Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Egg-citement

Image by Grant Cochrane

Sunday is Easter. It is a wonderful, joyous day for Christians. It marks our salvation, it is rebirth, and renewal. In effect, a do-over. I'm glad to hear Little Man say "Jesus died on the cross for our sins" and "Jesus rose from the tomb and went to heaven to be with God." I realize he doesn't quite grasp the concepts of resurrection, or sin, or sacrifice, or love so great it transcends death, but he is beginning to learn. Right now, as with Christmas, he is more focused on the secular side of Easter.

This is his fourth Easter. The first one, we didn't celebrate except to go to church. He wasn't walking yet, so Easter egg hunting wasn't on the agenda. We avoided the Easter Bunny because it scared the devil out of him (it is kinda creepy when you think about it).  This year, he's a pro at Easter. He was talking and waving to the Easter Bunny in the mall. He's pulled out all of his books about Easter including one from Grandma that plays the "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" tune over and over and over again. He is a master at finding the plastic eggs and even more so, opening them to harvest the candy. He is beside himself with the anticipation of the Easter Bunny bringing him an Easter basket!

We're not big on candy for the Little Man (or the Big Man either for that matter). So, every year the Easter Bunny must get creative with what to put in the basket. Last year he got pencils and coloring books and Play-Doh. Sure, a few pieces of chocolate and some jelly beans but not enough to last until Halloween. This year, the basket will be appointed with other fun things and activities that he will like. Or, so I hope. I hope the Easter Bunny got my message.

Tonight, we are going to color Easter Eggs. He did it last year with Granddad and he surprised me by telling me he wanted to color a red and purple egg like he did with Granddad. So, we will color eggs. Who knows, maybe this will prompt him to eat one. And we will have egg salad for lunches all week. Yay.

I wish you a very Happy Easter and hope your basket is full!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Why I Write What I Write

I blog differently than most bloggers. I read countless blogs by writers writing about writing. They write about their struggles with passive voice, tag lines, dialogue, social media, etc. They will write about discovery, lack of discovery, the difference between being a writer and being an author, the use or not of the Oxford comma. They write about being accessible to their readers. But it seems to me, that the readers of these blogs are writers wanting to know how so-and-so solved this problem or how they handled a bad review on Goodreads (see last weeks blog on Sticks and Stones). These are not readers per se. This is the same as one group of musicians singing to another group of musicians. Where is the audience?

The general advice is not to be political in a blog so you don't offend and turn off people with opposing views. Don't talk about anything controversial like politics, religion, cultural taboos. I had one person tell me not to write so much about my Little Man. "Too much toddler" was his exact comment. Well, pppthbt to you. If I take out all of those things this is what my blog would look like:

It is a sunny day today! Will have to go out and enjoy it and perhaps weed the garden for a little while.

This is assuming I don't alienate those people who prefer rainy days or can't go outside or those people who don't have a garden to weed or those who are partial to weeds and believe organized gardening is evil. The point is, there will always be some one or some group who won't like what I say, how I say it, or just don't like me in general. Know what? I don't care.

I write about my life. If I'm struggling with writing, I'll write about it. If Little Man has been the focus on my life due to a struggle we're having or something charming he's been doing then I will write about it. If there is something particularly irritating in the news, guess what, I'll write about it. I don't have a niche. I don't have a specific group. All I have is an opinion and a life.

One thing I promise, is that whatever I do write, it's genuine. I will always write from the heart. I will always question with as much logic as possible. And I hope, that whoever does enjoy what I write, will recognize that what's here is truly me.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sticks and Stones

I was going to write a blog about the Generation Gap that afflicts every generation. This was prompted by the posts I see from friends who are younger who seem to be focused on the most unusual things. I think the topics are unusual anyway, and perhaps all the emotional vitriol that goes into these posts is also unnecessary. Obviously, the younger generation feels these topics are important. I'm not negating the importance of the topics, just really how much time, energy and emotional investment put into them is something that my generation just doesn't see. On the other side of the coin, there are things my generation gets bent out of shape about that the younger generation just doesn't get. Usually, comments about the topics degrade from discussion to angry disagreements.
Image by Stuart Miles

It's the arguing that I will address today. More and more in social media and even on the "news" there seems to be more arguing than discussing. There is nothing wrong with opposing opinions, ideologies, or positions. In fact, our first right is the freedom of speech. We have the RIGHT to say what is on our minds and in our hearts. There are a few caveats that go with that. We have the RESPONSIBILITY not to created havoc with out speech. We cannot shout "fire" in a crowded auditorium as this will cause panic and people can get hurt. Also, we cannot use our language to incite violence or persecution against a person or group.

But, it seems that lately whenever there are two opposing opinions being presented, the discussion devolves into an argument wherein one side will accuse the other side of hate speech, or racial discrimination, or gender discrimination, or sexual orientation discrimination, or religious hegemony and then the other side will protest and say it's position is being stifled and they are victims are discriminatory tactics. Sigh. What all that is two 6-year olds saying "nuh-huh" and "ya-huh" until they storm off mad at each other without any actual listening, learning, discussing and debating going on.

Really, our freedom of speech does give us the RIGHT to say what we want to say provided with do so with RESPONSIBILITY. With that right comes the chance that someone will say something we disagree with. We might even get our feelings hurt. Boo hoo. And this is the important thing - HURT FEELINGS AND DISAGREEMENT IS NOT HATE SPEECH. So, everyone just needs to calm down. Let's put the skills of debate back into our classrooms. Let's try listening to the other opinion (even if it's stupid), and let's use facts to back up our point, not emotion.

One final word. Eliminate "Politically Correct" language. It muddies the waters and makes it impossible to actually communicate using real words and real language that have real definitions. And if your feelings get hurt remember, "sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you."