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Posts from the ‘Writing Escapades / Freelancing Foolery’ Category

A Grisly Birthday Wish to Mr. Gorey

Books, Cats, Life is Good. —Edward Gorey

When people are finding meaning in things — beware.  Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey Illustration

A Gorey Alligator for Serenity Spell

Happy birthday to one of the world’s most clever and whimsical illustrators and authors….. Quirky, prolific, and a true talent. I still adore you, Mr. Gorey!

For a fantastic book detailing the inner workings of Gorey, pick up Elephant House or, The Home of Edward Gorey. For more information, visit their website.

A Personal Face to the Date Which Will Live in Infamy: Dec. 7, 1941

On December 7, 1941, my beautiful, kind, and brave grandfather was in Pearl Harbor, far from his Indiana country upbringing.

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My handsome grandfather hamming it up in Pearl Harbor (on the left)

Before that infamous day though, the men — and their gals — enjoyed some downtime in tropical Oahu.

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Hubba hubba: My grandmother, or the little island girl

My granddaddy was a Lieutenant aboard the USS Montgomery, a destroyer located near the entrance to Pearl Harbor when the bombers attacked. The ship wasn’t fully crewed, but it managed to depart to sea immediately, due to its location. The Montgomery eventually received four battle stars for World War II service.

Later in WWII, my grandfather took part in the Pacific Theater — ironically, in the area where I grew up, the Kwajalein Atoll — contending with the high seas of the South Pacific and kamikaze pilots.

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USS Montgomery, my granddaddy’s first post — caught at Pearl Harbor

Photo Courtesy of NavSource Naval History

He eventually became Commander of the USS Shea, another destroyer. During periods of the war, the Shea was in constant engagements with Japanese aircraft. At one point, all communications were lost. To imagine being on a listing ship, with so many dead and dying fellow men, your communications completely lost, out in the vast empty waters of the South Pacific… This is what I think of when I meet veterans today.

In 1954, the Shea took part in the atomic tests conducted at Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands (my stomping grounds). Regardless of these feats, my grandfather remained the most gentle soul till his death at an excruciatingly young age — I’m convinced due to the close exposure of radiation. To this day, 32 years after his passing, he remains my guiding force. James Walter Reed led his crew with an inherent gentleness and strength — a combination so very rare to the human species.

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The USS Shea, my granddaddy’s Commander post

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Commander Granddaddy visits the officers of the USS Shea in 1953

Both he and my grandmother are now laid to rest at the breathtaking Arlington National Cemetery. May this day continue to live in infamy, and never be forgotten — may the heroism of so many always be remembered. And may these days of remembrance serve to teach us lessons of loss — and futures of peace.

And finally…. Early happy birthday to you (tomorrow, the eighth), granddaddy.

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Grandmommy and Granddaddy in San Francisco, during a lucky break: LOVE.

Thanks, Mr. Sendak, and Farewell…

Thank you Mr. Sendak, for teaching me all about those wild places. ♥

Maurice Sendak, Children’s Author Who Upended Tradition, Dies at 83

Maurice Sendak, widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche, died on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83 and lived in Ridgefield, Conn. The cause was complications from a recent stroke, said Michael di Capua, his longtime editor…. (Read more at The New York Times link above)

Maurice Sendak, “Where the Wild Things Are,” 1963

Maurice Sendak, “Where the Wild Things Are,” 1963

A Wonderful Project

I’ve fallen a bit behind… Fellow bloggers Fay Moore of her inspiring Fay Moore: I Want to Be a Writer and Stacy Lyn of her engaging Stacy Allbritton: Web-Footed Louisiana Scribbler, um, Scrivener have nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. And Terri of the beautiful Daily Sweet Peas has kindly passed along the Readership Appreciation Award.

I’ve been witness to this project circulating WordPress (being relatively new to the blogging arena), and it’s such a wonderful tool to connect with other bloggers and their work. I honestly had no idea such warm, kind kindred spirits existed in this community, and for that I’m pleasantly surprised and ever thankful. Profuse thanks for your nominations and votes of confidence, Fay, Stacy, and Terri!

 7 (Hopefully Interesting) and Totally Truthful Things About Myself:

  • I was raised on a 3-mile-long island, the rim of a sunken volcano in the middle of the South Pacific — an atoll in Micronesia — 6 hours by plane from Hawaii, 6 hours by plane from Australia. Think Amelia Earhart’s lost flight.
  • Having moved stateside at college-age, and lacking the impact of mass media at those impressionable ages, I still find myself catching up on key pieces of Americana.
  • I’ve been a vegetarian since birth… Raised by carnivores with favorite meals including steak tartare and sushi caught from the surrounding ocean. Blech.
  • I’ve never been married; while this fails to shock me or the strong females in my family, it remains an awe-inspiring topic of discussion.
  • Having always been surrounded by a menagerie of rescued critters — cats and dogs and ferrets and horses, oh my — they remain an integral part of my life.
  • My heroine: Katherine Hepburn.
  • I dance and sing horribly off-key on a regular basis — any event can prompt this behavior, including the making of ice, cooking noodles, rain, getting dressed…. The list is endless.

Every blog I’ve encountered has been inspiring beyond compare — and I’m still learning with each passing day. In the spirit of connecting to others, here’s an abridged list of some lovely and skilled nature-centric sites that I’d like to share:

Freelancing Conundrums

Adapting to life as a publishing freelancer has been interesting — and fun. But darn all those corporate years of floating style guides…

More Quotable Concepts

☞ “If the world were a logical place, men would ride sidesaddle.” -(Rita Mae Brown)

☞ “What other people think of you is none of your business.” -(Paulo Coelho)

☞ “You don’t need to explain your dreams. They belong to you.” -(Paulo Coelho)

☞ “Many find their heart when they have lost their head.” -(Friedrich Nietzsche)

☞ “We are what we believe we are.” -(C.S. Lewis)

☞ “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -(Albert Einstein)

☞ “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” -(Albert Einstein)

☞ “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” -(G.K. Chesterton)

☞ “Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thought in clear form.” -(Albert Einstein)

☞ “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” -(Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

☞ “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” -(Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

☞ “This too shall pass.”

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Quotable Concepts

☞ “There are more things in heaven and earth…Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” -(Shakespeare)

☞ “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” -(Oscar Wilde)

☞ “Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” -(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

☞ “Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.” -(Mark Twain)

☞ “If I think, everything is lost.” -(Paul Cezanne)

☞ Child of the pure unclouded brow
And dreaming eyes of wonder,
Though time be fleet, and I and thou
Are half a life asunder,
Thy loving smile will surely hail
The love-gift of a fairy-tale. -(Lewis Carroll)

☞ “There is nothing you can see that is not a flower; There is nothing you can think that is not the moon.” -(Matsuo Basho)

☞ “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” -(Jorge Luis Borges)

☞ To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour. -(William Blake)

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