A Perfect Autumn Day

Bird song in the woods
People playing tennis
A pair of men practicing Tai Chi on the shady side of the basketball court
Dozens of men and women playing simultaneous games of flag football
Others practice throwing on the sidelines
A pleasant earthy smell in the air
Coats come off and are flung over shoulders and draped over arms
People walking slowly, smiling, enjoying the warmth of this late season sun
Squirrels and chipmunks rustling among the leaves
Scores of Canadian geese floating languidly in the pond
A mild breeze caressing faces, ruffling hair and fluttering leaves of fiery reds, brilliant gold’s and toasty browns
Simply a perfect autumn afternoon

Werner Meyer
October 28, 2014

9-11 The 13th Anniversary

The images, sounds and experience still feel fresh, but not as raw as it once felt.

I still get sad and angry when I think about it, but no longer filled with melancholy and rage.

This year I have absolutely no interest in seeing the pictures and videos of the buildings burning, the plane hitting, the people jumping, the buildings fall and people running in stark terror. Those images are branded indelibly in my mind.

I prefer to see the World Trade Center how they looked, how I like to remember them. Like the clear blue skyline picture of Manhattan on my desktop at work.

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I also prefer to see the pictures of the stunning Freedom Tower and the beautiful and touching memorial park and reflecting pools in the footprint of the original towers.

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I’ll never forget the victims of that day. They were everyday, ordinary people like myself, my family and my friends.

I’ll never forget that Guy managed to escape the North Tower, just before it collapsed. He also experienced the bombing in 1993, but 9-11 changed him forever.

I’ll never forget the man who was talking to his very pregnant wife as she stood in her office. Her final utterance suggests she saw the jet just before it hit the tower right where she was standing – completely obliterating her and their unborn child.

I’ll never forget watching the man trying to shimmy his way down from the upper floors of the burning tower between the structures framing the windows. It wasn’t shown, but there is no doubt he eventually fell to his death.

I’ll never forget the desperate faces of hundreds of people hanging from broken windows attempting to breathe in life-giving air as superheated smoke billowed through the opening behind them, trying to build up the courage to jump before they burn to death.

I’ll never forget the sound of Kevin Cosgrove with a 9-1-1 dispatcher. He and a few others were trapped on the top floors of the South Tower. It was hot, they were choking on thick smoke. In utmost fear and panic he demanded that first responders rescue them. The dispatcher did all she could to keep reassuring him. I’ll never forget Kevin’s scream as the building collapsed and the line went dead. Kevin’s wife and children were fortunate his body was recovered, to give them closure, where the remains of over a thousand victims have never been recovered.

No, I will never forget. I can’t…I don’t want to.

How to Write Fiction In Five: How Long Should A Book Be?

When writing your fictional stories, they will take shape in one of the following basic forms, each varying in length/word count:

  1. Novels
  2. Novellas
  3. Short Stories
  4. Flash Fiction

The obvious difference, for the most part, is their word count/length. There are subsets of each of these, but these four are the main types. However, at a deeper level there are other differences – just as there are differences between bourbon and Scotch whiskey.

 

WordCount

Novels and Novellas

The main distinction of the novel is the breadth of its scope. Novels contain multiple characters, incidents, settings, and moods. It’s really an entire world. If you’re writing a novel, you need enough “stuff” to sustain reader interest through hundreds of pages.

Novels traditionally run between 150-300 pages in published form. On occasion they run as long as 1,000 pages. For those counting, the average traditionally published novel is at least 80,000 words, which are 320 double spaced pages in a 12 point Times New Roman font. A novel can run as low as 40,000 words which is about 160 pages.

With the ever evolving ebook format, the standardization of novel lengths, a formula established by the increasingly obsolete traditional publishing model, is changing. It’s becoming more subjective. The importance is more about telling a compelling story from beginning to end – regardless of whether it’s done in 150, 350 or 1,050 pages.

A shorter version of the novel is the Novella. It contains all the elements of a novel, but in shorter form. Some of the best literary works in history are novellas. The word count typically runs from 15,000 – 40,000 words.

 

Short Stories and Flash Fiction

The key to a Short Story is focus. Short stories usually stay focused on one or more of the following:

  • A single character
  • A single incident
  • A single time
  • A single place
  • A single mood

Short stories usually span 1,000 – 15,000 words, which is 60-70 pages double-spaced in a 12 point font. Short fiction was once very popular in most mainstream magazines before interest waned. But as ebook popularity grows, combined with time-pressed readers with short attention spans, Short Stories are enjoying resurgence.

Flash Fiction has also become very popular as of late. It has the same elements as a Short Story, but now you need to be laser focused, and grammatically economic to tell a complete story in 300 – 1,000 words.

If you’re just starting out as a fiction writer, short stories and flash fiction are the best entry point. It’s not that they’re easier to write than novels and novellas; in fact, most agree the extreme economy makes them more challenging to do well. But when writing a short or flash story, you’ll spend less time drafting and revising the piece, and this will give you a chance to get the hang of the whole process.

A good analogy is learning to pilot a boat. It’s much easier to learn all the basics going across a bay than going out into the open Atlantic Ocean to sail down to the Caribbean. Your short or flash story can serve as a warm-up to a novel. Or if you find your short story really needs to expand, you can always take it into a longer form. Another idea is to collect a series of relatable short stories into an anthology.

For the purposes of this series, it’s recommended you begin writing in the short fiction form.

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How to Write Fiction In Five: What Is Fiction?

Fiction by definition is a lie – something made up, a fabricated story invented to entertain.

Simply put, writing fiction is the skill of telling true lies.

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Fictional stories are born with the full intent to deceive the reader into suspending disbelief, but the cool thing is there’s a smattering of truth woven into the fabric of the story reflecting the way things are in real life.

You, the fiction writer are God of your story world. You are the creator of the characters in the story and engineer of the world in which their story takes place.

That’s pretty freakin’ empowering stuff ain’t it? You are God of every story you create, and as a fiction writer you are obligated to lie.

Good fiction portrays a world so convincing, and so real the reader is tricked into believing that world really exists. Even if a story deals with an alternate or fantasy reality. Just talk to the raving fans of Game of Thrones or Star Wars. When you talk to them, you could see something going on behind their eyes saying, “Oh those worlds are real alright, they  are  real!

This is what your goal as a story teller is – to fabricate the most convincing “true lies.”

storytelling

 

How to Write Fiction In Five: Short, easily digestible to-the-point articles covering the basics of writing fiction stories. Each article will take five minutes or less to read, but provide you with the core understanding to the subject matter.

The Day I Almost Punched Out Fox News’ Carl Cameron

It was a late Saturday morning, in the early summer of 1994. My then brother-in-law recently bought a home on a quiet suburban street in the town of Hooksett, New Hampshire. It was moving day and I was late getting to his new home to help unload the truck with his three brothers.

I’m punctual by nature and hate being late. I nudged the speed limit getting there. As I approached, I saw the moving truck in his driveway and a line of cars parked on the street in front of the house. I passed the house with the intention of turning around and pulling up behind the rest of the cars. I saw a wide driveway on my right and decided to use the apron of it to start my three-point-turn. There was a man standing in the street, with his back to me at the end of his walkway. He just retrieved his mail from the mailbox and was filing through it.

In my haste, I swung the front of my car into the apron at speed and hit the brakes firmly causing the tires to “chirp”. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the man jump and envelopes go flying. I noticed it but didn’t react one way or the other. When I’m focused on a task, I get “zoned in” and propriety takes a back seat. I completed my turn in a smooth second, drove up the block and parked behind the last car in front of my brother-in-law’s house.

Since they guys were already busy moving stuff out of the truck, I didn’t waste any time and got to work. I already made two trips into the house and was on the top of the ramp into the truck when I saw this slender, red-faced, brown-haired guy, storming across the front lawn, wearing a pissed-off expression. This guy stomps right up to the back of the truck, where my four brother’s-in-law were standing, and yells, “Who the fuck was the asshole who made a u-turn in my driveway?” He turns his red-enraged face to me and gapes at me with open malice.

I knew he was talking about me, but the guy’s approach and attitude just hit all my buttons at once. It brought out the New York in me right away. I didn’t feel apologetic about scaring him, now I was just pissed-off. At 6’3″ and 250 pounds I’m a big guy. People have always been amazed how fast I could move given my size – this was no exception.

He barely finished yelling in his screeching, whiny voice, when in a flash I jumped the four-feet down from the truck and was right-in-his-face. I towered over him my face pressing down into his, nose-to-nose, and I was chest bumping him across the lawn and roaring, “WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU CALLING AN ASSHOLE, YOU SHIT-FOR-BRAIN MOTHERFUCKER!”.

The man I was yelling at was none other than Carl Cameron. Long before he became the respected Chief Political Correspondent for Fox News, he was working as the political director on WMUR-TV, New Hampshire’s local news station.

I recognized him right away, but I didn’t give a flying fuck who he was at that moment. He crossed a line with me. My four brother’s-in-law went from being angry and on the defensive, to holding me back and protecting Carl from having his head forcibly shoved up his own ass.

My actions took him off his guard, he wasn’t expecting my response and was momentarily scared and shocked. I gotta hand it to him, I’m a lot bigger than he is. I outweighed him by a good 80 pounds, and I know how to handle myself. He regained his composure, straightened his spine and used a forceful tone (to be fair, I did have four sets of hands holding me back), and said, “You can’t turn around in my driveway like that and who the hell do you think you are attacking and pushing me like that? There are several cops and state troopers in this neighborhood and I can have you arrested in no time flat.”

I said, “First of all, I didn’t make a u-turn in your driveway, I barely entered the apron. If you didn’t come across as a complete asshole I would’ve apologized for scaring you, but you can fuck that now. And second, I don’t give a shit who you are and how many cops live on this street, by the time they get here you’ll be on your way to the hospital.”
“Are you threatening me with violence?” Cameron said, “You’re not going to get away with this.”
“Really?” I said, “There’s five witnesses here to a guy trespassing on private property, approaching us in an aggressive and combative manner. Not only do I have the right to fuck you up for that, I’m betting the police would say I’m in the right and arrest your sorry ass.”

That stopped him cold. It seemed like it just dawned on him he was standing in someone else’s yard – uninvited. His face still red and shaking with rage, Cameron backed away shaking a finger at me, “You’re in big trouble buddy, I know people, there are cops in this neighborhood.” He turned and walked to the street.
“Get the fuck outta here while you can still walk.” I said.
He walked up the street yelling out how he was calling the cops and “We’ll see who gets in trouble.”

I never saw Carl Cameron again, and no police paid us a visit. The move went smoothly and we celebrated a job well done with pizza and beer and had a good laugh about the whole incident.

We were two young, hot-headed guys who could have approached this situation in a much better manner. Thankfully cooler-heads intervened, and prevented things from getting out of hand. When I think about it now, I’m thankful it never escalated.

Cameron

Carl left the neighborhood not long afterward to go to work for Fox News, as their Washington-based chief political correspondent where he is to this day.

 

Mary Rowlandson’s Tragic Story

In 1675, King Philip’s War raged in New England. On February 10th, 1675, Native Americans attacked the town of Lancaster, Massachusetts. As the Indians went from house to house slaughtering or capturing the colonial inhabitants, Mary Rowlandson recounted what she saw and experienced on that day, and her subsequent 11-week captivity, in her narrative, The Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

On July 5th, 2014, – almost 340 years later, Loly and I visited the site where Mary Rowlandson’s nightmare journey began.

The site where the garrison house once stood is amazingly and thankfully still pristine. It is a recognized historic site and has never been developed, remaining a pastureland.

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This marker briefly describes the events of that day at this site. As we entered the field, we were taken by how beautiful it was, and on this fantastic summer day it was hard to imagine the savagery and desperate fight to survive which took place here.

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Though not obviously marked, I went by Mary Rowlandson’s description of where the garrison house was located, The house stood upon the edge of a hill…

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Sure enough at the top of a small hill in the field, was the stump of an ancient oak tree which had at one time marked where the garrison house stood. A garrison house was specifically built to protect against Indian attacks and was a central gathering place for several families during such an event. This is what a garrison house from that era would have looked like:

junkins

It was from this spot which Mary witnessed a house across the way being attacked by the Indians, “There were five persons taken in one house; the father, and the mother and a sucking child, they knocked on the head(this is a 17th century way of saying they had their skulls crushed and brains dashed out by a tomahawk or stone hammer); the other two they took and carried away alive. “

She then witnessed this taking place at an adjoining garrison and people trying to escape to their garrison, “There were two others, who being out of their garrison upon some occasion were set upon; one was knocked on the head, the other escaped; another there was who running along was shot and wounded, and fell down; he begged of them his life, promising them money but they would not hearken to him but knocked him in head, and stripped him naked, and split open his bowels. Another, seeing many of the Indians about his barn, ventured and went out, but was quickly shot down. There were three others belonging to the same garrison who were killed; the Indians getting up upon the roof of the barn, had advantage to shoot down upon them over their fortification.”

Attacked

“…some of the Indians got behind the hill, others into the barn, and others behind anything that could shelter them; from all which places they shot against the house, so that the bullets seemed to fly like hail; and quickly they wounded one man among us, then another, and then a third.”

This is the view from the top of the hill where the garrison house stood; and the vantage point from which Mary Rowlandson saw the Indians begin their attack on their home.

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Fire!

“About two hours they had been about the house before they prevailed to fire it, and there being no defense about the house, only two flankers at two opposite corners; they fired it once and one ventured out and quenched it, but they quickly fired it again, and that took.

The Last Desperate Struggle

“Some in our house were fighting for their lives, others wallowing in their blood, the house on fire over our heads, and the bloody heathen ready to knock us on the head, if we stirred out. Now might we hear mothers and children crying out for themselves, and one another, “Lord, what shall we do?” Then I took my children (and one of my sisters’, hers) to go forth and leave the house: but as soon as we came to the door and appeared, the Indians shot so thick that the bullets rattled against the house, as if one had taken an handful of stones and threw them…”

“But out we must go, the fire increasing, and coming along behind us, roaring, and the Indians gaping before us with their guns, spears, and hatchets to devour us. No sooner were we out of the house, but my brother−in−law (being before wounded, in defending the house, in or near the throat) fell down dead, whereat the Indians scornfully shouted, and hallowed, and were presently upon him, stripping off his clothes, the bullets flying thick, one went through my side, and the same through the bowels and hand of my dear child in my arms.”

“One of my elder sisters’ children, named William, had then his leg broken, which the Indians perceiving, they knocked him on [his] head. Thus were we butchered by those merciless heathen, standing amazed, with the blood running down to our heels. My eldest sister being yet in the house, and seeing those woeful sights, the infidels hauling mothers one way, and children another, and some wallowing in their blood: and her elder son telling her that her son William was dead, and myself was wounded, she said, “And Lord, let me die with them,” which was no sooner said, but she was struck with a bullet, and fell down dead over the threshold.”

“…the Indians laid hold of us, pulling me one way, and the children another, and said, “Come go along with us”; I told them they would kill me: they answered, if I were willing to go along with them, they would not hurt me. Oh the doleful sight that now was to behold at this house! “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he has made in the earth.” Of thirty−seven persons who were in this one house, none escaped either present death, or a bitter captivity, save only one.”

“There were twelve killed, some shot, some stabbed with their spears, some knocked down with their hatchets. When we are in prosperity, Oh the little that we think of such dreadful sights, and to see our dear friends, and relations lie bleeding out their heart−blood upon the ground. There was one who was chopped into the head with a hatchet, and stripped naked, and yet was crawling up and down.”

“It is a solemn sight to see so many Christians lying in their blood, some here, and some there, like a company of sheep torn by wolves, all of them stripped naked by a company of hell−hounds, roaring, singing, ranting, and insulting, as if they would have torn our very hearts out; yet the Lord by His almighty power preserved a number of us from death, for there were twenty−four of us taken alive and carried captive.”

 

 

So this is where is happened…on this beautiful spot and the surrounding area, 12 people from this garrison and another 9 from another house and garrison were slaughtered, stripped and left amidst their burning homes. This is where her nephew William, with a broken leg, had his head bashed in, where her older sister was shot to death on the threshold, and where a wounded man begged for his life and was tomahawked, disemboweled and stripped.

Mary, shot in the side, was taken captive with her gravely wounded six-year-old daughter Sarah, and forced to march into the wilderness toward New Hampshire and the Connecticut River. Little Sarah suffered in agony for 9 days before dying from her wounds. She was buried on a lonely hilltop in the woods.

Mary was with the Indians for 11 weeks before they sold her back to her husband. Her surviving two children were also sold back to them not long after.

After her release Mary met her brother-in-law. He asked where her older sister was. He and a contingency of militia had gone to Lancaster after the attack. There he had helped bury the mutilated and charred bodies, never even knowing his wife had been one of those burned bodies.

As I stood on the site of the garrison, near the stump of the old oak, trying to imagine the house, and the attack, an item in the rotting remains of the stump caught Loly’s attention. It was a brick. She lifted it from the decomposing wood and dirt and held it up.

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It was a hand-made brick, which would have been part of the center chimney of the garrison house. She replaced the brick where she found it and picked up another for inspection. These bricks are all that remain of the garrison house and a tangible reminder of that day. These bricks had been in place when those colonists fought for their lives, and here is where those bricks will remain.

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It was an altogether far different time, one I can hardly fathom no matter how much as I study this era.

I am fully aware the slaughter of Native Americans and Colonists took place on both sides, with the Indians suffering far worse in the end, but this is not that whole story. This is just the story of a Puritan wife and mother, what she saw, and what she experienced. To get a full account of the entire experience just click the link to a PDF copy of Mary’s complete narrative: The Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

 

 

100 Years Ago Today Archduke Francis Ferdinand was Assassinated.

One Hundred Years ago today, June 28th 1914, a presumptuous, idealistic young man of 19, Gavrilo Princp shot and killed the Austro-Hungarian  Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and his pregnant wife Sophie, in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. This singular act by a Serbian nationalist would change the world forever. It set events in motion leading to a World War, which in turn eventually precipitated a Second World War. In the end some 100 million people would lose their lives.

Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, shortly before they were assassinated.

The assassination sparked a pointless world war which killed over 16.5 million people and injured another 21 million. The worst part? Nobody knows the real reason why World War I happened. Even well-established historians can’t decide exactly why the war even started in the first place. At the time Europe was a complex network of Imperial alliances. The continent was a powder keg ready to blow and the Archduke’s assassination provided the spark. Here’s how it unfolded:

  • Austria declared war on Serbia.
  • Russia declared war on Austria.
  • Germany declared war on Russia — and immediately invaded France(?)
  • Great Britain declared war on Germany, and Canada, being part of the British Empire, was automatically at war as well.
  • Eventually a total of 25 countries got sucked into this conflict

The U.S. didn’t enter the fray until 1917. We were in it for 18 months – over 117,000 were killed and another 200,000+ injured. Can you imagine those sort of casualties today? Unfortunately The War to End All Wars, didn’t live up to it’s name… Werner

D-Day + 70 Years

June 6th, 2014

During the 70th D-Day Commemoration, I looked upon these old men, these veterans of World War II.

The camera shows their faces softened, rounded, and wrinkled by time. Their hair is white and sparse, and the head and hands of some shake subtly and uncontrollably. They wear medals earned in battle on their tired, sagging frame. None are able to stand for very long, most use hearing aids and almost all have canes. Their eyes, however, their eyes look sharp with remembrance.

I see beyond what the camera shows. I see young men in their teens and twenties, with hard angular faces, and lean, hard bodies standing erect, proud and prepared for battle. They have heads of thick, rich hair, and eyes of stone, quick and ready. The things they experienced and did, formed their character, affected their lives and stayed with them always.

To me these young-old men are heroes. As much as those who gave their all during the war, and the ones who have since passed on. This The Greatest Generation, saved the world from tyranny in the greatest conflict mankind has ever known. With luck, it will remain that way…

 

CNN did a segment on a man named Jim “Pee Wee” Martin. On June 6, 1944 he parachuted into Normandy with the 101st Airborne, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Company G.

PeeWee

His company landed right in the middle of German reinforcements heading for the coast. He said it was a “slaughterhouse”. To commemorate that historic day, at the age of 93, Pee Wee suited up, boarded a C-47 Dakota and jumped out of a plane over Normandy one last time.

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One of the things I took away from that segment was when Pee Wee said after the jump, “I just wanted to show everyone you don’t have to sit and die just because you get old.”

Jim is a Certified Bad Ass!

 

The other thing that stayed with me from the segment was when they were giving Jim a tour of a D-Day museum. In one display they had an American helmet with a hole in it. The correspondent said, “This was the helmet of Don Francis, he was right next to you…” and Jim finished, “When he got shot.”

 

I wanted to know more about the young man who wore that helmet

At 4:30 am, on their way to secure a couple of bridges, Cpl Donald B. Francis and Jim found themselves pinned down in a field near the River Douve. Their only cover was tall grass. In the dim light of the early morning, a German soldier saw the white painted ace on Don’s helmet and used that as an aiming point. The bullet entered the left side of his head and exited through his right forehead. Don Francis never regained consciousness and died in the Fortin Farm Aid Station on June 7th.

helmet

 

Donald Francis grew up in Rochester, New York. When he died he was not married and had no children. He was only 23. This is the house in which he grew up. I imagine that one day he gave his worried mom a hug and a kiss, said goodbye to his family, walked out that front door, across the porch, down the steps and into history – never to return.

FrancisHome

When the telegram about his death arrived a few days later, it’s hard to imagine what the Francis family went through.

Don was the same age as Jim. One got to go home fall in love, raise a family, have a career and live to be an old man. All the hopes and dreams of the other ended on a field in a foreign country, 70 years ago. Don never got to know what it was like to fall in love, and know what it was like to have a family of his own and experience life to the fullest.

Now Corporal Donald B. Francis, G Co 506th PIR, forever lives in Plot E, Row 17, Grave 18, Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Colleville-sur-Mer, France

DonFrancis

It’s good to see that someone still remembers young Don Francis.

It’s my hope that we never forget the young men who gave their all to defeat a tyranny we never had to know.

Our Time In The Sun

I was in the Nashua Town Hall on Main Street, waiting for my wife to complete some official business. I stared fascinated at a mural sized picture from the city’s past.

The picture was taken from a high vantage point on a building that no longer exists, next the Main Street Bridge that spans the Nashua River. I figure the picture must have been taken around 1910 or so.

There were work horses on the street walking along side a trolley car that has long since vanished. The weather looked to be warm and sunny. There were lots of people on the sidewalks and street. They were far enough away where their faces were nondescript. The women wore long dark dresses and most of the men were dressed in Sack suits and straw boater hats. Of the things in the picture, it was the people who stayed with me.

After business was concluded in the Town Hall, we walked out onto Main Street. It was a warm, sunny day and we walked down the street toward home. I reveled in the wonderful weather, and thought how good I felt and how much I love and enjoy life.

As we approached the Main Street Bridge, the image of that picture played in my mind. Nobody, not one person from that picture exists here today. None are left on this street where they were all once caught in a photograph going about their lives.

They, like I do now, cannot envision a point in time 100 years from now, where we no longer exist. In a future time where no one remembers you, or cared that you existed, or even has the knowledge about you to give you a passing thought. That you now only exist as an anonymous, nondescript figure in an old photograph.

I thought of all those people I can never know. All those stories lost to history. I tried to imagine their faces. I thought that some of the people in that photograph may have very well felt exactly the way I did at that moment. I wondered about how they lived out their lives. How they lived and loved, laughed and cried and how they inevitably left this world.

I thought how 100 years before, they walked the same place and occupied the same space as I. The same sun had shined upon their faces and cast their shadow onto the sidewalk is it was now doing mine.

Now the sun shines upon them no more. Where do they all lie now? What became of all those souls?

No, try as we might, we just can’t envision a day where the sun will never again shine upon us. A time where we no longer exist – and no one cares that we did.

This is our time in the sun. Live life to its fullest, care about it and enjoy the heck out of it. If your life is important enough to live, it’s important enough to make a record of it. Leave this life completely used up and know that you did exist – and you mattered…

 

Why I Journal

Simply put, I journal so I won’t forget.

“…if your life is important enough to live, it’s important enough to chronicle.”

 

If you’re the type of person who prefers to get out and about instead of just sitting in front of a TV or video game for hours on end, then you will have lots of life experiences. Most will be mundane. A few might be bad, but many will be good and others will be awesome. Whenever anyone has a memorable experience, we don’t forget the overall fact of the experience, however, with the passage of time the details of those experiences fade, alter and are sometimes forgotten.

 

I’ve been journaling on and off since I was nine-years-old. I believe if your life is important enough to live, it’s important enough to chronicle. I also believe it’s only our experiences we take with us when we leave this life – so I want to fill it up with as many experiences as I can.

 

To preserve the details of a noteworthy life experience, I like to journal it as soon as I can – typically within a few days to a week.

 

A few years down the road, when remembering a life event from the past, I can go to my journal and read what I wrote about it back then. I’m often amazed of the details, and even the sequences of events, I’ve since forgotten when reading an older journal entry. It serves to help me create a rich tapestry of pictures in the theater of my mind, which then becomes a full sensory mind movie. The colors, sights, sounds, feelings, smells, time of day, and the weather all come back to me. It’s very cool.

 

The more detail I add to the journal entry, the quicker the whole experience comes back to me.

 

When I journal, I write to three different people.

 

First I write to myself so I can relieve the experiences in immersive detail. Second, I write to someone I know who is interested in and likes what I write.

 

Lastly, when I journal I think of a person 100 years in the future. Most people today could care less about the journal entries of my life experiences – and I’m okay with that. What I do is imagine someone like me, a person interested in history, discovering a 100 year old journal and eagerly begins to read it. This person is keenly interested getting a glimpse what life was like long before they were born. This reader wants to get to know the writer of the journal and see how he lived out his life in a bygone era. As this person reads the journal they learn who the writer was, who they loved, what they did, felt and thought. The reader gets to live in the past vicariously, through the writings of a person who once was.

 

Why do you journal? If you don’t – why not?