is Walter Cronkite’s report on the first Earth Day, 1970:

It would also be my late sister Judy’s 61th birthday.

Whoever made the decision to turn Judy’s birthday into Earth Day chose wisely.  Judy was a born environmentalist and recycler.

On the first Earth Day, Judy was a new, very young mother who believed in saving the planet.  She was the first “environmentalist” I ever knew personally, and well, I thought she was nuts.  There was a recycling bin in her kitchen for as long as I can remember.  And this was back when recycling took effort.  She believed in gardens, not garbage, and she made life bloom wherever she was.

I’ve got kids,” she’d say.  “It’s their planet too!”  

But years later, Judy took recycling to a whole different level when she helped people recycle themselves.  In the 1990s, Jude, who was then living in Florida, began working with the Homeless, assisting at shelters.   Then she actively began trying to help homeless vets find food, shelter and work — to enable them to jumpstart their lives.

When she died in early 2000, the American Legion awarded her honorary membership for her services to homeless vets.  A homeless shelter was named in her  honor.  So she’s still doing good works, my sister is.  That would make her wildly happy.

Jude also gave me the Beatles.  So it is very appropriate that they wrote a song for her.

You see, the night the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan, it was MY turn to choose what we were going to watch.  And we were going to watch the second part of The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh starring Patrick McGoohan on the Wonderful Wide World of Disney.  My four (all older and MUCH cooler) siblings were furious with me.  But I was quite insistent.  You might even say that I threw a Class I temper tantrum over it, but I wouldn’t admit to that.  But hey, I was seven.  And it was my turn to choose.  Fair is fair, especially in a big family with only one TV.

Somehow, Judy talked me out of my turn.  She was always very persuasive.  Thanks Jude.

Hey Jude, Happy Earth Day-Birthday.

*     *     *

If this looks/sounds familiar, it’s because I recycled this post from last year.  Because you should never use fresh when you can reuse something already written.  And you can never get enough of “Hey Jude.”


Filed under Family, Global Warming, History, Holidays, Humor, Music

Now Why Didn’t I Think of That?

It’s kind of late in the game for me.  My son is in college.  He drives.  He Facebooks.

He’s beyond my control.

So I am really upset that I didn’t get this vital piece of parenting advice from Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY-did-you-elect-me) years ago:

“There is no doubt that we need to do more to curb the senseless acts of violence that continue to occur in this country,” Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), an opponent of the underlining gun bill, said. “One of the things we need are parents, parents to be more careful and more repetitive at telling their kids that it is not right to kill people. It’s not even right to bully them. And it’s definitely not right for them to kill themselves. Until we can get that message across to our kids, I hope that we don’t rely on a few votes by this body to make everybody feel comfortable that all the problem is taken care of.”  (Clip courtesy of Daily Kos.  They got it from Think Progress.)


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Now why didn’t I think of that?


Filed under Childhood Traumas, Criminal Activity, Elections, Gun control, Humor, Hypocrisy, Stupidity, Voting

Job Security for Cowards

How important is your job to you?  What would you do to keep it?

What would you be willing to sacrifice to keep it?  Who would you be willing to sacrifice to keep your job?

Would you be willing to let innocent people die to protect your job?

Because that’s what happened today.  Forty-six (46) Senators voted to protect their jobs instead of speaking for the people they represent.  You see, the people those senators represent believe in stronger background checks for gun purchasers by roughly 90 percent.

These Senators think they protected their jobs when they voted for themselves and their jobs instead of protecting your children and mine, instead of protecting granny and students, teenagers in malls, folks who like movies, and anybody who might just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and who might die because some asshole didn’t have to go through a background check for that gun they fired.

These Senators, well they just today said “Fuck You” to the next bunch of victims.

Forty-six United States Senators will have blood on their hands the next time one of these random acts of gun violence happens.  And of course there will be a next time.



Elections matter.  Get these folks out of office.  (Thanks for the list,  Jueseppi)


Filed under Gun control, Hypocrisy, Politics

Make Money Blogging!

Ha!!  He laughs at the amount of time I spend blogging.

“What do you get out of it?”  says my husband, John.  “You should be penning a best seller, not giving your stories away for free.  You don’t even have banner ads on your blog!”

John will eat his words when he reads how I can earn the big bucks. Because I just got this business proposition:

Hi. Good afternoon.

I am a blog administrator and I manage a team of solid writers who are passionate about a wide range of topics.

I was wondering if you’d be open to a guest blogging opportunity.
We would pay you $30 for a post on your site (you may choose the topic if you wish) and a small link to our blog at the end of the post in an author bi-line.

If you are interested in working with us, please write me back.


I’m going to make a fortune.  At last, the big bloggy payoff.  Nice!


Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Humor, Stupidity, Writing