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Dear Reader,

View this page as a place where you and I can have a conversation on subjects that are meaningful to both of us. On a regular basis I plan to post a topic or question on my mind which I encourage you to respond to (see below).

On this same page you will also find some of the responses that have been sent in by those who have viewed this web site. Please feel free to submit your own questions and thoughts which I might comment on and share with other viewers. I truly look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Archive for August, 2008

A Reader Shares a Family Story

Friday, August 29th, 2008

On this site’s Fun for the Family page, one of the activities offered is to encourage people to create oral histories capturing the stories of family members. We ask readers to share with us stories about their own family. Here is one that just arrived from educator Cathy Miller — you are welcome to share your stories with us, too.
Story: My dear mother, who left this world last year, told me often of a
terrible night when I was sixteen months old and she almost lost me. She was
changing me, turned around for a moment and when she came around again, I was
blue in the face. I had what southerners call \”croup\” and my windpipe was
blocked with mucus. Somehow, with her special \”I can pull myself up and deal
with anything\” tenacity, she called the local ambulance service (who also
happened to be the funeral home) and I was rushed to the hospital in a hearse,
nearly colliding with a drunk driver on the way. Once there, we were lucky
enough that surgeons were hanging around gabbing after their shift and an
emergency tracheotomy was necessary to clear my windpipe. Every second counted
and they started to work right away. One doctor noticed Momma standing there
and said \”Dear God, get this woman out of here; she\’s this baby\’s mother!\”.
I don\’t remember that day but I heard that story all my life and, as Momma told
it, she affirmed to me that I had a reason for living, I was saved for a special
mission, a special task that only I could do. My life as a literacy consultant,
working with children, families and teachers is testimony to my attempts to
fulfill that great vision of my mother.
Share your special story with us, too.

WRITING PROMPT: What is your own Olympic talent?

Monday, August 25th, 2008

In watching athletes from around the world compete for gold medals at the recent Olympic Games in China, it made me also think about other ways in which people can excel and demonstrate their talents.
Some of us, of course, have tremendous physical talents which can be applied in sports. But there are also other ways of demonstrating what is special in each of us. Some individuals have wonderful talent in relating to and interacting with other people — their personalities are warm and engaging. Some people have a great sense of humor and know how to make people laugh and smile. Some people never give up no matter how hard the challenge and keep trying their best until they accomplish their goal, whether it’s learning a new language or understanding a math problem — they refuse to allow defeat in their lives. Other people are gifted dancers and musicians, and they deserve gold medals, too. Still others are gifted artists who write or draw or dance or act with great talent.
So now the big question — what is your own special talent that sets you apart from others and which gives you a tremendous sense of pride about yourself? Yes, you have a talent, and now you need to think about what it is. Please share your gift with us.

WRITING PROMPT: Rewrite Your Parents’ Lives

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

What if we could rewrite the life stories of our parents or of those we love?
That is exactly what Nobel Prize-winning writer Doris Lessing has done in her new book about her parents, Alfred and Emily.
This is a book of two parts. The first half is a work of fiction about the lives she wished her parents did have, a life filled with happiness and fulfillment. The second part is the real version in which she explores the unhappy lives of her parents as she actually knew them.
What Lessing has done is what many of us often think of when we imagine what if such and such happened instead of what really did happen. Doesn’t each of us at times try to imagine our life in a different way? Who wants, for example, to accept a sad or bad story when what we really want to have is a happy, wonderful story — even if it’s one we have to make up?
The wonderful thing about being a writer is that you can use your imagination to create different worlds from what you know. If you’re feeling unhappy in real life, for example, you might want to create a world in which you feel happy. If you are poor, you might want to imagine a story in which the characters are rich.
So, for this writing prompt, you have permission to change a story about your parents or yourself into something entirely different, the complete opposite if you wish. There is no one to stop you from creating the story that you really wanted to hear and read.
Please share your writings with us.

WRITING PROMPT: Write What Is In Your Heart

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

In the poem, ‘’Theme for English B’’ by Langston Hughes, an English instructor tells the students, ‘’Go home and write a page tonight, And let that page come out of you – Then, it will be true.’’ The teacher is asking the students to write honestly to show what they are thinking or feeling.
Now, it’s your turn to home and write a page about what is in your heart as you sit down with pen and paper. Maybe, you write about something that’s on your mind, a problem you have to solve. Maybe you write about a new experience you just had which you are trying to understand. Maybe, your writing is about a person you have recently met who has changed your life or had an effect on you. Maybe you write about what made you happy or sad that particular day. Maybe you write about a funny moment you experienced, or a joke you heard, or a conversation that you overheard.
Or, if you’re from another country, maybe you think back to the time before you came to the United States. Write about what your life was like during the last year of your life in your homeland. Was it a good time? A hard time for you and your family? A sad time? A joyous time? Share with me something about your life in your homeland so that I can learn more about you and your country. What was your life like before you came here?